Keystone decision already endangering Dem Senate seats
posted at 10:07 am on January 26, 2012 by Jazz Shaw
We’ve already seen more than a little speculation over what Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline and its associated jobs will do to his own reelection chances this fall. (All energy based protestations during the SOTU aside…) But what about the effect on the down-ticket contests? Surely those who sided with him on the issue might find themselves paying a price as well, no? There are some early indications in a few hotly contested races that this may well be the case.
In Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill is facing a tough bid to stay in office and critics are already noting the somewhat tepid, conditional support which she has shown for Keystone.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., reaffirming her earlier comments that give conditional support to the Keystone XL, said in a statement Wednesday:
“I support the pipeline. It should be built, and it should be built in a thoughtful and responsible manner, not based on a political timetable.”
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, said:
“With an unemployment rate above 8 percent and an underemployment rate of 15 percent, I am completely bewildered at why this administration has decided to reject a true shovel-ready project that will create 20,000 direct jobs and about 118,000 spin-off jobs, many of them through small businesses.”
In Virginia, George Allen is back, and he’s going after the Keystone issue with a vengeance as he seeks their open Senate seat this fall. In fact, he’s already put out a new TV ad going after Tim Kaine.
Republican George Allen is quickly turning President Obama’s decision not to approve a controversial oil pipeline into a talking point in Virginia’s open U.S. Senate race.
Allen is out with a new web video ripping Democrat Tim Kaine for siding with Obama on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, hoping to point out that this is a growing trend on the campaign trail.
The video, titled “unabashed,” is 75 seconds and is a montage of newspaper clips and footage critical of both Obama’s decision and Kaine’s support. Like other anti-Kaine videos in recent months, it also shows footage of a speech in which the Democrat said he was an “unabashed supporter of the president.”
Those aren’t the only places, and in some cases, even Democrats who openly supported the pipeline are feeling the sting. In Montana, Jon Tester has been in favor of the project, but Denny Rehberg has still been tying him to it in public statements by referring to “Tester’s allies in the Obama administration” when discussing the lost jobs and opportunities. It’s hard enough to elect a Democrat in Montana as it is, and Tester certainly can’t welcome that sort of association.
The GOP doesn’t need very many seats to wrest control of the Senate away from the Democrats, no matter who wins the White House in November. As long as unemployment remains unacceptably high, expect Keystone to be a major bone of contention over the summer and to resonate in congressional races.