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Repubs in big trouble, need to localize, says Mehlman

Monday, May 8, 2006 - Posted by Rich Miller

This may be a national story, but it has serious local implications. From the Hotline blog:

RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, generally one of the party’s premiere strategic optimists, warned GOP state chairs that the party would lose seats at every level of government.

Not “if” they didn’t do X,Y, or GOTV. But “would lose,” period. The task for state chairs: use lessons learned from ‘04 to flush out the Republican base as much as possible.

The corollary: the more Republicans confront Pres. Bush, the more they localize national sentiment, which in turn could provoke a higher turnout among independents, which in turn could cost the party even more House, Senate and GOV seats.

What Mehlman and WH pol dir Sara Taylor didn’t say — but what all state chairs know — is that the politics of nastiness generally turns off persuadable voters. So expect the marginal races this year to be quite nasty.

The upshot: the more the national landscape is framed as 435 local elections, the better it looks for Republicans. The GOP will stay on track by focusing on good defense by leveraging their state-by-state fundamentals, which Mehlman, Taylor and many state chairs asserted were strong.


  1. - Cook Dem - Monday, May 8, 06 @ 4:21 pm:

    So in other words, Peter Roskam, Dave McSweeney, Mark Kirk and Andrea Zinga will all run nasty campaigns filled with mud slinging, lies and distortion to suppress independents and cater to the most extreme voters of the right wing to win their races this year?

    This is a new strategy for Republicans he says?

    Sounds like more of the same. Good thing voters look like they want change this year.

  2. - true republican - Monday, May 8, 06 @ 4:39 pm:

    Maybe Mehlman should be careful in Illinois, because with the republican crew led by Eddie Vrdolak, with his partners Ron Serpico, Tom Walsh,Maureen Murphy, and Liz Gorman,all republican canididates in Cook County will lose. Mehlman should ask the party to strip these individuals of there republican membership and tell them to back to the democrats, because we would rather lose without them then to win with them!

  3. - Crank-tankerous - Monday, May 8, 06 @ 7:09 pm:

    Illinois Republicans will lose ground this year because they’ve already ceded it!

    This ties directly to Rich’s thread on Stu Umholtz. Stu is a bright guy who has done a fine job as a state’s attorney………..his campaign for attorney general is going nowhere PRECISELY BECAUSE his party has cast him adrift with virtually no money and no support.

    Ditto that for Dan Rutherford, Carole Pankau, and Christine Redogno………..all missing in action, no? (Extra credit for naming the offices they’re running for!)

    What kind of mixed message do we have here? Mehlman goes dire, yet the Illinois Repubs have already conceded four statewide offices (or maybe three, if Alexi does the Blair Hull/Jack Ryan thing). Go figure.

    To borrow from Blago’s attack ads…….”what are they thinking?”

  4. - Disgusted - Monday, May 8, 06 @ 8:10 pm:

    Am I wrong or does it seem that the Illinois Repubs are holding back. I don’t understand the state Repub legislators when they sit back and take it and take it from the likes of Blagojevich. Someone in the Repub party needs to grow some really big ones and get in the Democrat faces about the wreckage we can presently call this state. Just get in there and fight dirty. When what Blago does or suggests is wrong, call him at his office and tell him why it’s wrong and don’t make suggestions to fix it for him. Just tell him he’s wrong, period.

    He is allowed to run rampant throughout the state, foisting his costly schemes on everyone because of what? - Fear?? I guarantee that given the way most people south of I-80 and in state government and who are at the non-receiving end of provider payments will love you for it. They will vote for you and against him and will make sure their friends and relatives do so also.

    The governor has proven time and again that he cannot be trusted by written word or deed. Just get in his face and make his life miserable. You may be surprised at the result.

    By the way, Rich Mehlman reminds me of a used car salesman. Can’t we do better than this bombastic individual?

  5. - Bill Baar - Monday, May 8, 06 @ 8:31 pm:

    Mehlman bombastic? Pretty mild looking guy compared to Dean.

    This won’t be 400 + local races… I’m listening to Gen Hayden from Jan of this year on c-span… Rove is hoping it will be Dems holding up his nomination to CIA so we can hear him tell us over and over why it’s important to intecept phone calls from terrorists… Hayden is good… if that’s what those 400+ local elections become, R’s win hands down.

  6. - PatriotUSA - Monday, May 8, 06 @ 9:06 pm:

    I don’t think the REPUBLICAN party exists! Somewhere along the line they have lost the desire to fight and have gone home to their mama. Mama, they don’t play fair… boo hoo… mama, they stuck their finger in my eye… boo hoo.. mama, he called me a name… boo hoo.. mama, he picked up a stick and swung it at me.. boo hoo.. mama, he has more hair than me.. boo friggin’ hoo… Get a spine dudes or its over!!!

  7. - Truthful James - Tuesday, May 9, 06 @ 9:30 am:

    Mehlman is as full of crap as a Christmas pinata. He is a creature of Karl Rove whose main job in Illinois is to protect his college buddy, Bob Kjellander.

    His strategy appears to want to move around the conservative base of the Republican Party, leaving them as islands in a Republican tide. It will not work. He puts the Republican nominees in 6th and 8th Cong. Districts in jeopardy — and in so doing makes more likely a Democrat majority in the next House.

  8. - SenorAnon - Tuesday, May 9, 06 @ 10:37 am:

    Bill B., the early voices against Hayden include those of fellas named Hastert, Chambliss and Hoekstra. Check your congressional roster - them dudes ain’t Democrats…

  9. - the Patriot - Tuesday, May 9, 06 @ 12:33 pm:

    Where was Mr. Mehlman when we could have had a Republican candidate for Gov who supported the values of those who have stuck with the President even through hard times and staunch criticism.

    The problem in this state has not changed. The party leaders are more interested in their state wide ambitions then the party or the state as a whole. McKenna is just building favors so no one will work against him just like judy did.

    We need a chairmen who is just the chairmen, not someone warming up for something else.

    Let me break it this way, Judy don’t like the President. The RNC gave no help in finding a conservative Gov candidate and now wants us to jump up to help turn the state Red by 2008. We were there for you Ken, but you bailed on us and gave us Judy.

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