(Bumped - promoted by DavidNYC)
Campaigns, as we all know, start earlier and earlier every cycle. But I thought it might be helpful to take a look back at when some of last year's Senate challengers formally filed statements of candidacy with the FEC, as something of a benchmark for what we might expect this year:
So this table tells me two things. First, that running for Senate is an incredibly hard two-year slog for most people. Alright, we already knew that, but seeing all these dates puts this fact into stark relief. This business ain't for the weak of heart - or body.
Second, this also tells me that if this cycle is anything like the last one, we may have to wait almost a year to see the field get hammered down. However, given general trends, plus the presidential race (with its super-early primaries) sucking up so much oxygen, I'd expect to see most serious candidates filings take place well before February 2007. I don't think we'll have too many - if any - Lamonts or Webbs this time. I wouldn't be surprised if just about every contender files by Labor Day of this year.
Bottom line: We've still got plenty of waiting left to do on the Senate recruitment front, but probably not as much as last time. And you can be sure Chuck Schumer isn't wasting even a moment. Neither, of course, are we.
(One small caveat about this list: As I say, it reflects candidate filing dates with the FEC. Actual announcements - ie, the kind with all the hoopla and press coverage - might have taken place at different times than listed in this chart. But in most cases, they should probably be pretty close.)