SSP Daily Digest: 11/20

CA-Sen: Rasmussen piggybacked another California Senate poll on their gubernatorial poll from yesterday. Despite finding some gains for Meg Whitman yesterday, they don’t see any improvement for Carly Fiorina or Chuck DeVore. Barbara Boxer leads Fiorina 46-37 (it was 49-39 in September) and DeVore 46-36 (previously 46-37).

DE-Sen: Mike Castle’s fundraising was weak earlier this year (in fact, that was why most people figured he wasn’t going to run for Senate), but now Republican Senators are moving to quickly fill up his coffers. Four Senators gave large contributions, the largest being $10,000 from Thad Cochran. Castle had $853K in his last report.

NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: The shortest possible explanation in New York is that nobody still has the faintest clue what Rudy Giuliani is up to. Food for thought, though, comes from the new Marist poll (pdf). They find Giuliani beating Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand 54-40. They also found Giuliani with the upper hand in a potential (if extremely unlikely) primary against ex-Gov. George Pataki; Giuliani demolishes him, 71-24. (For some reason, Marist didn’t poll Gillibrand/Pataki, but Rasmussen just did, finding Gillibrand beating Pataki 45-42. Rasmussen didn’t poll Gillibrand/Giuliani, though.)

Marist (pdf) also has gubernatorial numbers, which don’t offer any surprises beyond the sheerly absurd dimensions of David Paterson’s unpopularity. Paterson has a 20/76 approval, and a 30/63 verdict on whether people want him to run for re-election. Paterson loses the primary to Andrew Cuomo, 72-21, although he ties Rick Lazio in the general, 44-44. Cuomo makes short work of Lazio, 69-24. They also have Giuliani numbers (which are looking obsolete now): Rudy annihilates Lazio in the primary, 84-13, and beats Paterson 60-35, but loses to Cuomo, 53-43.

CA-Gov: Republican Ex-Rep. Tom Campbell announces that he’s passed the $1 million cumulative mark in fundraising for the gubernatorial race, which indicates he’s at least getting some traction as people notice he’s polling well. In most states, that would be pretty impressive. In California, where you have to reach more than 30 million sets of eyeballs and where $1 million is Meg Whitman’s budget just for ivory backscratchers, though, it’s kind of a drop in the bucket.

OR-Gov: As quickly as he appeared, he went away; former Hewlett-Packard VP Steve Shields pulled the plug on his brief Democratic gubernatorial campaign, not having had much luck on the fundraising front. Meanwhile, SoS Bill Bradbury got a big boost in his uphill climb against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber. Bradbury’s environmentalist bona fides earned him an endorsement from Al Gore. (Also a likely factor: a long-running behind-the-scenes feud between Kitz and Gore.)

TX-Gov: Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are both out with TV ads as they enter the stretch run toward their March gubernatorial primary. Perry attacks Washington (and by extension, KBH, who works there), while KBH is more intent on explaining that she’s keeping her Senate job to fight against Democratic health care proposals.

CO-07: Going from being a music promoter to a Representative is a strange career leap, but that’s what Jimmy Lakey is fixing to do. The Colorado Republican has opened an exploratory committee to go up against Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter, although he’ll need to get past Aurora city councilor Ryan Frazier (who dropped down from the Senate race) first.

FL-02: Al Lawson, the African-American state Senator who’s challenging Blue Dog Rep. Allen Boyd in a Democratic primary, is out with an internal poll via The Research Group that actually gives Lawson the lead: 35-31. Boyd was a vote against health care reform and the stimulus, which may provide him some cover in the general in this now R+9 district, but probably hurts him in the primary, where African-Americans make up a sizable portion of the Democratic electorate.

IA-03: The appearance yesterday of well-known wrasslin’ coach Jim Gibbons was no deterrent to state Sen. Brad Zaun, setting up an epic smackdown in the GOP primary. Zaun, formerly the mayor of Des Moines suburb Urbandale, had made clear his interest in the race before Gibbons surfaced; he’ll formally launch his campaign in early December.

IL-10: State Rep. Beth Coulson, probably the only Republican in the field in the 10th with the name rec and moderate profile needed to overcome the 10th’s Democratic lean, is meeting with RNC head Michael Steele today to discuss her campaign — the same Steele who has warned moderates that, in the wake of NY-23, he’s gunning for them. She’s loudly touting the meeting in the press, although it’s unclear whether she’s trying to make clear she’s a GOP team player, or that she’s trying to play up her moderate reputation by standing up to Steele.

MD-01: If there’s one freshman Democrat who’s looking endangered coming into 2010, it’s Frank Kratovil, who barely won in a dark-red district thanks in large measure to a lousy opponent (Andy Harris) and an Obama downdraft. The Harris camp is now out with an internal poll via the Tarrance Group that quantifies that, giving that same lousy opponent a 52-39 edge over Kratovil, despite Kratovil’s 43/30 favorables.

MN-01: Former state Rep. Allen Quist followed through on his plans to challenge Rep. Tim Walz in the rural 1st District. Quist has been out of the limelight for a while, but was a darling of the religious right in the 1990s; his wife is Michele Bachmann’s district director.

NY-23: Appropriately enough, given that Fort Drum is the largest employer in his district, Bill Owens was given a seat on the Armed Services Committee, taking former Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s spot. Owens himself is a former Air Force captain, and his predecessor, Army Secretary John McHugh, had been the top-ranking Republican on the committee. (D)

Also in the 23rd, it’s all over but the shouting of the wronged wingnuts. The Watertown Times reports that Owens leads Hoffman by 3,105 with 3,072 absente ballots left to count. Also worth noting is the increasingly hostile tone of the Watertown Times (maybe the district’s largest newspaper) to Hoffman and his post-electoral antics, which bodes ill for getting a fair shake out of them if he runs again.

NRCC: There’s a very important addendum to yesterday’s story about the NRCC’s big TV spot ad buy to go against Vic Snyder, John Spratt, and Earl Pomeroy. The total of the ad buy was $6,300, including only 35 gross rating points in the Charlotte market (2,000 GRPs are considered “saturation-level”), and the ads are running only on Fox News. In other words, the cash-strapped NRCC isn’t paying for anybody to actually see the ads — they’re just a foot in the door to get media coverage of the ads.

Redistricting: The DLCC’s blog has an interesting look at the redistricting conundrums in Louisiana, where the loss of a House seat and a Katrina-remodeled population loom large. Dems ostensibly control the legislature but also face a Republican gubernatorial veto (although Dems control the tiebreaking Supreme Court, too).

Senator Cochran (R-MS) on John McCain

According to the AP, my homestate senator, Thad Cochran, recalls an incident in 1987 where he, Bob Dole, and John McCain were on a diplomatic mission with representatives of Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua.  From what Cochran says, John McCain grabbed one of Ortega’s associates by the shirt and lifted him out of his chair in a fit of anger.  Thankfully, no violence ensued.  Cochran stated that he was scared for their safety since the Nicaraguan officials were carrying weapons and the Congressional delegation was not.

Considering how foreign “you’re either with us or against us” policy has been over the past 7.5 years, it frightens me that we could see another 4 years of this cowboy “diplomacy” from the United States.

I wonder how much traction the Cochran story will make around the news wires.  If McCain is having his own Republican colleagues question his judgement in foreign affairs as a candidate for president, just imagine what will happen if, God forbid, McCain gets into office.  I’d hate for McCain to go China and grab the Prime Minister by his suit jacket.

MS-Sen: Cochran Will Run Again

Tough news, sports fans:

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said Wednesday that he will seek reelection in 2008, casting aside rumors of his impending retirement.

Cochran, who will turn 70 next month, has not raised a lot of money this cycle but had previously said he planned to run for reelection.

“While I delayed making this decision until after our state and local government elections were over, there is no reason to delay any longer,” Cochran said in a statement. “I have enjoyed serving in the Senate, and I am highly honored to have had the support and encouragement to continue this service from friends throughout the state.”

Blah blah blah. Anyhow, this would have been a fun race had former state AG Mike Moore (D) gotten involved. Will he ever have another shot? There was some speculation that Sen. Trent Lott, whose home was destroyed in Katrina, might retire last year, but that of course didn’t happen. Gov. Haley Barbour was just re-elected this year, and Cochran’s seat presumably will be safe next year.

I don’t doubt that Moore is enjoying life right now, but if he wants to get back into politics, what’s his angle?

(Hat-tip: TPM EC.)

MS-Sen: Is Thad Cochran Ailing?

[Originally posted at Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

Republican Thad Cochran says an announcement is coming regarding his 2008 electoral plans in “a few weeks.” (HT: TPM) But could Cochran be facing health problems? I only ask because of some of the quotes in the aforelinked article (emphasis added by me):

“I certainly hope he does not retire,” said Paul Mize Sr., a longtime Tupelo friend and confidante. Mize said Cochran is healthy, active and enormously helpful to Mississippi’s interests in Congress.

Former Cochran chief staff counseI, Brad Prewitt, an attorney and business consultant in Tupelo, said he hopes Cochran runs, adding, “He is logically, mentally a well-organized man. I think he is weighing all the factors about what to do with the rest of his time.”

Is there any reason to think Cochran isn’t “healthy” or “mentally well-organized”? Is this a case of “methinks thou doth protest too much”? We’ll see. Oh, and this article also contains the dumbest sentence I’ve seen in a while: “Support for a sixth Cochran term is widespread among his Mississippi backers.” Thanks, NE-Miss Daily Journal, support for Cochran is widespread among his backers. Basically, the newspaper dedicated column space to say that Cochran’s supporters support him. Man, oh man…

May Senate Retirement Watch Update

[Originally posted yesterday on my blog Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

In early February, the Guru offered his first Retirement Watch rundown, and in mid-March there was the first Retirement Watch Update.  Allow the Guru to present you with the brand new May Retirement Watch Update.

Key Statistic: Courtesy of Swing State Project, since the 1988 election cycle, mid-term election cycles have seen an average of 4.8 Senate retirements per cycle, while Presidential election cycles have seen an average of 7.7 Senate retirements per cycle.  With only Colorado’s Wayne Allard officially out, statistical trends suggest that we should see a few more retirement announcements.

(See below for the full update.)

UP Virginia’s John Warner: Most notably, the five-term incumbent raised a mere $500 in the first quarter of 2007.  This is a gigantic red flag.  Further, Warner just today announced the departure of his Chief of Staff to the private sector.  He has continually suggested that he is still unsure of his future electoral plans, but it just takes too much effort for a longtime incumbent Senator to raise next-to-nothing for a quarter.  Barring an unexpected fundraising surge in Q2, a retirement announcement is quite likely.

UP New Mexico’s Pete Domenici: Domenici has not been vocal about a re-election bid, particularly considering his involvement in the Attorney Purge scandal.  Two factors suggest a hightened likelihood of retirement here.  First, since Domenici’s involvement in the scandal has come to light, his approval rating (previously comfortably in the mid-to-high 60’s) has been in a consistent and unabated free fall, plunging from a 43-point net approval in November 2006 to a 16-point net approval last month.  Next month’s polling data will offer further insight into the momentum of the trend.  Second, Domenici had a lackluster fundraising quarter for a longtime incumbent facing a potentially tough re-election bid.  Even the Republican netroots are suggesting that Domenici ought to consider retirement.  While there is no end in sight for Domenici’s continued negative press coverage and while his approvals continue to sink, his retirement may ultimately hinge on whether the Democrats field a strong opponent, and soon.

UP Idaho’s Larry Craig: Craig delayed his 2008 electoral plan announcement from “this summer” to “late summer or fall.”  Also, regardless of how inexpensive the Idaho media market is, by any measure Craig had a very weak Q1 fundraising take, suggesting that his heart isn’t in a re-election bid.  It also doesn’t help perceptions that GOP Lt. Gov. Jim Risch is chomping at the bit for Craig to retire so that he can enter the race.

EVEN Mississippi’s Thad Cochran: Fundraising has been the biggest signal that Cochran may in fact run for another term, as he nearly met his fundraising goal for the first quarter of 2007 while his likely understudy, GOP Rep. Chip Pickering, raised only a meager sum in Q1.  However, two subtle hints suggest a Cochran retirement is more likely than some may suspect.  First, Karl Rove’s presentation on the Senate’s “Republican Defense” states included Mississippi, likely to only be competitive if Cochran retired.  Did Rove have inside info on Cochran’s decision-making process?  Second, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania suggested that he would be the senior Republican Senator on the Appropriations Committee in 2010, despite Cochran’s committee seniority.  Did Specter have inside info on Cochran’s decision-making process?

EVEN Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel: Since Hagel’s notorious non-announcement, he has suggested that he is ramping up his fundraising to prepare for a Senate re-election bid.  But state Attorney General Jon Bruning has demonstrated early strength in a possible NE-GOP Senate primary.  And Hagel’s approval-disapproval has seen better days.  Meanwhile, Hagel’s own comments as well as his time spent with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has fueled speculation of an independent Presidential bid.

EVEN Utah’s Orrin Hatch: Yes, Utah’s Orrin Hatch.  Documented rumors have suggested that Hatch has been “campaigning” in a sense for the position of U.S. Attorney General should Alberto Gonzales resign, be fired, or otherwise lose the position.  An unknown, to be sure, but something to keep an eye on.

DOWN Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander: Alexander declared in early April that he “plans to run for re-election in 2008.”

DOWN Alaska’s Ted Stevens: While Stevens’ advanced age will perpetually keep him on the Retirement Watch radar, the fact that he has just recently taken lengths to distance himself from his son’s involvement in a corruption scandal rather than defend his son suggests that he’s still most interested in politically protecting himself, suggesting that he plans on making good on his threat to run for re-election.

With the dust settling, the Retirement Watch breakdown currently stands at:

Definitely retiring: Wayne Allard (CO)

On Retirement Watch: Thad Cochran (MS), Larry Craig (ID), Pete Domenici (NM), Chuck Hagel (NE), Jim Inhofe (OK), John Warner (VA)

Running (or most likely running) for re-election: Lamar Alexander (TN), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Norm Coleman (MN), Susan Collins (ME), John Cornyn (TX), Elizabeth Dole (NC), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mitch McConnell (KY), Pat Roberts (KS), Jeff Sessions (AL), Gordon Smith (OR), Ted Stevens (AK), John Sununu (NH)

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Karl Rove’s Take on the 2008 Senate Races (and Thad Cochran)

(Does Karl Rove have “the math” once again, or is this for real? – promoted by DavidNYC)

[Cross-posted at my blog, Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

Hearings were held on allegations of General Services Administration (GSA) misconduct, specifically using GSA staff, time, and resources for Republican partisan political purposes. Think Progress has more and YouTube has clips from the hearing.

Included in the hearing was a PowerPoint presentation from the White House Office of Political Affairs (i.e. Karl Rove’s desk), and one of the slides was titled “Battle for the Senate 2008.” States were broken down as “Republican Offense,” which includes six states, “Republican Defense,” which includes 8 states, and “Not Competitive,” which includes 19 states (though the math wizards in Rove’s office listed it on the slide as “21 states”).

The six states listed under “Republican Offense” are Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. No huge shocks.

The eight states listed under “Republican Defense” are Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia. Mississippi?!?! Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Oregon are the obvious top five Republican vulnerabilities. And Virginia and New Mexico are both purple states with possible retirees (even before the Domenici phone call scandal).

But Mississippi?!?! The only Democrat to make Mississippi competitive, at least in a top-tier (i.e. more competitive than, say, North Carolina or Kentucky, which are both listed under “Not Competitive”) sense, is former state Attorney General Mike Moore. And it is believed that Moore will only step up if incumbent Republican Thad Cochran retires.

So, does Rove have inside info that Thad Cochran is planning on retiring, after all? Certainly provokes curiosity. The Guru will keep an ear toward these developments as they unfold.

Senate 2008 Retirement Watch Update

(From the diaries – promoted by James L.)

[Cross-posted at my blog Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

About a month and a half ago, the Guru offered you his first Retirement Watch post, looking at any GOP Senators who might be considering retirement over a re-election bid for any number of reasons.  Here is the Guru’s first update of the Retirement Watch:

UP New Mexico’s Pete Domenici: Pajamas Pete was on the RW because of his advanced age (he is turning 75 this May) and questionable mental state.  Over the last several weeks, his role in the U.S. Attorney firing scandal has come to light, as well as his subsequent hiring of lawyers as a result.  Ethics complaints have been filed against him.  It is unclear what ramifications await Domenici, but it does suggest that this previously strong possibility for re-election has undermined his own chances with one very inappropriate phone call.  Should he retire (or otherwise not seek re-election), GOP Rep. Heather Wilson would have been the likely front-runner for the GOP nomination to replace him, but she apparently made an inappropriate phone call similar to Domenici’s, leaving super-conservative Rep. Steve Pearce as the go-to Republican, a man who is likely too conservative to win statewide in New Mexico.  So the NM-GOP’s likely choices are a politically damaged Domenici or a too-conservative-for-statewide Steve Pearce.  If a prominent Democrat steps up early to challenge Domenici, it may put enough pressure on him to opt for retirement.

UP Idaho’s Larry Craig: Since the last RW, voices both liberal and conservative have suggested that Larry Craig is not long for the Senate.  Whether the ID-GOP is trying to urge him out or are prepping a primary challenger is unclear, but the rumors are growing.

UP Virginia’s John Warner: Before the last RW, J. Warner had publicly gone back-and-forth as to where he was leaning between retirement and a re-election bid.  It has appeared that J. Warner would take another term if he didn’t have a tough challenge for it.  He has even planned a little bit of fundraising.  However, former Governor Mark Warner may be more interested in a 2008 Senate bid than previously thought.  Also, former Senator George “Macaca” Allen has held a meeting to gauge support for a 2008 Senate bid should J. Warner retire.  One wouldn’t think that Allen would hold such a meeting unless he had info that the likelihood of a J. Warner retirement was stronger than the 50-50 conventional wisdom.

EVEN Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel: Before the last RW post, questions existed as to whether Hagel would run for President, run for Senate re-election, run for both, or retire from politics.  Then, Hagel held a big press conference and answered none of those questions.  He did say that “he would actively raise money for a Senate re-election bid in 2008.”  It did come out that Hagel, before he served two terms in the Senate, made it crystal clear that he felt twelve years was enough and that he supported term limits.  Does he still support such limits?  (Probably not.)  However, GOP state attorney general Jon Bruning has already begun putting together an exploratory committee for a Senate bid.  Is he just getting a head start in case of a Hagel Senate retirement, or does he enjoy inside info?

EVEN Mississippi’s Thad Cochran: Cochran had been publicly undecided on a re-election bid, holding off on a decision until late 2007, as of the last RW.  Since then, he has planned some moderately aggressive fundraising, but he has also moved even further back his declared deadline for announcing his 2008 intentions and stated that being in the minority party would make him “less inclined” to run.

DOWN North Carolina’s Elizabeth Dole: Her age, health issues, and failure as NRSC Chair had led many to consider her a strong possibility for retirement.  Nevertheless, she says she is running for re-election and has begun aggressive fundraising.  Also, while polling for her has been pretty weak for her overall, they are polling her as the expected Republican in the race, indicating that the media outlets expect her to run again as well.

MS-Sen Cochran Makes Moves Toward 6th Term In Mississippi

Democrats hoping for an open U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi will apparently have to wait a few more election cycles. Incumbent GOP Sen. Thad Cochran started a major fundraising drive with a fundraiser in Jackson Tuesday night and is expected to raise some $650,000.00 this week.

While not yet committing to a 2008 race Cochran indicated he was leaning heavily toward a race despite reports in recent months that he would like to retire. If Cochran had retired the Mississippi Democratic Party had a number of strong candidates who would have a good chance to return the seat to Democratic hands. They included former Gov. Ray Mabus, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Cong. Gene Taylor, former Cong. Ronnie Shows, former Sec. of Agriculture and Cong. Mike Espy, and others.


Senate 2008 Retirement Watch

(From the diaries. – promoted by James L.)

(Cross-posted on my DKos diary.  I originally posted this to my blog on February 4, but I want to get the input of the DKos and SSP communities on the topic.  What have you heard in your states?  Note that since I posted this, Thad Cochran has delayed his retirement vs. re-election bid decision, and Pete Domenici has made stronger assertions toward a re-election bid.  Also, Frank Lautenberg has made his intentions crystal clear.)

We know that the numbers favor Senate Democrats in 2008.  21 GOP vs. 12 Democratic Senators up for re-election gives the GOP a great deal more territory to have to protect.  And, as hard as it can be to hold incumbent seats, it’s even harder to retain open seats.  This again favors the Democrats, as there are many more Republican Senators on “Retirement Watch.”

DSCC Chair Chuck Schumer has said that he has gotten assurances from every Democratic Senator that they are all running for re-election, except for Iowa’s Tom Harkin, who has since demonstrated public steps toward a re-election bid.

Aside from Harkin, I’m not sold that New Jersey’s Frank Lautenberg is definitely going to run for re-election, which might not be a bad thing given Lautenberg’s low approval ratings and NJ’s wealth of Democratic Congresspeople waiting for a promotion, not to mention that Lautenberg is the Democrats’ oldest 2008 incumbent by just over a decade.

Also, Delaware’s Joe Biden is looking at the White House, but is hardly a favorite to win the nomination in 2008, meaning that he will likely opt for Senate re-election and have plenty of time to do so.

This leaves only the recovering Tim Johnson of South Dakota as a significant question mark, and even his camp is showing signs, from staffing to fundraising, that a re-election bid could still be on the horizon, health-permitting.

Meanwhile, more than half of the GOP’s 21 incumbents are on the retirement watch spectrum.  After spending much of the last decade-plus in the majority party, many of these Senators will find that spending 2007 in the minority will make for a less pleasant work environment.  And with many states, like Colorado and Virginia, on a blue-trend, some Republican Senators may opt for retirement rather than risking ending their career on a loss.  Beyond that, many Republican Senators are just really old.

1) Colorado’s Wayne Allard: Definitely retiring

2) Maine’s Susan Collins: Is under a self-imposed term-limit-pledge, but is planning a re-election bid.  However, if Tom Allen gets in the race and Collins’ broken promise becomes a major issue, with polling going strongly Allen’s way, it’s not inconceivable that Collins would step aside

3) Virginia’s John Warner: Publicly leans one way, then publicly leans the other – definitely considering retirement

4) Alaska’s Ted Stevens: Is 200 years old and threatens to retire every time he doesn’t get his way on a vote – claims to be preparing for a re-election bid, but we’ll see

5) Mississippi’s Thad Cochran: Publicly undecided on a re-election bid and says he may not make up his mind until November

6) Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel: Considering a White House bid, with rumors afoot that he may retire from the Senate regardless of a Presidential bid

7) Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander: Was considering retiring until he received choice committee assignments – still not publicly confirmed for re-election, though – if he dislikes serving in the minority enough, he may just hang it up

8) New Mexico’s Pete Domenici: not publicly committed to a re-election bid, as rumors of retirement thoughts persist, as well as rumors of a questionable mental state, including wandering the halls of Congress in his pajamas

9) North Carolina’s Elizabeth Dole: her staff has claimed that she’s planning on re-election, but she has not made any definitive comments; meanwhile, many factors, including her age, her horrible job as NRSC Chair, and her recent hip replacement, suggest that retirement may be a strong possibility – also, polling has the reluctant Mike Easley ahead of Dole; if he got in, maybe she’d prefer to avoid a tough re-election campaign

10) Texas’ John Cornyn: While he is very clearing planning a re-election bid, he is also one of Bush’s top choices (if not Bush’s first choice) for a Supreme Court opening should there be one more before the end of Bush’s term – granted, I’d rather have Cornyn in the Senate running for re-election than enjoying a lifetime seat on the Supreme Court

11) Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe: Rumors exist that he is considering retirement, though this is a rare situation (perhaps akin to NJ’s Lautenberg) where the non-incumbent party might have an easier time beating the incumbent than a replacement (say former Governor Frank Keating)

12) Idaho’s Larry Craig: Another situation of more rumors circulating while Craig waits on a formal public announcement one way or the other

Running (or most likely running) for re-election: Saxby Chambliss (GA), Norm Coleman (MN), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Mitch McConnell (KY), Pat Roberts (KS), Jeff Sessions (AL), Gordon Smith (OR), John Sununu (NH)

Though only one retirement is announced, if the stars aligned well enough, the GOP could face a meltdown with more than a half-dozen retirements.  While we can’t hang our hats on that many open seats, we can probably expect a couple more to follow Wayne Allard.

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MS-Sen: Cochran Considering Retirement In Mississippi

In a front page story in Sunday’s Clarion Ledger incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran indicated he is undecided on whether he will run for another term in 2008. In an interview with the state’s largest newspaper Cochran, who is outgoing Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, indicated disappointment in being able to get only 2 bills passed in the current session because Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee was “slow to move them to the Senate floor”. Cochran described the GOP decision to shift the burden of approving the budget to Democrats in January as “baseless” and indicated that he has a good working relationship with the incoming Appropriations Chairman Sen. Robert C. Byrd.