The potential entry of former governor and Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson into the race for senator in Wisconsin could open up a new competitive race there. Barring Thompson’s entry, it is unlikely that Russ Feingold (of the infamous McCain-Feingold bill) will face any stiff opposition. Thompson is not necessarily the type of Republican that conservatives dream about at night. He came out in support of the Senate Finance Committee’s health care reform bill. And he was part of the Bush administration, a threat to any campaign. Also, many pundits believe Thompson may just be bluffing about the race to get his name in the news. Thompson has been a perennial potential candidate, often creating buzz about an upcoming run but then not following through. The current stir about a Thompson run could be more of the same. However, given the conservative furor and Thompson’s home-state popularity, he might decide the odds are good enough to jump into the race. Adding a serious contender to a race that hasn’t been considered very competitive would be a massive win for Republican candidate recruiters.
Both Mort Zuckerman and Harold Ford Jr. announced that they are not seeking to run against senator Kirsten Gillibrand for New York’s junior Senate seat. This is good news for Senator Gillibrand and for senior New York senator Chuck Schumer, who has invested a lot of political capital in protecting Senator Gillibrand. New York’s senators have been the one solid part of the state’s political machine. Congressmen, the governor, and the state legislature have been a complete catastrophe for the last year. I can’t imagine 2010 will be the best year ever for Democrats in New York, but barring a top-tier candidate entering one of the senatorial races, the two seats look safe at the moment.
While the Democrats haven’t held a primary to determine who their candidate will be, the unopposed Republican Rob Portman is holding a slight lead in polling over his potential opponents. Portman, like Thompson from Wisconsin, could be hampered by his tenures as Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Trade Representative in the Bush administration. Mr. Portman’s support for the Iraq war is also troubling to non-interventionist conservatives.
Representative Joe Sestak has not backed down from his accusation that the Obama administration tried to bribe him to leave the Pennsylvania Senate race. This issue has not received nearly the attention that it should have, though John Gizzi at Human Events has been on the trail of this story.
California and Nevada quick hit:
Carly Fiorina a Republican of California and Senator Harry Reid the Democratic Senate majority leader from Nevada have both officially filed to run for the senate seats in their states. Ms. Fiorina was slammed by the grand daughter of David Woodley Packard, founder of Hewlett-Packard where Ms. Fiorina was CEO. Packard’s granddaughter, Arianna Packard said that Fiorina almost drove the company into the ground. Ouch!
The deadlines for filing for elections have passed in 8 states: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Only one state has held primaries for the 2010 elections: Illinois