Friday, October 03, 2008

Tennessee U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

Tennessee U.S. Senate

October 3, 2008
32 Days Until Election Day

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

Outlook: Safe Republican

Let me begin this look at the contest in the Volunteer State by wishing much luck and success to the Northern Illinois Huskies as they take on the Tennessee Vols tomorrow in Knoxville. I would love to think an upset is possible but the odds are probably as great as the ones faced by the Democrats in this race against the GOP U.S. Senator who also happens to be the former President of UT-Knoxville.

There was a time in the 1990s, when the Presidential aspirations of Lamar Alexander burned with the fire of a thousand suns. The Republican who was a popular Governor of his state and later U.S. Secretary of Education, was perhaps better known back then by his campaign signs as Lamar! had a penchance for red and black flannel shirts, perhaps a form of homage to the grunge music of the day. But he was knocked out after the first several primaries back in 1996 and never even got that far in the 2000 cycle. Having entered his 60s', it appeared the political career of Alexander was over. Then though, the state's Senate seat became open in 2002 and he captured the seat in fairly convincing fashion.

In his first term, Alexander has seen mixed results in his attempts to serve in the party leadership, having been defeated for Whip, but later succeeding in becoming Conference Chairman. All the while though, he has remained pretty popular in his home state, which has become increasingly Republican at the federal level.

This year, on a Senate map that tends to favor Democrats nationally, Alexander is seen as being far ahead of his Democrat opponent, former State Party Chairman Bob Tuke. The incumbent, with good reason, even feels secure enough to adorn his campaign website with a red and black plaid motif.

To continue the sports analogies, the challenge for Tuke will probably be as tough as the ones facing teams that find themselves down 0-2 in the Division Series of baseball, especially those that lose those two games at home and look horrible in the process. However, it is not like anyone really expected Tuke to win anything anyway.

Alexander campaign link:

2008 U.S. Senate races predicted: 13 D, 17 R
Predicted Senate balance of power thus far: 52 D, 43 R


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