AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) Reportedly to Announce Senate Run Today

So says Dan Nowicki of the Arizona Republic:

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., will announce Monday that he will run for the U.S. Senate being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl, a source has told The Arizona Republic.

Flake, who was first elected to Congress in 2000, has long expressed interest in running for the Senate. He will make it official at an 8 a.m. news conference at the same Phoenix hotel where Kyl on Thursday announced that he will retire when his current term ends in January 2013.

The Hotline’s Sean Sullivan points out that Flake has $627K in his House campaign account. Flake’s 6th CD would become the third open seat this cycle (not counting the resignations in CA-36 and NY-26), and of course, we can’t really predict what this district will look like after Arizona’s redistricting comission finishes its work. But it’s pretty brutally red (McCain 61%, though that was actually worse than Bush), so there probably won’t be a lot of open seat excitement in this corner of the state.

UPDATE: It’s official. This is what he’s focusing on, at least for now:

Flake says his priorities include balancing the federal government’s budget, securing the border and working on transportation and water policy issues.

Flake says broader action is needed on illegal immigration than just border security but that border security “needs to be the focus.”

On the budget, Flake says everything needs to be on the table, including possible changes to Social Security. But he said changes shouldn’t apply to current beneficiaries.

86 thoughts on “AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) Reportedly to Announce Senate Run Today”

  1. there’s been no polling done on this. That’s kind of understandable, since Kyl’s retirement is not a full week old, but Flake’s not an obscure guy nor a newcomer like Ben Quayle. I said in another thread that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him do well, but before we give up, we should at least see some evidence of his power–especially because he doesn’t support SB1070, which is supposedly the big obstacle for Democrats in the state.  

  2. Kyl was the republican frontrunner here, Brewer later (despite to be unlikely she runs), and Flake third.

    That can give some chance, we will see… Time for wait (to G Giffords) in the democratic side.

  3. I doubt that Flake is a shoo-in for the nomination, his libertarian tendencies have produced enough apostasy for some right wingers that he will doubtless face a contested primary.

    Last  heard, Franks is looking seriously at the race — he is a hard core social conservative, and doubtless would try to pound Flake on issues like DADT, immigration, and other issues were Flake may be vulnerable to a hard right primary electorate.

    For Flake, I suspect the more people get into the primary, the better off he would be — so he is probably hoping that all of the crazies jump in – Fyfe Symington, Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, JD Hayworth, etc.

    If Flake really is the likeliest Republican nominee, the time is now to start softening him up for the general as well. In a state like Arizona with so many seniors, his stands on cutbacks in Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that assistance retirees needs to be highlighted and challenged enough to drive home the statewide impression that he is a danger to these lifesaving programs. Just because we don’t know who will run for the Democrats yet doesn’t mean the party should be standing by quietly – as soon as this guy announces, we need to be reminding voters exactly how radical his agenda is.

  4. I’m predicting an AZ-03-style five-ring-frackas, though this district is much more reflexively Republican so I don’t know that there is much hay we could make here. I haven’t seen a rundown of possible candidates here, but State House Speaker Kirk Adams lives here. Most of Russell Pearce’s is in this district as well. They don’t really care for each other (regular conservative who recognizes that occasionally government has to do stuff competently v. guy who wants to turn the state government into nothing but an immigrant-harassing machine), so that could be an interesting start right there.

    And you guys, the Arizona righties just aren’t that into Jeff.  

  5. If Jeff Flake was elected, he would be the first Mormon senator from Arizona, right? It seems like that would be a pretty strong base to go from in the Republican primary, and might help him, especially since none of the other prominent Republicans being mentioned (except for Russell Pearce, who has already signaled he’s more likely to run for Flake’s seat then the Senate) are Mormons.

  6. A lot of the defeatism here is from the sting of 2010.

    In politics as in sports, you’re never as good as your best day or as bad as your worst.  So seeing this race through the lens of 2010 is exceptionally foolish.

    AZ-Sen 2012 is competitive, we can win it with a good candidate running a good campaign.  The fact that there won’t be a Prez or VP nominee from AZ (sorry Kyl, it ain’t gonna be you!) means Obama will deem it worthwhile to invest in the state early on, with the huge Hispanic and other nonwhite populations.

  7. Jan Brewer got 54.7% of the vote in a Republican year and is an awful candidate as we saw last year. Just imagine if she ran in a more Democratic year…

  8. that could run for the seat. Why can’t they poll Goddard, Gordon, or Napolitano, for instance? At least then we’d have some idea of a range.  

  9. she is recovered and then (if she wants to) returns to Congress, then it would be proper to poll this race with her.

  10. but yes, i agree. he’d probably be one of my favorite republican senators, along with lugar and a couple others

  11. Kyl is a pure partisan hack, basically a more articulate version of Mitch McConnell. Flake is very ideologically committed to small government but he votes his conscience and doesn’t give a damn what the rest of his party thinks. I think he would vote with the Dems on some social and foreign policy issues or to cut programs that Reeps support more than Dems do. He voted with the Dems on don’t-ask-don’t-tell.

  12. Rand’s a complete moron who goes off on weird tangents all the time. Flake seems a lot sharper and he seems like less of a jerk, too. I obviously want a Dem to win, but I agree with others who think he’d be an upgrade over Kyl.  

  13. Democrat ended up being tested. The point is, it seems like people are already giving up when there isn’t, far as I can tell, a single poll that tests him against any Democrat. Hell, as others have pointed out, it doesn’t look like there’s any polling for a primary.

    I love this site probably more than any other I can think of. I love the commentators here, even if I end up feeling ill-informed and stupid after reading them. But the defeatist attitude is simply astonishing. Can’t we at least wait until the Democratic primary is over to concede?  

  14. and mcconnell are repulsive for that reason. people like coburn, rand paul, flake, those guys aren’t hacks. they vote their (conservative) consciences

  15. “I love the commentators here, even if I end up feeling ill-informed and stupid after reading them”–could come across as if I were insulting people here. That was absolutely not my intention. In fact, I meant the opposite.  

  16. I think that was the motivation I needed to make sure that I go work out after work.

    But all the sand-pounding in the comments about Flake supporting the radical “brown-people-and-sodomites” agenda is the motivation I need not to give up on this race just because he’s in it.

  17. If Flake gets a challenge, I’d think it’d be more from the anti-immigration establishment-types.

    But then again, the definitions are a bit mixed up in AZ.

  18. And by the way, who is giving up on this seat? I haven’t really picked up on a defeatist thread in any of the past commentaries about Arizona.

    This is a great pickup opportunity for Dems, added to Nevada, Massachusetts, and possibly Maine. (I still don’t belive Lugar is going to lose his primary, but if he does, that obviously becomes a pick up opportunity as well).

    (and in case people think I’m already drinking the Kos kool-aid, I still don’t see Texas as any sort of legitimate pick up opportunity, or even a seat Dems should bother to contest right now).  

  19. I think it is cruel to float Giffords as a Senate nominee, she is just starting a very long and grueling rehabilitation process and I pray she decides to stay in the House of Representatives and perhaps will run for re-election (which I assume would be a pro forma election, who would dare challenger her!), but to continually float her for statewide office feels like salt in the wound to me – let the woman put herself back together before burdening her with irrational ambitions on top of her existent struggles.

  20. These “tea party” nuts are nothing more than conservatives.  They’re the more emotional and demagoguic version of conservatives.  But they’re conservative on everything, they’re not libertarians.

    What throws off some people has been that the teabaggers’ emphasis in Obama’s first couple years has been on issues they coincidentally share with libertarians.  But teabaggers share the same cultural conservatism of the fundies; they all are anti-abortion, homophobic, and hostile to ethnic and religious minorities.  So being insufficiently supportive of cracking down on driving-while-brown is a problem with teabaggers.

  21. politicians like Rand Paul and Sharon Angle.  Both “Tea Partiers”, but clearly big differences among them on issues aside from cutting government spending.  Social issues, foreign policy, immigration, there is plenty that divides the tea party.  And for the most part, politicians like Sharon Angle are more representative of the Tea Party Republicans.

    On several things Jeff Flake is markedly out of the mainstream of his political party.

  22. Most pols in her condition would have been written off without discussion.

    That she is still talked about as a top choice for Team Blue for that seat is only flattering.

    And to assume her House reelection would be pro forma is itself foolish.  Either she can serve or she can’t, and if she can’t, she’s likely to hang it up.  If she can serve, then odds are someone will run on the Republican line.  She’ll win, and the Republican might end up a sacrificial lamb, but there will be a campaign.  Don’t be surprised if her near-term disability is actually used against her in a whisper, or even out-loud, campaign against her by the Rethugs.

    But if she can actually campaign for reelection, it’s not a stretch for her to seriously consider the Senate race.  She wanted it anyway before she was shot…without the shooting, it wouldn’t be a surprise if she, like Flake, were announcing this very week.

  23. Where President Obama announces at the SOTU ’11 that Giffords is ready to serve, and she stands, smiles, and waves to the crowd, and the nation.

    If Giffords is ready by then, that would be the most effective prelude to a Senate campaign.

    However, I recognize that speed of recovery is unlikely, except under near-miraculous circumstances.

  24. …surviving a gunshot wound to the head fired at point blank range you mean? I wouldn’t rule anything out. Though recognize it is still unlikely.

  25. that can be used to split libertarian and social conservative elements of the Tea Party faction.

    We’re starting to see the wedge in budget discussions, as well as the split on the so-called PATRIOT act renewal.

  26. As I see it, the tea party has two wings. The smaller “Paul” wing of college-libertarian types presumably likes Flake, but the larger “Palin” wing that’s motivated by cultural anxiety and angry nationalism hates him. That’s where his primary challenge came from in 2010, and that’s where it will come from in 2012.  

  27. They are different from the Bush school of neoconservatism, and in a way that is different from just being farther to the right. The differences that they have with the neoconservative wing of the Republican party, like on the PATRIOT act and on free trade (which they largely oppose) are generally the same kind of differences that the Constitution Party would have with the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party. It’s definitely a toned-down version of paleoconservatism, though, with much less focus on anti-interventionism save for the Paulite wing of the Tea Party (which constitutes a minority, IMO).

  28. I attended a talk a few weeks ago at UCLA that had a political science Ph.D. student who was studying the Tea Party, along with Michael Dukakis (he’s a UCLA professor every winter, yay!) and a real live barely-out-of-college Tea Partier who ran (and lost badly) for the California State Assembly last year.

    The Ph.D. student explained that there’s actually two strands of Tea Partiers, those traditional social conservatives we all know about, but also a libertarian Ron Paul wing that does NOT agree with the social conservatives on issues like gay marriage, drugs, and immigration.

    Dick Armey had given a speech to some Tea Partiers, and brought up immigration.  After the speech, he was pulled aside and actually lectured to by some Tea Partiers, who told him to NEVER bring up immigration ever again, because it could rip the Tea Party apart.  See, the libertarian “free market” wing also believes in the free movement of labor, and who cares if they have the proper papers or not?

    So… let’s bring it up.  Frequently.  :-)

  29. I don’t think any of you understand the physical toll of what happened to her. This is not some made for TV war movie, the damage a firarm does to the human body cannot be described.

    I hope and pray she will fully recover, and I also hope and pray she will return to work as soon as possible, but this is going to be a very long and very hard campaign, and she will get no free pass in seeking higher office.

    I am not attacking anyone here specifically, but I find the concept of her “saving” the senate majority abhorant, and to think that seeking higher office is going to provide the motivation she needs to recover? Dear God do you realize what you make her sound like? How about the love of her husband and family, THAT is what motivates someone to face the rehab process!

  30. is a return to routine. It helps re-establish connections within the brain.

    And part of Gabby’s routine is her work, and her ambition.

    But then again, I am not a medical professional. Are you? Would you deny that sense of hope to her? Who are you to judge what is appropriate to motivate her?

    If she says no to her aides, and to her previous ambitions for the Senate, then we’ll all respect that.

  31. Nobody, and I mean nobody, would be surprised if she’s not up for it–if she decides she’s not up for it based on how she’s progressing. But clearly, she was interested. She probably remains interested–why else would her staff be talking to the press about it?

    I’m sure lots of different things motivate her. Her family, yes, but why not her constituents and her country? And what’s wrong with those who share her values and her ideas to wanting to benefit from her actions? Like I said, nobody would say anything if she chose not to run. If she ends up being the candidate, it’s because she wants to be the candidate.

  32. In 2012 I think AZ is lost.  This is the perfect type of race for a self funder.  To me Maine and Nevada are the best shots we have.  I think AZ might be a waste this time.  And thank god someone else thinks Tx is lost to us right now.

  33. seat is already gone. I get that it’s probably not going to be easy, unless we get a perfect storm of Obama contesting the state and coming close if not winning outright, Giffords being the candidate, and the Republican imploding, but it still looks to be possible, at least right now.  

  34. But I’ve seen first hand what a bullet does to the human body, and I’ve seen what people have to go through to recover from that trauma. Even without the brain trauma she also suffered it is unrealistic to expect her to suddenly jump back into what would be a very difficult campaign for someone not dealing with one hundredth the pain, fatigue and emotional trauma she is facing.

    IF she makes a miraculous recover, something I like you am praying for, and somehow decides that seeking office again, either re-election or the Senate then that would be an amazing and wonderful thing, but for persons outside of her family or circle of friends & advisors to float her as a Senate candidate is vicious and cruel, no matter how good natured their intent may be.

    Leave her to her recovery, it’s going to be a tough enough road without people wispering that she somehow has to match their desires for electoral success instead of just putting her body and her life back together.

  35. Remember what David wrote both here and on DailyKos:

    It’s important to remember that to remain a member in good standing of the conservative movement, it isn’t enough just to vote a certain way.  You have to evidence a very particular tribal belonging – you need to hate the right people, be ignorant of the right facts, be fearful of the right bogeymen, and be arrogant about the whole enterprise.  If you somehow fail this tribal litmus test, it doesn’t matter how right-wing you are – that’s how, for example, a wildly conservative guy like former Rep. Chris Cannon could lose a primary to another wildly conservative maniac.

    That’s really the “wedge,” it’s about being sufficiently extreme and bombastic.  It’s not “social” vs. “libertarian,” or any other rational juxtaposition.

  36. have a legit shot at AZ if the resources are there and a strong candidate emerges.  TX on the other hand is a total waste of time.  

  37. Flake could lose the primary to a far-right candidate, in which case any plausible Dem would have a good shot.

    The Dems need to have at least one decent candidate ready to go in every Senate seat that doesn’t have a completely safe incumbent, especially given the Reeps’ recent tendency to serve up unelectable wingnuts. That includes Texas, where John Sharp or Bill White or Chet Edwards could probably beat a Sharron Angle type in a presidential year. Once the primaries are over, the party can then prioritize the most winnable races. But you need to be in position to take advantage of unforced errors.

    Perfect example from 2010: Delaware looked hopeless until a few weeks before the primary, but the Dems still had a serious candidate in Coons. He should be in a far better position to hold that seat than a random rich guy with no policy or political background.


  38. I’d really like a big pockets self-funder to jump in…where is our less crazy version of Linda Mcmahon.  This would be a good race for that.  

    I just think the resources could be better spent in ME, NV, MA and then all the places we’re on defense….

  39. …to float her name for Senate.

    There is nothing exploitative about floating her name for Senate.  Her name gets floated first and foremost because SHE WANTED to run for Senate.  

    No one is hoisting unwanted political ambition upon her.  It’s her own ambition.

    The question is simply whether she’ll recover in time to pursue it.  I agree with some others that it’s highly unlikely, that we’ll ultimately likely have a different nominee.  But the fact is other Dems are keeping silent specifically because Giffords has the right of first refusal.

  40. It it not up to you to decide that the attention being paid to her is “vicious and cruel”

    In fact, I believe it is helpful.

    If it is not, I’m certain she’ll tell us, either herself, or through her husband.

    If there were the slightest bit of harm coming from all of this attention, I’m certain Captain Kelly wouldn’t hesitate for a second to tell the world.

  41. I think David captured perfectly what distinguishes teabaggers from all other conservatives and Republicans.

    It’s not about ideology, it’s about temperament.

    Teabaggers themselves don’t agree with each other on all issues, so defining them according to issues or ideology is misplaced.

    Rather, they all are across-the-board conservatives with relatively minor differences (“minor” compared to their differences with swing voters, soft Dems, and partisan Dems) with each other.

  42. Kyl 50% Goddard 40% in the last poll of PPP.

    Brewer 54% Goddard 42% in the last election.

    This can give you a point about the level of Brewer only taking in to account a little improvement for the democrats since the election day.

  43. I think Sharron Angle would beat any Dem in texas in 2012 even if she still lived in Nevada while running.

    Comparing Delaware to Texas also leaves me with a multitude of counter-points…..

  44. Coons was a credible candidate and was ready to take advantage of the situation, a lesser candidate may have dropped the ball. It’s correct that Texas is hard to win, but we need to have a good candidate there just in case some surprise twist happens.

  45. I’m all for it.  the bang for the buck is 0 and there are SO SO many other more viable races available….

  46. I think we can compare Arizona, Texas, Kentucky and Alaska, but we can not compare these states with Delaware 2010. It is different. In these states, a extreme republican candidate can win. We have the recent example of Brewer in Arizona.

    I would compare the last senate races of Delaware, Colorado and Nevada with Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada for 2012. Here we must be ready with a strong candidate for take advantage.

  47. If not that, then what?

    If you did mean presidential races, I might agree with you. As optimistic as I am about the state, I realize it’s an uphill battle. But of course, I’ve always said that they should do it only if it’s clear it’s not going to be a bad year. And even when it looks like it’s going to be a decent to good year, they should make an initial investment and then continue only if it’s going well. At that point, he’ll have locked up states like Pennsylvania and Michigan and can shuffle money into the state fairly easily. He’ll also have the advantage of not fighting through a primary. If he’s even remotely as successful as he was with fund raising in 2008, that alone should free up a lot of money to contest the state.

    If you didn’t mean the presidential races, which ones were you referring to? I fully agree that Massachusetts and Nevada are better opportunities, and Arizona could be next in line. Maine and Indiana could also be interesting. But then what?  

  48. The fact that they haven’t squashed the rumors isn’t the same thing as condoning having her name thrown out at as candidate when everyone should be focused on hoping and praying she recovers.

  49. Giffords is an ambitious politician.  Maybe she still is, maybe no longer…we don’t know.  Maybe even she doesn’t know yet whether she wants to remain an ambitious politician.

    But I’ll tell you this:  if some months go by and we’re still not hearing anything about her running or not running for Senate, it almost certainly means she’s at least thinking about the race.  If she writes it off as impossible or undesirable, she’ll make sure her decision gets circulated appropriately as soon as possible.  At this moment I’d be surprised if she hasn’t been told Kyl is retiring.  And her own pre-shooting ambition for the seat obviously would immediately enter her mind in response to that news.  The question we can’t begin to answer is what goes through her mind after that?  But it’s fair to speculate the possibility that she still might be interested.

    If and when people close to her circulate that the political media and others need to back off on talking about her as a Senate candidate, that she doesn’t want to think about that at this time, then it’s appropriate to say we have to back off……but prospective AZ Dem candidates are waiting on her, so we’re going to need to know something in the coming months.

  50. Captain Kelly has already done nationally televised interviews.

    If that changes, I’m certain he can get the attention of the MSM whenever he feels it appropriate.

    If you’ve ever cared for a loved one with a serious injury, you’d understand that you’d do –anything– to protect that loved one.

    I repeat, if Captain Kelly believes that the attention is doing even the slightest bit of harm to Gabby, he’d speak up.

  51. One, there’s a very good chance Obama would have won the state in 2008 if McCain had not been the Republican candidate – Arizona has a lot in common with Nevada and Colorado, which Obama won pretty easily. Remember, Clinton actually won the state in 1996. Secondly, the Dem candidates, Giffords aside, are stronger in Arizona. You have people like Janet Napolitano (whom I know has lost some popularity, but is a solid campaigner), Phil Gordon and even Terry Goddard (who ran in the wrong year last year). Texas, the best Dem hope right now is John Sharp, who hasn’t held office in almost 10 years. Finally, a tea party candidate could easily win Texas, but not Arizona: J.D. Hayworth would be dead in the water if he ran.

    I fully expect Obama to compete in Arizona. If he competes in Texas, it will because he’s going for the landslide.

    I think if anything I might be more optimistic than you on Arizona – a little bit of a switch.


  52. on the same page regarding Arizona. It’s not exactly as easy a state for Democrats as Nevada or Colorado, but it’s certainly doable. In fact, I think it’s the one state besides Georgia that might get far more attention in 2012, at least first, than it did in 2008.  

  53. Supporting comprehensive immigration reform fails the test of “hating the right people,” among other things.

    It’s not that issues don’t matter.  It’s that there isn’t any clear and coherent ideology that defines teabaggers.  They’re not always consistent, you’ll see them support someone in one state guilty of the same apostasy that causes them to despise a candidate in another state, with no rhyme or reason.

    Some of that is that teabaggers really aren’t that organized in the first place.  They’re a loose-knit crowd, not an institution.  And as such, different things motivate different individuals within teabaggery, the unifying thread being an elevated anger and hatred of political opponents.

  54. “Why else would her staff be talking to the press about it?”

    It didn’t occur to me that her pre-shooting interest in the Kyl seat might have been leaked on purpose.  Yeah, it could very well be a trial balloon to see how people react to the idea.

    Or, it could just have been a casual mention in a conversation that a reporter grabbed and then ran with it.  It might not have been “leaked” with any “purpose” at all.

    But the fact that this now has been reported, and it’s been reported that Dem Senators openly are talking about her as a possible candidate, without Giffords’ people pushing back, certainly means at the least that Giffords and her people are not bothered by it.

  55. If Captain Kelly or say Gabby’s mom were to react badly to any of the attention, that would probably make it at least a lot more difficult for Ds in the race for that seat.

    That suggests to me that perhaps Patty Murray has pre-cleared the idea, perhaps floated by Kirsten Gillibrand during her latest Houston “sleepover” in Gabby’s hospital room.

  56.    Amazing how after several years in Congress Pete Hoekstra will be more remembered for that speech than for anything else he did in D.C….

  57. We simply can’t afford to contest all 30+ Senate races.

    I’d rather try to defend MT and MO since if we lose those they are probably going to be gone for a good long while with a diminishing bench in MO (and its trend red) and in MT our only bench is Schewitzer who can’t run until a seat opens up and who knows if he;d win then.

    I also think some of our lean Dem’s might not be as safe as we think.  I don’t think ti makes sense to spend a single dime in texas with a 1% chance of victory when every other state has a better chance of victory or at least a better bang for the buck.

  58. …for Senate seats to offset the swing of the Dakotas and Montana.  Step 1 help tea party in Maine, step 2 take down Scott Brown (if we have the right candidate who can and will fundraise), step 3 begin building the foundation for the comeback in New Hampshire.

  59. First of all, we won’t have to spend on all 30 races in the same way. We almost certainly won’t have to spend much of anything on the races in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Washington or Vermont. That takes us from 30 to 21. And unless there’s a lot of extra money to throw around, we probably won’t spend much of anything in Wyoming, Utah, or Mississippi. That brings us to 18. Unless we are facing a very bad climate, a retirement, or some sort of scandal, we won’t have to spend anything unusual in Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, and possibly New Jersey, New Mexico, and Michigan, too. We’ll split the difference here and bring the number down to 16.

    At this point, we’ll start looking at things in the other way: races where we have to spend. We will absolutely be contesting the seats, almost no matter what happens, in Virginia, Montana, Missouri, Ohio Florida, Massachusetts, and Nevada. So that is seven states where money will absolutely need to be spent. At this point, I’d also include Nebraska in the mix, since he’s an incumbent and won’t be cut off at first, and probably North Dakota too, since we currently hold the seat. That brings us to nine.

    I could go either way in West Virginia, depending on who the candidate is. But to be realistic, let’s include it. That brings us to ten.

    At this point,  we are left with the seats in Indiana, Maine, Arizona, and Tennessee. That last one is probably not going to see serious investment. I could see why it would and wish it were the case, but I’ll say it won’t for now. I would think Arizona would, at least at first, and if Snowe isn’t the nominee, we’ll certainly make a serious run for the seat. That brings us to 12. I could go either way on Indiana, but I’ll say that Lugar survives a primary and we won’t put up anything serious as opposition. That brings the other number to 17.

    Except we missed one: Texas. We could go back and forth on this, but if we include it in the seats we are seriously contesting, that brings the number to 13.

    That seems a lot more manageable, doesn’t it?

    Now, just so we are clear, I realize that some money will need to be spend on candidates in every race. It’s just not going to be a lot in the races that should be easy for us, like those in California or Rhode Island, or the ones that are real longshots, like the ones in Mississippi or Wyoming. Plus, and I think this is a very understated notion here, we will have the natural benefits of a presidential year plus the added support of the spending from the Obama campaign. That obviously can’t entirely replace the candidate doing his own work and spending his own money in a state like Virginia or Ohio, but it’s going to make the need for money slightly less desperate on both sides, particularly if Obama decides to expand the map into a state like South Carolina, Georgia, or yes, Texas. Maybe all that does is free up a few million dollars that would otherwise go to Brown, both Nelsons, and Tester, but that’s money that could begin to make an impact, especially if, again, such spending is complemented by presidential campaign spending.

    We could argue back and forth for a long time about demographic trends and voter turnout and mobilization, but suffice it to say that we only have one place to go but up in a state like Texas. This doesn’t mean we will secure a win, but it’s not as if we are fighting as tough a battle as we would in a state like Alabama or Idaho. It would be tough, but not impossible, at least at this point in time. If nothing else, the biggest obstacle, the long time, pretty popular incumbent, Kay Baily Hutchinson, just went away. And while I’d almost certainly say it’s a better idea to spend money on an open seat in Indiana due to Lugar losing a primary or in Wisconsin due to Kohl retiring than it would be to spend money on an open seat in Texas, our choices are rather limited. We simply don’t have many great pick up opportunities, but this could be one of them–maybe not exactly great, but workable.

    By the way, since our biggest concern is supposedly money, perhaps acting like we aren’t taking many, if any, seats as guaranteed losses would awaken our donors, both in Texas and nationally. If we act like are going to take the races seriously, it might not be as hard to ask people to pony up some serious cash.  

  60. Schweitzer being the only bench in Montana. We hold just about every state-wide office and have lots of young, aspiring charismatic state legislators. Otherwise, agreed.

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