Sen. Chuck Schumer and the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee are targeting the man who has spent a great deal of time the past two years targeting them: GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell would be an unexpected victim in a Senate cycle that has Republicans fighting to keep a working minority, and the Democrat candidate opposing him in Kentucky, Bruce Lunsford might be a good candidate to do some damage.
Lunsford, a moderate Democrat, who in the past has supported Kentucky Republicans, is a Louisville businessman with the checkbook to give himself a more than fighting chance against McConnell, who long has been a favorite of K Street lobbyists. Lunsford's moderate reputation in bluegrass country, though, isn't helping him with the radicalized left, which now controls much of the Democrat party, and which has not rallied to Lunsford largely because of his past backing of GOP candidates.
"Once the DailyKos Kids realize they have a shot at dropping the minority leader of the Senate, they will come around," says a Democrat campaign consultant based in Washington. "Lunsford could be for us what John Thune was for Republicans a couple of cycles ago." (Thune defeated Democrat Senate leader Tom Daschle in 2004.)
Another complicating factor for McConnell is the candidacy of Libertarian Sonny Landham, a bit movie actor who has shared the screen with Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger. While Landham isn't given a serious shot at winning, there is concern that he would be appealing enough to some conservatives to weaken McConnell further.
Lunsford has reportedly been spending more time cultivating fundraising contacts in Washington through the DSCC, and expects to pull in about $1 million from Washington-based lobbyists and supporters this summer.
While Mitt Romney's set of paid PR minions are busy pushing out Mitt for Vice President spin, McCain campaign insiders say that while it's true they have polled Romney on the bottom of the ticket, the data confirms that such a move would be a political disaster for the party.
"Mitt tanks the ticket," says a McCain insider. "We lose fiscal conservatives. We lose social conservatives. We lose Catholics. We lose evangelicals. All the groups were spending time and money on bringing into the camp would be lost. He just doesn't help us enough to do something like this, as much as Mitt might think we should. He doesn't even win us Massachusetts."
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