MS-Sen: Cochran Considering Retirement?

The Hill reports rumors that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) is mulling retirement. Cochran says he won't announce his intentions until after Mississippi's statewide elections next Tuesday, but his comments certainly make retirement sound like a possibility:

When asked Tuesday if he would definitely run for reelection, Cochran told The Hill, “No, I didn’t say that. I’m preparing to run for reelection, but I haven’t made an official announcement.”

Cochran, who turns 70 in December, has laid some of the groundwork for a sixth term in office, stashing nearly $1.1 million in his campaign war chest. However, that is far less than the average of $3.1 million of cash-on-hand for Republican candidates at this point of the election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Cochran raised only $44,000 in the third quarter.

But two sources in Washington, who are close to Cochran and declined to be named, say the senator may be leaning towards retirement because he has grown weary of the ongoing partisan battles on Capitol Hill.

I read that last part to mean Cochran isn't particularly enjoying the diminished power and influence that comes with life in the minority. After all, I don't remember him complaining when Republicans were on the winning side of such partisan battles.

While an open Senate seat in Mississippi might seem like an uphill challenge for a Democrat, candidates like former AG Mike Moore or former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove could certainly even things out. And at the very least, Mississippi isn't the type of state the NRSC wants to be playing defense considering their precarious situation nationwide. 

TX-10: Grant Calls on Opponent to Put Texas Taxpayers First, Clear Channel Last

The Federal Communications Commission is moving ahead with plans to help big media get bigger.  A rally happening right now in front of FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C., is designed to slow the rush toward even more consolidation.

My opponent should break his silence on this important issue and explain whether he is working for the Texas taxpayers who own the public airwaves or Clear Channel, his family’s mega-media company.

Call McCaul at 202-225-2401 and remind him who owns the public airwaves.

NM-Sen: Is Richardson Angling to Run?

Last week, New Mexico reporter/blogger Heath Haussamen had the inside word that allies of Richardson were discouraging potential donors from cutting checks for the Senate candidacy of Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez:

Some of Gov. Bill Richardson's closest supporters have quietly told a handful of his biggest financial backers considering who they should support in the U.S. Senate race to “keep your powder dry for awhile.” […]

Though no Democrat would speak for the record about the governor's words, sources are speculating on three scenarios:

  • Richardson, though he has repeatedly insisted publicly that he isn't going to run for Senate even if he loses the presidential race, may be quietly leaving the door open.
  • Richardson doesn't want his supporters giving their money or time to a Senate candidate at this crucial stage in the presidential election, when he needs their help.
  • Richardson doesn't want them backing Chávez, the only top-tier Democrat in the Senate race, at a time when Denish is considering the race and Washington insiders and grassroots supporters in New Mexico are trying to get U.S. Rep. Tom Udall to enter the race.
  • It's no secret that local and national Democrats would prefer an alternative to Chavez — and everything that I've been hearing indicates that strong alternatives are giving the race a hard look.  I had assumed that Richardson's advice that donors should “keep their powder dry” was meant to give Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Rep. Tom Udall some more time to consider (and reconsider) the race.  But could Richardson actually be angling to get into the race himself?  Mark Murray over at First Read has the scoop:

    By the way, NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli — who's covering Richardson filing his paperwork today for the New Hampshire primary — reports that Richardson said he would not accept matching funds “because it's unilateral disarmament.” It's worth noting that not accepting matching funds makes it MUCH easier to transfer one's presidential money into a Senate account. Just some food for thought…

    Richardson's presidential campaign coffers haven't exactly been on par with Hillary's or Obama's.  (He raised $7 million in the third quarter and had less than that on-hand at the start of the month.)  It seems that the extra boost provided by matching funds would be a pretty crucial component of a come-from-behind victory for Richardson's team.  And while the move not to accept funds makes perfectly good strategic sense for someone aiming to succeed in the general election, it must be noted that Richardson faces far longer odds of making it there than even John Edwards has today.  Could something else be at work here?

    If Richardson were to run, the polls suggest it would be a slam dunk for Democrats.  Should we hold out hope that Richardson might decide to pursue a Senate bid after his Presidential campaign flames out?  Or are we going to end up looking like the poor souls who are still hoping for Al Gore to enter the Presidential race and save all of humanity?

    Update (Trent, 10/31):

    Chuck Todd, appearing on Tucker last night prior to the debate, offered some predictions about Bill Richardson:

    Richardson, though, I think you're going to see Richardson really stop being an aggressive candidate.  I think he has got his one eye on that Senate race.  he probably at some point is going to end up running for the U.S. Senate, probably is going to want Bill Clinton raising money for him in New Mexico.  So Richardson is the guy I'm wondering, will he end up being a helpful surrogate on the stage for Clinton if people stop—start beating up on her too much, where you suddenly see Richardson saying, hey, hey, this isn't what this is all about, and he starts trying to be the nice guy and end up helping Clinton.

    Todd sounds particularly prescient considering that many viewed Richardson's debate performance as being particularly protective of Clinton.

    OH-14: LaTourette (R) Gets Blogger Fired From Newspaper-Sponsored Group Blog

    Today I was terminated from my engagement as a freelance blogger at the blog “Wide Open” as a direct result of intervention of Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) of the 14th Ohio Congressional District, in retaliation for my previous blogging about his re-election campaign and my financial support for two of his election opponents.

    In August, the Cleveland Plain Dealer hired four Ohio political bloggers to contribute to a daily political group blog called “Wide Open“. In order to assure balance, two bloggers with liberal leanings were chosen, and two with conservative leanings. The other participants are Jill Miller Zimon of Writes Like She Talks, Tom Blumer of BizzyBlog, and Dave of Nixguy.

    My participation in the project soon came to the attention of Rep. LaTourette. More after the flip.

    I had written extensively about LaTourette’s 2006 re-election contest and I explicitly supported his challenger, law professor Lew Katz (D-Pepper Pike). I also wrote about what I regard as the suspicious connection between large amounts of campaign cash LaTourette received from the Ratner family of Cleveland, of the Forest City real estate empire, and their receiving an enormous contract to develop 44 acres of the Southeast Federal Center in Washington DC. LaTourette was a member of the powerful Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and Chair of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, which oversees the agency that awarded the contract (the General Services Administration). (That writing is here and was picked up here.) My wife and I also contributed a modest amount to the Katz campaign.

    I was told by Cleveland Plain Dealer Online Editor Jean DuBail that Rep. LaTourette complained about my involvement in “Wide Open” to Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Page Editor Brent Larkin. I was also informed that LaTourette brought the matter of my participation up during an interview with Cleveland Plain Dealer political reporter Sabrina Eaton, when she talked to LaTourette about the retirement of Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield). LaTourette mentioned that I had contributed the sum of $100 to the campaign of LaTourette’s current opponent, Bill O’Neill (D-South Russell). Eaton suggested that he raise his concerns with more senior people at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. As a result of the conversation, Eaton reported my contribution in her story about third quarter campaign fund-raising by various Ohio Congressional candidates.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Online Editor Jean DuBail raised the matter of LaTourette’s displeasure with my participation in “Wide Open” in discussion with the four bloggeres on at least two occasions. We discussed the possibility of my making a disclosure of my support for LaTourette’s opponents whenever I wrote anything about LaTourette.

    Today Dubail called me and asked if I would agree to never write about LaTourette on “Wide Open,” as a condition of my continued participation. He said that the arrangement was sought by Susan Goldberg, Editor of the Plain Dealer. When I declined to agree that I would never write about LaTourette on “Wide Open,” I was terminated by DuBail.

    As a political blogger, I am a partisan. My political orientation as a progressive Democrat is an integral part of what I do and is completely transparent to my readers. This is a crucial component of being a political blogger/activist, and sets us apart from journalists in the classic sense. It was understood among the four participants in “Wide Open” that we are political partisans and that we would engage in political debate from our respective political points of view.

    I am extremely disappointed that the Cleveland Plain Dealer bowed to pressure from an elected official, to the extent of attempting to limit what a freelance political blogger could write on a hosted group blog and of terminating the services of the blogger to please the offical. To me, this sad episode strikes a heavy blow at freedom of expression and the purported journalistic independence of a once proud newspaper.

    Of course, I am appalled at this petty exercise of political power by Rep. LaTourette to retaliate agianst even so insignificant an enemy as me. I do not believe that a Congressman who stoops to the level of manipulating a newspaper to strike back at a critic deserves to remain in office. Fortunately, LaTourette has a strong opponent in 2008 challenger Bill O’Neill.

    NC-Sen: Kay Hagan Makes it Official

    As you might remember reading last week “on some political gossip Web site,” it was reported that State Senator Kay Hagan (D-Greensboro) was reconsidering a challenge to Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). Today, Hagan announced she's officialy in the race and came out of the gate swinging:

    “To make a difference in North Carolina, we need change in Washington,” Hagan said. “We need a Senator to make our voice heard. We need a Senator who will stand up, lead and make a difference. That's what I've done, and it's what I'm going to keep doing in Washington.”

    “We need accountability to end the war in Iraq so we can re-invest those resources here at home. How can Washington reject health care for 123,000 North Carolina children, while continuing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on this mismanaged war?” Hagan said. “Making those kinds of decisions is hard, but I know it can be done – because those are the kinds of fights I've led in the State Senate.”

    Hagan joins businessman Jim Neal in the Democratic primary.

    State by State – finding House candidates

    With confirmed Democratic candidates in (351) house districts, it’s again time to see how we are going state by state.

    Below the fold to see the good news as well as some potential concerns.

    And go take a look at the fantastic 2008 Race Tracker Wiki.

    Alabama – 5/7 filled
    The 2nd and 6th both need candidates. The 6th is one of ten districts we did not contest in 2006 and it wasn’t contested in 2004 either. There are rumoured candidates in the 2nd but ominous silence from the 6th.
    AL-02 – R+13,
    AL-06 – R+25,

    Alaska – FULL SLATE

    Arizona – FULL SLATE

    Arkansas – FULL SLATE

    California – 47/53 filled
    Well 6 races is a few to find candidates for but this is California and all of the currently uncontested districts had candidates in 2006.

    The districts are all over the state and I guess at this stage we should watch this space.
    CA-02 – R+13,
    CA-19 – R+10,
    CA-22 – R+16,
    CA-25 – R+7,
    CA-46 – R+6,
    CA-49 – R+10,

    Colorado – 5/7 filled
    The 5th and 6th both need candidates with both 2006 candidates unlikely to run again. Despite the focus on the open senate race I expect the Colorado Dems to find candidates for both these districts so as to boost turnout for the senate race.
    CO-05 – R+15.7,
    CO-06 – R+10,

    Connecticut – FULL SLATE

    Delaware – FULL SLATE

    Florida – 19/25 filled
    6 Races to fill. It is a little early to be too concerned, particularly given the attention being paid to the 13th. None the less it would be good to see a few of these fill soon.
    FL-04 – R+16,
    FL-06 – R+8,
    FL-07 – R+3,
    FL-18 – R+4,
    FL-21 – R+6,
    FL-25 – R+4,

    Georgia – 9/13 filled
    Travelling OK in Georgia vis a vis house candidates. 4 more to fill, all with rumoured candidates.
    GA-03 – R+?,
    GA-06 – R+?,
    GA-07 – R+?,
    GA-11 – R+?,

    Hawaii – FULL SLATE

    Idaho – 1/2 filled
    Well Idaho 2 is unlikely to be even remotely competitive unless it becomes an open race, which is unlikely also.
    Sure we will find a candidate here in the time remaining.
    68% Bush district in 2004.
    ID-02 – R+19,

    Illinois – 18/19 filled
    Only one race to fill well done Illinois Dems
    IL-15 – R+6,

    Indiana – 8/9 filled
    Only the 5th left to fill and certainly a candidate will step up.
    IN-05 – R+20,

    Iowa – FULL SLATE

    Kansas – 3/4 filled
    Early days yet and we only need to fill one race. Wait and see.
    KS-01 – R+20,

    Kentucky – 2/6 filled
    With a competitive gubernatorial race coming in November it is no great surprise that 3/4 of the GOP incumbents do not have declared opponents. Wait until after November.
    KY-01 – R+10,
    KY-02 – R+12.9,
    KY-05 – R+8,

    Louisiana – 3/7 filled
    See Kentucky – however the precarious state of the Louisiana Democrats does not bode well. Also the 6th is one of the uncontested 10 districts from 2006.
    LA-04 – R+7,
    LA-05 – R+10,
    LA-06 – R+7,
    LA-07 – R+7,

    Maine – FULL SLATE

    Maryland – FULL SLATE

    Massachusetts – FULL SLATE

    Michigan – 10/15 filled
    A couple of recent candidate declarations make Michigan less of a concern but it would be nice to see some more candidates in this state.
    MI-03 – R+9,
    MI-04 – R+3,
    MI-06 – R+2.3,
    MI-08 – R+1.9,
    MI-10 – R+4,

    Minnesota – FULL SLATE

    Mississippi – 2/4 filled
    Only 2 districts to fill which I assume democrats will turn their minds to filling after this years elections. Note that the Open 3rd was not contested by us in 2006 or 2004.
    MS-01 – R+10,
    MS-03 – R+14,

    Missouri – 6/9 filled
    2 GOP districts filled and 3 to go. With the focus on the gubernatorial contest in 08 expect the Missouri Dems to find candidates for all 3 districts.
    MO-02 – R+9,
    MO-07 – R+14,
    MO-08 – R+11,

    Montana – FULL SLATE

    Nebraska – 0/3 filled
    all 3 districts to fill with Kleeb likely to run again in the 3rd and Esch likely to run again in the 2nd. No problems here at this stage.
    NE-01 – R+11,
    NE-02 – R+9,
    NE-03 – R+23.6,

    Nevada – 2/3 filled
    Only 1 district to fill should happen soon hopefully.
    NV-02 – R+8.2,

    New Hampshire – FULL SLATE

    New Jersey – 12/13
    We are doing surprisingly well in New Jersey this cycle. Months to go and state legislative elections in november and we still have filled 5/6 of the GOP districts with challengers. The other will no doubt fill after November (Van Drew is my bet).
    NJ-02 – D+4.0,

    New Mexico – FULL SLATE

    New York – 28/29 filled
    Only 1 more to fill here. Expect an announcement soon.
    NY-03 – D+2.1,

    North Carolina – FULL SLATE

    North Dakota – FULL SLATE

    Ohio – 14/18 filled
    4 Races to fill, not bad considering, be nice to fill these quickly.
    OH-03 – R+3,
    OH-04 – R+14,
    OH-08 – R+12,
    OH-12 – R+0.7,

    Oklahoma – 2/5 filled
    Only one of the GOP incumbents opposed at this stage not a good sign at all. Oklahoma being as red as it is this is one to be concerned about IMHO.
    OK-01 – R+13,
    OK-03 – R+18,
    OK-04 – R+13,

    Oregon – 4/5 filled
    The only question is who will step up in the 2nd a 61% bush 2004 district, particularly if the rumours about Waldens retirement are true.
    OR-02 – R+11,

    Pennsylvania – 16/19 filled
    3 races to fill here; 1 with rumoured candidates. The PA Dems will fill these 3 races easily.
    PA-05 – R+10,
    PA-06 – D+2.2,
    PA-19 – R+12,

    Rhode Island – FULL SLATE

    South Carolina – 2/6 filled
    None of the GOP incumbents have declared opponents – this is a worry. The state of the SC Dems is probably worse than everywhere else bar Georgia and Louisiana. Hopefully candidates will step up.
    SC-01 – R+10,
    SC-02 – R+9,
    SC-03 – R+14,
    SC-04 – R+15,

    South Dakota – FULL SLATE

    Tennessee – 5/9 filled
    Another southern state with all GOP incumbents currently unopposed. *sigh* This one too could be a problem. Watch this space.
    TN-01 – R+14,
    TN-02 – R+11,
    TN-03 – R+8,
    TN-07 – R+12,

    Texas – 20/32 filled
    Well 12 unfilled races says it all. Texas is a perennial concern for house wonks such as myself, largely because it sends more house repubs to congress than any other state (19). Texas also has a very early filing deadline so this is one to be watched. TX-11 was uncontested in 2006. Expect to hear more about this state later in the year.
    TX-01 – R+17,
    TX-02 – R+12,
    TX-03 – R+17,
    TX-05 – R+16,
    TX-06 – R+15,
    TX-07 – R+16,
    TX-11 – R+25,
    TX-12 – R+14,
    TX-14 – R+14,
    TX-19 – R+25,
    TX-21 – R+13,
    TX-24 – R+15,

    Utah – 1/3 filled
    Well it comes as no shock that we have unfilled races in Utah however there are only two GOP incumbents without declared opponenets so we will wait and see.
    UT-01 – R+26,
    UT-03 – R+22,

    Vermont – FULL SLATE

    Virginia – 6/11 filled
    Virginia is a little slow out of the blocks. Of concern is the 4th which we did not contest in 2006 or 2004. To be fair however there is both state house and senate elections this november as well as the potential open senate race. Wait and see at this point. On the upside the 6th will be contested for the first time since 2002.
    VA-02 – R+5.9,
    VA-04 – R+5,
    VA-07 – R+11,

    Washington – 8/9 filled
    Only the 5th left to fill and that should happen.
    57% Bush 2004 district.
    WA-05 – R+7.1,

    West Virginia – FULL SLATE

    Wisconsin – FULL SLATE

    Wyoming – FULL SLATE

    So in the main things are looking great on the house candidate front. However a number of states are of concern; Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas in particular. On the upside however 22 states have a full slate and 9 with only 1 race to fill.

    Onwards to 435!

    OH-01: Bush Repays the Favor

    Days after Republican glove-smeller Steve Chabot of Ohio again voted against expanding health care for needy kids, President Bush is making sure that no bad deed goes unrewarded with a generous fundraising visit:

    U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot is welcoming the president today to the Hyde Park home of Cincinnati Reds owner Bob Castellini for a dinner-time fund-raiser for the seven-term congressman.

    Just how much money Chabot expects to raise is unclear. Chabot said Sunday that he “really doesn’t know.”

    “It certainly will be helpful to the campaign,” he said. “How helpful remains to be seen.”

    Tickets for the event, which has been in the planning stages for “a few months,” Chabot said, start at $1,500 per person. Those who want a personal meeting with the president pay $10,000 a couple, which “a small number of people” will do. Any amount raised over the legal limit of $2,300 per person will be given to the National Republican Congressional Campaign, Chabot said.

    “I’m very pleased to have (the president) coming. It will be very helpful to the campaign,” he said. “It’s also always good for the community to have the high visibility of a president coming.”

    The OHDP is on message:

    Chabot faces state Rep. Steve Driehaus, a Democrat from Price Hill. The fundraiser comes a little more than a week after Chabot voted to uphold the president’s veto of the children’s health insurance program.

    It’s a detail that didn’t escape the attention of the Ohio Democratic Party.

    “Apparently, loyalty to Bush beats loyalty to children and Chabot is getting his payoff for dutifully playing Bush’s puppet,” Chairman Chris Redfern said.

    In fact, Driehaus has a rally scheduled for this afternoon to highlight Bush’s ties to Chabot – and, with a backdrop of children, highlight Chabot’s vote on the children’s health insurance program.

    More from Driehaus here.  With votes this bad, Chabot is going to need every penny in order to pre-emptively nuke his competition.

    The Enquirer also picks up another fun nugget: while the fundraiser was actually held in the district of perennially embattled Rep. Jean “Globetrotter” Schmidt, she wasn’t invited to the event!  Ouch!

    TX-Sen: Rick Noriega Added to Expand the Map!

    Readers of Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races may notice in the upper left hand corner of the website that we have a new addition to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page: State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega. Representative/Lt. Col. Noriega has ignited the grassroots and netroots and achieved broad support among the establishment. Noriega is a terrific candidate and understands the meaning of words like “duty” and “service.” Further, incumbent Republican and Bush rubber stamp John Cornyn is extremely vulnerable. To recognize State Representative and Lieutenant Colonel Rick Noriega’s addition to the Expand the Map! ActBlue page, I would love to see readers of the Guru’s blog put up a half dozen contributions to Noriega today. Just six contributions – you can do it! Whether you can contribute $100 or $10, please contribute if you can! Many thanks!