Republicans Say Yes to Recruitment; Dems the New 'Party of No'

Last month, I penned a piece for the U.S. News & World Report highlighting the recruiting successes Republicans have had over Democrats, both in senatorial and congressional races. Since then, the successful GOP recruitment has only continued.

This week alone, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) has two major successes to herald — the prime recruitment of New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, who was appointed to the position by the Democratic governor, and Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk, both of whom jumped into Senate races in their respective states. These are top recruits for the GOP.

Is the news as good for Democrats? Yeah, not so much.

In the same week that Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (yes, we can officially call him that now) gave Senate Democrats a filibuster-proof majority, Democrats can't seem to land the candidates they need. In Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan said no to a race after overtures from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, both from Illinois, and a private audience with Chicagoan Barack Obama. One can't overstate this recruiting failure, especially after Emanuel called Madigan the "800-pound gorilla" (not usually a compliment one gives a lady) and the "most popular figure in the state of Illinois."

That loss was bad enough, but it was not the only recruiting failure surfacing for Democrats this week. Despite repeated overtures, popular South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who represents an at-large seat — meaning that she has been elected statewide — said no to challenging Sen. John Thune (R).

Not to be outdone is the Empire State, where Rep. Carolyn Maloney said no to pleas from Democratic leaders to stay of out a primary against newly appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Making her "no" more emphatic, Maloney announced a trump card: the support of former President Bill Clinton. In other words, in the New York Democratic primary, it's game on!

With headline after headline burying the Republican Party, it's important to point out where things are going right for the party. So it must be noted that John Cornyn's team has repeatedly outraised Democrats — both in funding and in actual candidates.

There's an old saying in Washington: "When the president calls, you say yes." When it comes to candidate recruitment, however, it appears the Democrats make up the "Party of No."