Friday, December 31, 2004

Race Update: RI

Stealing a page from Jacques Chirac's playbook, Rep. Patrick Kennedy preemptively surrendered to RINO Lincoln Chafee today. The Kennedy name and, more importantly, money, would probably have brought the empty suit into the Senate had he decided to run for the seat. While he left open the possibility of running at a later time, boy Kennedy may not get another shot for some time. Rhode Island Senate seats seldom open up.

Chafee is perhaps the most vulnerable Republican incumbent, and would probably face a tight election against a teletubby. Now that the only teletubby who could've gotten in has bailed out, however, he will enter the general election as an underdog if he survives a possible primary challenge from Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey. The biggest winner in this announcement is Rep. James Langevin, whom Kennedy pledged to support when he made his announcement.

If this ends up a Chafee-Langevin match-up, conservatives will have a tough choice between someone who agrees on life, with the exception of stem-cell research, but disagrees on everything else, and someone who votes with his Party only enough to ensure himself of their support in his next election. The latter would also surprise no one if he announced in his victory speech that he was changing parties. The silver lining in all this is that there definitely won't be more than one member of the Kennedy clan in the Senate after the next election.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Race Profile: New York

The former first "lady" came into New York with a record of accomplishment that included marrying a man who became President, and... no, wait... gimme a second... there's gotta be something... nope, that pretty much wraps it up. Her only attempt at making policy was a socialist health care plan that thankfully fell to the floor quicker than Monica Lewinski. Her 2000 race would've been tight, but Rudy Giuliani couldn't decide whether he was in or out. A few months before Election Day, Rick Lazio was chosen as the sacrificial lamb.

New York is deep blue, making this an uphill race even for America's Mayor. The state Republican Party has been drivin into the ground by a liberal Governor unconcerned with out of control spending, and the State Senate, which once seemed as though it would never change hands, is now narrowly divided. With recent polls showing Gov. George Pataki trailing miserably in a hypothetical match-up and Colin Powell disavowing any interest, it's pretty clear that any nominee other than Rudy would have about as much chance as Osama Bin Laden.

Giuliani is a social liberal, but his leadership in the wake of the terrorist attacks is beyond reproach. His campaigning for President Bush and speaking engagements in Iowa and New Hampshire indicate that he's set his sites on higher office. Due to his positions on abortion and gay rights, the biggest argument for a Presidential candidacy would be his electablity. If he were to lose a Senate race, his 2008 campaign would end before it begins. Expect him to take a pass on the race, as he'll probably consider it a risk not worth taking.

If Rudy runs, the race leans Democrat. If not, the GOP would best be served to simply nominate an attack dog who could at least bring attention to her extreme brand of liberalism. While such a candidate would lose miserably, he'd at least be able to able to reinforce her communist caricature to hurt her '08 ambitions. Safe D with anyone but the former Mayor.

Race Profile: Rhode Island

RINO Lincoln Chafee took this seat as a gift from Governor Lincoln Almond when his father,, Sen. John Chafee, died in 1999. The Chafee name went way back in Rhode Island, including John's service as Governor and a member of the House of Representatives. Lincoln was running for his father's seat at the time of the death and likely would have lost but for the advantages of incumbency and the desire of Rhode Islanders to pay tribute to his father. Chafee, a former cocaine user, has been a bane to Republicans since his election, siding with Democrats on nearly every issue.

Chafee's seat is ripe for the picking, but he may first have to get by a primary challenge. Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey is extremely popular, especially among conservatives, for cleaning up the state's third largest city. Although the state has a semi-open primary, meaning that independents can vote in primaries, voters who have previously voted in a party primary must sign a statement disaffiliating themselves with the party in whose primary they voted if they wish to vote in the other party's primary. A contested Democratic primary for Governor in 2002, therefore, significantly reduced the pool of independents, and the Republican Primary was won with less than 20,000 votes because of anemic Republican registration.

Plenty of Democrats will take a look at this race, including the state's Congressional Democrats. Rep. Langevin, a paraplegic who is pro-life but vocally supports stem-cell research, would be an interesting choice, not least because his largely pro-life voting record would cut off pro-abortion funding and may even direct it toward Chafee. Rep. Patrick Kennedy would be a tough challenger, more because he's a Kennedy in New England than any record of accomplishment. Kennedy is considered a dim bulb, which could make for totally laughable debates with Chafee, as the moderator would have to dumb down the questions for both candidates.

Rhode Island is deep blue, but Governor Carcieri proved that it is possible for a conservative Republican to get elected statewide. All things being equal, a Democrat who doesn't cost himself the race would likely defeat Chafee, but Chafee is by no means assured of the nomination. The best case scenario for Republicans is a Laffey-Kennedy race, as the down to earth, up to the challenge Republican is an excellent campaigner and a strong conservative without turning off the moderate voters he would need to win. Pretty much any combination of candidates puts this race in the "Lean Democrat" category, but Laffey v. Kennedy, especially with a heavy debate schedule, could become a toss-up.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Race Profile: Maryland

Senator Paul Sarbanes will have held this seat for three decades and there is no reason to believe that anyone can take it from him. In 2000, he routed Paul Rappaport, taking 63% of the vote. Even so, at the age of 71 and with no reason to think that Democrats have a prayer (even if they did, they probably wouldn't say it) of taking back the Senate, he may decided that it's time to call it a career. If so, this could turn into another nightmare for the Democrats.

Maryland isn't a likely place for Republicans to pick up a Senate seat. President Bush had his hat handed to him this year, and Senator Mikulski routed E. J. Pipkin this year. Even so, Democrats seem to be interested in nominating Kweisi Mfume, who just resigned his post as President and CEO of the NAACP. Mfume has managed during his long political career to establish ties to racketeers, called one of the Senate's most respected members a racist, and entangle the Congressional Black Caucus with known racist Louis Farrakhan.

Even with the racist Mfume in the race, Maryland is so blue that only Lt. Gov. Michael Steele presents a real opportunity for Republicans. Steele, who is black, may be the right combination of an electable candidate and a real conservative. Republicans have fared terribly in Baltimore City, but Steele's work on issues of concern to blacks may give him a rare opportunity to make inroads in the city. He has focused on improving the Minority Business Enterprise program and improving public education. Of particular interest to President Bush is the fact that he has been working to coordinate state activities with faith-based groups, showing that he is more concerned with helping communities improve themselves than political correctness.

Republicans cannot seriously challenge Sarbanes, but early money, a good campaign, and a bright spotlight to shine on Mfume's extremism could be the perfect storm Republicans need to steal the seat. If there's no retirement, this race is not "Safe Democrat", but falls into the "Dead Girl or Live Boy" category. If Sarbanes decides to call it quits, rank this as "Likely Democrat" with the possibility of becoming "Leans Democrat" if all the right pieces fall into place.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Race Profile: Missouri

Senator Jim Talent took this seat when he defeated Sen. Jean Carnahan, widow of popular former Gov. Mel Carnahan in 2002. Carnahan was appointed to the seat in 2000 as part of a dubious, and probably illegal, deal in which Mel Carnahan's replacement, Gov. Roger Wilson, told voters that he would appoint Jean to fill the seat if her dead husband won the election. As a tribute to their beloved Governor, Missouri elected the corpse. Two years later, Talent squeaked by Jean to win the seat for the remainder of the term.

Since taking his seat, Talent has built upon his conservative record in the House. Even so, he has taken up leadership roles on health care policy and energy by proposing common sense legislation. His Small Business Health Fairness Act would allow small businessmen to perchace health care plans for themselves and their employees through their trade associations. He has also proposed legislation that would reduce America's dependence on foreign fuel.

Potential challengers include Claire McCaskill, the State Auditor, and former Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell. McCaskill lost the 2004 Governor's race to Secretary of State Matt Blunt. While an opponent of gay marriage, her positions on abortion, gun control, and religious freedom are not in line with the increasingly conservative state. Joe Maxwell is in a similar position, and refers to the majority of his state as the "radical right".

This state is a perfect example of why the Democrats have been moving toward permanent minority status. While the Democrats are moving further left, the state is moving further right. Normally competitive, Missouri saw an early end to advertising in the 2004 Presidential campaign as Kerry realized during the summer that his extremist positions were too far out of cync with the voters here. The Democrat's candidate for Senate, Nancy Farmer, suffered a similar fate. Early on, Democrats hoped that they could unseat incumbent Kit Bond, but when Democrats found that her campaign's spending wasn't moving the polls, they quickly abandoned the race.

Democrats must find a candidate whose social positions are at least more muted, if not more moderate, if they hope to make this seat competitive. Talent's personal wealth, the state's continuing move right, and the national Party's hesitation to take a risk on directing funds toward this race when there are more competitive seats out there make it an unattractive race for Democrats. While Democrats have to start pulling a few upsets, this seems like an unlikely place to start. Call this race "Likely Republican", but it could quickly move into "Solid Republican" unless the Democrats can come up with a viable candidate quickly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Outlook 2006

The 2006 Senate races present an opportunity for Republicans to further expand their majority. Democrats in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and Nebraska will face tough reelections, while vulnerable Republicans include Republicans In Name Only Lincoln Chafee (RI), Olympia Snowe (ME), and Senator Mudd, aka Rick Santorum (PA). At worst, the Republican majority will narrow, but conservative power will be consolidated as the Republican caucus will move right with the defeat of RINOs. At best, Republicans can come close to, and possibly actually achieve, 60 votes for cloture on judicial nominees. Either way, conservatives can expect another great year in 2006. Stay tuned for developments on particular races.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Welcome to my blog

Welcome to the newest conservative blog on the internet. This site is dedicated to building a functioning Republican Senate Majority. RINOs need not apply. Check back for periodic updates on the 2006 Senate races, judicial nominations, legislative battles, and action alerts.