Four items in the news bode well for the Grand Old Party.
1. Lisa Madigan, Illinois Attorney General, will not run for Democratic nomination for Governor or Senator in 2010. Madigan is by far the strongest Democratic vote getter in the state. Rahm Emanuel has been lobbying her to run for Roland Burris' Senate seat. While Illinois is a very strong Democratic state, in an off year, with the economy crumbling and all major state offices held by Democrats, there could be a backlash..
2. Another Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte, may run for GOP nomination to replace Senator Judd Gregg in New Hampshire. Ayotte who has a small lead over Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes in a trial matchup, might be GOP's best shot at holding seat in a state shifting towards the Democrats. 3. In Virginia, the Republican candidate for Governor in 2009 race now holds a 6 point lead, and Barack Obama's approval rating in a state he carried by near 7% in 2008, has dropped to 48%. 4. In Ohio, another state Obama carried by just under 5%, Obama's approval rating has dropped to 49%, and GOP candidate, Rob Portman, has pulled into a virtual tie in the open Senate seat race. Given the collapse in Obama's national approval ratings, it is not a surprise that his state numbers are dropping too. There is majority disapproval of every major Obama initiative- on the auto bailout, on health care reform care, and on climate change, and most think that the stimulus has been unsuccessful.
The big problem for the GOP is that while there may be improving prospects in 2010, in the next 18 months, only the Democrats can stop the Obama express train and its expensive, debt creating legislation on healthcare reform and climate change. The GOP has lost its Senate filibuster power (thank you Arlen Specter). Hopefully, enough Democrats will get nervous about voter backlash at Obama's grand agenda as the economy remains weak, and pull back, but I would not count on it.