President Obama this week will meet with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Keane, in a bid to convince Mr. Keane to run for the US Senate seat in Virginia being vacated by Sen. Jim Webb (D). The likely Republican nominee, former Sen. George Allen, is a proven vote-getter in Virginia. To keep the seat in Democratic hands, President Obama needs a strong candidate. The strongest candidate available is Mr. Keane, who served as Virginia’s governor and is a proven vote-getter in his own right.
Mr. Keane, according to friends and political allies, doesn’t want to run for the US Senate in 2012. But a full court press from the White House and national Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) might change his mind.
Meanwhile, the White House is also ratcheting up pressure on DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano to run in Arizona, as Democrats eye the open seat being vacated by Sen. John Kyl (R). This is an equally uphill race for any Democrat, but Ms. Napolitano has twice been elected governor of Arizona (2002 and 2006) by relatively comfortable margins. She knows how to run a statewide campaign.
All of this is important because Democratic control of the US Senate is tenuous at best and most analysts expect that the Republicans will pick up the four seats necessary to regain control. The only thing likely to hold back a Republican surge is strong Democratic candidates. Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party need all their strongest candidates on deck.
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