Monday, July 24, 2006

Weak Democratic Incumbents

Recognizing weak incumbents in your own party as well as in the opposing party is the key to success in campaign politics. However, it seems as if Senate Democrats have been spared the burden of that first duty this cycle, as Republicans have almost made a point of putting their worst possible challengers against Democratic incumbents.

Bill Nelson (D-FL) was considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the aftermath of the 2004 election, in which Bush won Florida relatively comfortably, a Republican, Mel Martinez, won a previously Democratic open senate seat, and all five retiring southern Democrats were replaced with Republicans. However, the GOP has already begun to write this election off as a bad joke because of one Katherine Harris, the former Florida Secretary of State who prevented the recount in 2000. She is facing investigation from the FBI, and her entire staff has quit twice.

In Nebraska, conservative Democrat Ben Nelson is stomping his Republican challenger by nearly 20% points. Elizabeth Dole recently organized a GOP fundraiser for 70; only 18 came.

In Washington, Maria Cantwell, who won election by less than 3000 votes six years ago is comfortably leading her Republican challenger, and has more than three times as much money on hand for the campaign.

Debbie Stabenow (MI-D) leads her opponent by more than 15 points.


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