From the Washington Post:
Republican politicians in multiple states have recently decided not to run for Senate next year, stirring anxiety among Washington operatives about the effectiveness of the party's recruiting efforts and whether this signals a broader decline in GOP congressional prospects.Hey wingnuts, apparently poor poll numbers do have some impact. Remember this the next time you swiftly wish to dismiss anything other than rigged elections. As for the above, I sure hope the Dems are actively taking advantage of these circumstances, but there's no guarantee. Most evidence still points to the other party remaining in some sort of stunted coma, as if the severely wounded DeLay and Rove still wield tremendous whipping power. Hey, and perhaps they still do; in DC, it takes more than a few indictments to neuter a man.
With an unpopular war in Iraq, ethical controversies shadowing top Republicans in the House and Senate, and President Bush suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, the waters look less inviting to politicians deciding whether to plunge into an election bid. Additionally, some Capitol Hill operatives complain that preoccupied senior White House officials have been less engaged in candidate recruitment than they were for the 2002 and 2004 elections. These sources would speak only on background because of the sensitivity of partisan strategies.
Historically, Senate and House races are often won or lost in the year before the election, as a party's prospects hinge critically on whether the most capable politicians decide to invest time, money and personal pride in a competitive race. Often, this commitment takes some coaxing.
A senior Republican familiar with the recruiting process agreed that the climate has shifted for the GOP because of a confluence of problems from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina and high gasoline prices: "Looking at polls from June or July and then looking at them now, the deterioration is really bad."
Another Republican, pollster Tony Fabrizio, said a recruiting chill was inevitable. Candidates "aren't stupid," he said. "They see the political landscape. You are asking them to make a huge personal sacrifice. It's a lot easier to make that sacrifice if you think there's a rainbow at the end."