A year ago, almost everyone expected the Republicans to score big gains in the Senate in November, mostly because five Southern Democrats are retiring. Those hopes have faded. Most analyses, like this one in National Review, still show the GOP picking up a seat or two, but I think there is a serious danger that the Democrats may actually gain.
Which is partly why I was at a lunch today where John Thune spoke. As a native South Dakotan, I follow that state’s politics fairly closely, and Thune is a solid conservative and a terrific candidate. He also is, or claims to be, anyway, a Power Line reader. In truth, I suspect he knows us mainly through South Dakota Politics and Daschle v. Thune, two excellent South Dakota blogs. In South Dakota, probably more than any other state, bloggers are playing a key role in mitigating the influence of liberal news media.
Thune has a real shot at beating Tom Daschle. Daschle has never run as a liberal; more than that, he has never run on any kind of principle at all. The sole rationale for his campaigns has been the claim that he brings home the pork. Now that he is no longer Majority Leader, Daschle is left without a platform–which is why he has spent millions of dollars on television ads without budging the polls. You can contribute to John Thune’s campaign here.
Norm Coleman postponed a flight to Washington in order to introduce Thune to our group. A freshman Senator, Norm has become a tireless spokesman for the administration and for other Republican candidates. He is an exceptionally talented politician, one of a remarkable number of outstanding Republicans in Minnesota. A generation ago, it seemed as though the most gifted politicians were almost always Democrats. In Minnesota, at least, the opposite is now true.
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