Friday, September 30, 2005

The tide is turning.... 2006 to be big year for Democrats

In response to the recent decision by Hoeven not to run for the Senate, US Senator Charles Schumer has been reported saying: “Today’s news is more evidence that running as a Republican could be hazardous to your health in 2006.”

Let's do a brief roll call of the candidates GOP has failed to recruit for 2006:

North Dakota
Today, Governor John Hoeven announced he will not challenge Kent Conrad in 2006, “depriving Republicans of someone they considered their strongest candidate against the Democratic incumbent.” Last weekend, Karl Rove visited North Dakota and met with Hoeven, and just yesterday the Washington Times reported, “The White House has promised to give Mr. Hoeven its fullest support if he runs.”

In April, Senator Jim Jeffords announced that he would not be running for re-election. Immediately, Governor Jim Douglas was widely labeled as the strongest potential Republican candidate for the Senate seat, with one local paper noting that Douglas is expected to face intense pressure from Republicans in Washington to enter the Senate race.” Douglas spoke to NRSC Chair Sen. Elizabeth Dole and to at least one White House official before announcing that he would not run for the Senate.

Last December, President Bush publicly urged Congresswoman Candice Miller, telling her Chief of Staff, “You need to tell her she needs to run for the Senate,” before calling the Congresswoman personally. Described as “the party's top choice,” Miller announced in January that she would not run for Senate. As one Detroit columnist noted, Top Republicans with safe jobs looked at this, and shook their heads. No, thank you.

Since last November, Florida Republicans have been urged unsuccessfully to enter the 2006 Senate race, including Governor Jeb Bush. Even after Katherine Harris announced her candidacy for the seat, the White House and NRSC continued to speak to Republicans about getting into the race, with a huge focus on Florida House Speaker Allan Bense and former Congressman Joe Scarborough, both of whom subsequently decided not to enter the Senate race.

Labeled “Republicans' brightest star,” 2004 candidate for Governor Dino Rossi announced in July that he would not challenge Senator Maria Cantwell in 2006. The AP reported that Rossi’s decision process froze the field in place until he told the salivating national party that he was declining their call to duty. Polls had showed Rossi as the strongest Republican candidate. Rossi’s announcement came just one week after Sen. Elizabeth Dole was in Washington, personally urging Rossi to enter the race.

In August, Omaha World-Herald, reported that Republicans have failed to recruit a top-tier challenger for Senator Ben Nelson in Nebraska. When pressed to change his decision to run for reelection and instead challenge Nelson, Governor Dave Heineman said “that on a scale of zero to 100 his interest in the Senate race is ‘minus-1000 and dropping.’” Heineman joined former Governor and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Rep. Tom Osborne, and NE Attorney General Jon Bruning as prominent Nebraska Republicans who have declined to challenge Nelson. Most recently, when the White House asked former Senator Dave Karnes to run for his old job, he too said no.

New York
And finally my favorite! Since the GOP hate the Clintons so much and it doesn't even matter if it's Bill or Hillary: In
New York, Republicans failed to draw a top-tier challenger to Sen. Hillary Clinton when Governor George Pataki and former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani both declined to run for the Senate.

The tide is turning.... 2006 will be a big year for Democrats!