March 08, 2003

James Capozzola for Senate?

The Democratic Party seems to be having a hard time finding a Senate candidate for 2004. James Capozzola volunteers to fill the currently-absent place.

The Rittenhouse Review

I endorse him.

For, as The Hill says:

Not a single Democrat[ic politician] in the Keystone State has publicly expressed interest in taking on Specter -- even though he is one of only three Republican senators who face reelection in states that former Vice President Al Gore won in 2000. Moreover, Specter is seeking election in a state that elected Ed Rendell as its governor, giving Democrats control of that key office for the first time in nearly a decade....

Democrats, however, haven't yet capitalized on what is already shaping up as a bitter [Republican] primary battle.... And although Specter is heavily favored to win the GOP nomination, the May primary could drain the popular senator of campaign resources and political capital, making him more vulnerable than heretofore...

Posted by DeLong at March 8, 2003 07:45 AM | TrackBack


Please, please. Deliver us from the compassionate conservative Republicans who are playing havoc. Imagine if they were not compassionate.

Posted by: jd on March 9, 2003 08:56 AM

Not so fast. What about Congressman Pat Toomey (R-PA) who is retiring to challenge Specter in the Republican primary? If the right-wingers in the party are stupid enough to oust Specter, the Democrats will have a much better chance and must recruit someone better, though I don't know who. A weak Democratic candidate (former Congressman Ron Klink who was pro-life and pro-gun and could not raise any money) is the reason why right-wing extremist Rick Santorum, the other Senator, was able to win reelection in 2000. This would be especially important since there are about twice as many vulnerable Democratic Senate seats as Republican ones. Very frustrating.

Posted by: Bobby on March 9, 2003 09:04 AM

Yes - This coming election, I intend to vote down the line for Democrats.

Posted by: dahl on March 9, 2003 09:08 AM

Don't underestimate right-winger Pat Toomey. Who would've thought that Bill Simon could've beat former LA mayor Richard Riordan (sp?) in th CA gubernatorial primary last year.
If Democrats know what's good for them, they will sabotage Specter in the primary in the exact same way that Gray Davis did to Dick Riordan in that CA Republican primary last year: Run TV and radio ads that announce Specter's various liberal positions on abortion, guns, etc. . . . then say something about how Specter flip-flopped or is inconsistent. This will make him look slimy and ideoligically out of touch among right wing Republican voters. The result is that right-winger Toomey could win the primary, and Toomey will make a VERY bad general election candidate in moderate Pennsylvania, just as Bill Simon was in CA last year. Of course the Democrats must recruit somebody much better, or else this will just worsen things.
This tactic is the reason why Gray Davis is still in office this year, and it could lead to a Democratic victory over Republican nominee Toomey next year.

Posted by: Bobby on March 9, 2003 09:29 AM

I've always thought that the let's-try-to-make-the-other-party-nominate-a-real-yahoo strategy is a loser. Sometimes the yahoo wins, and then where you are?

Besides, this strategy requires finding a candidate to run against the yahoo after the primary...

Posted by: Brad DeLong on March 9, 2003 12:59 PM

Democrats need to worry, and I do mean worry, about finding fine candidates for every office. The point is to field strong candidates and present proper attractive alternatives to Republican policies. Republicans can fend for Republicans. Democrats had better attend to being united behind fine candidates and policies.

Posted by: jd on March 9, 2003 01:54 PM

I think that DeLong's point does not apply to this U.S. Senate race (though it is much more applicable to a governor's race). So what if Toomey himself is a yahoo? Specter's vote for Bill Frist as majority leader makes Specter's reelection almost the equivalent of electing a yahoo anyway. If the Senate is Republican-controlled, replacing Specter with a Senator Toomey, assuming Toomey won the general, will change very little in terms of the legislation that comes out of that Republican Senate. Specter's moderate image would also no longer be able to shield the Republican Party from correct charges that their legislative agenda is controlled by extremists.

You must also remember that things are kind of desperate for Democrats this year in terms of regaining the Senate. There just aren't enough vulnerable Republican seats to take and too many Democratic seats to defend. A Toomey primary victory would be a silver lining in a very tough year ahead.

By my count there are four vulnerable Republican seats for reelection in 2004:

Fitzgerald, Peter IL
Bond, Christopher MO
Murkowski, Lisa AK
Bunning, Jim KY

Though Fitzgerald is toast, KY, AK, and MO are long shots if formidable Democratic candidates, like former Gov. Tony Knowles (D-AK) don't emerge. Specter aside and absent retirements (which will occur) or scandals, I would say that EVERY other Republican seat up in 2004 is at least 90% safe (see em all at

I count about 8 Democratic seats who are in extreme to moderate trouble right now:

The two MOST vulnerable Democratic seats are:
Miller, Zell (retiring) GA
Hollings, Ernest SC

If Bush is able to recruit formidable candidates like Rudy Giuliani or Gov Pataki (R-NY), former Gov. Ed Schafer (R-ND), Mike Huckabee (R-AR), Kenny Guinn (R-NV) these four Democratic seats will also be in BIG trouble:
Reid, Harry (won by a few hundred votes in 98)NV
Dorgan, Byron ND
Schumer, Charles NY
Lincoln, Blanche AR

I am also nervous about Bush-led smear campaigns against the following two Senators:
Murray, Patty (who made pro-bin Laden sounding comments) WA
Edwards, John (trial lawyer might retire) NC

Though I think these will be easy Democratic victories these seats had competitive challenges in 1998:

Boxer, Barbara CA
Feingold, Russell WI

Posted by: Bobby on March 9, 2003 02:27 PM

Sorry the ")" got stuck in my link:

Posted by: Bobby on March 9, 2003 02:31 PM

The real problem with the "PA won't elect a yahoo" argument is that we already have - Santorum (OK, we didn't, they did - I just live here, and vote for losers like Klink).

The real problem is that PA's Republican voters are really quite conservative, while the Democrats are... rather conservative. Meaning that a true progressive is really unlikely to get elected here, because the rural vote would come out against her/him, while the urban vote doesn't come out against yahoos (and that's not the 1st word that comes to mind, but it's a family blog) like Santorum.

That said, I agree a great deal that, in many ways, due largely to Senate procedure, Specter is no more a friend to progressives than Santorum. But then that kind of thinking gave Nader well over 534 votes in FL....

Posted by: JRoth on March 10, 2003 09:32 AM
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