Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shuler's Calculus

Heath Shuler is letting his opposition to the stimulus be known far and wide, even as 80% of North Carolina voters in his party express support for it.

It's interesting to note that while voters in the Mountains have the lowest level of support for it, at 46%, there is still a small plurality in favor as only 41% are opposed.

Shuler's stance has interesting implications for a possible 2010 Senate race. If he does decide to make a run he's definitely opened himself up to a challenge from the left in the Democratic primary, where an opponent would have a pretty simple line of attack asking the question 'what's the point in nominating someone who is not going to stand up for our party's agenda?'

It's a valid question, but whether such an opponent would have enough money and institutional support to make a real contest of it is a whole different question. Jim Neal certainly didn't last year with a similar message.

This sort of reminds me of Richard Moore's early television ads last spring, which seemed geared much more toward the general election than the primary electorate. Moore of course didn't make it. Perhaps Shuler is operating on the assumption that if he does decide to run he'll have a fairly clear path to the general election, where the way he's operating right now might get him somewhere.


Anonymous said...

Shuler is making a smart move. Chances are this package isn't going to get the economy going before the next election. Shuler would be toast if he was opposite Burr on the stimulus issue in that situation.

An ancillary point: Why is nobody talking about Shuler's ability to self fund his race? The man is the 18th richest member of congress worth more than $50 million. That is game changing wealth.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, Shuler's strong opposition to the President is raising my hopes that someone else prominent runs for the Democrats. I really would like to see Burr defeated, but I'm not sure Shuler would be much of an improvement. Note that Senator Hagen is considered to be a moderate, yet she's having no problem getting behind the President on this issue.

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