Monday, August 04, 2008

Idaho U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

Idaho U.S. Senate

August 4, 2008
92 Days Until Election Day

Status: Open Republican
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (West)

Outlook: Safe Republican

The the land of potatos and infamous retiring Senators, the contest elect a new one will be a rematch between two politicans who faced off in the state's 2006 Lt. Governor election, and the result of an easy Republican win in this heavily GOP state is expected to be repeated.

This is of course an open seat race because after three terms, Republican Larry Craig announced he would not seek reelection. At the same time, he initially had announced that he would resign from the Senate altogether, although he later changed his mind on that front. Needless to say, the circumstances of the demise of Craig's political career are quite embarassing as the married conservative was busted in a Minnesota airport men for allegedly wanting to get all George Michael with an undercover police officer. Craig pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct but once the inevitablity of it hitting the news came true, he has now taken a position of wanting to fight to clear his name in what will certainly be an uphill battle. But while the Senator and his wide-stance have stubbornly refused to resign from the Senate, as many in the national and state GOP had called on him to do, his troubles do not seem to be having much effect on the race to succeed him.

The Republican nominee is the state's Lt. Governor Jim Risch, who returned to his old job last year, after having served for a time as his state's interim Governor. When everyone had expected Craig to resign, Risch was reported to be the new Governors' choice to be appointed to fill the Senate vacancy. But as we all know, those plans got flushed away and Risch is having to run without the benefit of incumbency. His Democrat opponent is another Larry, this one named LaRocco who served several years ago in Congress and was soundly beaten by Risch in that '06 contest for Lt. Governor.

With all of Craig's troubles, and LaRocco's name recognition, some Democrats had hoped that they might be able to steal a seat here. However, Risch appears to be too popular and the state too Republican for there to be any realistic chance of that. The one fly in the ointment though may be the Independent candidacy of a Republican rancher named Rex Rammell, who has some sort of beef with Risch. Any voters that Rammell receives are likely to come from Risch. Last week, a poll sponsored by the far left Daily Kos blog surprised some people by showing that Risch was only ahead of LaRocco by ten points, with Rammell receiving 5 percent, and a large undecided bloc. All other polls though have shown a larger lead for Risch and others in the future would need to confirm the prospect of close to a single digit race before Republicans worry about another Senate seat going down the drain.

Risch campaign link:

2008 U.S. Senate races predicted: 3 D, 4 R
Predicted Senate balance of power thus far: 42 D, 30 R


At 11:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your distance from the Gem State is showing. And, of course, it's tough to gauge the political climate from afar. I can tell you that Jim Risch is not campaigning and Larry LaRocco is everywhere--I mean everywhere--shaking hands and taking names, so to speak. We have cut 5 points off Risch's lead over the slow summer season and he is leaving the field to us for another month.

The numbers can tell you, however, that you are wrong about Risch's popularity. He gets 42% after having been governor two years ago. A whole lot of people don't even know or care who Risch is.
Idaho is the Sleeper Race of 2008. Idaho's "tradition" of conservatism is actually more of a tradition of "libertarianism." Idaho GOP, via a rise in the party's social conservative faction, has been meddling too much in the lives of Idahoans. We also have a spoiler in this race, a popular Independent who stands to take more from Risch as we go along. Folks will start waking up to that soon enough.
There is nothing safe about this seat for Republicans--and they know it.

Thanks for tracking us!
Dean A. Ferguson
LaRocco for U.S. Senate

At 2:03 PM, Blogger Corey said...

Thank you for finding this blog Dean. I believe you are the first campaign official to ever leave a comment (at least not anonymously). I wish you the best, although I am obviously rooting for your opponent.

I am sure political junkies from around the country will be interested to see if any future polls back up the recent Kos one. I do not recall seeing anything about your internal polls anywhere, but I think all the "professional election handicappers" would also have this race as Safe R.

By the way, that business about the button company mixing up LaRocco for Craig on that Obama button must have been pretty embarassing.

Thanks again.


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