Rothenberg and CQ both move Hagan v. Dole to Toss-Up

This is big. The buzz surrounding the North Carolina Senate race appears to be reaching a fever pitch among the political pundits and bloggers. Stuart Rothenberg on Sunday moved the race from leans Republican to toss-up and today Congressional Quarterly posted new rankings moving the race to "no clear favorite."

Democratic strategists know that their goal of scoring the big nine-seat Senate gain they need to achieve a “filibuster-proof” 60-seat majority is a lofty one, and that they would have to oust some of the favored incumbent Republican senators they have targeted — among them North Carolina’s Elizabeth Dole. And while state Sen. Kay Hagan, their nominee, once appeared a distinct underdog to Dole, there are multiple signs that this is emerging as one of the year’s key battleground races.

Because of these shifts, CQ Politics has changed its rating on the race, which was Republican Favored, to its tossup category of No Clear Favorite.

Kay Hagan has built a team of professionals and volunteers that is admirable. The staff provides support and encouragement to the volunteers. The positive energy in this campaign is impressive. The approach of the campaign has always been to enquire about what they can do to help you as a volunteer instead of wanting to know what you plan to do to help the campaign. (First hand knowledge through my involvement in Union County.)

While Kay Hagan has stuck to a positive message, the DSCC has brought some humor in their attacks on Dole's lack of effectiveness while serving in the Senate. Most people in North Carolina didn't need the DSCC to tell us that Liddy Dole was ineffective. If we want to see our senior Senator we have to luck in to finding her on a news show on tv because we sure won't find her in North Carolina.

Liddy Dole was the first to take her campaign negative running an ad that made up a nickname for Kay Hagan and then attributing it to a mysterious group called, "they." The Dole campaign went into hysterics over the "rocking chair ad" put out by the DSCC, but apparently felt it was fine to refer to Kay Hagan as a female dog.

Dole spokesman Dan McLagan contended, though, that the query about whether Dole is 92 or 93 was a transparent personal affront that “is impolite, at the least, but I think folks see that and they realize that it’s a distortion, it’s an attack, and it’s not the kind of thing we do down in the South.”

Did you get that? The man from the campaign that referred to Kay Hagan as a female dog and used a completely fabricated nickname for her that has no prior record of ever being used ANYWHERE says that we don't do distortions and attacks down south. I guess that's just another example of, IOKIYAR. (It's OK if you're a Republican.)

For those who don't think that Kay Hagan has been tough enough on Dole, think again. Kay prefers to correct Dole to her face instead of yapping behind her back.

Mrs. Dole seems hurt by the criticism leveled against her. At one forum, she spoke to agribusiness leaders about a multibillion-dollar buyout of tobacco farmers that passed Congress in 2004, a legislative accomplishment she often cites on the campaign trail. Then, Mrs. Hagan spoke while Mrs. Dole lingered in the wings.

"Her first words were, 'Elizabeth Dole didn't get the tobacco quota buyout for you. You did it,' and it just went from there," Mrs. Dole recalled. "Standing there watching it, it was fascinating. I mean it was just, tear me down."

Wait! Setting the record straight and giving credit where credit is due is tearing you down, Liddy? What a persecution complex! Good Lord, Liddy, it isn't all about you. Sometimes, (rarely in your case) it's about the people of North Carolina. When Kay Hagan is elected the people of North Carolina will find that it is about them far more often than it has been over the past six years.

The news is good, but we need it to get better. We aren't going to coast into a win in November. Please contact the campaign to find out what you can do to help send Kay Hagan to Washington so that the people of this state will finally have the representation in the U.S. Senate we deserve.


Poster child

I'd just noticed this item over at Dome. Delightful. It seems that Dole's high name recognition may have become a negative in this environment, especially when she is so firmly associated with Bush and can point to no independent achievements. Dole has BEEN many things--U.S. secretary of labor, and of transportation, etc., etc.--but what has she ever DONE? I can't off the top of my head name a single policy or program accomplishment from her long, high-profile political career.

Dole has become the poster child for "business as usual" in Washington.

Dan Besse

Dan Besse