Here come the Republican women

Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon definitely inserts some zest into the ranks of Republican Senate candidates, but she also adds something the party has been lacking for a long time: women.

McMahon’s announcement that she would enter the race for Sen. Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) seat makes her potentially the fifth major GOP Senate candidate who is a woman.

Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton also announced this week that she would run, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina last month opened an exploratory committee for the race in California. Those two join former New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteOn the Trail: Senate GOP hopefuls tie themselves to Trump GOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire MORE as the favorites in their states’ GOP primaries.

ADVERTISEMENT

Beyond that, former Nevada Republican Party Chairwoman Sue Lowden is expected to run against Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls for end to all caucuses Reid pushes back on Sanders suggestion that a Democrat with plurality of delegates should be the nominee Harry Reid on 'Medicare for All': 'Not a chance in hell it would pass' MORE (D-Nev.) and resigned her old post to look at the race. She and McMahon will both face difficult primaries.

It’s been a while since Republicans recruited as many solid candidates as they have this cycle, so that’s part of the reason for the surge in female candidates. But the GOP already has more female recruits than do the Democrats, and they could wind up with women running in about half of their big challenger and open-seat races in 2010.

There are only four Republican women in the Senate, so the 2010 election would be a good opportunity to expand their ranks. Of course, the impending retirement of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) means they will start out down one.

—A.B.

Sanford ally takes the win

A close ally of disgraced South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) won a Republican primary Wednesday night even though his opponent used Sanford as a cudgel.

Former state Rep. Ralph Norman (R) won the Republican primary in York County, on the border with North Carolina, with 70 percent of the vote over businessman Roger Costner (R). About 3,800 voters, or 12 percent of the eligible population, cast ballots.

The state House seat came open when ex-state Rep. Carl Gullick (R) resigned to move to Kentucky with his wife, who had taken a new job, according to local media. Costner spent heavily on his own race and had Gullick’s support, along with the endorsement of the area’s largest newspaper.

Norman is a friend of Sanford, the governor who admitted this summer to an extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. In mailings in support of his campaign, Costner made Sanford an issue, linking Norman with the unpopular governor.

But Norman was well-known in his own right. He held the seat for a single term earlier this cycle before mounting a challenge to Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) in 2006. Spratt won that race with 57 percent of the vote, a closer election than he’d faced since 1996.

Norman will face Kathy Cantrell (D), a member of the Clover school board, in November’s general election. He is favored to win his old job back in the heavily Republican district.

If he does make it back to the State Legislature, Norman will enter a House Republican caucus that is actively considering removing Sanford from office.

—R.W.

Anti-NRSC fundraising push sluggish

Redstate.com’s Erick Erickson isn’t happy about the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s (NRSC) actions in a few Senate races, but conservative followers aren’t stepping up to the plate to do something about it.

In a blog posting Wednesday, Erickson expressed disappointment at the early response to his fundraising drive to help outsiders Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSanders: 'Unfair to simply say everything is bad' in Cuba under Castro Democrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it Cheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight MORE in Florida,

Chuck DeVore in California, Michael Williams in Texas and former Rep. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

Erickson, who joked that the drive was almost labeled the “Screw the NRSC” fundraiser, was blunt.

“We’re not meeting our goal. In fact, the fundraising for these four sucks,” he said.

“You want to change the Republican Party and have a seat at the table, you’ve got to launch a coup against the establishment,” he added, noting the left’s advantage in online fundraising. “And the best way to do that at the present time is [to] support these candidates who are running against the establishment.”

The conservative wing of the GOP has made plenty of noise about the NRSC’s endorsement of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist over Rubio and its actions in several other states, and it had launched an effort to tell donors not to contribute to the NRSC.

But the NRSC has only seen its fundraising increase this cycle, with 70,000 new donors added.

For now, the conservatives appear to be losing this battle. The unscientific widget on Redstate shows they are just one-ninth of the way to their $250,000-in-20-days goal, with 15 days left.

—A.B.

Dems see polling boost in some races

August was kind to Republicans, and the polling bore that out. Now, at least to some extent, the Democrats are getting some recoil.
A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio on Wednesday showed former Rep. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Ohio) falling 11 points behind Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D), 42-31, after Portman closed the gap to four in the last Q poll.

Those results were released a day after Quinnipiac showed Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland rebounding to a 43 percent approval rating and a 46-36 lead over former Rep. John Kasich (D-Ohio.).

Likewise, in Connecticut, Dodd scored his highest favorability numbers since his March implosion in the latest Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll. He also trailed former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) by his smallest margin since then — four points.

Democrats got some good numbers in the two 2009 gubernatorial races as well, as pollsters started testing registered voters in New Jersey and Virginia. By that measure, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) took a small lead in a Monmouth/Gannett poll and Virginia Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds is only down by five points in a Clarus poll.

—A.B.