In Missouri, preliminary polling–which should be taken with a huge grain of salt–shows Secretary of State Robin Carnahan edging out former Senator Jim Talent, Rep. Roy Blunt, and former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Kit Bond:
* Against former Sen. Jim Talent, who narrowly lost re-election in 2006, Carnahan is ahead 47%-43%.
* Against Rep. Roy Blunt, who recently stepped down as House Minority Whip, Carnahan has a statistically insignificant edge of 45%-44%.
* Against former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost in the GOP primary for governor last year, Carnahan has a healthier lead of 47%-36%, but is nevertheless below 50%.
Carnahan is probably further ahead of her opponents than the numbers might indicate. Her lead among African Americans over Blunt and Talent is only 54-30. Early polling tends to underestimate black support for Democratic candidates. For instance when PPP first surveyed the Gubernatorial race in Missouri, back in July, Jay Nixon led Kenny Hulshof only 52-27 among black voters. According to the exit poll, Nixon ended up taking 90% of it to Hulshof’s 7. It seems reasonable to think that Carnahan will end up performing similarly with African American voters, which means she’s running pretty close to 50%.
Carnahan is neither a shoo-in for the primary or the general, but this shows that she would certainly be a strong contender in still-red Missouri.
In New Hampshire, popular Gov. John Lynch will not run against Sen. Judd Gregg in 2010:
Gov. John Lynch said today he will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010.
Lynch, a Democrat, acknowledged speculation in political circles that he might challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg. He said he plans to focus on budget issues here in New Hampshire.
“I can tell you that although I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 2010, I’m not going to run for the United States Senate. So, that shouldn’t be a distraction as I continue to work on the budget.”
This is disappointing news–Lynch would have been a strong candidate, perhaps the strongest, to take out Gregg.
But there is a silver lining here–this opens the door for Reps. Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter to run. Between the two, Hodes polls better against Gregg than Porter, so he’d be my choice, but Hodes still trails by a bit too much.