A front-page story in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal showed just how unpopular Barack Obama has become in one surprising constituency: Democrats who are running for office.
The article focused on the campaign that Michelle Nunn is running for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. She’s the daughter of former Senator Sam Nunn, a popular and widely respected Democrat. But the WSJ article revealed: “[S]uccess here actually could come down to Ms. Nunn’s ability to distance herself from her party and the increasingly unpopular man who leads it.”
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee recently announced that it will pour another $1 million into the Nunn campaign. Clearly, the Democrats believe they have a good chance of defeating David Perdue, the Republican nominee.
But if the Democrats win, they’ll do it without mentioning that she is a Democrat. The WSJ noted: “As Ms. Nunn strives to break the Republicans’ stranglehold on statewide races in the South in recent years, her party affiliation is missing in action.”
That’s right. Nunn may be the Democratic nominee in Georgia. But you’d never know it by looking at her campaign website, which doesn’t mention the party — nor do most of the buttons, bumper stickers, brochures and other campaign materials her supporters are distributing. She never endorses the man who is the nominal head of her party, President Barack Obama. And, of course, there has been no invitation asking the president to come to Georgia to campaign for her.
Money is always welcome, so keep up those fundraisers, Mr. President. But someone else can bring the checks down here.
Democrats aren’t the only ones who think this strategy might work. Karl Rove listed Georgia as one of the states currently in Republican hands that could see a Democratic victory next month. (Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the current incumbent, decided not to run for re-election.)
Perdue, the Republican nominee, is doing all he can to make sure voters in Georgia know his opponent’s party affiliation. He insisted: “My race is against this failed administration and the wrong direction President Obama has taken this country.”
In a debate last week, Nunn said: “I’m not sure David recognizes he’s not running against President Obama or Harry Reid. He’s running against me. My name is on the ballot.”
To which Perdue replied: “Michelle, you’d dead wrong. I’m absolutely running against Barack Obama and Harry Reid.”
We’ll find out on Nov. 4 how many voters agree with him. But even then, we may not know who will be the new U.S. senator from Georgia. A Libertarian candidate on the ballot could prevent Nunn or Perdue from winning an outright majority. If that happens, there will be a runoff election on Jan. 6.
Interestingly enough, Rove said there are two other states where incumbent Republicans could lose to a Democratic challenger. One of them is Kentucky, where the Democratic nominee, Alison Lundergan Grimes, refuses to mention the president or such unpopular programs as Obamacare and has even refused to say whether she voted for Obama in the past two presidential elections. The third state Rove said Democrats could grab is Kansas, where Pat Roberts, a big-spending Republican moderate, is in a tight race for re-election.
Rove still predicted that Republicans will win a narrow majority in the new Senate. They’ll do this, he said, by winning nine states currently held by Democrats: Montana, West Virginia, South Dakota, Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Colorado and North Carolina. A net gain of six seats would mean that Republicans would control the Senate by a margin of 51 to 49.
I think Mitch McConnell will hang on to his Senate seat in Kentucky, which means (under this scenario) he will in all likelihood be elected the new majority leader.
Too bad. We could use a real fighter in that powerful position.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.