Chuck Schumer "very optimistic" about winning in Oregon

Speaking on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) - the chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee - handicapped 2008 Senate races around the country:

Our 12 Democratic incumbents, all of them look secure - and that's our solid base. We defend them first and foremost.

Of the 22 Republican seats, there are four that are in blue states. They are Oregon, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Maine. And we're feeling very optimistic about those.

But here's the most amazing thing. Because people want change so much - change in Iraq, change to help the middle class, change in the ethical climate in Washington - we have opportunities in places we never thought we would, in deeply red states throughout the country. And we will be pursuing those.


  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    If Chuck Schumer and the DSCC really wanted to give the voters change as opposed to politics as usual, why weren't the DC Democrats satisfied with the 4' 9" guy with a hook for a left hand?

    This isn't a dig. I'm really curious. Did Schumer court Novick at all?

  • Stayton (unverified)

    Presumably, they did a poll testing his biography and message and he didn't do well among Oregonians.

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    Merkley is a seasoned campaigner who has won elections not just in his own district but managing the House Dems efforts the last two cycles. Jeff also has an impressive legislative track record. If Im Schumer (man would that be fun) Im putting my eggs in that basket rather than someone who has never run for office. But maybe thats just me. I think sometimes we underestimate how difficult it is to be a candidate for a federal race.

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    I'm glad that Schumer is optimistic about Oregon.

    So am I.

    I think Novick will wipe up with Smith.

  • Pat Malach (unverified)

    I'll have the Gordo, toasted with creamed cheese, please. Hold the hairspray.

  • Peter Bray (unverified)

    Hm... well, we can pick up any scrap on the floor from the national Dems and take it as good news, but it still doesn't make-up for the otherwise silence from them in regards to Oregon's chances. My feeling is that most folks see the Oregon race as a 2nd tier race.

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    That Peter Bray thinks Chuck Schumer's statement just "a scrap on the floor" says more about Peter's understanding of campaigns than it does our chances next year. And of course, there's been no silence from the DSCC. They've been very aggressive, very engaged in the race.

    One example from the Oregonian a week and half ago:

    WASHINGTON Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, agrees that Oregonians generally like Republican Sen. Gordon Smith. But, he points out, Rhode Islanders liked Sen. Lincoln Chafee, and Missourians liked Sen. Jim Talent. And after the 2006 election, both of them were looking for something else to do. It's Cecil's job, of course, to believe that next year the same thing could happen to Smith, and to a rising number of other vulnerable Republicans up for re-election. But last week, in his office in a rabbit warren of a building a block from the Capitol, Cecil depicted Smith as one of the DSCC's top targets, and Oregon as a place where two streams of numbers were coming together. "Ever since January, there has been a stark decline in Smith's numbers," said Cecil, citing a June poll showing Smith with only 37 percent against 32 percent for an unnamed Democrat. In another poll out this week, Smith has 38 percent, against 18 percent for a Democrat and 7 percent for former National Endowment for the Arts head John Frohnmayer, considering running as an independent. For incumbents, under 50 percent is considered dangerous territory.

    And resources for the race?

    "Gordon Smith is one of our top targeted races," explains Cecil, "and we will spend whatever we need to make the Democratic candidate competitive."

    In 2006, that meant $16.5 million in Missouri, $10 million in Ohio and $6 million in Montana. As DSCC fundraising continues to rise, Cecil sees another advantage: The top-focus Senate states for next year -- Oregon, New Hampshire and Colorado -- are a lot cheaper than Missouri and Ohio.

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    Stayton Presumably, they did a poll testing his biography and message and he didn't do well among Oregonians.

    I'm sure they did. Small-state senate races (i.e. cheap) are too important for them not to.

    Although I doubt it was "Novick: Thumbs up or down?" It was probably a name-withheld Novick bio compared to a name-withheld Merkeley bio. That's the way those private polls are usually conducted.

  • Daniel Spiro (unverified)

    I suspect Schumer recognizes that a Novick-Merkley battle will increase the chance that the winner emerges with the kind of momentum that will make him tough to beat, given that Oregon is a blue state and the nation generally is in a highly blue climate. As for why Schumer didn't court Novick originally, I think the answer is obvious: Novick is a new face on the national political scene. But what Schumer will soon realize is that Novick is an exceptionally gifted person who stands to be one of the most inspired people in the Senate.

    Novick might not have had the name recognition to defeat Smith without first beating a guy like Merkley. But thanks to Schumer and Merkley, Novick is poised to be the next Senator from the State of Oregon.

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    Another thought is that Schumer/the DSCC is/was looking for someone who fit the mold of the traditional politician/office holder.

    Jeff Merkley does, Steve Novick doesn't.

    That's part of the reason I like Steve so much as a candidate. I think 2008 will provide us with the opportunity to send an unconventional, (dare I use the word...) "maverick" type from Oregon to DC. Not the fake McCain-Maverick type, but the real Oregon Wayne Morse maverick type.

    Jeff Merkley was a great Speaker of the House, and I wish he'd stayed on for another session to continue his work there. That said, I think him being in the race has already helped raise Steve's profile state-wide. Jeff's no Wayne Morse though.

    I think Steve represents our best chance at making up to the country for all the damage that Gordon Smith has done over the years. He also is our best chance to replace a fake "moderate" (I'm looking at you, Gordo), with a truly authentic person who's not afraid of telling people things they're not happy to hear when it's the truth. Needless to say, I believe in Steve.

  • Rosie (unverified)

    a truly authentic person who's not afraid of telling people things they're not happy to hear when it's the truth

    So far, it seems like Steve's positions are pretty typical liberal stuff. Can you tell me about a time when Steve took a position that liberals didn't or wouldn't like?

  • Kitty C (unverified)

    From the headline I thought Chuck was running in Oregon. WOW-what PR coup.

  • Bob Tiernan (unverified)

    Oh yes, the same Chuckie Schumer who back in the 90s (and probably still) made a Federal issue out of the price of, get this -- breakfast cereals.

    Fortunately (these past ten years or so), he didn't get anywhere with his Federal regulations regarding price and supply and competition. What a jerk.

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