Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006



Although he’s not the most entertaining pundit in the world, Charlie Cook weighs in on the U.S. Senate races for 2006 and sees a field set to change very little in either direction. With Democrats defending 18 seats, Cook sees early signs that a previous problem from Dems in past Senate election cycles could return---retirements:

”Then there are retirements, the root of Democrats' undoing last November. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer of New York has made it a priority to minimize the number of open seats his party will have to defend. At this point, Democrats are looking at two retirements, Minnesota Sen. Mark Dayton and Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes. The remaining 16 incumbents have indicated they will seek re-election.

In Minnesota, Dayton announced Feb. 9 he would not seek a second term. Nine times out of 10, a party would rather have an incumbent run than defend an open seat. But Dayton is that one. In 2000, Dayton ran a self-funded race to defeat Republican Sen. Rod Grams, a weak first-term incumbent.

Over the next four years, he did very little to shore himself up politically. Dayton's dislike of fundraising, the disincentives to self-fund contained in the 2002 campaign finance legislation and a decrease in Dayton's net worth left him vulnerable.”

Cook’s other thoughts on Minnesota may earn him a nasty phone call from Grumblin’ Grams as he “anoints” Mark Kennedy as well:

”Recruiting plays perhaps the largest role, followed by retirements and fundraising. It is far too early in the cycle to hand out even mid-term grades for recruiting, but Democrats have had some early success in key races, particularly in Pennsylvania, with state Treasurer Robert Casey Jr., while Republicans got the candidate they wanted in Minnesota, Rep. Mark Kennedy."

Cook’s entire column, released first to his newsletter subscription members, is not yet available on his website but should be soon.

GARY ADDS: I buried Cook in each of the last two elections and correctly called +4 Republican last year. And Eric Black of the Strib could confirm I was correct in every Senate election of 2002 -- with the exception of New Jersey -- where even I could not anticipate that the New Jersey Supreme Court would violate state law and allow a ballot change after the statutory deadline. "How'd you do that?", asked Black.

When do I start getting paid for this crap?


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