Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Kos Predicts "Likely" Victory for Potential Kerrey Campaign

by Kyle Michaelis
Markos, founder of the DailyKos community and probably the best-known political blogger in the country, has released his projections for the 2008 election cycle in the U.S. Senate. Quite stunning is the fact that he ranks a Nebraska Senate race without Republican incumbent Chuck Hagel and with Democratic former governor and U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey as one of the Democratic Party's absolute best hopes for expanding their Senate majority.  He writes:
Here are my rankings of races most likely to switch parties at this point in time. TOP TIER 4. Nebraska (Hagel - R)
Another race assuming someone gets out (Hagel) and someone gets in (Bob Kerrey). If this happens, it would mark one of the DSCC's biggest recruiting coups and force Republicans to play defense in a likely losing battle -- the best of all worlds.

Now, I think it's great that some prominent voices in the Democratic Party and the new media are starting to take a good, hard look at the Nebraska Senate picture. With Kerrey in the race - even with Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey - this race is well-deserving of top tier status. But, I won't deny being more than a little bit concerned with overhyping a Kerrey candidacy. To say that Kerrey gives Democrats' their best chance in Nebraska is undeniable. To suggest that he's "likely" to win, though, seems somewhat extreme from where I'm standing.
I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but we have to be practical. We can't completely forget that it's been 13 years since Nebraskans last voted for Bob Kerrey. Nor can we be totally oblivious to the barely legitimate but no less effective criticism of Kerrey for living in New York City since leaving the U.S. Senate in 2001. Furthermore, the shadow of former Gov. and current Agricultural Secretary Mike Johanns hangs over the Republican field of candidates, probably as close to evenly-matched as they could get should both he and Kerrey enter the fray.

Nevermind that we still have no assurances from Kerrey that he is running - even if the rumor mills and inside buzz all say he's practically on the verge of announcing.

There's a lot to be said for a Senate bid by a re-emergent Kerrey in 2008. But, there are also real dangers for Nebraska Democrats becoming so caught up in Kerrey's star-quality that they lose sight of the 2008 election as it actually stands. And, for all the excitement about Kerrey's possible return to Nebraska politics, I just can't wrap my brain around any situation where he becomes an instant favorite - as Kos seems to suggest.

What do you say, Nebraska? Am I failing to see the forest from the trees? Am I too caught up in the minutia of Nebraska politics - too close to memories of the 2002 and 2004 elections - to the point that my perceptions of this race are corrupted and prone to excessive skepticism?

Again, I think we have a real opportunity in this race. Looking at Kos' list and the Cillizza list that preceded it, I'd agree that it's definte Top 10 material in terms of simple competitiveness. I just can't, for the life of me, call this a "likely losing battle" for Nebraska Republicans.

But, maybe that's just me. I hope so. It's certainly a beautiful dream, but no one should think for a second we won't have to fight like hell to make it an actual reality.

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