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September 13, 2007 07:00 PM UTC

Warner to Run for Senate - Will it Affect Colorado?

  • by: Colorado Pols

As The Washington Post reports:

Today’s decision by former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner to run for the seat being vacated by Sen. John Warner (R) has Democrats gleeful over the prospects of a pickup. Some are even predicting — privately — that the race is over before it begins.

So is it?

Warner brings considerable strengths to the race, starting with his stratospherically high poll numbers. Post polling done on Warner since he was first elected as governor in 2001 reveals a man whose favorability numbers have risen time and time again. In late October 2001 — just days before he won the governor’s race — Warner’s fav/unfav was at 62 percent/30 percent. Almost four years later, to the date, it was 75 fav/19 unfav. And, by mid-October 2006, as Warner was out on the stump regularly for Jim Webb, his fav/unfav stood at a similarly strong 73/20.

A Rasmussen Reports poll — an auto-dialed survey so take it cum grano salis — released earlier this week showed Warner with a 54 percent to 34 percent lead over former Gov. Jim Gilmore and a 57 percent to 30 percent lead over Rep. Tom Davis. (Both Gilmore and Davis are expected to run but will not announce their intentions until after the off-year November elections in Virginia.) Those familiar with private Democratic polling conducted of late insist that the Rasmussen numbers are roughly accurate.

How does this affect Colorado? Our Senate race here has been listed as the top pickup opportunity in the country for more than a year, but when Sen. John Warner announced his retirement recently, the Virginia seat jumped to the top on some lists. If Mark Warner is really an overwhelming favorite, Colorado could once again hold the top spot all to itself.

The overall effect could be negligible, but the bottom line is this: The higher Colorado sits on the pickup list, the more money and resources that the DSCC are likely to pour into Rep. Mark Udall’s campaign, and the harder it will be for Republican Bob Schaffer to win.


16 thoughts on “Warner to Run for Senate – Will it Affect Colorado?

  1. Mark Warner is currently polling >50% in polls vs. either Gilmore or Davis, with the two of them sitting in the mid-thirties.  At this stage it looks like the GOP candidate is just going to get to play whipping post for Warner.

    The Colorado race will ultimately wind up either third or fourth in the “most likely to flip” ratings; NH Gov. Jean Shaheen is likely to get into the race against incumbent Sen. Sununu, and that race will be even more lopsided than Warner’s.  Depending on who runs in Nebraska, former Sen. Kerrey could wind up a walk-away victor there as well.

    My prediction is that Udall doesn’t lose a lot of cash based on this announcement, nor will he lose much from a Shaheen announcement.  The seat will move from “most likely pick-up” into “most fought-over pick-up” and the money will flow freely.

        1. Franken is conducting a Paul Wellstone type campaign and it is proving to be quite popular with the locals. He has raised an unbelievable amount of funds and seems to be running a grassroots style campaign.

          Weird, I’ve never heard him compared to Limbaugh. Franken isn’t exactly a raging liberal, even by Republican standards.

  2. Republicans would not have had to spend any money to defend Virginia had John Warner (whom this Democrat admires, I might add).  Even if Mark Warner is a favorite, there is no reason to believe that Republicans are not going to make every effort to defend this southern seat where they should be favored.  National republican money that might have flowed into Colorado will instead be flowing into Virginia…. 

      1. When you’re buying TV time in the Washington, DC market, you’re talking serious $$$.  Considering that the Republicans are way behind in Senate campaign fundraising, this is yet another money suck they’ll have to deal with. 

  3.   They’re gonna have to spend some money defending Susan Collins’ seat in Maine, Little Sununi is history once Jeanne Shaheen gets in the game (her numbers vis-a-vis Sununi will probably Mark Warner’s edge over the two Virginia Republicans), Oregon will definitely be in play as well, and if Bob Kerrey gets into the Nebraska race, that too could go from red-to-blue.
      Besides Idaho (assuming Larry Craig doesn’t rescind his resignation and then announce he’s running for re-election) and Wyoming which are probably safe for the GOP, which other Republican seats next year are safe?
      Hard as they may try, I don’t think the GOP will take out Mary Landrieu.  She’s always had close races but manages to pull through.  Next year will be no different, although her GOP opponent might not want to be seen standing too closely to Senator Vitter.

    1. But keep in mind that Landrieu always managed to win after racking up big margins in New Orleans.  This election will be interesting to see if the number of voters will be enough for her to carry the day with the residents scattered about.  And if Kennedy gets in, I think he would mount a stronger challenge than her other two opponents did

      1.   Most of the N.O. residents who were scatter (or worse, relocated in Houston) were the poor and/or minorities, both of which communities traditionally vote Dem.
          But I disagree with you over Landrieu’s two prior opponents not being strong challengers.  I recall Bush personally campaigning in the Dec. runoff for Landrieu’s opponent in ’02 as well as the national party pumping tons of money into that race.

        1. But the lady was an election commissioner from the N.O. area, not someone that had a lot of experience with the race she was waging.  When she won the nomination, it was like she came out of no where, and she seemed a little out of her league.  Her 1996 opponent was an ultra-conservative state senator, who also seemed in a little over his head, and he barely lost.  If Kennedy runs, he’ll be the strongest candidate she’s faced to date

  4. Ok, this may not be the most likely right now. But my here’s an interesting possibility – things get so bad for Repubs that they end up pouring most of their money to hang on to Larry Craig’s seat in Idaho. And that is a 50/50 race while the other 8 that they have been thinking of putting money into they just give up on to concentrate on places they should never lose.

    In that case Wadhams will start explaining how ’10 isn’t looking good but 2016 will be great…

    1. “things get so bad for Repubs that they end up pouring most of their money to hang on to Larry Craig’s seat in Idaho”

        I don’t think things will be any better for the GOP in ’08 than they were in ’06, in fact, I suspect that things will be a lot worse. 
        But Idaho as the GOP firewall?  If it gets to that point, they’re going to be in the same shape they were in during the ’30s with Herbert Hoover and Alf Landon as party leaders.
        But you’re right…..if things do get that bad, then 2016 is when they’ll start to see daylight again.

      1. A senate seat is a senate seat.  A senate vote is a senate vote.

        They are much more likely to retain a seat in Idaho than CO or VA, unless they get some miracle candidate. Better to assure an ID victory than lose all three (and others.)

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