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Friday, June 09, 2006

AZ-Sen: Jim Peterson vs. Jon Kyl

jim peterson arizonaJim Peterson's campaign for for Jon Kyl's U.S. Senate seat in Arizona has received far less attention from the beltway pundits than it deserves. Much like Jack Carter in Nevada, Peterson just hasn't been able to get some in the DC establishment to realize he is for real.

I'm thinking both campaigns were greatly served by Jon Tester's dramatic victory in Montana's senate primary. The DC crowd completely missed the boat when it came to understanding what was going on in that race. While many of us bloggers realized Burns was vulnerable before the Jack Abramoff scandal broke and that Tester would beat Morrison despite his warchest, the DC crowd decided to prove that they have little idea what is going on out west by assuming that Morrison's money=ads=votes.

Chris Cillizza's new Senate rankings -- where he admits he was "as surprised as anyone" about Montana -- has finally moved the Arizona senate race into the top 10:

The slate of competitive races is largely unchanged from last month, although Arizona cracks the list this time, as real estate developer Jim Pederson has gained momentum in his contest against Sen. Jon Kyl (R). [...]

10. Arizona -- Jon Kyl (R): Democrats have said over and over since the start of the '06 cycle that Kyl's polling numbers were soft and that, with a little bit of negative advertising, they would drop precipitously. Turns out they were basically right. Kyl remains the favorite in this contest, but Democrat Jim Pederson's campaign has made inroads thanks to a statewide television blitz. A Behavior Research Center poll conducted in early May showed Kyl at 40 percent to Pederson's 33 percent. That's way down from January, when Kyl led 55 percent to 26 percent. Immigration will be the issue in this race. Will voters side with Kyl's hard-line stance, or will they favor the "path to citizenship" approach endorsed by Pederson and the state's other senator, John McCain? (Previous ranking: N/A)

This is a race that is only going to get more competitive as the season moves on.

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