Udall Concerned About "Down Ticket" Effect of Pres. Race

March 10 2008, 6:33 AM
The New York Times' Caucus Blog today writes about the concern of Democrats running for Congress over the impasse in the Presidential race.
But now the threat of stalemate, vituperation and disillusionment hangs over a contest structured to declare a verdict a month ago. Potential fallout could imperil Democratic hopes for both the presidency and larger Congressional majorities.
Among them: Colorado Rep. Mark Udall, who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Wayne Allard:
"I'm very concerned," said Representative Mark Udall of Colorado, who needs Democrats in his state to unite behind his bid for the Senate seat held by Wayne Allard, a Republican who is retiring. Mr. Udall warned that unity "could be a real challenge, especially as this thing grows more fierce."
The fear is gridlock.
[Obama's] amalgam of young voters, African-Americans and upscale liberals has carried more places and accumulated a few more delegates; [Hillary's] coalition of women, working-class whites and Hispanics has taken the biggest states.
Hillary needs to maintain her lead in the big states, particularly Pennsylvania, which is coming up on April 22. Obama is concerned about maintaining his delegate lead and and the almost dried up state of remaining caucuses. Obama does best in the caucus states while Hillary outperforms in primaries. So, what's the problem like for a down-ticket candidate like Mark Udall?
A prolonged fight poses special risks to the party's drive to build a working majority in the Senate. Frenetic fund-raising by the Clinton and Obama campaigns, which collected $90 million in February alone, diminishes the pool of cash available to Senate candidates. A bitter end to the nomination fight could strain party unity in states like New Hampshire, Minnesota and New Mexico, which, like Colorado, offer prime opportunities for Democratic gains. Disaffection among African-Americans could threaten the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent up for re-election, Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana.
Shorter version: The longer and fiercer the race is, the less cash may be available from the Presidential pool to provide for the ''Senate Down Ticket Races. From everything I heard this weekend, a compromise on Michigan/Florida is in the works. A mail-in primary is expected to be held in each state. Private donors like N.J. Sen. Corzine and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, have offered to raise the necessary cash for the new primary. If re-votes take place, and Hillary wins Florida and Michigan, in addition to Pensylvania, Ohio, Mass. NY and NJ, she'll probably be the nominee. On the other hand if Obama takes those states, he's decimated her argument that only she can win in the big states, and she's back to the bottom of the totem pole with people calling for her to drop out. I think if that happens, she'll be the good Democrat she is and drop out. Should Obama win no more big states and only a couple more small state contests, like Mississippi and even North Carolina, she will be deemed the more electable one. They will then decide to stop the bleeding and form a compromise ticket with Hillary at the top. I also think this will be done by the end of June, leaving plenty of time for the trickling down of funding for "down ticket" candidates like Mark Udall. It's just too soon for Udall or anyone to act like Henny Penny and say the sky is falling. I think a deal will be worked out within the next week, both candidates will agree to it and after that, we have our nominee and money for the down-ticket candidates. Then again, I'm always the one who sees the glass half-full. But I think I'm right this time.