Democrats Lose Top Senate Recruits

The 2010 elections are a long way off, but it’s interesting that the Democrats have already lost their top recruits for Senate races in New Hampshire and Florida. In New Hampshire, Democrats had hoped to make it a race against three-term incumbent Judd Gregg. Instead, Democratic Governor John Lynch will seek re-election:

There’s no doubt that Lynch would be the strongest Democrat the party could put up against Gregg had Lynch been willing to do it. Last November, Lynch won his second straight re-election with more than a 70 percent super-majority, and a vote total of 479,042 that smashed all records and could be a mark that stands for decades.

Aides to Lynch said the three-term governor wanted made this statement to prevent any political speculation from gaining traction.

Instead it seems entirely possible that Democrats will face a primary between the state’s two House Members — Paul Hodes and Carol Shea Porter. If that comes to pass, it would open up two winnable House seats to strong Republican challenges.

In Florida, it’s a similar story. There state CFO Alex Sink has taken herself out of the race to succeed Mel Martinez:

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced Friday that she’s not running for the U.S. Senate, opening the door to a crop of lesser-known contenders.

Sink, the only statewide officeholder on the Democratic shortlist, was seen as the party’s strongest contender for the seat to be vacated by Mel Martinez in 2010. She was being recruited by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and Emily’s List, a national fundraising group that backs female candidates.

There’s been a lot of attention to the early Republican retirements this cycle, but the Democrats have just gotten a healthy dose of bad news, too. It will be much harder for them to win in New Hampshire and Florida without top-tier candidates.