Stu Rothenberg's getting excited for 2010. "I began this year doubtful that we'd see much excitement in the 2010 elections. I'm quickly changing my tune," the prognosticator writes in his Roll Call column. He adds, "The change in the political landscape has encouraged Republican candidates and prospects. But Democratic recruiting remains on track, with a list of strong candidates. Even now, a number of top-shelf contests are developing, making for a surprisingly interesting 2010 election."
And perhaps the most important point about next year's elections: "The tide clearly has turned nationally, with the president's popularity down and Democrats fighting against a growing mood of dissatisfaction. That's a huge problem for Democrats in the two states that will have gubernatorial elections this year. But while Republican strategists are showing greater optimism about the midterms, they also say that they wish those elections were taking place this November, not more than a year from now."
NRSC Chair John Cornyn has penned this memo to colleagues about the GOP Senate prospects in 2010: "[W]hile the overall political climate has improved markedly for Republicans since January, the election is still 14 months away, which is a lifetime in politics. We have a very real opportunity to make gains in the Senate next year, but we must continue to offer our own positive agenda as an alternative to the Democrats' increasingly unpopular policies. If we are successful with this, we have a strong chance of exceeding the expectations set for us when the cycle began."
MASSACHUSETTS: Joe Kennedy's out. The Boston Globe writes that the decision "probably [ends] the family's half-century of political dominance in Massachusetts and opening up the Democratic primary race." His reason for not running? "[T]hose close to him said the lure of a Senate seat and the prospect of extending his family's political legacy were not enough to draw Kennedy, who runs an energy firm, back into the spotlight and grueling pace of national politics." And the political implications: "His decision clears the way for a highly competitive three-month campaign for the Democratic nomination that may pit several members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation against the state's attorney general."
NEW JERSEY: A Star-Leger editorial has this to say about the "result of the slash-and-burn campaigning" between New Jersey gubernatorial nominees Jon Corzine (D) and Chris Christie (R): "Christie is maintaining his lead, but his negative numbers are climbing. Amazingly, Corzine and Christie now rank equally on credibility with voters. Basically, they have none." The Ledger also enumerates a few of what it calls "low blows in campaign ads," maintaining that Corzine' s ads criticizing Christie for failing to disclose a $46,000 to a subordinate were petty. Referring to Christie's ad condemning Corzine for his connections to Goldman Sachs, "the voter is supposed to suspect…that Corzine is up to no good because he once ran the most prosperous investment bank in America. It's a cheap shot—and from a pro-business Republican, no less."
Bloomberg News takes a look back at previous New Jersey gubernatorial races: "Republicans haven't won a statewide election in New Jersey since voters returned Christie Todd Whitman to a second term in 1997." And: "Incumbents trailing in early polls have come back, and in 1977, Democratic New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne won re-election, after trailing his Republican challenger by seven percentage points in a July poll by Rutgers University's Eagleton Center." In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Corzine trailed Christie by 10 points, 47%-37% percent.
VIRGINIA: Both gubernatorial nominees participated in the Buena Vista, VA, Labor Day parade this weekend. Both candidates cited ties to national politicians, to positive and negative effect. Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds asked the "raucous" crowd, "Do we continue to build on the progress begun under Mark Warner and continued under Tim Kaine, or do we move back?" Republican nominee Bob McDonnell tied Deeds to Congress, saying that his opponent "is going to be carrying the water for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid for the next four years."