Thursday, July 08, 2004

Plug: Keeping Edwards' Seat Blue

We all know that Edwards missed his filing date for his North Carolina Senate seat to demostrate his seriousness about the Presidency. Many criticized him for it, including myself. The party would be in a rather awkward position now that he's gotten the VP nod had he not voluntarily given up his seat, however. A ballot replacement would have be sought and would have to build a state-wide campaign in just a few short months. With Edwards cleanly stepping aside early, a strong and viable candidate emerged who has built his own organization and is running on his own merits, not just as the Party's choice.

Erskine Bowles, former Clinton Chief of Staff and former head of the Small Business Administration, is that candidate. He's running well-ahead of his opponent, Representative Richard Burr (R), a man who prides himself on being in the pocket of every lobbyist he's ever met - and he's met them all.

Say what you will about ticket-splitting, I think that splitters will be less common this year than most cycles. With the entire Federal government in the hands of the Republicans, dissatisfaction is unlikely to remain confined to the Presidency alone; hence Bowles' numbers. When general dissatisfaction is combined with Bowles' knowledge of the territory (he ran against Elizabeth Dole for this seat), his surefooted fundraising ability, and his aggressive use of media in this race, we have a very good chance of keeping Edwards' former seat blue. Just to be sure though, dropping Erskine a bone or two would be a good idea.

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