Friday, July 13, 2007

New Print Edition: Oregon Senate & Wisconsin 8

The July 13, 2007 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. The print edition comes out every two weeks and the content is not available online. Subscribers get in-depth analysis of the most competitive races in the country, as well as quarterly House and Senate ratings, and coverage of the gubernatorial races nationwide. To subscribe, simply click on the Google checkout button on the website or send a check. Here is a brief sample of what's in this edition...

Oregon Senate: The Meaning of the Letter “R”
By Nathan L. Gonzales

It all comes down to one letter – R. In fifteen months, Oregonians will decide whether the letter behind Sen. Gordon Smith’s name ties him to the national party led by President George W. Bush or, rather, to the maverick style of former Oregon GOP senators Mark Hatfield and Bob Packwood.

By the time the campaign is over, voters in the Beaver State may be wondering if each party is talking about the same Gordon Smith, who is the only Republican elected statewide in Oregon and the only Republican U.S. Senator on the West Coast.

In similar fashion to 2006, Democrats are attempting to portray Smith as just another national Republican, out-of-step with the state. The senator will rely on twelve years in statewide office, and he points to the war in Iraq and hate crimes legislation as key differences with his party.

With all of the energy and message surrounding the campaign to oust Smith, Democrats have struggled to find a candidate. Attorney/activist Steve Novick (D) is in the race, but national Democrats won’t give him the time of day. According to Democratic insiders, the party should have a stronger candidate soon – very soon.

Of course, party insiders really wanted former Gov. John Kitzhaber or Cong. Peter DeFazio, but they’re most likely to get new state House Speaker Jeff Merkley. He won’t necessarily have the field to himself, but he should enjoy the support from party insiders, possibly even the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Based on recent polling numbers, national Democrats view Smith as a top target, even above some of his vulnerable colleagues such as Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Susan Collins (R-ME). But the numbers may not be the whole story, and it’s going to be difficult to beat the Oregon Republican. For the whole story, you must subscribe...

Wisconsin 8: From Green to Blue to Red?

While suffering heavy losses nationally last year, Republicans came up one seat short of holding a trio of competitive open seats in the upper Midwest. Peter Roskam (IL 6) and Michelle Bachmann (MN 6) successfully kept open seats in the GOP column, but Wisconsin Assembly Speaker John Gard couldn’t follow suit in Wisconsin’s 8th CD.

Now, Republicans have their sights set on freshman Cong. Steve Kagen (D), a wealthy doctor who won the hard fought, bitter and expensive race. Within just a few days of winning, Kagen started to ruffle feathers in D.C., which resulted in some unflattering stories back home. And it further fueled Republican efforts to target the seat in 2008.

Gard has kept an extremely low profile after his loss, but GOP insiders believe he will run again, and is most likely to get in sometime this fall. While the race was very close, Gard’s campaign performance won’t automatically deter other Republicans. Subscribe now for the rest of the story...

In the next issue: 2008 Senate Overview.