Looking at the Wisconsin 8

There are 8 Republican state senators that can be recalled right now and there are recall petitions being circulated against each of them. WI Dem party chairman Mike Tate said yesterday that he believed 6-8 was a possibility, but its his job to be optimistic like that.

Using the data provided by this great site I’ll try to take a look at it from a slightly more objective POV and look at each individual state senator and the likelihood they’ll be recalled. Remember the magic number is three as that’s what it would take for Dems to take control.

Robert Cowles-A district that went big for Bush in 04 but Obama won with a decent margin in 08. In a relatively low turnout special election where the energy is on our side this is a race that is eminantly winnable. The one thing I’d add is that Cowles has been around forever, since 1987, so he may ahve a lot of built up goodwill.

Alberta Darling-This is going to be one of the top races. She won a very narrow race in 08 and I read an AP article yesterday with a quote from Darling where she pretty much acknowledges that she’s going to have a tough race. The one thing going for her is that she’s been in office since 92 but as her race in 08 showed a lot of voters were willing to throw her out.

Sheila Harsdorf-Another solid chance at a pickup. She comes from, pretty much, a 50-50 district and in a special election where the energy is on our side she can’t like her chances.

Luther Olsen-Everything written about Cowles could be reiterated here, outside of the fact that Olsen has only been around since 2004. One thing to add about him and Cowles is that I’m not intimately aware of each of there districts but both ran unopposed in 08 so they may be stronger than some think even if the terrain looks solid.

Randy Hopper-Hopper is arguably at the top of the list. He’s a first termer that comes from a district Obama won, albeit narrowly, and he won his race by just over 100 votes. He comes from a pretty GOP-friendly district, although certainly not overwhlemingly, but he’s not a particularly strong incumbent and in this environment he’s gotta be considered an underdog to retain his seat. There’s also the SUSA poll that shows by a 54-43 spread his constituents want him gone.

Glenn Grothman-Most conservative district in the state. I’d be shocked if there’s anything to see here.

Mary Lazich-Her district is only slightly less conservative than Grothman’s, as both are 60% or more McCain districts. Again shocked if there’s anything to see here.

Dan Kapanke-I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I think he’s toast. He has the most democratic district held by a Republican. Kerry won the dsitrict by a solid 53-46 margin and Obama won the district 61-38. And while he certainly deserves credit for winning in 08, SUSA also has numbers showing that his constituents want him out by a 57-41 margin.

While I mentioned Tate’s outlook was optimistic looking at it, its only slightly so. Grothman and Lazich are probably safe, but I think the other 6 have to know there in for a battle.

If I were to rank the 8 in terms of likelihood of getting recalled: 1. Kapanke, 2. Hopper, 3. Darling, 4. Harsdorf, 5. Olsen, 6. Cowles, 7. Lazich, 8. Grothman.

Kapanke and Hopper look like they’re in big trouble. I like our chances against Darling and Harsdorf and if public opinions remains strongly on our side we’ve got a real shot at knocking off Olsen and Cowles.

MA-SEN: Paul Kirk gets appointment

This seemed to be where the momentum was heading, but its official today that Paul Kirk will be getting the interim appointment.


From my perspective, this has some pluses and minuses. The obvious minus is that he was a pharmaceutical lobbyist which IMO won’t effect his voting record but its some minor bad PR. The pluses are that he’s got the backing of the Kennedy family which should kill any backlash because he’s picking an insider with minimal name id. The other benefit and this is the biggest one IMO is that he’s a Kennedy insider and most Kennedy staffers will be willing to stay on for him for the next 3.5 months which may not have been the case with Dukakis.

CT-SEN: Rob Simmons gets a VERY wealthy primary opponent

Pull out all your bad wrestling puns because it looks like WWE’s Linda McMahon will be running for Senate.


McMahon has contributed primarily to Repubs but has contributed to Dems, which will be used against her.

I don’t think anyone thinks she’s actually going to win the primary or the general. But what she has is an essentially endless supply of money. Vince McMahon has called himself a billionaire in the past, and he’s probably overstating that by a fairly significant amount. Either way 5-10 mill. is probably chump change for these guys.

MA-SEN: Joe Kennedy decides not to run

Former Rep. Joe Kennedy, son of RFK and nephew of Teddy, has decides not to run for his uncle’s senate seat.


After Senator Kennedy passed away and even before that when I think we knew he only had so much time left, Joe’s name has been mentioned a lot in connection with this seat. For many he seemed the logical heir apparent to this seat and some MA pols, most notably Marty Meehan, said they wouldn’t run against Kennedy.

Now, presumably, the floodgates open. Rep. Lynch and AG Coakley are already in the race. Reps. Tierney and Capuano seem like the best candidates among the House Reps.

VT Gov: Douglas not running for re-election

According to multiple sources, VT Gov. Jim Douglas won’t be running for re-election.


I don’t think a whole lot of people saw this coming, as I haven’t seen anyone speculate on this possibility. Not being from Vermont, I don’t know who could be his replacement. Hopefully some natives can enlighten me and others about who the potential candidates could be.

UT-Gov: Huntsman to be named Ambassador to China

According to the Associated Press Utah Governor Jon Huntsman will be named Ambassador to China.


This means that Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will take over as Governor. Utah will have a special election for the race in 2010. But, assuming Herbert runs and our extreme dearth of quaality candidates in the states, I don’t think we’d have a great shot.

I know this may not be the right place, and even if it was its really early, but I can’t help but think of the effect this is going to have on the 2012 Presidential race. Huntsman has been a popular name among political junkies as a guy to run in 2012 and I think a lot of people saw his coming out in support of civil unions as a first step to a Presidential run. But this really squashes a lot of that as I don’t think a guy can win a Republican Presidential primary when his last job was as an Amassador in the Obama administration.

Breaking: Rod Blagojevich to name Roland Burris to Senate

Despite basically everyone’s warnings that his choice wouldn’t be seated by the Senate, Rod Blagojevich is forcing national dems into a game of chicken by appointing Roland Burris.


Some background on Burris, he was a former 3-term State Comptroller from 1979-91, which was followed by a term as Illinois AG from 91-95. He was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Illinois. But he’s also had a lot of difficulty winning Democratic primaries as he’s lost the 84 senate primary to Paul Simon and the 95 Mayoral primary and the 94, 98, and 02 Gov. primaries.

Despite his less than stellar electoral record, and the fact that he’ll be 73 on election day 2010 I’m not sure Burris will be be so compliant in being a placeholder. He’s made comments about Blago’s choice needing to be able to win a full term.

NY-SEN: Caroline Kennedy to seek Senate seat

Up until this point this story has involved a lot of speculation and not a whole lot of real facts.

It now appears that she is indeed interested in the Senate seat and is taking all of the steps that someone who was seeking a seat like this would take, including reaching out to political figures in New York.


Like I’ve said before, with her now seeking the seat, I think its going to be difficult for Gov. Patterson to appoint someone like Suozzi or Gillibrand, people whose name ID outside of their constituencies is virtually nil.

CO-SEN: Salazar is in decent, but not great shape

Research 2000 did a poll for Kos looking at some possible match-ups in the 2010 Senate race


It showed Salazar leading outgoing Congressman Tom Tancredo 51-37 and former NFL great John Elway 49-38.

The poll also showed some pretty mediocre approval ratings for Salazar at 48-41.

I didn’t need a poll to tell me that Tom Tancredo is not electable statewide in a state Barack Obama carried.

I have no idea why they measured Tancredo instead of former Gov. Bill Owens. As I’ve read numerous 2010 previews that say Owens is the GOP’s only real shot at this seat.

I think what we can ascertain from this poll is that Salazar is not safe. But without some external factors and a top flight recruit he should be okay.

IL-SEN: Emil Jones chosen to replace Obama

According to Fox News IL State Senate President Emil Jones will be chosen to fill the next 2 years of Obama’s term.


This is kind of the safe choice. Jones is Obama’s political mentor, he’s African-American and he’s 73 years old.

He probably won’t run for re-election and I’m guessing we’ll see a crowded primary.