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« Strategy Memo: Brother Souljah | Blog Home Page | South Vegas Race Tight »

Schumer Wins Again

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair Chuck Schumer is not a man to bet against. The New Yorker has no qualms about getting involved in primaries in order to ensure his own candidate is the party's November nominee, and, to hear him pontificate, the party has reason to be optimistic in virtually every state in which a Senate seat is up this year.

As his involvement in several contested primaries show, he's not afraid to fight with his own party. This year, the DSCC helped Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez out of the New Mexico Senate race in favor of Rep. Tom Udall. They did the same thing in New Hampshire; after former Governor Jeanne Shaheen jumped into the Senate race, several other prominent candidates dropped out. The committee talked up Oregon State House Speaker Jeff Merkley over Portland activist Steve Novick; Novick stayed in the race, and Merkley eked out a victory.

Now, with Barack Obama's presidential campaign sniffing around for a vice presidential nominee, ex-Governor Mark Warner looked like an appealing choice. Warner is hugely popular in his home state, has good business background and would add to Obama's image as a new style of Democrat. The only trouble: Warner is also the front-runner for a Senate seat being vacated by Republican incumbent John Warner. Public polls have shown the Democrat running twenty or more points ahead of his GOP opponent, former Governor Jim Gilmore.

Schumer wins again, though, as Warner removed himself from the vice presidential sweepstakes at this weekend's Virginia Democratic Convention in Hampton. He will not seek, nor will he accept, any other opportunity, Warner told the 2,000 assembled delegates, per the Washington Post.

Warner becomes the third prominent politician whose name would have ended up on a short list, alongside Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and 2004 veep nominee John Edwards, to rule himself out. But with Warner out, that doesn't mean a Virginian won't find a place on the ticket. Freshman Senator Jim Webb and Governor Tim Kaine could each compliment the Illinois Senator in a state on which he's placed a high premium for the Fall.