Here are my predictions for Western Democrats on Election Day:
A Senate pick up of four seats in the West
A House pick up of at least seven seats in the West
No net change for governors in the West
An Electoral College pick up of 19 electoral votes in the West over 2004
The Aspen Times has on its masthead:
If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t let it happen.The sad stories of Republican Senator Stevens of Alaska and Democratic presidential aspirant and former Senator John Edwards are recent reminders the wisdom of that warning.
These two scandals are neither identical nor equivalent. Each is bad in its own way. Senator Stevens maintains his innocence. Senator Edwards no longer does. Senator Stevens is under indictment. Senator Edwards is not. But what they have in common are highly embarrassing reports of activities that would normally be considered mortal wounds to a political career. Senator Stevens will certainly have a tough challenge to retain his Senate seat. Senator Edwards will not be the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee. The tree of trust and credibility, once felled, can only be re-grown slowly, if at all.
The scandals also have in common a warning about the temptations of high office. By historical standards, these scandals are not the most shocking cases. Given human frailties, they will not be the last. Against scandalous behavior there is the power of self control, the power of the law (when it applies), and the power of the press. When the first two fail, the third is there to remind us that “If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t let it happen.”
New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman has endorsed Senator Barack Obama. In his endorsement, Senator Bingaman said:
Our nation faces a daunting number of critical challenges: reasserting America’s leadership in the world, meeting our needs for energy independence, addressing global warming, making healthcare accessible and affordable, positioning our economy to effectively compete globally, and extricating ourselves from the war in Iraq, to name a few.
To make progress, we must rise above the partisanship and the issues that divide us to find common ground. We must move the country in a dramatically new direction.
I strongly believe Barack Obama is best positioned to lead the nation in that new direction.
With this endorsement, Senator Obama is now a more popular choice among his Democratic Senate colleagues than Senator Clinton by the narrow margin of 14 to 13.
Seven of the thirteen Western states have Senators up for election this year: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The Republicans are defending six of these seven Senate seats. Montana’s Max Baucus is the sole defending Democratic incumbent in the group, and his seat is considered safe. Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico will be open seats, and Wyoming will have both their Senators up for re-election, due to the death of Senator Craig Thomas in 2007.
Colorado and New Mexico look like the best opportunities for Democratic pick ups, and both states are considered swing states in the 2008 presidential contest. Our candidates, Mark Udall in Colorado and Tom Udall in New Mexico, are cousins from the long prominent Udall family.
The remaining campaigns are still shaping up. The contests in Alaska and Oregon could be particularly interesting. Senator Stevens (R-Bridge to Nowhere) is the poster child for pork gone wild and an opponent of transparency in government. The Iraq War puts Oregon’s Gordon Smith in a bind. He voted for the war and has been a Bush enabler. Yet he has broken with the Bush administration on the war, and hence will be at odds with Senator McCain on that issue.
It's beginning to be a sign of the times for beleaguered GOP candidates: poor fundraising numbers as compared to their Democratic party counterparts. The race for the New Mexico Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici is no exception, where Congressman Tom Udall outraised the combined totals of his GOP challengers in the 4th quarter of 2007.
U.S. Rep. Tom Udall raised more than $1 million for his Senate bid during the fourth quarter of 2007, beating the combined total raised by the two leading Republicans in the race, U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson.
Udall, the Democratic frontrunner, raised just over $1 million and spent about $118,000 during the quarter, and began 2008 with more than $1.7 million in the bank.
What's more impressive is that Tom Udall didn't raise money during the entire quarter, but only from about Thanksgiving on. As for his opponents:
Wilson came in second in fundraising for the quarter, raising just under $517,000. She spent just under $194,000 and begins 2008 with almost $1.1 million in the bank.
Pearce reported raising just under $426,000 for the quarter, spending just under $206,000 and having almost $820,000 on hand.
So let's get the 1st quarter of 2008 started off right, and show the powers that be that the netroots are solidly behind Tom Udall. Let's put this United States Senate seat back in the hands of a progressive Democrat.
kencamp | January 31, 2008 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)
Daily Kos is reporting that Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez has decided to call it quits in his race against Congressman Tom Udall to replace retiring New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici.
From multiple sources, I'm told Chavez called Udall this afternoon to say he'd be dropping out tonight, announcement expected at 8 p.m. ET.
This announcement clears the Democratic field for Tom Udall, assuring that without a primary opponent he will be armed and loaded for a general election where he holds significant leads on both of his potential Republican opponents.
Update: Marty Chavez has announced that he is withdrawing from the race, and throwing his support to Tom Udall. Here is the full text of Mayor Marty's message:
Thank You For Your Support
Today I am announcing that I will not seek the seat for U.S. Senate.
Traveling my home state over the past several weeks, I have been honored to spend time with my fellow New Mexicans to talk about the issues and challenges facing our state.
While I deeply appreciate all the support I have received, it has become very clear to me that Democrats should not be divided in the upcoming election. It is crucial to the future of New Mexico and this country that a Democrat become the next U.S. Senator. A hotly contested primary, as this one certainly could be, would likely dramatically weaken the Democratic nominee and place the general election in jeopardy.
It is far more critical to end the war in Iraq, reform our broken healthcare system, and provide educational opportunities to our youth to empower them to participate in a worldwide economy.
The war in Iraq was a mistake from the very beginning -- one of the greatest foreign policy blunders our country has ever seen. Our brave men and women in uniform have served honorably. They've done everything they've been asked to do, and they've done it superbly. Now it's time to honor them by ending the war and bringing them home.
Congress has a critical role to play. Unfortunately, Republicans in the House and Senate have stymied Democratic efforts to set benchmarks and timetables to begin a phased redeployment of our troops and start bringing them home. That's unacceptable. That's why we need to expand our Democratic majorities, especially achieving a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, to end this war.
To that end, I pledge my full support for Tom Udall for U.S. Senate, and I encourage all New Mexicans to support Tom as well. I hope you will visit Tom’s website at www.udallforusall.com and sign up to join his campaign.
I will work tirelessly to help Democrats get elected throughout our great State of New Mexico and our Nation. As Mayor, I have many new, exciting programs that I want to bring to fruition. I want to spend my remaining time in the Mayor's office being the very best mayor possible for all of the citizens of my home town.
Thank you so much for your continued friendship and support.
A clarification to this post: Tom Udall does have an opponent for the Democratic primary - alternative media publisher Leland Lehrman, who is considered a longshot. So while the field isn't clear for Udall, his path to the general election is basically clear.
Survey USA released the results of a poll yesterday that shows Democratic Congressman Tom Udall crushing his primary opponent, Albuquerque Mayor Marty Chavez, 62% to 32% in the race to succeed Pete Domenici.
In a Democratic Primary for U.S. Senator from New Mexico today, 180 days until early voting begins, Democrat Tom Udall defeats Democrat Martin Chavez, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KOB-TV. Udall, U.S. Representative from NM's 3rd Congressional District, gets 62% today. Chavez, Mayor of Albuquerque, gets 32% today. Chavez and Udall tie among New Mexico's Hispanic Democrats, but Udall leads by 54 points among white Democrats. Chavez runs strong among the youngest voters, but Udall leads by more than 2:1 among voters age 50 and older.
And with a lack of the kind of progressive credentials and record that Tom Udall has, Mayor Marty has taken to the only tactic that those who are 30 points behind engage in: throwing mud. As someone who has worked in the political world for a while now, it's my impression that wrestling in the mud can work if the race is a close one, but when you're 30 points behind it smacks of desperation and turns off voters.
It's also worth mentioning that in the SurveyUSA poll, Tom Udall defeats both Republicans, while Mayor Marty loses to one and is tied with the other. So if you're looking for a positive progressive who can win in New Mexico, go toss some spare change Tom Udall's way.
Full disclosure: I've offered my support and assistance as a volunteer to the Udall campaign, though none of what I write is authorized or approved by the campaign.
Heath Haussamen is reporting that New Mexico Congressman Tom Udall will run for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici.
Udall has called a number of Democratic Party insiders this week, including at least some county party chairs, to inform them of his decision, reliable sources confirmed. A Udall spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Draft Udall should be gaining some steam right about now, in its efforts to draft New Mexico Congressman Tom Udall for the Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici.
A Research 2000 poll conducted for Daily Kos shows Udall performing the best among all Democrats not named Bill Richardson (who wasn't included in the poll).
Wilson (R) 45 Wilson (R) 44 Wilson (R) 38
Chavez (D) 42 Denish (D) 43 Udall (D) 55
Pearce (R) 40 Pearce (R) 39 Pearce (R) 37
Chavez (D) 39 Denish (D) 45 Udall (D) 54
It's poll numbers like this that have led declared candidate, Albuquerque's Democratic Mayor Martin Chavez to already go negative on Udall, before he's even a candidate. While Chavez is losing to both Republican candidates in the poll, Udall crushes them. While Congressman Udall is reconsidering running for the Senate, perhaps Martin Chavez has something entirely diferent to reconsider: whether its worth it to stay in the race if Tom Udall gets in.
Did I mention that Congressman Udall has some impressive progressive credentials?
New Mexico Lt. Governor Diane Denish has announced she will not run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici, leaving Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and green builder Don Wiviott as the two Democrats in the race.
“I am flattered and honored by everybody’s interest in my considering the Senate race. ... [But] my heart and soul are in New Mexico,” Denish said in a statement.
Denish has long been laying the groundwork for a bid in 2010 for the governor’s seat now held by term-limited Democrat Bill Richardson , and she would move up to fill the remainder of Richardson’s unexpired term were he to succeed in his current 2008 bid for president or run for vice president on a successful Democratic ticket.
However in recent days, presumably under much pressure from the netroots and party insiders, Congressman Tom Udall has said he is reconsidering a bid for Senate.
I just got a call from someone very knowledgable about N.M. Democratic politics who says Rep. Tom Udall's people are calling the party's heavy hitters this morning to inform them he is reconsidering a run for the U.S. Senate.
But a rapidly growing "Draft Udall" movement online, as well as major arm-twisting from the national Democratic elite (including Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer), has convinced the congressman to reconsider.
Incidentally, I also heard yesterday from separate - but equally reliable sources - that Gov. Bill Richardson called Udall yesterday to tell him he DOES NOT plan to run for the Senate and would stay out of Udall's way if the congressman decides to jump in.
Here's video of Udall at the New Mexico Democratic Party Central Committee meeting this past weekend, indicating that he's considering a run.
Go here to read more about the Draft Udall movement being spearheaded by Alex Flores.
And please go to the Draft Congressman Udall for Senate ActBlue page, and donate $5 today to show Congressman Udall that the netroots is solidly behind his candidacy. It's support like yours that will get him to enter the race and put another progressive Democrat in the Senate.
Update: I neglected to mention Congressman Udall's great poll numbers against Republicans Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson. On October 8, SurveyUSA released numbers showing Udall besting Wilson 56%-38% and beating Pearce 55%-37% [poll numbers have since been taken down off of Survey USA's site]. The only Democrat who polled higher was Governor Richardson.
kencamp | November 5, 2007 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)