Monday, September 20, 2004


The best use of $250

Hugh Hewitt gives his optimal way to spend $250 to influence American politics.

In brief, his recommendations are:
$25 to John Thune (U.S. Sen. - SD);
$25 to George Nethercutt (U.S. Sen. - WA);
$25 to Bill Jones (U.S. Sen. - CA);
Buy a copy of his book ($25) and send it to someone who lives in a battleground state and changes opinions;
$25 to Jim DeMint (U.S. Sen. - SC);
$25 to Richard Burr (U.S. Sen. - NC);
$25 to Pete Coors (U.S. Sen. - CO);
Buy a copy of his book ($25) and send it to someone who lives in a battleground state and changes opinions;
$25 to Senator Lisa Murkowski (AK)
$25 to Mel Martinez (U.S. Sen. - FL)

I'll comment only on races here, and limit it to $200 to spend.

I agree with most of his choices, but not necessarily in the same order.

If you were spending $100:

Send $25 to John Thune.
Send $25 to Lisa Murkowski
Send $25 to Pete Coors
Send $25 to Richard Burr

If you have another $100 to spend:
Send $25 to George Nethercutt
Send $25 to Tom Coburn (OK - U.S. Sen.)
Send $25 to Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Send $25 to Congressman Phil Crane (IL-8)

Thune and Murkowski should be no-brainers. Both are in small states (1 Congressional district apiece) in hotly-contested races. These are the two races where $25 makes the most difference.

I rate Coors and Burr ahead of Nethercutt because Nethercutt is challenging an incumbent and the other two are running for open seats. That makes their battles more fluid, because Nethercutt's opponent is a much more defined quantity in voters' minds.

Coburn moves onto my list ahead of several other candidates because his race is a lot tougher and is in a small enough state that $25 is meaningful. DeMint is ahead by a double-digit margin, and Mel Martinez and Bill Jones are from huge states. Coburn's impolitic comments about the power of Indian tribes, coupled with accusations that he sterilized a woman without her consent (a 20-year old patient who presented with an ectopic pregnancy) have turned his poll lead to a deficit.

I place two Congressional races in my top 8 because of the cirumstances those races present, even they may not be the two most in-danger seats.

Pete Sessions is running against Martin Frost, DCCC chairman and Democrat candidate recruiter. Taking out your opponents' generals is one of the most important tactical maneuvers in politics.

Phil Crane is in severe trouble mainly thanks to the embarrassment that is the Keyes for Senate campaign. Keyes is imploding so badly that he could harm GOP candidates across the board, and since Crane's last election garnered him 57% and his challenger is far better funded this time, he has become a national target. Crane is the dean of the House GOP caucus (first elected 1968) and a nationally known conservative leader (including a brief run for President in 1980). Max Burns, Rick Renzi, Anne Northrup, Heather wilson, Bob Beauprez, and several open seat candidates may be in tougher races, but Crane has been an invaluable figure in the modern conservative movement.

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