Politics & Policy

Friday Senate Scan

Alaska: After weeks of “going back and forth,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she will announce today whether or not she will pursue a write-in bid to defend her Senate seat. Many Republicans would rather she accept defeat:

“If Sen. Murkowski is truly committed to doing ‘what is right’ for her state, then we hope that she will step forward and fully endorse Joe Miller’s candidacy,” NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said in a statement released Thursday night. “No matter what Sen. Murkowski decides for her own political interests in the future, Republicans are united behind Joe Miller’s nomination, and we are confident that he will be elected Alaska’s next U.S. senator in November.”

California: Nancy Reagan has endorsed Republican Carly Fiorina, saying in a statement that the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co. “knows what needs to be done to move our country forward.” Reagan also endorsed GOP candidate for Governor Meg Whitman.

New Hampshire: The Union Leader wrote a blistering editorial accusing Rep. Paul Hodes, the Democratic candidate for Senate, of “claiming conservatism” to get elected this year:

New Hampshire voters, there’s something you ought to know about Paul Hodes. He thinks you’re stupid.

The liberal Democrat who has misrepresented New Hampshire’s 2nd District in Congress for two terms is running for U.S. Senate this year, and he sees the writing on the wall. He knows that people are rising up against his Democratic Party and its big-government, big-spending agenda — an agenda he has consistently supported.

Congress’ popularity is at historic lows, and his own popularity is, too. So he’s decided to trick you. He figures that if he simply says it enough, you’ll believe he’s a fiscal conservative.

Wisconsin: Russ Feingold’s campaign was curiously mum yesterday about the results of Wednesday’s one-day fundraising blitz, “Cheddarbomb.” Now, Huffington Post (who else?) is reporting that the effort pulled in $435,971 from more than 15,000 (average donation just under $30). Pretty underwhelming results given that 11 Democratic Senators helped spread the word and urged supports to participate. Meanwhile, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware had absolutely no trouble raising more than $1 million in just 24 hours. Expect the Feingold campaign to get increasing desperate heading into November. The Green Bay Press Gazette is predicting an “intense” and “low nasty” race:

Now, the Feingold-Johnson race begins in earnest, and it’s likely to get intense. Political experts like Duffy expect both to ramp up negatively, especially when they look at what’s happening in other races involving incumbents trying to stave off challengers riding an anti-incumbent wave.

“The bar this cycle is really high,” Duffy said, citing as an example a television ad run by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., suggesting that his tea party-backed opponent “wants to make Nevada a safe haven for domestic abusers.”

Regarding the Feingold-Johnson race, Duffy said: “Is it going to get that ugly? No. But I think it’s going to go low nasty. It has to.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientist Charles Franklin said he, too, expects both camps to ramp up negative campaigning.

“Feingold showed early on with his drilling for oil in the Great Lakes ad that he was going to go in attack mode,” Franklin said.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...

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