Thursday, October 05, 2006

Texas U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

October 5, 2006
33 Days Until Election Day

Texas U.S. Senate

Status: Republican Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (South)

Outlook: Safe Republican

The early 1993 landslide U.S. Senate special election victory by Kay Bailey Hutchison over an interim Democrat incumbent heralded the beginning of a period of phenomenal success for the Republican Party in Texas. The GOP now controls all aspects of Texas politics and Hutchison has remained a popular figure throughout.

Many expected that she would not seek a third full Senate term in the year 2006 and there was much speculation that she would instead challenge incumbent Governor Rick Perry in a Republican primary. Hutchison and her husband had recently become adopted parents and many speculated she would prefer raising her family full time in Texas instead of splitting time in the nation’s capital. However, Hutchison eventually decided to not run for Governor, perhaps on the urging of the White House political unit, which does of course have a good representation of Texans, and she decided that would indeed run for another term. That decision essentially made the Lone Star State Senate contest one of the most easy to predict in the nation and undoubtedly disappointed some ambitious Democrats who could have taken a shot in an open seat race, and also especially disappointed some ambitious Republicans who would have loved to run for the seat. With Hutchison seeking reelection, she is considered a safe bet to hold the seat in fertile Republican territory. This is expected to be her final term in office and Texas Republicans might soon start planning 2012 Senate campaigns.

Hutchison does have a Democrat opponent though who happens to be another woman with three names. Barbara Ann Radnofsky is an attorney running an under-funded and uphill campaign against the incumbent. In spite of having some support among liberal bloggers in the state, it will be tough for Radnofsky to be able to capture much of the spotlight in her race, especially with the colorful Gubernatorial contest in the state. At least Radnofsky can be expected to put up a better fight against Hutchison than her last opponent. In that race, the incumbent easily dispatched a Democrat foe who was an elderly perennial candidate, who did not actively campaign and basically owed his nomination to the fact that he shared a name with deceased dance legend Gene Kelly. In fact, Mr. Kelly ran, if that term could actually be used, again for the Senate this year and managed to receive enough votes in the low-turnout Democrat primary to force Radnofsky into a runoff. She won that runoff election easily but had to expend resources and it clearly had party officials nervous that Kelly could have actually once again been their nominee.

All recent polls using traditional methods on the race show Hutchison with a Texas sized lead of about 30 points over Radnofsky. If the Democrat were to pull an upset here, it would probably take something like a scandal involving Senator Hutchison being sexually aggressive towards teenage Congressional pages. Surely, many of those male pages would be delighted at the idea.

Hutchison campaign link:

2006 Senate races predicted thus far: 15 D, 11 R
Post-election Senate balance of power predicted thus far: 42 D, 51 R