Quite a few people have been looking at the 2008 congressional elections, and are speculating about how the parties will fare. Will the Democrats increase their hold on the houses? Will the Republicans take back one or the other? Or will things pretty much stay the same?
I don’t know, and I’m really not concerned. We’re looking not at any national election, but 34 distinct races in different states, and each has its own factors that can trump any “national trends.”
Here in New Hampshire, our Senator Sununu is listed as one of the most “vulnerable.” And I think that’s not only right, but possibly understating the matter.
John E. Sununu had a really good political run prior to his winning his Senate seat. He’d served several terms as a fairly popular Representative — popular enough to bump off Senator Bob Smith in the Republican primary.
But when the general election rolled around, it was a hell of a lot tighter. He was facing Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat who was winding up her third term as governor — and also had a lot of popularity.
Sununu won, but his victory was tainted by the infamous phone-jamming scandal that sent several people — including high-ranking Republicans — to jail.
That was five years ago. Sununu’s term is up next year, and it does NOT look good for him. He really hasn’t done anything too wrong, but nor has he done a great deal right. And up until last week, he had three challengers on the Democratic side that could make his life difficult. A mayor from our seacoast (of all the states that have a seacoast, we have the shortest — and we’re DAMNED proud of that), the daughter of a powerful Democratic congressman (and wife of a former Congressman), and an astronaut.
Now it’s down to two candidates. The mayor and the wife have withdrawn, and the astronaut is weighing matters now that the 800-pound gorilla is back in the race.
After several years of teaching at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Jeanne Shaheen has left academia and announced she wants a rematch with Sununu — and the Democrats are lining up to back her.
So, here in New Hampshire, next year we get to re-run the 2002 election. And, in an astonishing coincidence, one of our Congressmen, Paul Hodes, is calling for a Congressional investigation into that phone-jamming scandal — casting aspersions on the prosecutors who investigated the matter and sent those scumbags to jail over the matter.
Even more astonishing, Hodes is a freshman Democrat. What are the odds?
The election’s over a year away, but I know how it’s going to turn out. The Democrats are going to push it as a “re-do” of 2002, without the Republican dirty tricks. It’ll be an opportunity to bring a measure of “justice” and restore the order of things to how they should have been.
Between Sununu’s failure to garner a large amount of popular support, the tainting of his election (although there has been no evidence that he or his campaign was involved in or even aware of the phone jamming), and the Democrats’ guaranteed hammering of the jamming, I’m pretty sure he’s done for.
I voted for him then, and I’ll almost certainly vote for him again, but I don’t think it’ll do enough good.