Diary

2016 US Senate Happenings: September in Review

There has been some developments in the battle for the US Senate in 2016 in September.  Without further ado:

ARKANSAS: It’s confirmed- former federal prosecutor Conner Eldridge has entered the race on the Democratic side.  Ho hum…

CALIFORNIA:  Former GOP chair Duf Sundheim has entered the race.  This delights the Democrats who believe that too many Republicans will split the vote and allow a Harris-Sanchez final for the general election.  Make no bones about this: the GOP will likely not win this seat unless it is revealed Kamala Harris was a porn star in a former life.  Even then, she might win.

COLORADO:  Things are getting weird here.  Two months ago, the GOP was having trouble finding any viable, realistic candidates to take on [mc_name name=’Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B001267′ ], the Democratic incumbent.  But now, there are rumors that Tipton, who occupies a cushy Republican House seat, may be considering entering the race.  Another name mentioned is Doug Robinson, Mitt Romney’s nephew, who ran his uncle’s campaign in Colorado in 2012 so he may have some connections.  However, the GOP would dearly like Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler run.  Now that the Aurora theater shooting trial is over and he got a conviction, he is said to be seriously considering it and will make a decision in October.  Robert Blaha, a very rich man, is not deferring to Brauchler and is basing his decision on Bennet’s Iran deal vote and will definitely run.

CONNECTICUT: Larry Kudlow for Senate?  Stay tuned…

FLORIDA: On the Democratic side, it comes down to Murphy or Grayson.  Grayson had been bad-mouthing the Iran deal ever since Murphy came out in its favor.  This is creating a difference between the two the candidates.  But, Murphy is firing back and accusing Grayson of cozying up to Wall Street donors after three fundraisers in New York.  Those crazy kids…always fighting.  On the GOP side, a third sitting US Republican Congressman has endorsed Dave Jolly.  We are still waiting to hear from ex-state attorney general Bill McCollum who would cause some problems for Jolly and DeSantis since he leads in some hypothetical GOP primary polling match-ups.  He said he will decide after October but before the end of the year.  My guess?  He is waiting to see the third quarter campaign finance figures before entering the race looking for signs of weakness.  As for Grayson, some Democrats are grumbling about his hedge fund empire and the optics.  Thus far, he refuses to change anything other than removing his name from one fund.  It is a violation of House ethics rules to use your name on such entities.

ILLINOIS: Duckworth picked up the endorsement of Hillary Clinton, which may not be a good thing depending on how her campaign pans out.  Duckworth will likely face off against [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000360′ ] who seriously needs a real Republican primary opponent.  And hidden among the stories of the Boehner resignation is the pending story by the Chicago Tribune that Kirk was physically and verbally abusive towards members of his staff.  This led to some serious denials from Kirk’s staff.  Unless the GOP can find someone else in 2016, this seat is toast for the Republicans.  Despite his best efforts of charades, Kirk is not a Democrat and the sooner a real Republican can oppose Duckworth, the better.  This is a no-lose situation since the GOP will lose with Kirk any way.  Why not cut the losses and make the race more interesting and contrasting?

IOWA: The Democrats found a sacrificial lamb to take on Grassley in the form of state senator Rob Hogg.  Grassley is highly popular in Iowa.

KANSAS: Thought you heard the last of Milton Wolf?  He’s back making noise against incumbent [mc_name name=’Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000934′ ] appearing at a town hall meeting and confronting Moran over a state medical board investigation of Wolf.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  The suspense is killing me!  The Hassan watch is still on, but a recent Marist poll, which reflects a recent PPP poll, shows she would lose to incumbent Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’A000368′ ] by three points.  That same poll shows her winning another term as governor by 8 points.  Will she play it safe, or go bold?

NORTH CAROLINA: Well, we finally have a Democratic challenger in Chris Rey, the mayor of Spring Lake (pop. 13,037).  That ought to throw a scare into incumbent Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B001135′ ]. Rumor has it that ex-state rep Deborah Ross, who quit her day job to consider this race, is all but decided to enter on the Democratic side.

OHIO:  Here is one totally out of the blue.  Former Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has money left over from her campaign and plans to use it to support candidates who she says have come to Louisiana’s aid in the past.  That includes GOP incumbent [mc_name name=’Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000449′ ].  She also mentioned [mc_name name=’Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001035′ ].  I suppose if she totally wanted to piss off some Democrats, she could donate to Portman, although she is only allowed to donate $2,000.  That still has rankled some Democrats nationally as they believe they have a chance to defeat Portman next year.

PENNSYLVANIA:  Last month, I noted that some conservative groups were running ads in favor of Pat Toomey.  Not to be outdone, Leftist environmental groups have started running ads critical of him.  His crime?  Voting against climate change legislation and for drilling.  Yawn….  Meanwhile, Pat McGinty continues to pick up endorsements within the state, particularly western Pennsylvania, Joe Sestak’s stomping grounds.  It is not surprising since Sestak has alienated the Democratic establishment in that region of the state.

WASHINGTON: [mc_name name=’Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M001111′ ]’s reelection bid is an almost foregone conclusion.  But former GOP chair Chris Vance has stepped up to the plate and will run on the GOP side.  For a good laugh, visit his website for a bad example of Photoshop.

The following chart will be updated monthly as events warrant:

REPUBLICAN
SAFE KEEP EYE ON TOSS-UP DANGER
R. Shelby- AL (M. Rubio- FL) OPEN K. Ayotte- NH M. Kirk- IL
L. Murkowki- AK (D. Coats- IN)- OPEN R. Johnson- WI
J. Boozman- AR R. Paul- KY
J. Isaakson- GA (D.Vitter-LA)- OPEN??
M. Crapo- ID R. Portman- OH
C. Grassley- IA P. Toomey- PA
J. Moran- KS
R. Blunt- MO
R. Burr- NC
J. Hoeven- ND
J. Lankford- OK
T. Scott- SC
J. Thune- SD
M. Lee- UT
DEMOCRATS
SAFE KEEP AN EYE ON TOSS UP DANGER
(B. Boxer- CA)- OPEN M. Bennet- CO (H. Reid- NV)- OPEN
R. Bluemnthal- CT
B. Schatz- HI
(B. Mikulski- MD)- OPEN
C. Schumer- NY
P. Leahy- VT
P. Murray- WA