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Time to Face Facts on Blogosphere Senate Recruitments

by: Nonpartisan

Fri Jun 29, 2007 at 5:16 PM EDT

[Cross-posted at Daily Kos and MyDD.]

Jim Webb's victory tonight is a victory for Virginia's netroots.  Virginia's progressive blogosphere was not thrilled with the default candidate emerging earlier this year.  So, spearheaded by Lowell and many others, they drafted a Reagan Republican with a stellar resume to run as a Democrat and propelled him to victory in the primary.

--  Raising Kaine

My, how far we in the activist Netroots have fallen.  With Brad Miller's refusal to run in the North Carolina Senate race, it's time to admit that we have a full-fledged blogosphere recruitment disaster on our hands for the 2008 Senate races -- and to ask why it happened, and how we can avoid such an event in the future.

Nonpartisan :: Time to Face Facts on Blogosphere Senate Recruitments
Here are the candidate recruitment situations in the Senate races with Republican incumbents or that are open seats:

Alabama: Blogosphere-recruited State Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks decided not to run against Sen. Jeff Sessions, citing concerns of a divisive primary against State Sen. Vivian Figures.  Sparks' decision leaves only Figures, a charismatic liberal but a long-shot to win the general election, in the race.

Alaska: The Democrats' top choice against scandal-plagued Sen. Ted Stevens, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, is the only major candidate in the race (unless former State Senate Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz gets in).  Unlike the last two election cycles, when former Governor Tony Knowles was heavily recruited by the blogosphere, there hasn't been a peep from anyone online except to tepidly support the recruitment of Begich.

Colorado: Congressman and Blue Dog Dem Mark Udall locked up this nomination early, with support from Chuck Schumer.  The blogosphere has yet to mention a strong candidate against him (Mike Miles, anyone?)

Georgia: Neither Rand Knight or Dale Cardwell stands much of a chance against Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and the blogosphere has yet to make much noise about either of them, despite both of their solid progressive records.  The blogosphere (and, presumably, Chuck Schumer) also failed to recruit Sen. Max Cleland into a rematch with Chambliss.

Idaho: Former Congressman Larry LaRocco is a solid progressive, but has locked up this nomination against Sen. Mike Crapo without much help from the blogosphere, which is more focused on Congressional candidate Larry Grant.

Kentucky: No one on the Democratic side has yet jumped into this race against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, despite its high position on the list of blogosphere targets.

Maine: Congressman Tom Allen joined the race against Sen. Susan Collins early and was a joint recruit of the blogosphere and Chuck Schumer.

Minnesota: One could say that talk-show host Al Franken is a blogosphere recruit, but that would belie the fact that many in the blogosphere don't want him to run.  He faces Schumer recruit Mike Ciresi in what promises to be a hotly-contested primary for the right to face Sen. Norm Coleman.

Mississippi: No one has joined the race against veteran Sen. Thad Cochran, though former Attorney General Mike Moore is considering.

Nebraska: Blogosphere recruit Scott Kleeb is considering the race against Sen. Chuck Hagel in what may be an open seat, but the most likely candidate remains Blue Dog Democrat and rabid Iraq War supporter Bob Kerrey, who is being recruited by Chuck Schumer.

New Hampshire: The blogosphere failed to recruit anyone into the race against Sen. John Sununu, leaving the two leading Democratic candidates as former Congresswoman and Joe Lieberman ally Katrina Swett and the slightly more palatable former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, who is Chuck Schumer's choice.

New Mexico: No major candidate has yet jumped into the race against surprisingly-vulnerable Sen. Pete Domenici.  Top blogosphere recruit Congressman Tom Udall declined to run.  The blogosphere is now attempting to recruit former U.S. Attorney John Kelly.

North Carolina: A joint push by the blogosphere and Chuck Schumer to recruit Congressman Brad Miller into the race failed last week when Miller announced he wasn't running.  To date, no one has announced a run against Sen. Liddy Dole.

Oklahoma: In one of the few potential blogosphere success stories, State Sen. Andrew Rice is considering running against Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Oregon: The top two blogosphere recruitments, Congressmen Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer, both declined to run.  The blogosphere is now stuck with political novice Steve Novick.

South Carolina: No Democrat has stepped up to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Tennessee: No Democrat has stepped up to challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander, though Michael Ray McWherter, son of a former Governor, is considering.

Texas: Blogosphere recruit State Sen. Rick Noriega is still considering the race against Sen. John Cornyn.

Virginia: The only potential candidate for Sen. John Warner's seat is former Governor Mark Warner, who is a Schumer recruit.

Wyoming: The only potential candidate for these two Senate seats now held by Sens. Mike Enzi and Jon Barasso is conservative Dem Gov. Dave Freudenthal, definitely not a blogosphere recruit.

You may question my characterizations of some of these races, but let's look at the situation this way: The top five blogosphere recruits of the cycle (the ones that received national blogosphere attention from Daily Kos, MyDD, and other sites) were Ron Sparks in Alabama, Brad Miller in North Carolina, Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer in Oregon, and Rick Noriega in Texas.  To date, four of these five have declined to run, and the fifth (Noriega) is still considering.

This is a pretty terrible record for blogosphere recruitment this cycle.  In 2006, by way of comparison, the blogosphere was able to singlehandedly recruit Jim Webb and Ned Lamont into their respective Senate races, and then propel them ahead of high-powered Schumer candidates Joe Lieberman and Harris Miller.  We also played a major role in Jon Tester's defeat of the Schumer-supported John Morrison in Montana.

Where is that blogosphere muscle now?  Why can't we convince two separate Congressmen in Oregon to run against a badly damaged Senator, or show a statewide officeholder in Alabama that we can help him beat a no-name state senator?  It's time for us in the blogosphere, both in the state blogs and in the national activist blogs, to examine our priorities and figure out what has gone so horribly wrong in this recruitment cycle.  Is it because we're too focused on the Presidential race?  Because we've simply lost interest in the Senate since taking it over last November?  Whatever the reason, I think we should talk seriously about why we've failed so far in this cycle, and about how, or if, we can salvage the situation.  I for one would like to see a Lieberman-proof majority in the Senate after 2008.

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I've gotta disagree on a few things.
First off, it's still early.  Webb didn't get in until much later than this.  Second, Schumer didn't recruit Harris Miller, if memory serves.  Webb was a joint blogosphere/DSCC candidate.  It's also not fair to characterize Lieberman as a Schumer candidate.  He was an incumbent.

Now, as for the individual races, you left a lot out and mis characterized quite a few things.

Alabama-Yeah, Sparks is out.  It's disappointing, but life goes on.  Besides, it may not be completely hopeless.  I've got to believe there's a lot of pressure on Figures right now because of this decision, probably coming from ol' Schumer himself, not to mention Alabama Democrats.  She keeps pushing her announcement date back as well, and that's got to mean something.  So maybe this one ain't hopeless.

Colorado-You characterize Mark Udall as a Blue Dog and want us to recruit someone against him.  First off, if Udall's a Blue Dog, it's probably in the same sense that Kirsten Gillibrand is.  I don't know if he's in the Blue Dog caucus or not, but Udall's always been a pretty good Democrat, to the left of Ken Salazaar.  The only thing you have to do to get in the Blue Dog Coalition is support fiscal responsibility.

Georgia-You didn't mention netroots efforts to recruit Wyc Orr.

Idaho-We didn't need to recruit Larry LaRocco.  He came in himself and has been running a great campaign with a significant online presence.  In short, he's a people powered candidate we didn't need to recruit.

Kentucky-There are efforts by the netroots to recruit Charlie Owen into that race, and Greg Stumbo is also looking at the race.

Minnesota-Mike Ciresi isn't a Schumer recruit.  He jumped in of his own volition while Schumer was trying to get Rybak, Walz, or Betty McCollum to run.

Nebraska-You also left out netroots efforts (and DSCC efforts) to get Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey to enter the contest.

New Hampshire-You forgot about Steve Marchand, whose running a great campaign with significant support from the netroots.

North Carolina-Some on the netroots are already trying to recruit Grier Martin now that Miller is out.

Oregon-What's wrong with Steve Novick?  Yeah, he's a political novice...much like...oh I don't know...two guys named Jim Webb and Ned Lamont.

South Carolina-There is an effort among the netroots to recruit Robert Barber Jr. into the race against Graham.

Texas-Noriega looks to be moving towards a run.  Hopefully it will pan out.

I agree with you that our Senate recruitment efforts aren't going great.  I also agree that we need to be more aggressive.  But let's not sell ourselves, or our existing candidates, short.  A few years ago, the netroots were considered to be a joke.  Now we're real movers and shakers, so much so that Schumer and his DCCC counterpart are working with us on candidate recruitment.  And let's not forget that people like Steve Marchand, Steve Novik, and Larry LaRocco are people powered candidates that we didn't have to recruit.  They jumped in on their own accord and are running great campaigns with a focus on ordinary Americans, progressive vision, and a significant presence in the netroots.  We are changing the way politics works, and many of the candidates that have come in this cycle are evidence of that.  Yeah, we need to step up our recruitment efforts in places like Kansas (which you didn't mention), but we shouldn't become pessimistic about our progress this cycle just yet.

South Carolina
Wow, that's great that Barber is being talked up.  I thought he might prefer a 2010 run, but Graham could very likely get wounded in a primary.  Encouraging news.

And thanks for posting 6 minutes before me, makes me look like I just copied everything you said, lol!

[ Parent ]
How about we just say great minds think alike!

[ Parent ]
Mark Udall
if among the fifty most liberal Democrats in the house. He is a very prominent and strong liberal. What the writer has against him I do not know. I guess any strong beltway candidate with strong early chances is dislikable.

On another note, Ethan Berkowitz was State House Minority Leader, not State Senate. I also have to consider former Rep Eric Croft who was also running for governor in 2006. He's from the Anchorage area, which is crucial for a state wide victory. He was a very long term incumbent, and he's very well known on the Anchorage politicil scene. He's conservative enough to do well with the general population, and I think he would make a good candidate to give Stephens at least a slightly difficult time.

Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

[ Parent ]
Senate recruitment
I agree with you some and disagree with you some.  I actually applaud most of what Schumer accomplished last cycle (as well as the victories of Webb and Tester), so I just might be biased, haha.

I do agree w/ your feeling that many (most?) of the potential candidates that the blogosphere became excited about (DeFazio, Sparks, Blumenauer, Miller) declined, but the fact that 3 of them are House members in the new majority party would make it harder for them to leave chairmanships, I think.  Sparks wanted to avoid a divisise primary and it seems like Figures was set on running, so that's where that went.

Going through each race you mentioned with some brief thoughts, lol:

Alabama- Already mentioned.  Sparks didn't want a (potentially) nasty primary, so he bolted.

Alaska- I think there should be MUCH more attention being had on this race and I agree that Begich should be a star in the blogosphere, but I think it will be coming soon enough.  It seems that he and Berkowitz are trying to coordinate which goes for Young and which for Stevens, so maybe more ink (?) will be spilled on Begich in the upcoming weeks.

Colorado- I know that many disagreed with how Schumer handled certain states in 06 (Ohio seems to piss many off), but I don't think we should field a "blogosphere" candidate to challenge a "Schumer" candidate, for the sheer fact that it wasn't really an online effort that got them into their race.  Therefore, I don't think we should waste resources challenging Udall in Colorado, but that is just my opinion and I'm not a Dem from Colorado.  It seems like he is going to be a likely favorite against Schaffer, so I'm pleased w/ the situation.

Georgia- Cardwell and Jones seem crazy and Republican, don't know much about Knight.  However, there is actually a healthy movement going on in the state trying to persuade fmr. State Rep. Wyc Orr to challenge Saxby that could prove to be a sleeper race for the cycle.  I believe the site is:

Idaho- I think LaRocco has been generating more excitement than what would be expected of a Dem candidate in such a red state.  The fact that it will probably be an open seat (Craig's, by the way) only adds to the excitement.  McJoan from Kos writes often about the race, I believe.

Kentucky- Greg Stumbo and Charlie Owen are the names being thrown around most often in Kentucky and, even though they each might have qualities that could be seen as negatives by many (Stumbo accepting Lunsford's offer for running mate and Owen being really old for Senate candidate), I believe that whoever ends up going against McConnell will receive much attention from both the blogosphere and the DSCC.

Maine- Yeah, I think we are all okay with Congressman Tom Allen.  Not sure that this can really be chalked up as a netroots recruitment victory, but everyone seems to be pretty pleased with his candidacy.

Minnesota- The state I am most frustrated with, as I've said numerous times.  However, how is Ciresi a "Schumer recruit?"  He ran in 2000 and lost to Dayton and almost jumped in against Klobuchar last cycle, so I'm assuming he was going to get in no matter what.  It seems to be getting almost too late for another Dem to get in, but I'm not sure about the dynamics going on.  I've read (and mentioned in all MN-Sen threads, lol) state Sen. Mee Moua's name mentioned, but nothing seems to be happening w/ her.

Mississippi- Everything depends on what Cochran does.  All signs seem to point that he stays in, but you're right that Moore gets in if Thad retires.

Nebraska- Kleeb, if he ran, would immediately turn into a top Senate netroots darling.  However, I think that is better to get Kerrey to go for the seat.  No I don't agree w/ him all the time, but he would be a very strong candidate in an open seat.  I mainly don't want Kleeb to go 0-2, because I think he has a VERY bright future, but I think he will go for the Senate seat if both Kerrey and Fahey decline (but it seems more and more likely that Kerrey gets in).

New Hampshire- I think Marchand is one of the most popular Senate candidates throughout the blogosphere, actually.  Swett is despised, but Shaheen is polling like a beast against Sununu.  If Shaheen doesn't get in (unlikely), I do think Marchand will keep up being a netroots favorite.

New Mexico- Don Wiviott just announced and has lots of personal cash, but it's too damn early to see how he is received.  This is another instance that I agree that the biggest name for the seat (T. Udall) declined, but also another instance of getting hopes up on a House member risking their seat.  At least he declined to run very early on and didn't tease, I'll give him that.

North Carolina- Miller declining to run was a pretty big letdown, but that was only within the last week.  Possibly a new effort will begin in NC (Grier Martin?), let's give it a couple of weeks.

Oklahoma- Andrew Rice has the potential to be one of this cycle's biggest stars in the blogosphere, but he actually does need to get in.  Rice v. Inhofe would be one of the starkest contrasts I've ever seen in a race.

Oregon- Many like Novick, but Alan Bates and Eileen Brady are being heavily mentioned.  Also, there is a chance that Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown and House Speaker Merkley get in the race.  I think that the netroots will enthusiastically support whoever the nominee is.

South Carolina- Agreed.  Hard state, but I wish more would be happening here.

Tennessee- McWherter seems to be in heavy talks with the DSCC but, once again, I don't think that meeting with Schumer should deny someone blogospheric love.

Texas- I truly believe that Noriega is this cycle's Webb/Tester candidate.  Someone that really everyone can get excited about and support.  His wife's election for the Houston City Council just finished (Melissa was victorious), so let's give him a few weeks to announce before getting nervous.

Virginia-  Warner is pretty beloved in the blogosphere.  The fact that Schumer has been courting him doesn't mean that his support online will erode.  He would also turn this into an almost guaranteed pick-up.

Wyoming-  Weird circumstances.  Trauner seems to be one of the most popular Dems around, but he probably still has his sights set on Cubin's seat.  Along w/ South Carolina, the only two states that I don't think there is a lot of possibilities.

There is also Kansas.  Sebelius (who won't run) has really turned around the state and I'm sure there are plenty of Dems that she is going to be persuading to run, I trust that she'll succeed.

So, yeah, we've been disappointed about the candidates that have inspired and motivated us declining to run these past months, but many of them are in the House and will continue doing great things for their constituents.  We shouldn't let that allow us to feel as if our jobs are over, though.  There are still states where an exciting candidate might jump in out of nowhere (Kansas?) and we still do have several possible candidates that would immediately become stars in the blogosphere, that door wasn't closed just because Sparks and Miller are not going to run.  Rick Noriega (TX), Andrew Rice (OK), Wyc Orr (GA), Mark Begich (AK) and others have what it takes to become this cycle's Webb/Tester candidates.  I also think that there are many others that Schumer will personally recruit that will get a lot of netroots attention (Warner, Shaheen, Allen) and that is awesome.  We shouldn't be pissed just because a candidacy didn't evolve organically; on the same token, the DSCC shouldn't be pissed if their candidate falls to an "outsider" (i.e., Montana).  I think the DSCC and Netroots can work together to craft a pretty kick-ass slate of Senate candidates.  If Noriega, Rice, Orr, and Begich all decline....then yeah, I might get a little bit pissy.  Right now, I am optimistic about creating a Senate majority that is on its way to being filibuster-proof.

I think it's largely a flawed premise
To say that the blogosphere - the decentralized, far-flung, hobbyist-activist blogosphere - is single-handedly, or even primarily, responsible for candidate recruitment. Running for Senate is one of the hardest things a person can do in a lifetime. If you choose to make that decision, it's going to be for a thousand reasons. Netroots support can only be one of them. Which is why I disagree with this statement:

"the blogosphere was able to singlehandedly recruit Jim Webb and Ned Lamont into their respective Senate"

We didn't "singlehandedly" do anything. It's always a team effort.

And you ask why certain potential candidates who generated a lot of interest in the blogosphere have chosen not to run. But we know why: In the cases of DeFazio, Blumenauer and Miller, all of them are enjoying being in the majority in the House. (So you can blame Rahm Emanuel for being so successful last cycle.) In the case of Sparks, he knew that the fragile AL Dem coalition couldn't survive a contested primary intact, and therefore that a Senate run would be suicide.

These are all extremely good reasons not to take the leap. Yes, I'm disappointed that these guys have chosen not to run, but I don't think it's a cause for navel-gazing introspection and teeth-gnashing. There just isn't more we could have done. The small part of left-blogistan which actually cares about horserace politics talked up all of these guys extensively - and talking is really all the blogosphere can do.

Also, please remember that almost all of these guys were also prime recruits for the DSCC. And it's Chuck Schumer who can cajole and make promises that count for a lot more than what we can deliver. We can deliver a little money, some boots on the ground, potentially a lot of buzz and a strong megaphone. Schumer can deliver millions of dollars, connections, and promises of choice committee assignments.

So if you want to take anyone to task, blame the DSCC. This is their job. As I say above, we are activists and hobbyists and virtually none of us do this as a full-time job. But even I can't blame Schumer too much. Like I say, I mostly think having a majority in the House has made recruitment very difficult.

A final thought: Lamont and Webb were two of the very last candidates to announce last cycle. They both didn't get into the race until 2006. It's only mid-year right now. There's still plenty of time for great candidates to get in the race.

Okay I'll
let you have it. I think you're wrong. Let me explain.

Alabama: Figures isn't in the race yet and there are rumblings that Sparks may yet make the right choice. The question wasn't can Sparks beat Figures for the nomination but it would have been hard to not piss off black voters and Sparks would need black voters. That's why he didn't run.

Alaska: No. We all want Mike Gravel! Just kidding. This has been quite but it's Alaska. Ted Stevens isn't going anywhere anytime soon and Begich is the only at all viable canidate. There just isn't a bench in Alaska.

Colorado: Waste of time. Udall isn't a Blue Dog, just a DLCer. But for Colorado he's pretty progressive. Better then DINO Ken Salzar. It would be a waste of time and resources.

Georgia: Dale is a crazy right winger. He's to the right of Tom Tracadaro on immigration and is in favor of some crazy right wing tax idea. The flat tax I think. There is a strong effort in the GA netroots to draft Wrc Orr. Check it out: http://www.wewantwyc...

Idaho: Why would we want to challenge him? Larry has strong netroots support already. Has liveblogged. Coming to YearlyKos. Mcjoan raved about how great he was. He is a netroots guy. Who cares if we didn't recruit him?

Kentucky: We're focused on raised money for whoever wins. The netroots favorite is Charlie Owen though. There is a draft effort at http://draftowen.blo...

Maine: Allen is a big friend of the netroots and the netroots have been a big friend of him. This is a big success. DSCC loves him and so do we.

Minnesota: Franken ran on his own. Some in the netroots like him but many don't. Mike Ciresi isn't DSCC recruited. They wanted McCollum, Walz or Rybak. I think the netroots will get behind someone else. I'm thinking about starting a Draft Rybak movement actually. I met him today and he was a great guy. Either him or Mpls City Council Member Ralph Remington.

Mississippi: It's Mississippi. Need I say more? Thad isn't going anywhere unless he retires.

Nebraska: Kleeb was not a netroots recruit at all. Some in the netroots liked him but still. Kerry won't run most likely and Mike Fehay is much more recruited by the netroots and DSCC currently. 

New Hampshire: Swett isn't a former congresswomen. I have no idea where you got that idea. And the Netroots has been getting behind Marchand pretty big.

New Mexico: The netroots hasn't done much at all in New Mexico. I think Kelly would be the best choice.

North Carolina: This was a big loss but oh well. Many (like me) want Grier Martin to run and don't be surprised to see a draft effort soon.

Oklahoma: Yep. Andrew is going to run. I'd be pretty surprised if he didn't. He's a real progressive. No chance of winning but oh well.

Oregon: Stuck? Most of the netroots LOVE political VETREN Steve Novick. He's one of us. He has a long uphill way to go but he will win.

South Carolina: Yeah. But The Guru has suggested Robert Barber Jr. and hopefully he'll run.

Tennessee: McWherter would be great. Not much of a bench in TN though. And at least Ford is gone.

Texas: Rick is leaning towards a race. He'll jump in soon. He's the Jim Webb of this cycle. A populist military guy who can win in a red state.

Virginia: Warner also has a lot of netroots support. I'd say by you're terms he would be a joint recruit. Although he won't run unless Warner retires.

Wyoming: Dave isn't running. Period. But this is Wyoming. There is almost no bench if any there. Some random rancher or something will step up. Hopefully.

Basically I think the "netroots" is doing pretty well. Seeing as no one in the netroots knew who James Webb was at this time of the year and Ned Lamont was still a long shot. I'd say we are doing pretty we'll. We've got Allen, Marchand, LaRoco who have netroots support but aren't netroots candidates per say. You've you Rice and Rick in the southwest who are going to run most likely. You've got draft efforts for Owen and Orr. You've got draft efforts on the horizon for Robert Barber Jr. and Grier Martin. You've got Warner who is going to do a lot of netroots outreach and get netroots support.

I think overall we're doing pretty we'll. That's just me though!

One small disagreement
Agree with most of what you said, except for this: Mark Udall is NOT a DLC'er. His record is progressive by almost any standard, and he did not support the standard DLC causes of free trade, bankruptcy reform, etc. The only reason he's being labeled a DLC'er is b/c of his recent war votes. Were they wrong and misguided? Yes, but that's no reason to characterize his entire record as that of a DLCer. Plus, I find it difficult to imagine DLC'ers being rugged outdoorsmen who enjoy climbing mountains. If anything, Udall is a more Westernized (in terms of Rocky Mountain area culture) version of Gary Hart and Tim Wirth.

[ Parent ]
Mark Udall is a member of the DLC. He's a progressive for the DLC. But he's still a member of the DLC. He's more of a DLCINO (DLC in name only).

[ Parent ]
Right on DCLINO
You're absolutely right on that part. Oddly, though, I've never seen that term used, though it applies to more than a few Dems.

Technically, he IS part of the New Dem Caucus, which is affiliated with the DLC, but not a part of its official structure. Does the DLC even have a membership base, or is it all elected officials/politicos? Not to say that anyone would want to join it, though.

Interesting note: one of the DLC leaders is none other than Michael Coleman, Mayor of my adopted-hometown of Columbus (I attend OSU and am down here for summer school).

[ Parent ]
I'll say the same thing...
I said at MyDD. Presuming that "the netroots" is a monolithic voice represented by its foremost voices on a national level pretty much ignores the entire premise of "the netroots."

The netroots in my state, as far as the Senate race is concerned, basically consists of myself and the New Nebraska Network. It's no coincidence that we are leaders in Nebraska Young Democrats - the grassroots level.

Remember that the biggest part of what we do is grassroots action. The grassroots in Nebraska is behind Bob Kerrey, Mike Fahey, or Scott Kleeb. There will not be a primary in Nebraska this year. It'd be lunacy.

I don't understand you.
Quite simply: I don't understand why it should be considered a "netroots failure" that we haven't recruited candidates in races in every state.  I don't see why it's incumbent upon the netroots to serve as the recruiting arm of the Democratic Party.  If an opportunity presents itself, like Sparks, or DeFazio (hey, we all had to try, even if it was nothing more than a longshot to begin with), or Webb or Lamont, then great.  But the opportunities to really influence a person's decision are not always there, for reasons best said by David above.

And are we in a contest with the DSCC to see who's a "netroots recruit" and who's a "Schumer recruit" all of a sudden?  In the case of Virginia, for example, both the netroots and Schumer would love to have Mark Warner in the race.

Mark Warner
I'm no special fan of Mark Warner, but the idea that he's anathema to the netroots is also bizarre. He has many partisans in the blogosphere, and proved his credentials when he threw a fund-raiser for ActBlue. Who else has done that?

Half the population believes our electoral system is broken. The other half believes it is fixed.  

[ Parent ]
Different states, different circs
I agree with much of what's been said in rebuttal. I'm starting to feel some enthusiasm for Steve Marchand, though as a pragmatist I wouldn't help fund him against the less satisfactory Shaheen if the numbers continue to show that she could win it.

I have no stones to throw against sitting members of the House whose seniority suddenly gives them clout they do not care to gamble away.

I'm prepared to feel quite a lot of enthusiasm for Andrew Rice; I sent money to his campaign for the state legislature last cycle. My only reservation being that he's served a single term and will be vulnerable to an accusation that he's too inexperienced. If he runs and loses badly, will he be a less credible candidate for higher office in two years, or four?

The AFL-CIO midterm report on Congress's voting record in the 2005 session showed Mark Udall leads the Colorado delegation in support of legislation to protect working families. Congressman Udall'€™s endorsements have included Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, and the Human Rights Campaign. The idea that the netroots needs to seek out some more liberal butterfly to contest this Western primary is beyond quixotic; it's contemptible. It's the Gretchen Clearwater contingent, sapping money, resources, and hope away from perfectly good Democratic candidates when slender resources and energy are needed elsewhere. 

Half the population believes our electoral system is broken. The other half believes it is fixed.  

Just pointing out...
I'll try not to repeat what others have said.  We've had a few recruiting successes so far, and a few disappointments.  A lot is yet to happen.  I think with the Presidential race starting at the earliest point ever, it has taken some political oxygen out and delayed the hyping of Senate races.

Looking at the situations in Oregon and North Carolina, with Congressmen DeFazio, Blumenauer, and Miller opting against a Senate run, that is 100% due to Democrats holding the House majority for the first time in over a decade and these guys having a newfound breadth of power with which to serve their constituents.  A lot to walk away from.  While I would like to see more chatter in North Carolina (Dole is so much more vulnerable than she is given credit for!), in Oregon, in addition to activist Steve Novick, a number of potentially interesting candidates are considering bids, including state House Speaker Jeff Merkley, State Senator Alan Bates, businesswoman Eileen Brady, and radio personality Jeff Golden.  Oregon recruiting is far from over.

In Alabama, rumors of a potential Sparksmania resurrection abound.  And, regarding Alaska, the netroots are discussing Begich.  It's just a bit drowned out by the incessant news of Ted Stevens' brewing scandals.  My blog, for instance, mentions Begich in almost a dozen posts and highlighted Begich's vs. Stevens' < href="">postive-negative rating.

Colorado, Idaho, and Maine are set with Udall, LaRocco, and Allen.  And, while they stepped up of their own volition, they haven't been fearful of reaching out to the netroots.  LaRocco (who is running for Larry Craig's seat, not Mike Crapo's) has done four liveblogs on various sites and Allen had his famously successful anti-Lieberman fundraiser.  The netroots are working with these candidates.

I've been pushing reaching out to Robert Barber Jr. in South Carolina.  And I've offered a number of suggestions in Kansas (which you left off your list) and a few suggestions in Wyoming.

Oklahoma is interesting, with State Senator Andrew Rice holding the potential to be a netroots darling.

Kentucky will likely be either Owen or Stumbo, with the netroots and everyone else getting behind anybody to take out McConnell (who could yet have a primary challenger).

Georgia, New Mexico, and Minnesota are wide open, with varying degrees of netroots involvement.  The Georgia netroots have talked up both Rand Knight and former State Representative Wyc Orr.  I'm still hoping Congressman Tom Udall gets in to put the clamp down on a weakened Pete Domenici.  In Minnesota, while Franken and Ciresi are the big names, if Nobel Laureate Dr. Peter Agre gets in, look for the netroots to grow enamored with him.

In New Hampshire, Steve Marchand will be the netroots fave if Jeanne Shaheen doesn't get in.  If she does, she clears the primary field and whups Sununu.  Similarly, in Virginia, we're waiting on Mark Warner, of whom the netroots is largely very fond.

I'd like to see more noise from Tennessee with an interestingly deep bench, but McWherter does intrigue me as a potentially viable candidate.  Similarly, in Nebraska, the names are Kerrey, Fahey, and Kleeb.  Kerrey defers to Hagel, Fahey defers to Kerrey, and Kleeb defers to either Kerrey or Fahey.  Waiting game.  The netroots won't jostle that.

Mississippi and Wyoming are what they are.  If Cochran doesn't run for re-elect, former AG Mike Moore gets in.  If Cochran runs, no viable Dem steps up.  In Wyoming, Enzi is insulated by Barrasso (who could likely face primary challengers as an appointment-incumbent) - any Dem would rather face the winner of the Barrasso than the entrenched Enzi.

Texas has Noriega.  And a few other potential candidates.  We'll see what Noriega decides.  But the netroots has played a clearly large role there.

That said, the netroots are making a lot of noise for a lot of candidates.  Some will get in, some won't - some will win, some won't.  The subtext that is critical is that, regardless of outcome (not that outcome isn't important, but I'm speaking to your point), the netroots are deepening the dialogue and expanding the conversation.  I think it was C.J. Cregg on The West Wing who said, "That ain't nothing."

Check out the Guru's blog at

Too Tired
I am too tired to read through all of this, but Brad Miller saying "I am considering a run" was a netroots victory.

If he had said yes it would have been gravy.  For him to even think about it was a victory in my book.

"Keep the Faith"

mad props, blue south
You were a huge part of the Draft Brad Miller drive and deserve much praise for getting him to seriously consider, no small feat at all.

Any insight as to who gets in now?  Hagan and/or Martin good possibilities, or probably not?

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