Thursday, September 21, 2006
Mark Kennedy, Leprous Boat Anchor?
Kennedy has failed to make this race as close as the GOP thought it would be. While the gap isn't likely to be the 24 points that the StarTribune poll indicates, Kennedy's own polling shows that he is down by at least 8 to 10 points. Most Republicans will acknowledge that Kennedy is in trouble."At least". That's a nice euphemism. As David Broder's Republican informant told him over a month ago, "the bottom has dropped out" of Kennedy's campaign. But I digress.
One major factor is Kennedy's negatives. Almost every poll has them in the 30% range, while Amy Klobuchar's remain in the low teens. As Kennedy begins to go negative his strategy is to drive up Klobuchar's negatives but it will also drive up his unfavorable ratings among voters. As Kennedy becomes less and less popular, how can Governor Pawlenty stand side by side with him if his race with Mike Hatch is as tight? Pawlenty has implied that candidates who "run away" from the President are "weenies" and Kennedy has done just that. But even more so, Pawlenty hasn't been running close to the President either. Pawlenty is a deft and bold politician and we predict that if Kennedy doesn't pick up traction, the Governor will distance himself to give himself the best chance at reelection, rather than risk a loss of both statewide offices.Pawlenty's apparently not the only Republican rethinking Kennedy. Rumor has it that right before Labor Day, the national GOP took one look at Kennedy's sucky polls and severely cut back on the money they're giving him. Considering that he didn't run any TV ads in the first half of September -- none that I saw, anyway -- after nearly two months of constant airwave saturation, I can believe this. Only in the last few days has he got back onto TV again, this time with an attack ad crafted by his new ad guy Scott Howell, he of the insecure web site and the same ad guy Saxby Chambliss used to slime Max Cleland.
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