November 6, 2004


Here are the races and some guesses at potential challengers--anybody got other candidates or reasons these choices are bad?

Robert Byrd West Virginia (born November 20, 1917) vs. Monty Warner (?)

Jon Corzine New Jersey (actually his replacement after he becomes Governor) vs. Tom Kean/Christie Todd Whitman/Steve Forbes

Ted Kennedy Massachusetts (born February 22, 1932) vs. Mitt Romney/Paul Cellucci/Bill Weld

Paul Sarbanes Maryland (born February 3, 1933) vs. Michael S. Steele

Daniel Akaka Hawaii (born September 11, 1924) vs. James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. (?)

Ben Nelson Nebraska vs. Tom Osborne

Maria Cantwell Washington vs. Dino Rossi

Joe Lieberman Connecticut vs. Ann Coulter

Mark Dayton Minnesota vs. Mark Kennedy

Bill Nelson Florida vs. Katherine Harris

Debbie Stabenow Michigan vs. Rep. Candice Miller or Rev. Keith Butler

Hillary Clinton New York vs. Rudy Guiliani/George Pataki/Peter King

Kent Conrad North Dakota vs. John Hoeven or Ed Schafer

Jim Jeffords Vermont vs. Brian Dubie

Tom Carper Delaware vs. Bill Lee

Diane Feinstein California vs. Condi Rice

Herbert Kohl Wisconsin vs. Tim Michels

Jeff Bingaman New Mexico vs. Heather Wilson

2000 Results

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2004 10:54 AM

"Joe Lieberman Connecticut vs. Ann Coulter"

Well, you've had enough offbeat predictions come true to make me give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. For example, I could have sworn Iraq would have been the Number One With Bullet issue of this campaign and I turned out to be completely wrong. But I have a hard time believing that shiksa Ann Coulter is going to present any sort of challenge to Pal Joey in the heavily Democrat, heavily Jewish Connecticut Gold Coast.

Say, didn't you used to date her back in your college days?

Posted by: Governor Breck at November 6, 2004 11:35 AM

No, one of my fraternity brothers grew up with her.

She wouldn't win, but it would be a hoot.

Posted by: oj at November 6, 2004 11:44 AM

Former Gov. Gary Johnson would be a good fit for NM--toss a sop to the Libertarian wing of the party. Congressman Mark Kennedy (R-MN) is widely viewed as a sure bet in '06, and Tom Osborne will run for Governor--it's Gov. Mike Johanns who has an eye on the Senate. If he loses this year, Dino Rossi could be back against Cantwell.

Posted by: AC at November 6, 2004 12:02 PM

I'm hoping Jennifer Dunn will give in and go up against Cantwell. There are rumors, though, that Mike Seagle, another talk show host, wants a crack at it, which would be a mistake.

Meanwhile, I thought Michael Steele wanted to be governor?

Posted by: Timothy at November 6, 2004 12:13 PM

Speaking of Rossi, things are looking pretty good for him right now.

Posted by: Timothy at November 6, 2004 12:44 PM

Aiona might get the Republican nomination. The selection pool isn't very big.

But he's virtually unknown and has not much of a record.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 6, 2004 1:52 PM

Should Rossi not win the WA governer race, I would like to see him take on Cantwell in '06, but if Gregoire is the disaster I expect her to be, he may wait for Governor in '08.

Posted by: Pat H at November 6, 2004 1:57 PM

I know it won't happen, but I'd love to see James Lileks vs. Mark "Buck-buck-braawk" Dayton.

Sen. Ann Coulter -- ye gods!

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 6, 2004 2:41 PM

A good list. Rice couldn't beat Feinstein, though. Honest.

Posted by: old maltese at November 6, 2004 3:53 PM


Feinstein won't run.

Posted by: oj at November 6, 2004 3:55 PM

Re: WV

NOT Warner; more likely Robin Capehart...perhaps Shelley Moore Capito, but I doubt it. Most likely it will be a sacrificial lamb. Everyone on both sides is just waiting for him to die. It's awful to say it, but he is almost unbeatable and the quality of the field will only be ascertainable then. Monty Warner and his family are essentially finished in WV GOP circles; his brother is being chastised for throwing state party funds which might have helped take the legislature back into Monty's doomed campaign.

Posted by: cornetofhorse at November 6, 2004 10:27 PM

Right now, I'd guess Lt. Gov. Steele will stay with Ehrlich, setting himself up to run for governor in 2010. Partly because EJ Pipkin just spent a whole lot of his own money to establish statewide name recognition in his race against Mikulski, and that money goes to waste unless he runs against Sarbanes (though I'm not convinced Sarbanes runs again--then again, as I said before, he doesn't do anything, so he could sleep in his office through 2012).

Although I suppose Steele could run for the Senate and Pipkin for Lt. Governor, though that sets up a nasty race in the Republican primary for Governor in 2010 if in the 2006 races Ehrlich/Pipkin win and Steele doesn't.

Posted by: jsmith at November 6, 2004 10:30 PM

John Engler spends most of his time now out of state. His political base is now miniscule. He is not even being mentioned. His Lt. Gov. ran in '02 to succeed him and lost in large part because of him.

The Grand Rapids Press had an article in today's paper on the '06 election cycle. In addition to the US Senate seat coming up, our Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm will be up for re-election. If she wins, watch for her star to rise in their party. She is a sharp person and doing a decent job so far as gov. Our Republican controlled legislature keeps her in check.

Among the names being mentioned are: US Reps Candice Miller and Mike Rogers, Dick DeVos, and Terri Lynn Land (our Sec. of State).

Carl Levin's term will be up in '08. A strong Presidential candidate would be of tremendous help in knocking off this big lib! His 1st win was a fluke. Senator Griffin decided to retire, went on a long vacation form his job and had 2nd thoughts about it. He changed his mind in time to run but not in time to salvage his career. Levin painted Griffin as an indecisive flip-flopper and he won.

Posted by: at November 6, 2004 10:35 PM

Can Nethercutt try to run again? Although Cantwell is broke (on top of being another lightweight), I doubt if he would do better than he did against Batty Patty.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 6, 2004 10:45 PM

Steele would get a push from the party to run for Senate in '06 (heck, they tried to woo him this year); if Sarbanes retires, I'd assume Steele would be easily the number one name on the candidate list. If not, staying put makes sense. The fact is, Maryland Republicans have a short bench and will need the full Ehrlich governorship--and maybe a re-election to boot--to get their program going full strength.

Posted by: AC at November 7, 2004 12:36 AM

Massachusetts: not Mitt Romney, he has his eye on the White House, and the governor's mansion is a better launching pad than junior senator.

Hawaii: both Democrat senators will die in office.

Nebraska: why not flip him to the GOP?

Washington: Cantwell may be vulnerable, but not to Nethercutt.

Connecticutt: why not TRY to flip him to the GOP? He'd be a better Republican than Arlen Spector.

Minnesota: Dayton has to be the single most vulnerable Democrat in the bunch.

New York: Giuliani will (probably) never be president, so he should either take a cabinet post or run for governor. He would be unhappy in the Senate, and knows it. So Pataki.

California: Rice doesn't want to be a senator. Pete Wilson could have appointed her to the Senate in 1990, when he moved to the governor's office. Or she could have run against Boxer in 1992, 1998, or 2004. Whoever decides to run, better decide soon.

New Mexico: Heather Wilson is an excellent (and obvious) choice. Her district will never be safe, so she might as well give the senate a shot.

Posted by: J Baustian at November 7, 2004 6:23 PM

Isn't Tommy Thompson leaving HHS? He'd be a great candidate for Wisconsin.

Posted by: Timothy at November 7, 2004 7:44 PM

Re: Sen. Carper of Delaware vs. Judge Bill Lee. Judge Lee is a good man, but he didn't campaign well for governor this year, he ran behind President Bush and he looks older than he is (he's 68 now and will be 71 before he would take office as a Senator after the '06 election).

Permit an alternate suggestion, though: Jim Ursomarso, who was Lee's running mate. Ursomarso lost the Lt. Gov. race more heavily than Lee the Gov. race, but the incumbent L.G. is a popular machine Democrat who doesn't have the governor's penchant for saying idiotic things in public. Ursomarso is connected with the national GOP (ran Delaware primary campaigns for both Presidents Bush, worked for the late PA Senator John Heinz) and young (in his early 40s, I think). Jim went to Duke Law School (as did Judge Lee, which helped him get the L.G. nod), practiced at a big firm in New York and Washington D.C., then came back to Delaware to run the family business. He's also a party-builder, chairman of the Wilmington Region Republican Party.

We had an odd situation in the L.G. race on the GOP side this year. Three active candidates (two state legislators and a businesswoman), and in the end Lee picked somebody who hadn't previously expressed any interest. Like EJ Pipkin in Maryland, a big part of Ursomarso's decision to run had to be building the statewide name recognition for a later run.

My guess is Ursomarso falls short for Carper's seat in '06 but is strong in '08 either for Governor (incumbent will be term-limited) or for Biden's Senate seat (assuming Biden retires). Interestingly, Ursomarso is a member of the NY bar but not the DE bar -- he runs a car dealership, so why bother taking another bar exam? -- otherwise I'd peg him for attorney general in '06.

Posted by: Random Lawyer at November 8, 2004 12:06 PM