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What We Learned: Senior Week What We Learned: Senior Week

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Politics

What We Learned: Senior Week

May 1, 2011
-- Democrats this week bowed to political reality: They're going to have to take the embarrassment of benefiting from outside PAC, lobbyist and undisclosed contributors after lambasting American Crossroads and the rest of the GOP's benefactors. But a day of bad press is well worth a year and a half of an even fight -- otherwise, what's the point of bringing a butter knife to a nuclear war? -- The North Dakota Senate race kicked into gear, as Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk (R) unsurprisingly entered the race, while numerous North Dakota legislators signed a letter of support for another potential candidate, Rep. Rick Berg (R). Meanwhile, state GOP chair Stan Stein issued a call for unity to state Republicans, on the heels of the recent formation of the North Dakota Tea Party Caucus. And to top off the week, the Club for Growth sent out a press release attacking Berg. The race looks promising for Republicans, with no heavyweight Democratic contender in sight. But we don't yet know what the GOP field will look like, and with the Club going after Berg, a divisive primary could be in offing if he runs. -- Television executive Tim Donner's (R) entrance into the GOP primary for the open Virginia Senate seat reinforces the notion that hard line conservatives are handing the Republican nomination to former Sen. George Allen (R) regardless of whether he gets 50 percent of the vote. Allen now has four announced challengers -- Donner, attorney David McCormick (R), Faith Exodus Ministries Bishop E.W. Jackson and Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation co-founder Jamie Radtke (R). Unlike other southern states, there is no run-off in Virginia, with the top vote-getter winning outright. This means that for Allen and his mega war chest, the more divided the electorate, the better. -- Democrats blasted Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.), a Senate candidate who is one of the wealthiest Members of Congress, for saying he and his wife are "struggling like everyone else with the economy" and that he is "land rich and cash poor" at an appearance in Missoula. It's not yet clear if the Democrats' line of attack -- highlighting his wealth and painting him as out of touch -- will be effective in the long term, but in trying to downplay his wealth, Rehberg is only drawing more attention to it. -- In Kentucky's gubernatorial contest, Republican front-runner and state Senate President David Williams (R) included his running mate, Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer (R) in his first television ad in April. Farmer is a former college basketball standout, so it wasn't surprising that the campaign sought to feature him. But the last few weeks have brought distracting stories -- from word that the state had spent money for Farmer to stay in a hotel suite during a visit to a boys basketball tournament to his initial refusal to participate in mandatory furlough days. Even if the stories don't do the campaign major damage in the long-term, they are a distraction surrounding a candidate whose personal story was supposed to provide the ticket with a boost.
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