Democratic Party in North Carolina has asked the Democratic National Committee to help it determine to what extent Sen. John Edwards has damaged his re-election chances in 2004 because of his pursuit of the Democratic presidential nomination.
“He’s moved so far to the left, we can’t help but think he’s damaged his credibility with moderate Democrats here at home,” says a Tarheel State party operative.
So far, Edwards has declined to say whether or not he will run for re-election to the Senate. However, his popularity has never been so strong that he could do what Sen. Joseph Lieberman did in 2000, and that is run for both the Senate and the vice-presidency at the same time.
Edwards has the added challenge of facing a legitimate Republican threat in Rep. Richard Burr.
It’s expected that the DNC will provide the state party with some polling and other focus group data to give it some sense of whether to pursue alternatives to Edwards, if for no other reason than to pressure him into making a commitment one way or another.
Already the state Democratic Party has put out feelers to former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, who has already lost one Senate race, last year, to Elizabeth Dole. “We think Bowles has enough credibility and enough standing in the state among Democrats that he could probably run a competitive race,” says the Democratic staff party staffer.
ONLY THE BEGINNING
Republican staffers on the House Ways and Means Committee are already plotting legislation for the fall that would make permanent all the provisions in the latest Bush economic stimulus bill, which was signed into law yesterday.
As reported by the Prowler, the Bush White House was contemplating a similar move, depending on how successful it would be in regaining some elements of the original economic plan that had been lost due to miscommunication in the Senate.
“This kind of legislation wouldn’t make it in the Senate, but we can get it through the House, and at the very least use it as campaign ammunition down the road,” said a Republican Ways and Means staffer. “If we can take this thing further, and actually get the Senate to do something, all the better.”
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