In signs that suggest that they are ready to concede the two races, Democrats in Kansas and North Carolina are looking to long shot candidates. In Kansas, Democrats are now looking to former Congressman Jim Slattery, who moved to Washington after suffering a lobsided defeat in his 1994 Gubernatorial race. Incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts had nearly $2 million in the bank at the end of the second quarter and showed no signs of slowing down. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius could’ve made a race out of it, but no other Democrat can. Now Democrats are just anxious to get someone - apparently anyone - in the race.
In North Carolina, Democrats considered Sen. Elizabeth Dole vulnerable, but then Gov. Mike Easley turned them down. Reps. Brad Miller and Bob Etheridge then followed suit. Now they are pinning their hopes on little-known State Rep. Grier Martin. Martin himself acknowledged that he would have a steep hill to climb. Like Roberts, Dole had nearly $2 million on hand at the end of June. While she was an inept fundraiser as head of the NRSC, she remains a formidable fundraier in her own right. She also has far more name recognition stemming from her work at the Red Cross, her husband’s Presidential campaign, and her last five years in the Senate. To have a chance next year, Martin would have to run a flawless campaign and benefit from a national wave at least the size of last year’s. Democrats may want to compare this to the candidacy of Jim Webb, a good candidate who was underestimated. In fact, Webb only won because then-Sen. George Allen self destructed. A better comparison would be Don Mongiardo, who nearly pulled off an upset of Sen. Jim Bunning in 2004. Mongiardo was not a viable candidate, but he was a respectable place-holder. Once Bunning began what can only be described as some sort of mental breakdown, Mongiardo was positioned to capitalize because he had done enough to put himself in a position to potentially capitalize under perfect storm circumstances. Martin could win this race, but only with a tremendous amount of help from Sen. Dole. Dole is not prone to such mistakes.