Friday, November 12, 2004

Red Hot for the Red Senators

The Moose warns that the right has its sights set on the red state senators.

Just when the donkey thought it might be safe to go back into the electoral waters, a dicy forecast awaits them in '06. Specifically, several Democratic Senators are up for re-election in red states where Bush won. They include Nelson - NE , Nelson - FL, Conrad, Byrd (possible retirement) and Bingaman. Add to that list a few vulnerable Democrats in blue states including Stabenow, Dayton and Cantwell.

In contrast, on the Republican side, its hard to find one incumbent who looks iffy. Maybe Santorum. Who knows what the political landscape will look like in two years, but for now, it looks life a rough road ahead for the donkey.

Don't just take the Moose's word for it - read this from an editorial in the flagship D.C. right wing organ - the Washington Times -

Last week's Southern experience offers an answer that should provide great discomfort for Democrats. Excluding North Carolina's freshman senator John Edwards, who probably could not have won re-election, the other four retiring Southern Democratic incumbents from Florida, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina won their last elections by an average of more than 21 points. Democratic candidates contesting those four seats this year averaged 44 percent of the vote and lost by an average of 9 points. Eight of the 16 red-state Democrats won their last elections with more than 60 percent of the vote. If they feel comfortably entrenched, they ought to review Mr. Daschle's electoral history. Before being ousted last week, Mr. Daschle won his two previous re-election bids with 65 percent (1992) and 62 percent (1998) of the vote.

This is a sobering warning for the donkey. The problem for Democrats, particularly in red states, is that the party has a "brand" problem. The party offered excellent Senate candidates in the last election cycle in red states including Bowles, Tennenbaum, John, Carson, Castor and of course Salazar (the only one who was victorious). However, having a "D" next to your name in a huge swath of America is a liability. Simply put, the "brand" in those parts is perceived by many as standing for weakness on defense and cultural relativism.

The next national "face" of the Democratic Party will be the DNC Chairman. Here's a thought experiment - if you are a Democrat running for an office in a red state, who would you want as the national spokesman for your party when you campaign on tough terrain?
-- Posted at 2:50 PM | Link to this post | Email this post