2011 - The Year We Take Back Congress and Make Obama's Life Hell!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our Turn to Hope?

From Politico:

Even as fallout from Tuesday’s arrest of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich clouds the political landscape, one thing is becoming clear: The ripple effect from Barack Obama’s presidential victory is creating promising Republican opportunities across the national map.

Whether it’s the Senate seat Blagojevich allegedly sought to sell in Illinois, the soon-to-be-vacant Senate seats of Joe Biden in Delaware and Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York, or the Arizona governorship that Janet Napolitano will give up to take the helm of the Department of Homeland Security, Republicans are finding an unexpected upside to Obama’s election and subsequent Cabinet picks.

With Blagojevich’s arrest, Illinois Democrats are now scrambling to ensure Obama’s Senate seat remains in their control, amid fears that the scandal could jeopardize the party’s ability to hold what, under normal circumstances, should be a safely Democratic seat. In New York and Delaware, the sudden opening of two solidly Democratic Senate seats also has raised the prospect that Republicans could mount serious challenges.

In Arizona, Republicans will be picking up a governor’s office when Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer takes over for Napolitano. The statewide Republican bench had been thin, but since Brewer will be the incumbent in 2010 with two years of experience under her belt, the GOP is more optimistic about the party’s chances.

If Napolitano finished her term, Brewer likely would have contended with a crowded Republican primary. Now it appears that Democrats will have a contested nomination. State Attorney General Terry Goddard and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon are among potential Democratic candidates in 2010.

Obama’s pick of Napolitano also took her out of the picture for a Senate run against John McCain. Without the two-term Democratic governor as an opponent, McCain is likely to have an easier time winning.

In Illinois, all eyes are on GOP Rep. Mark Kirk, who is considering running for the Senate seat in a special election. He would give Republicans a battle-tested candidate with no ties to the tainted Chicago and Springfield machines. He might otherwise have been unlikely to run statewide, since as a moderate Republican he could be vulnerable in a primary where conservative voters would hold sway.

Kirk isn’t the only credible Illinois Republican mulling a Senate bid. A source close to Rep. Peter J. Roskam said the second-term congressman is also “very interested” in running for the Senate seat and wouldn’t automatically defer to Kirk. Roskam has a more conservative voting record than Kirk and has won election to a suburban Chicago seat during two rough election cycles for the GOP.

“When you’re a party that has had two bad election cycles in a row, you look for the first rays of light at the end of the tunnel,” said Cook Political Report Senate analyst Jennifer Duffy. “And they saw them in Georgia, saw them in Louisiana, and now there are opportunities in Illinois.”

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