There are many miles to go before November 2008 and the general election. And I know that a day is a lifetime in politics, given the heat of a campaign. And yet there is something heady about the prospects for Democrats even from the early perspective of September 2007. Tonight the various news stories from three states give reason to hope for Democrats, and panic for conservative Republicans. And that is a good thing for the nation.
Let us start in Virginia where former Gov. Mark Warner will run for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. John Warner. As the Washington Post reports, some are even predicting — privately — that the race is over before it begins.
Warner brings considerable strengths to the race, starting with his stratospherically high poll numbers. Post polling done on Warner since he was first elected as governor in 2001 reveals a man whose favorability numbers have risen time and time again. In late October 2001 — just days before he won the governor’s race — Warner’s fav/unfav was at 62 percent/30 percent. Almost four years later, to the date, it was 75 fav/19 unfav. And, by mid-October 2006, as Warner was out on the stump regularly for Jim Webb, his fav/unfav stood at a similarly strong 73/20.
In New Hampshire former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat plans to run against Sen. John Sununu, a weak Republican candidate. As The Washington Post reports Shaheen’s candidacy ensures that Sununu is now the single most endangered Republican incumbent in the country.
And then there is the expected run of former Sen. Bob Kerrey who is considering a return bid for the open seat in Nebraska.
With strong Democratic candidates with name ID and fundraising strengths in states such as Virginia, Nebraska, and New Hampshire there will be much to talk about and rejoice in during 2008. Since the GOP has to defend more seats next year in the U.S. Senate than the Democrats do, this cycle will be another good one for the party of the people.
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