Two Rays Of Hope For Democrats

After that Blanche Lincoln scare last night -- a tweet promising a "major campaign announcement" that led CNN and MSNBC to speculate that she was retiring, Democrats are in a  bit of a panicky mood about their Senate races now.  Today, they can point to two small positive developments. First: Rep. Mike Pence has decided not to run against Sen. Evan Bayh in Indiana. Given that Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) has not expressed an interest in leaving before his term is up in 2013, Republicans don't have a top-tier potential candidate in the state, giving Bayh a bit of breathing room.

Point two: though Democrats are nervous about a potential primary in Colorado to Sen. Michael Bennet, the Republican Senate primary is already underway. A group associated with Ron Paul is spending $350,000 on a statewide advertising buy to prop up the conservative credentials of Ken Buck, who is challenging Jane Norton, the NRSC's chosen candidate (and a politician labeled by conservatives as Mini-McCain -- not, obviously, meant as a compliment.)  If Democrats move forward on immigration in Congress, this primary will explode. Meanwhile, as I mentioned yesterday, Bennet's potential primary challenger, Andrew Romanoff, has been much less active than had originally been supposed. Given the political environment and Bennet's status as an appointee, Colorado's going to be tough for Democrats, but a divisive Republican primary could tilt the balance in the opposite direction.