"Democratic Senate hopeful poised to assail Hutchison"

Selby -- Statesman:

Radnofsky is a mediation lawyer for the Vinson & Elkins firm, which employs Hutchison's husband, Ray, in Dallas. She has not met him but cannot wait to debate his wife, the state's senior senator.

Hutchison "has refused to defend her record," Radnofsky said. "She's ready to run a race by traveling in a Cadillac appearing to honor her past as a University of Texas cheerleader," a reference to Hutchison recently joining an Austin parade featuring former Longhorn cheerleaders. "She's running the fluffiest race you can imagine."

Hutchison campaign adviser Bryan Eppstein called the jab "an immature statement by an immature candidate. We will debate on facts and the record, not on falsehoods."


[Democratic strategist Kelly Fero] said Hutchison, initially elected to the Senate in June 1993, "comes across as a moderate and a common-sense official who reflects the mainstream values of Texas. She's not a rabid political hack. It will take scandals in Washington to put Radnofsky over the top."

Radnofsky said Hutchison, who ranks among the GOP vice presidential prospects for 2008, will have trouble defending her role as a "rubber stamp" for President Bush, with at least three issues surfacing as soft spots: the Iraq war, veterans affairs and a comment on the recent CIA leak investigation.

•Radnofsky favors the United States setting a timetable for getting its troops out of Iraq. Hutchison thinks specifying a timetable would only embolden enemies.

•Radnofsky has characterized Hutchison as falling short of fully funding programs for service veterans by not voting for funding increases proposed by others.

Hutchison's office countered that this year, the senator, a Veterans Affairs Committee member who heads an appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs, carried legislation saving the Veterans Affairs Department from a budget shortfall.

•Hutchison told an NBC-TV audience last month that she hoped a grand jury looking into possible Bush administration leaks of an undercover CIA operative's name would not indict anyone on "some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime."

Radnofsky isn't going to win this race. If she starts slinging personal mud (eg, the cheerleader crack, which admittedly is very mild. In other states it would be slightly more personal...), it may limit her future opportunities in politics. Going negative generally hurts you, even if it hurts your opponent more.

My feeling has been that Radnofsky might be running this race in order to gain name ID to use it for another race. However, if you go overly negative, you may not get a chance for that other race. On the flip side of that though, is that if Radnofsky doesn't come close at all, she won't look as attractive.

The veterans issue is interesting. Service in the military makes any demographic group more likely to vote Republican. So veterans are generally a pretty tough place for Democrats to go campaigning for votes, even when you focus your entire campaign around being a veteran, ie John Kerry (see 2004 DNC convention). It's tough to transition veterans issues into a campaign issue which swings non-veteran votes. Perhaps it is possible, but it is a tough hill to climb.

Posted by Evan @ 11/21/05 10:44 AM


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>>Hutchison campaign adviser Bryan Eppstein called the jab "an immature statement by an immature candidate.<<

Oh, come on! Eppstein must not be in touch with the fantasy-based community of the lefty netroots, where a precinct chair with zero name ID can take on and beat the most popular politician in the state!


Posted by kevin whited @ 11/21/05 10:59 AM

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