Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Say What? RNC Attacks Hillary

By Stuart Rothenberg

From a January 30, 2007 Republican National Committee Research Briefing about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton entitled, "Hillary Swipes John Edwards' 2003 Language and Ideas…."

First, the RNC charged that Senator Clinton stole Edwards' story about his father, presenting the following evidence:

Hillary In 2007: "[My father] believed in the basic bargain that America offered. You work hard, play by the rules, you do what you can to further your own life. Your country is going to be on your side." (Sen. Clinton, Town Hall, Des Moines, IA, 1/27/07)

Edwards In 2003: "My father worked very hard because he believed it was the right thing to do, and he thought it would help build a better future for his family. That's the basic bargain that we make with the American people. If you work hard, if you act responsibly, you can build a better life for yourself and for your families." (Sen. Edwards, Democrat Presidential Forum, Des Moines, IA, 5/17/03)

Second, the RNC claimed Clinton stole Edwards' plan to insure all children, presenting the following evidence:

Hillary In 2007: "So I am going to start by introducing legislation to insure every child. That is what I think we have to begin with." (Sen. Clinton, Town Hall, Des Moines, IA, 1/27/07)

Edwards In 2003: "So I start with a very simple idea: children first. For the first time in American history, I will make sure that every child is covered ..." (Sen. Edwards, Democrat Presidential Debate, Albuquerque, NM, 9/4/03)

And third, the RNC asserted that "Clinton Stole Kerry's 2003 Language on Use of Force Vote" because Clinton advisor McAuliffe said: "She voted to give the President the authority to negotiate and have a stick to go over there and negotiate with Saddam Hussein. In 2003, John Kerry said: "I voted to threaten the use of force to make Saddam Hussein comply with the resolutions of the United Nations."

My view? It's certainly fair for each national committee to try to discredit the opposing party's Presidential hopefuls, but this RNC attempt isn't even close. In using words like "swipes," "steals" and "stole," the RNC seems to be accusing Senator Clinton of plagiarism in an effort to discredit her.

In fact, her language was not identical to Edwards's. Does the RNC really believe that because Edwards talked about insuring children Senator Clinton can't without "stealing" from him? And didn't Hillary Clinton establish her interest in making health care more available even before Edwards ever got to the Senate?

As to Clinton's reference to working hard and to her father, if I had a dollar for every candidate who cited his or her father and talked about "working hard" or "playing by the rules," I'd be wealthy. Everybody does it. It's a generic political message.

As to McAuliffe's recent language about Clinton's vote, it's silly to attack the Senator for something a supporter said. And, in fact, Kerry's 2003 comment and McAuliffe's are not even close to being identical. The fact the Kerry and Clinton may have had the same reason for supporting the resolution is proof of nothing. Look at the language of Republicans who announced their support of the President's policy for the past two years. They all said the same things, and that doesn't mean that they "stole" their reasoning from one another.

There is plenty of substance that the RNC could say about Senator Clinton in criticizing her. But this release was just silly. Somebody should say so. I just did.

Say What? Mississippi Senate

By Nathan L. Gonzales

From a January 29, 2007 Roll Call story on Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and his looming decision on whether to seek reelection:

"Thad Cochran has a long history of putting Washington before Mississippi," according to DSCC spokesperson Dierdre Murphy, "and it is going to hurt his Senate re-election bid in 2008."

My reaction? If Cochran "has a long history of putting Washington before Mississippi," Magnolia State voters apparently haven't received the memo.

What the Republican senator has shown is a long history of winning elections in the Magnolia State. Cochran won three terms in the House, beginning in 1972, until his initial election to Senate in 1978. Sure, he only won with 45% almost thirty years ago, but he's averaged 79% in his four subsequent reelection races, including 1984 (61%), 1990 (100%), 1996 (71%), and 2002 (85%). If Cochran's past record is so bad, why did Democrats let him run unopposed twice?

Really, the DSCC's quote has nothing to do with the senator's record and is little more than an empty threat. It's very unlikely Democrats are sitting on any new information on the senator that hasn't been revealed over his three decades in public office.

Instead, it's more of an attempt to "scare" Cochran out of running in 2008, creating an open seat and a potential Democratic opportunity. But with Cochran in the race, rational Democrats understand they have virtually no chance of winning. And they have a slim chance of recruiting a top candidate like former state attorney general Mike Moore (D) into the race if Cochran runs.

No senator is invincible, and the political dynamics of the race could change in the next two years. But suggesting that Cochran would be in trouble if he runs for reelection stretches the committee's credibility, and that's enough reason for the DSCC not to say it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Say What? Tom Vilsack

[Say What? is a new semi-regular feature on]

By Stuart Rothenberg

From a January 29, 2007 Tom Vilsack for President press release, reporting that the Democratic Presidential hopeful raised "more than $1.1 million in last 7 weeks of 2006."

"Tom Vilsack proved…that he'll have the money to campaign across America in 2007 and win the Democratic nomination in 2008," said Vilsack spokesman Josh Earnest. "Vilsack's strong performance is a powerful indication that his outsider status, successful record as governor and his plan to end the war and make America energy secure is resonating with voters."

And later, Earnest concluded:

"Vilsack's early fund raising success ensures that our campaign will be able to win Iowa and then the Democratic nomination based on his message of having the courage to create change in America."

My reaction? Oh, Brother. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill. Anytime a press release talks about "a powerful indication" and spends more time on message than on reporting the news contained in the press release, you know you are getting mostly hype. Vilsack's fundraising doesn't "ensure" anything. Six weeks worth of fund raising certainly doesn't guarantee that the campaign "will be able to win Iowa."

The Vilsack release also compares his fundraising to Howard Dean's and John Kerry's in 2004. That is smart, but misleading.

Kerry ended 2002 with over $3 million in the bank, and his personal financial resources and early favorite status virtually guaranteed that he would be able to raise enough money to run a credible Presidential race. Vilsack doesn't begin anywhere near where Kerry was at this point in the 2004 Democratic contest, and, frankly, it's laughable for the former Iowa governor to make the comparison.

Dean ended the 2002 with just over $150,000 in his campaign account, so Vilsack can accurately portray himself as better funded at this point in the campaign than Dean was four years ago. But Dean became a credible contender for the Democratic nomination because his candidacy became a phenomenon. That's what enabled him to raise big money later on. There is no guarantee that Vilsack's campaign will take off, or that he will eventually raise the tens of millions of dollars that both Dean and Kerry raised.

Moreover the comment that his fundraising "is a powerful indication that his outsider status, successful record as governor and his plan to end the war and make America energy secure is resonating with voters" is ridiculous.

Most voters don't know who he is or about his record as governor. About half of his money was raised in-state, from Iowans who know him, like him and almost certainly see him as a favorite son.

With top tier Democrats likely passing on federal funds and raising many millions more than in the past, Vilsack has an uphill battle. And there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe he'll catch fire. Maybe Democratic caucus attendees in his home state will stick with him. Maybe a year from now he'll be the frontrunner for the nomination.

Maybe, Maybe. Maybe.

But the idea that Vilsack's fundraising in the last quarter of 2006 "guarantees" anything is absurd, and someone should say so.

I just did.

Say What? Minnesota Senate

[A new, semi-regular feature on]

By Stuart Rothenberg

Okay, I know that I shouldn't do this, but I'm going to do it anyway. We're starting a semi-regular feature in which we identify really, really silly comments that we read or hear. I know that I'm not single-handedly going to cause people to stop saying dumb stuff, but I'm at a stage in my life and my career when I feel free to say what I really think. I do want to emphasize that the people who say these things aren't necessarily unintelligent, illogical or inane. Sometimes smart people say dumb things too. (Yes, I'm sure some of my past musings fit this category, though I hope not too many.)

From a January 23, 2007 Roll Call article reporting that Senator Norm Coleman has hired a campaign manager for his 2008 reelection bid:

"I think it's clearly a sign that he thinks he's in trouble," said Brian Melendez, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party. "I don't know any other Senate campaign organization that is in place with a campaign manager at this point in the campaign," Melendez continued. "I guess Coleman saw what happened to all the other Bush cronies in '06 and is desperate and terrified."

My reaction? Given Minnesota's political bent, the state's election results in 2006 and likely Democratic efforts to oust Coleman, the Republican Senator would have to be kidding himself not to think that he's in trouble. Obviously he's a top Democratic target, and obviously he'll have a tough race if Democrats in the state get their act together. In fact, if Coleman didn't think he was facing a difficult reelection, I'd think that he was delusional, and I'd see that as a bad omen for his political future.

So if Coleman understands that he's in trouble, he's being smart and sensible. Melendez's comment that Coleman's step of hiring a manager is "desperate and terrified" ranks as absurd. The senator is just doing what anyone with a brain would be doing, preparing for a battle.

"Desperate" almost two years out from Election Day? "Terrified" because Coleman brought on board a staffer? In fact, it is Melendez's comment that is ridiculous and over the top. I understand that he wants to take a shot at Coleman, and that's obviously fine. But his comments are silly, and someone should say so.

I just did.

Monday, January 29, 2007

For Democrats, Bergen County Spells Success

By Stuart Rothenberg

For Republicans, New Jersey, once a GOP-leaning, anti-tax state, stands as a stark reminder of how things have changed, particularly in the Northeast. But the better example — and warning of things to come — is Bergen County, a suburban bedroom community that has moved away from its Republican roots and toward the Democratic Party.

The county, once bedrock Republican territory and the most populous county in the state, has voted Democratic in the past four presidential elections — twice for Bill Clinton, and more recently for Al Gore and John Kerry.

Even more notably, the county executive and all seven members of the county board of freeholders are Democrats. Republicans lost their last freeholder last year, when incumbent Elizabeth Randall lost her bid for renomination and the eventual nominee lost in November.

But in a development that was more humiliating than substantive, the county party’s headquarters was padlocked recently because the Bergen County GOP couldn’t pay its rent.

The last remaining county-wide GOP officeholder is County Clerk Kathleen Donovan, a moderate who last year lost a Republican primary for county executive. Donovan, a former state legislator and one-time chairman of the state GOP, is serving her fourth term as county clerk.

No Republican has ever won statewide office without carrying Bergen County, and the last statewide GOP candidate to carry the county was Bob Franks in his losing bid for the Senate in 2000. Last year, Tom Kean Jr. (R) lost the county to Sen. Bob Menendez (D) by 8 points.

Republican Rep. Scott Garrett’s 5th Congressional district includes part of Bergen County. He carried the county by only 4,209 votes (51.2 percent), though he won district-wide by 55 percent. The part of Bergen County not represented by Garrett is represented by 9th district Democrat Steven Rothman. Rothman carried the Bergen portion of his district with 71.5 percent of the vote, meaning Bergen County voters voted overwhelming Democratic for Congress last year.

Republicans have three major problems in the county: the national party, changing demographics and a fractured GOP that is being outworked by Democratic strategists.

Many of Bergen County’s Republicans are more politically in sync with former Gov. Tom Kean (R) than they are with his son. They are classic Northeast moderates, whose views on cultural issues don’t easily fit with Sunbelt conservatives.

The county itself also is changing. Hispanics and Asians have moved into the county in recent years, as have New Yorkers, many of whom have brought their values and Democratic preference with them.

While these developments would have posed a challenge for the county GOP, they could have been managed had the Bergen County party leaders been smart or county Democratic operatives been inept. Unfortunately for the GOP, neither of those things happened.

Bergen County’s Republican organization is being outworked and outfundraised by its Democratic counterpart, which has become a well-oiled machine under the guidance of party Chairman Joseph Ferriero.

While Ferriero helps local Democratic parties raise money and contact voters, Republicans spend most of their time fighting with each other over issues and personalities. Republican conservatives, in particular, seem more interested in isolating and purging moderates than in winning elections. As a result, the county GOP is getting badly outspent in races and losing more and more elections, creating a vicious cycle of defeat.

Bergen Record reporter Scott Fallon noted in a November article that when Ferriero became the county Democratic chief in 1998, Republicans controlled two-thirds of Bergen County towns that had a partisan form of government. After November’s elections, Democrats had increased their control to 56 percent of those communities, a dramatic reversal in just eight years. Now, Ferriero has plans to go after sitting GOP state legislators and town officeholders in other previously heavily Republican areas.

Republicans complain that Ferriero is using Democrats’ increased political muscle in the county to wring even more money out of companies that want to do business with the county. Odds are that they are right, but so what? That’s the way the game is played in New Jersey, and as long as both sides know the rules, nobody is in a position to complain.

Ferriero took a weak county party and built it up, brick by brick. Republicans could do the same thing, if not with immediate success, if they got their act together. And they actually have an issue they could use, both in Bergen County and statewide, to start to rebuild their party: property taxes.

If Bergen were an isolated case, it might not even be worth mentioning. But what’s happening there could happen (and indeed has happened) in other northern suburbs. While the GOP has made gains in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, it continues to lose ground in New Jersey, Illinois and southeast Pennsylvania.

Increasingly, Bergen County looks like a model for further Democratic success outside the South. We’ll see if the Republicans write it off or take steps to resuscitate their local parties, both in Bergen County and elsewhere in the Northeast.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 25, 2007. All rights reservered. Reprinted with permission.

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Print Edition: 2007-08 Gubernatorial Outlook

The new January 26, 2007 print edition of The Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. Subscribe now through the 2008 election for only $345 for a two-year subscription and save $49, instead of buying two one-year subscriptions for $197 each. And finally, we are also able to accept payment by either credit card or check. Just go click on the Google Checkout button on the side-bar of the website.

Here's a peak into this issue:

2007-08 Gubernatorial Outlook
By Nathan L. Gonzales

The Democratic wave didn't stop on the shores of the House and Senate. Democrats netted six governorships in 2006, giving them a 28-22 advantage nationwide.

The next two years are particularly light, with three states (Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi) holding elections this year and only eleven other states in 2008.

It's far too early to predict net gains or losses for either party, but it looks like each will start with three vulnerabilities and three opportunities, making it difficult for Republicans to make a significant rebound.

While many Washington-centered political observers and junkies have given short-shrift to gubernatorial contests, this cycle's elections start a period of increased attention to governors' races, since many of the governors elected from now on will have a role in the Congressional redistricting process.

For the rest of the overview, as well as our state-by-state breakdown of the races, you must be a subscriber to the print edition. Just the ratings with no explanation are available here.

2007-08 Gubernatorial Ratings

Here are our first Gubernatorial ratings of the year. This early in the cycle, we only use three broad categories. Later, we will move to our more specific categories such as Clear Advantage, Narrow Advantage, Toss-Up, etc. Races are listed alphabetically in each category. 2007 races are in italics.

  • Blanco (D-LA)
  • Blunt (R-MO)
  • Daniels (R-IN)
  • Fletcher, (R-KY)
  • Gregoire (D-WA)
  • NC Open (Easley, D)
  • Barbour (R-MS)
  • Douglas (R-VT)
  • Hoeven (R-ND)
  • Huntsman (R-UT)
  • Lynch (D-NH)
  • Manchin (D-WV)
  • Schweitzer (D-MT)
  • DE Open (Minner, D)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It’s Time for Bush, Democrats to Do Immigration

By Stuart Rothenberg

House Democrats got off to a good start this month when they immediately addressed ethics, the minimum wage, the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and the cost of prescription drugs.

Those are legislative items with considerable national appeal, and while the House bills could bog down in the Senate, which moves at a glacial pace on most things, Democrats can rightfully claim that they moved legislation and tackled problems just days after they were sworn in.

But in reality, the increase in the minimum wage will have minimal effect except in a handful of industries and for relatively few people, and ethics reform, while an important, symbolic step, ultimately isn’t going to affect the daily lives of most Americans (at least those who aren’t lobbyists themselves).

Congressional hearings on Iraq will give Democrats an opportunity to embarrass the White House and to satisfy the party’s base, which still has plenty of vitriol bottled up after years of an Iraq policy that appears to be nothing short of a disaster. But again, we are largely talking symbolism, and politics, here. As long as the president is commander in chief, Congress’ role is limited in Iraq.

We all understand that Congressional Democrats preferred to do the easy stuff (or the red-meat issues, such as stem-cell research) first, while leaving some of the truly important issues for later. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the House Democratic leadership wanted quick victories to convey to the American public a sense of action and accomplishment, as well as to draw a sharp distinction with Congressional Republicans, who acted over the previous two years as if they had two speeds: slow and slower.

It’s also true that the controversial stuff is harder to accomplish, which means it takes more time and skill to put together. (Again, stem-cell research is a different matter. Democrats are merely trying to make a point, since there is no reason to believe that they can override a veto.)

If the powers that be, including President Bush and Capitol Hill Democrats, really want to do something important, they ought to tackle immigration reform immediately. And that means now, not a month or two from now. The longer they wait to forge a bipartisan consensus on immigration, the harder it will be to get a package that can pass both chambers of Congress.

Within a few months, growing Republican bitterness over Democratic Congressional hearings could poison the environment on Capitol Hill, making it harder for the president and Democrats to find common ground on an issue that looks like a natural for bipartisanship.

Democrats lambasted Congressional Republicans for months for being unable to produce a comprehensive bill that would deal with border control, security issues and a guest-worker program that allows for immigrants to work in the country and, possibly, acquire citizenship after meeting a number of prerequisites.

Since Congressional Democrats and Bush are a lot closer to each other than Bush is to House Republicans, it should be easy for the White House and Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to get immigration reform moving.

I’m not suggesting that there won’t be differences of opinion over details of any immigration plan, such as employer penalties, how to physically secure the border or how those here illegally may be able to get in line for permanent resident status. But an agreement on immigration between the president and Congressional Democrats would not only deal with one of the most important issues of the day, it also would establish a precedent that bipartisan progress is possible on an issue that last year proved intractable.

Obviously, there is a political side to the equation, and tackling the issue is not without risk for Democrats.

A balanced, comprehensive plan would not involve throwing every illegal immigrant out of the country overnight, and that would upset a good number of Americans who think that a guest-worker program is synonymous with “amnesty,” and that anyone who favors “amnesty” is out to destroy this country. That’s why a compromise bill would provoke such outspoken opposition.

Of course, legislation to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants in the country would give anti-immigration activists a weapon to use in 2008. But support from the president and a fair number of Republicans in the Senate would limit the damage that Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) and his allies could do on the ground.

They say that timing is everything in politics. We all know that the later in the year a controversial issue is raised, the harder it is to get a bill passed. That’s particularly true in a presidential election cycle, and it’s certainly true with immigration reform.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 22, 2007. Copyright 2007 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dog Bites Man. Sun Rises Again. Bush's Numbers Still Stink.

By Stuart Rothenberg

A new Newsweek poll says George W. Bush is unpopular. Very unpopular. The new Washington Post and ABC News survey says that George W. Bush is really, really unpopular. An even newer NBC and the Wall Street Journal poll says that the President is, well, truly, really, very unpopular. And not to be outdone, a hot-off-the-presses CNN poll says that the President is -- you guessed it -- quite, very, truly, without a doubt unpopular.

I'm all for polls, and with the President giving his State of the Union address this week, I certainly understand the rash of network polls to mark the occasion and the beginning of the end of the Bush administration.

But, the reality is that a poll isn’t particularly newsworthy just because it exits. Is there somebody out there who doesn’t know that the President is unpopular? And if there is, why would I want to meet that person?

I'm not sure that every media outlet and every college and university needs to conduct a poll. But even if they do, I don’t think we need to treat them as "breaking news." If polls started showing a dramatic change in opinion (in either direction, of course), now that would be news, and therefore worth reporting. But another poll showing the same thing isn’t worth a lot of time, except of course, by the media outlet paying for it.

So excuse me if I don’t linger over the latest poll number on President Bush. He's unpopular and every politician in the country knows that. That will certainly affect his influence with other elected officials and with the voters. But I really don't need ten different polls to tell me what we all already know.

This item first appeared on Political Wire on January 23, 2007.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Why Georgia May Not Be on Democrats’ Minds

By Stuart Rothenberg

A couple of days after the midterm elections, I checked out the Senate class of 2008 and noticed that Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is on the list. I wondered, could Democrats, who held both of Georgia’s Senate seats and the state’s governorship as recently as 1990, knock off Chambliss?

The wise answer is that it may be possible, but at this point it’s unlikely. The better answer may well be a resounding, “Are you nuts?”

While 49 states seemed to move toward the Democratic Party in November’s elections, Georgia, the state that gave the nation Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jackie Robinson, continued its shift toward the GOP. In fact, Georgia was the only state in the nation where Republicans significantly improved their standing in the 2006 midterms.

Republicans retained their 34-22 majority in the state Senate and gained two more seats in the Georgia House, making Georgia one of the rare states where Democrats did not make state legislative gains. In addition, Republicans re-elected their governor handily and gained two statewide offices — lieutenant governor and secretary of state — that previously had been held by Democrats.

At the Congressional level, state Republicans held on to all of the seven seats that they had going into the midterms, and they came within a hair of picking up another district or two. Given what happened nationally, that was a notable result. In fact, Georgia was the only state with at least two Congressional districts where Republicans had more opportunities for House takeovers — Rep. Jim Marshall’s 8th district and Rep. John Barrow’s 12th district — than Democrats did.

Georgia was not one of the earliest Southern states to move away from the Democratic Party. South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and a number of other former states of the Confederacy moved to the Republican Party well before Georgia did, in part because Carter’s two presidential races kept Peach State Democrats loyal to their party.

But over the past six years, Georgia has been making up for lost time, moving toward the GOP column more vigorously than virtually any other state in the nation. As respected University of Georgia political science professor Charles S. Bullock III noted in a column of the online newsletter InsiderAdvantageGeorgia, Georgia has more white evangelicals, more Republicans and a higher percentage of Iraq War supporters than the country as a whole.

Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) clobbered the state’s sitting lieutenant governor, Democrat Mark Taylor, by almost 20 points, and Republican Casey Cagle, who won a bitter primary over Ralph Reed, won the open lieutenant governor’s office by almost a dozen points.

Yes, Democrats still hold three statewide offices — attorney general, state labor commissioner and agriculture commissioner — but all three of those Democrats have served for years, and state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, an African-American, isn’t exactly a liberal activist. He won an award last year from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his work on legal reform and for his efforts to “broaden cooperation” between the business community and state attorneys general.

In recent years, a Democratic governor, Roy Barnes, and a Democratic Senator, Max Cleland, were ousted from office, even though both incumbents were at one time portrayed as invincible. And defeated gubernatorial hopeful Taylor was just the kind of Democratic good old boy who once easily won elections in Georgia.

The only high-profile Democrat who might have been able to carry the state recently was former Sen. Zell Miller (D), who not only voted more like a Republican than a Democrat but who actually gave the keynote address at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

More than anything else, the national political environment has defined Georgia Democrats, and that has strengthened the Republicans’ hand.

So far, the only name circulating as a possible challenger to Chambliss is DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones. But whatever Jones’ personal qualifications and appeal (I have not met him), it is very difficult to imagine a young, Democratic, African-American officeholder from Atlanta with some personal and legal baggage winning a Senate race next year — even one who has admitted voting for President Bush in 2004.

While 2006 was a bad year for Republicans almost everywhere, it was “less bad” in the South. The region is likely to be the GOP’s strongest area in 2008, and the presidential election guarantees that the two parties’ national images will be in the spotlight, making it difficult for Senate candidates to run purely “local” races.

None of this means that Saxby Chambliss is invulnerable in 2008. But it does mean that Democrats are likely to have far better Senate opportunities elsewhere than they will in increasingly Republican Georgia.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 18, 2007. Copyright 2007 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is Rudy Likely to Be a Favorite or a Flop?

By Stuart Rothenberg

The battle lines of the great schism are starting to harden. No, it’s not the division between supporters and opponents of legal abortion, or between Catholicism and Protestantism. It isn’t even the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Today’s deepest division is between those political observers who believe that Rudy Giuliani is a credible contender for the Republican presidential nomination and those who think that his chances are no better than those of California Rep. Duncan Hunter.

Giuliani is getting plenty of attention because he appears to be putting together a national campaign team, and early polls show him and Arizona Sen. John McCain leading the GOP race.

The case for the mayor centers on his leadership qualities and his perceived electability.

Giuliani’s strong leadership after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks made him a national celebrity. But at least part of his reputation for effectiveness preceded the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Remember, the former New York mayor earned raves for cleaning up New York City, including the once-sleazy Times Square area, an accomplishment once considered impossible by most Americans, certainly by most New Yorkers.

Giuliani oozes leadership, optimism and strength, qualities that serve presidential candidates — and presidents — quite well. He’s forceful and dynamic. He can be self-deprecating. He’s good on Letterman. As the former mayor of New York, he’s been the focus of media attention for years, so he isn’t likely to be rattled by the spotlight that a serious presidential contender would get.

Giuliani’s record as mayor certainly would give ammunition to his Republican opponents, but unlike some of the White House hopefuls, he doesn’t have a lengthy legislative record that can be dissected and used against him. And unlike McCain, Giuliani isn’t in office now, so he has the freedom to camp out in Iowa or New Hampshire without worrying that he will miss roll call votes.

More than anything else, however, Giuliani looks like a winner, a Republican who can defeat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Giuliani would have appeal to independents and even Democrats, and he’d have a better chance than any other Republican on the planet of carrying states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest. At the very least, he’d force Democrats to play defense in states they take for granted.

For Republicans, electability suddenly takes on increased importance after the party’s defeat in the midterm elections, and a number of veteran Republican insiders argue that Giuliani’s apparent appeal in the general election could entice GOP primary voters and caucus participants to look past his views on social issues.

Those are plenty of assets, and they help explain why Giuliani performs so well in early polls. But the mayor’s weaknesses as a Republican contender were apparent well before his campaign memo was released, and they are as serious as they are quick to list.

First, Giuliani disagrees with his own party on abortion, gun control and gay rights. These aren’t just peripheral matters. They are core issues.

And second, his personal life would be a problem. It’s not merely that he is on his third marriage. It is that just before the World Trade Center attacks, New York tabloids were filled with stories about the mayor’s marital troubles and his apparent adultery. The former mayor’s personal and professional relationship with former New York City Police Chief Bernie Kerick, who has his own legal troubles, also could pose problems for Giuliani, who understands that all of his business dealings would be fair game as a presidential hopeful.

I really don’t think it’s all that close of a call which of the two lines of argument — Giuliani will be embraced by Republican activists and voters looking for a winner, or he is unacceptable to too many GOP conservatives to be nominated — is more persuasive. Put me squarely in the second camp. I find it very difficult to believe that Giuliani could be nominated as president by the Republican Party, as it’s currently constituted.

Ideology certainly isn’t the only consideration when the nation elects a president, and I don’t think that it is even the most important one most of the time. Leadership, vision and values matter more. But winning a nomination is a different matter entirely. It is crucial in closed primaries and caucuses, where only the party faithful — and I do mean faithful — decide on convention delegates.

Does anyone seriously believe that a Democrat who opposes legal abortion could be nominated for president by his or her party? Democrats wouldn’t allow that officeholder to even speak at the party’s national convention 10 years ago. (That may have changed now that many Democratic leaders seem intent on broadening the party’s tent. We will see in 2008.)

And if the Democrats wouldn’t nominate a cultural conservative, why should anyone believe that Republicans would pick a social liberal? It seems to me that you need to suspend all your analytical faculties to believe the GOP will nominate for president a Republican who supports abortion rights, and is pro-gun control and pro-gay rights. It just isn’t going to happen, at least not in my lifetime.

Giuliani’s strong showing in GOP polling reflects his celebrity status and the reputation he earned after the terrorist attacks. But if and when he becomes a candidate, that will change. He will be evaluated on the basis of different things, including his past and current positions and behavior, and he’ll be attacked by critics and opponents. A Giuliani nomination would also generate a conservative third-party candidate in the general election and tear the GOP apart, thereby undercutting Giuliani’s electability argument.

So, the former mayor might make a terrific general election candidate, but I don’t see how he can get there as a Republican.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 16, 2007. Copyright 2007 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Jim Gilmore for President? It’s Not an Easy Sell

By Stuart Rothenberg

Article II of the Constitution says that the President of the United States must be a “natural born Citizen” who is at least 35 years old. So far, so good for former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), who announced this week that he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible 2008 presidential campaign.

Having watched former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean run a stunningly effective early campaign in his bid to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, I am trying to remain open-minded early on when considering long-shot candidates for president.

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.)? Sure, he’s a 10-year Senate veteran who might be able to take advantage of a vacuum on the right in the GOP race. Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Joseph Biden (Del.)? They’ve been Senators for 26 and 36 years, respectively, so they have earned the right to be treated seriously as Democratic contenders.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), outgoing Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D)? They are or were reasonably popular two-term governors, which means they aren’t stuck on Capitol Hill and can run as successful chief executives. Give them a chance to see what they can do.

But Gilmore? I don’t think he fits in the same category. Still, let’s look at his pluses and minuses before jumping to a conclusion.

Gilmore, 57, holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia. He was elected Commonwealth’s Attorney in Henrico County — suburban Richmond — in 1987. Six years later he was elected Virginia Attorney General, serving one term in that office before winning the governorship in 1997. He left four years later having successfully divided the state GOP into warring factions during a budget crisis that he helped create — and alienated enough voters that Democrat Mark Warner was elected to succeed him.

Gilmore then served briefly — from January 2001 to January 2002 — as Republican National Committee chairman. Gilmore widely was assumed to have been installed at the RNC because Bush political strategist Karl Rove assumed that the former governor would be little more than a figurehead, while Rove really ran the committee. But Gilmore didn’t see things that way. As a former governor, he was accustomed to making decisions and having others defer to him. When Rove realized that he and Gilmore had different views of how the committee should be run, the former governor had to go. “It was a disaster from the start,” says one GOP insider familiar with the situation.

Gilmore chairs a commission created by Congress called the Congressional Advisory Panel to Assess Domestic Response Capabilities for Terrorism Involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. He also formed a nonprofit, the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness.

Shortly before Christmas, Gilmore indicated his interest in a 2008 run. He told The Associated Press, “There is not a committed conservative in the field who can put together a national campaign. I am and I can. I have people on the ground right now in Iowa and South Carolina.” Veteran Virginia political operative Boyd Marcus and New York political strategist Kieran Mahoney are involved in Gilmore’s early planning.

Gilmore’s tax-cutting record would be a plus for Republican caucus and primary voters, and the opening on the right in the battle for the GOP nomination could be a lure: The two early Republican favorites, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, aren’t exactly movement conservatives.

But caucuses and primaries aren’t only about ideology. They also are about candidates, organization and money.

Maybe time has distorted my memory, but I don’t remember him as being a dynamic, inspiring conservative speaker. Others I have spoken with remember him much as I do.

Sympathetic Republicans, however, say Gilmore is “very disciplined” and “plain-spoken,” and one media professional recently argued that Gilmore has been “terrific” as a “junkyard dog” on TV. That, combined with his ability to play to a partisan crowd, would be a strong asset for Gilmore.

Gilmore never has demonstrated the fundraising muscle that McCain or Romney have, and he also is far, far behind those rivals in lining up activists in the key early states. And there are other obstacles: Despite his service on the weapons of mass destruction commission, Gilmore, like most governors, has no direct foreign policy experience. And few outside of Virginia have ever heard of him.

In other words, Jim Gilmore begins with no name identification, no money and no organization. And that army of vaunted Virginia GOP operatives that once was mentioned as an asset for former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.)? Well, they don’t look quite so intimidating now.

Gilmore’s chance of winning the GOP nomination would be based on a single scenario: Romney doesn’t sell to conservatives, while McCain, for one reason or another, doesn’t make it to Minneapolis, Minn. Under those circumstances, lightning could strike anyone who is (or was) a candidate, even Jim Gilmore.

I find it awfully difficult to take seriously a presidential wannabe who left office having divided his own party and alienated voters, and who begins with no major assets except his alleged strategic positioning on the right. Jim Gilmore surely has a better chance of becoming a nominee than Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), but that doesn’t make him a major player for ’08 in my book.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 11, 2007. Copyright 2007 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Print Edition: 2008 Senate Outlook

The new January 12, 2007 print edition of The Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. Subscribe now through the 2008 election for only $345 for a two-year subscription and save $49, instead of buying two one-year subscriptions for $197 each. And finally, we are also able to accept payment by either credit card or check. Just go click on the Google Checkout button on the side-bar of the website.

Here's a peak into this issue:

Senate Overview - The Lay of the Land

Republicans start off the 2008 election cycle on the defensive. Not only did they lose their majority in the Democratic sweep of '06, but now they find themselves defending 21 of the 33 Senate seats up for election.

A quick look at our chart shows few Republican opportunities and a number of states where Democrats could make gains. While the Presidential contest will have some affect on the overall national environment - and therefore on the parties' prospects - it's certainly fair to say that Democrats start off with a good chance to gain a seat or two, thereby increasing their narrow margin. A rash of GOP retirements, and further voter dissatisfaction with President Bush and his party, could give Democrats even more opportunities to pad their advantage in the Senate.

The good news for Republicans is that President George W. Bush lost only four states in '04 where Republicans are up for election in 2008 - Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon - while he carried five of the twelve states represented by Democrats up for reelection. That means that next year's races aren't taking place on terribly hostile terrain for the GOP. Still, the make-up of the class of '08 definitely benefits Democrats.

For the rest of the overview, as well as our state-by-state breakdown of the races, you must be a subscriber to the print edition. Just the ratings with no explanation are available here.

2008 Senate Ratings

Here are our first Senate ratings of the year. This early in the cycle, we only use three broad categories. Later, we will move to our more specific categories such as Clear Advantage, Narrow Advantage, Toss-Up, etc.

  • CO Open (Allard, R)
  • Collins (R-ME)
  • Johnson (D-SD)
  • Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Coleman (R-MN)
  • Smith (R-OR)
  • Sununu (R-NH)
  • Alexander (R-TN)
  • Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Cochran (R-MS)
  • Cornyn (R-TX)
  • Craig (R-ID)
  • Dole (R-NC)
  • Domenici (R-NM)
  • Enzi (R-WY)
  • Graham (R-SC)
  • Hagel (R-NE)
  • Inhofe (R-OK)
  • McConnell (R-KY)
  • Roberts (R-KS)
  • Sessions (R-AL)
  • Stevens (R-AK)
  • Warner (R-VA)
  • Baucus (D-MT)
  • Biden (D-DE)
  • Durbin (D-IL)
  • Harkin (D-IA)
  • Kerry (D-MA)
  • Lautenberg (D-NJ)
  • Levin (D-MI)
  • Pryor (D-AR)
  • Reed (D-RI)
  • Rockefeller (D-WV)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Can a Republican Win the Presidential Race in 2008?

By Stuart Rothenberg

I find questions about whether Democrats can really win the White House in 2008 almost incomprehensible. The far, far better question is whether the Republicans can win the White House almost two years from now.

As we begin the 2008 election cycle, we all ought to be on the same page when it comes to expectations. Whether you are hoping that Republicans maintain their hold on the White House or believe that it’s important for a Democrat to sit in the Oval Office in 2009, it’s pretty clear that the 2008 presidential election is the Democrats’ to lose.

Put another way, while we don’t yet know the nominees or the specific circumstances that will shape the next election — all of which, of course, are important considerations in handicapping the 2008 race — the burden is on the GOP to overcome history if it is to retain the White House.

Only once in the past 50 years, in 1988, has a political party won a third consecutive four-year presidential term. That’s not an accident. It’s the result of inevitable voter fatigue and impatience, as well as the public’s (and media’s) desire for periodic change.

Obviously, Republican George H.W. Bush’s 1988 victory after eight years of Ronald Reagan shows that it’s not impossible for one party to win a third straight term in the White House. But it is inherently difficult to do so, and one would expect it to be even more difficult when the man exiting the White House is widely unpopular. (Before the Reagan-to-Bush handoff, the last time a sitting president was succeeded by a member of his own party was in 1929, when Calvin Coolidge passed the keys to the White House to Herbert Hoover.)

Next year, voters are likely to be receptive to another message of change, but this time it will be directed toward the White House, not Capitol Hill.

President George W. Bush won’t be running again, and nobody from his administration will be carrying the party’s banner in 2008, so the eventual Republican nominee won’t be saddled with the Bush administration’s legacy quite the way Al Gore was hampered during his 2000 presidential bid by some of President Bill Clinton’s behavior in office.

But voters may still want to send a message of change, and with a Republican having served eight years as the nation’s chief executive, the next GOP nominee inevitably will be burdened by the Bush record.

A dramatic improvement in Bush’s standing in national polls surely would help the eventual GOP ticket in 2008, but even that wouldn’t erase all the baggage that the president and his party have picked up since 2001. Given that few people believe that U.S. forces will be entirely out of Iraq by 2008, some of the issues that dogged Republicans for the past couple of years are likely to be around by then.

The two Republican frontrunners for their party’s nomination, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have some space to run as candidates for change and as political outsiders. McCain’s political independence on Capitol Hill is well-known, while Romney has never served in the nation’s capital.

But even McCain and Romney could rather easily be defined as “more of the same,” if only because of their political party affiliation. Last year, Democrats successfully linked more than a few Republicans to Bush, even though some of them disagreed with the president on key issues or had built strong records of serving their constituents.

It is of course true that midterm elections inherently are referendums on sitting presidents, while voters see presidential elections as more of a choice between nominees and the visions for the future they offer. That’s the good news for Republicans.

But Democrats are better positioned to sell their nominee as a force for change, even though the party is likely to control both the House and the Senate when the 2008 campaigns and elections occur. The Senate majority will include Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), who isn’t exactly a new face and who carries some of her own political baggage, and any number of other Democrats who will be able to run against the previous eight years.

Since the Democratic nominees from 2000 and 2004, Gore and Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), respectively, came within a hair of winning the White House — and some even think they did win — it isn’t difficult to imagine a credible Democratic nominee carrying the Electoral College in 2008.

Obviously, events that take place over the next two years will have a profound impact on the 2008 presidential race, making it impossible to handicap the contest at this point. But given the closeness of the past two presidential contests, the difficulty of one party winning three consecutive elections and Bush’s poll numbers, the Democratic nominee ought to have a small but clear advantage as the ’08 race begins.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 8, 2007. Copyright 2007 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Northup Planning Bid for Governor

Former Cong. Anne Northup (R) has all but decided to run for governor this year in Kentucky, where she will face off against incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) in the primary. A third candidate, wealthy businessman Billy Harper (R), has already spent $2.4 million on early television ads.

Northup lost reelection last fall in the Louisville-based 3rd District that tilts Democratic. She consistently won reelection since 1996, but the national wave was too much to overcome. Fletcher has been surrounded by controversy during his first term in office and his job ratings have suffered. Northup is a strong fundraiser and great campaigner, but taking on an incumbent is never an easy task. Until she officially announces her candidacy, Northup still has time to reassess her decision.

The eventual Republican nominee, whether Fletcher or Northup, will face a very competitive general election.

The Fate of a Rock Star

By Nathan L. Gonzales

There’s been some controversy over Barack Obama’s middle name, but it’s his new title that’s puzzling. Why do we have to label the senator a rock star? Are we talking about a rock star in the vein of The Beatles or Hanson?

Actual musical rock stars generally gain their status through their performance and their product. In contrast, newly-minted political “rock star” Obama is characterized largely by his style and the promise of future performance, rather than his short resume.

So, who decides who is a rock star? In music, it’s determined by selling albums, concert tickets, and merchandise. In politics, it’s much more subjective, and in the case of Obama, apparent laziness on the part of a media unable to characterize the senator in a more creative and correct way.

At some point, the label “rock star” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. People start to like Obama because other people like him, rather than supporting him because they’ve delved into his policy views. Cable news networks use the term because newspapers do, and vice-versa. It has become chic to like Obama and woe to the person who attacks him first.

When I think of a rock star, I think of a hard-partying musician who hangs out with groupies, enjoys recreational drugs, and ends up detailing their transgressions and their road to recovery on VH1’s Behind the Music. These aren’t exactly the attributes of a presidential candidate.

Fortunately, Obama doesn’t embody my definition, but he is like a rock star in at least one respect- he’s received a ridiculous amount of attention for largely superficial reasons. Let’s face it, most people don’t know much about Barack Obama, except for that he’s articulate, he’s black, and he gave a timely speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

But over time, we will learn more about Obama as a person and as a legislator. Republicans gathered plenty of research on the Democrat during the 2004 Senate race, including his record in the Illinois Legislature, but they never had a credible candidate to deliver the attacks. And its only a matter of when, not if, the media’s glowing coverage will turn into a microscope. No one can maintain this type of positive coverage for the next twenty months.

In general, the public eventually moves beyond superficial obsession with celebrities and begins to recognize their faults. Instead of judging people based on their hair, their movies, or their superstar spouse, we start considering their traffic stops, divorces, drug use, politics, and their religion. At this point, the celebrity- be it a rock star or whomever- must prove to the public that they have something real to offer.

To his credit, Obama has created a national reputation without anyone really knowing anything about what he stands for. He’s captivated the public’s attention by not looking or sounding like a typical politician. And Obama’s supporters are hoping that the senator’s honesty and openness will cause people to look beyond any past mistakes and lack of experience.

If he could have it his way, I’m sure Obama would rather be known as the smart, thoughtful, and articulate man that he is, instead of a rock star. He’s certainly a strong candidate, but the road to the nomination and to the White House is much rockier than the one people are paving today.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Gerald Ford: An Admirable Man in a Very Different Era

By Stuart Rothenberg

I never met former President Gerald Ford, but everything I know about him confirms that he was an honorable and decent man who sought to heal the nation’s wounds after the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

But I was at least mildly surprised that all of the kind commentary about his centrist views and bipartisan style — and all of the calls for his approach to be adopted by current Members of Congress and the executive branch — failed to note the differences between the political environment during which he served in government and the current one.

Yes, Ford approached colleagues, whether his Republican allies or his Democratic adversaries, with the kind of civility and moderation that we haven’t seen for many years. And yes, we all wish for less bitterness, more civility and more cooperation in Washington, D.C. If more elected officials acted toward one another the way Ford did with his colleagues and acquaintances, I expect the nation — and the nation’s capital — would be a better place.

But Ford was a product of a very different political era than the one we have today, and what was appropriate and entirely expected in the 1950s and early1960s simply would not fly today.

This is not meant to be a criticism of Ford, but rather of some of the wistfulness expressed by commentators during his funeral.

Ford was elected to Congress in 1948, less than three years after the end of World War II. During the 1950s, defense and international issues united Americans, and while the two parties had different views on the economy and even race, the first 12 or 15 years of Ford’s service in Congress occurred during a period of relative consensus in the country.

Abortion wasn’t an issue until the Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade early in 1973. Gay rights wasn’t an issue at all. Nor was stem-cell research. And nobody had ever heard of Terri Schiavo. For most of Ford’s House service, the Vietnam War wasn’t an issue, and by the time he succeeded to the White House, Americans were trying to put Vietnam behind them. America’s religious revival didn’t occur until the mid-1970s.

Just as important, most of Ford’s tenure in the House occurred during a period of one-party rule. From the time they won control of the House in 1954 until he was selected by Nixon to fill the vice presidential vacancy, Democrats had a lock on the House of Representatives and, after 1958, the Senate as well. Knowing that they had no chance of winning a majority or of passing their own legislative agenda, Republican legislators on Capitol Hill tended to avoid confrontation with Democrats. That meant emphasizing collegiality over competition and personal friendships over confrontation.

Bipartisanship wasn’t merely a goal. It was a reality. Members socialized with each other and forged friendships. But they did it in an era when graciousness was commonplace, when “Father Knows Best” was a TV hit and when things were slower and simpler, and when modesty was a virtue that many admired.

So for Ford, it was relatively easy to be affable, likable, modest and moderate.

We live in a much more politically competitive environment. The country is roughly evenly divided between the two major political parties, and government is much larger and more involved in daily life than during the 1950s and early 1960s. All of that increases the political stakes of winning elections, and that in turn has led to a greater ferocity in our politics and political dialogue.

Members of Congress raise funds nonstop, and their every move is analyzed on the Internet, critiqued by the media and attacked in opposition press releases. They are constantly campaigning. That’s not how it was in Ford’s day.

If the Republicans had continued to play by Ford’s rules, they might never have won Congress in 1994. And if Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had played by Ford’s rules over the past two years, Democrats might not have taken the House and Senate in 2006.

It’s important to emphasize that the differences between Ford’s America and President Bush’s (and Pelosi’s) go well beyond politics. Today, good manners are the exception, not the rule. Loudmouths on talk radio (and for that matter on cable TV) don’t hesitate to yell their opinions to you. The Internet is filled with all sorts of bile and paranoia. For many, rules are regarded as quaint or restrictive and unnecessary.

Ford reflected the values of his era, as we all do. And yes, many of us would like to recapture some of the qualities of that time, as well as the former president’s decency and modesty. But our politics reflects our times, and our times, regardless of whether we like it, are much coarser, more confrontational and more ideological.

We may well be lucky enough to get a new president in 2008 who will unite the country and help change the tone in Washington. And paying tribute to Ford for his personal qualities is both understandable and appropriate. But it’s misleading to view our political leaders apart from the times in which they lived and worked, and it will take a remarkable and very lucky man or woman to change the mood we now have.

This column first appeared in Roll Call on January 4, 2007. Copyright 2007 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Rothenberg Political Report Steps into 20th Century

With the dawn of 2007, The Rothenberg Political Report stepped into the 20th century and now accepts credit cards. Just go to the right-hand side-bar and click on the Google Checkout button for your one or two-year subscription to the print edition of the Report.

The Rothenberg Political Report is published bi-weekly with 26 issues per year guaranteed, and includes quarterly House and Senate ratings as well as Gubernatorial ratings. The Report also contains in-depth analysis of the most competitive races in the country and each issue is streamlined to ten pages so you don't have to waste your time combing through unnecessary information.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 Back Issues

The following are past races covered in the print edition of The Rothenberg Political Report. Back issues are not sold individually and are not available online. Subscriptions are available via credit card on the website or by check and delivered via regular U.S. mail.

December 21, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 26
2008 Gubernatorial Outlook

December 14, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 25
North Carolina Senate: Not Quite Nipping at Her Heels
Illinois 14: Speaker's Shadow

November 30, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 24
Michigan 9: Missed or Growing Opportunity?
Colorado Senate: Clear Choice

November 16, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 23
Ohio 16: From Generation to Generation
Virginia Senate: Closer Than You Think?

November 2, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 22
2008 Senate Outlook

October 22, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 21
New Hampshire Senate: '02 Part Deux
New York 19: [Insert Music Pun Here]

October 5, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 20
House Outlook for 2008

September 21, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 19
Illinois 8: Her Multi-Front War
Connecticut 4: Democratic Takedown

September 7, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 18
New York 25: Familiar Faces
Washington 8: We've Seen This Before

August 24, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 17
2007-08 Gubernatorial Outlook

August 10, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 16
Ohio 15: Buckeye Bulls-Eye
New Hampshire 1: Surprise, Surprise

July 26, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 15
2008 Senate Overview

July 13, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 14
Oregon Senate: The Meaning of the Letter "R"
Wisconsin 8: From Green to Blue to Red?

July 3, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 13
Georgia 8: Marshall's Plan
Ohio 1: Leave No District Behind
2008 Senate/Congressional Primary Calendar

June 22, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 12
Missouri 6: Royal Ruckus
Texas 22: Top of the List

June 8, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 11
House Outlook for 2008

May 21, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 10
New Mexico 1: Survivor
Ohio 18: Looking for a Do-Over

May 3, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 9
2007-08 Gubernatorial Outlook

April 20, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 8
2008 Senate Outlook

April 4, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 7
Pennsylvania 10: Unproven
Illinois 10: Captain Suburbia

March 23, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 6
California 11: Life Without the Bogeyman
New York 29: The Bitter Taste of a Narrow Loss

March 9, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 5
Florida 16: Instant Contest
North Carolina 8: Second Chances?

February 23, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 4
2008 House Outlook

February 8, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 3
Maine Senate: Another Bush Casualty?
Kansas 2: Final Lap?

January 26, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 2
2007-08 Gubernatorial Outlook

January 12, 2007, Vol. 30, No. 1
2008 Senate Outlook