Lynn Bartels reported over the weekend on news that former Colorado GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams was hired as Campaign Manager for Michigan US Senate Candidate Clark Durant. Durant is headed for a primary battle against the establishment-backed former Congressman Pete Hoekstra, with the winner to take on incumbent Democrat US Senator Debbie Stabenow.
Wadhams hire makes one thing clear: It sucks to be Debbie Stabenow.
Stabenow must be in trouble if a high level operative like Wadhams is willing to sign on with a long-shot challenger campaign. In fact a poll in August found that Stabenow had an upside down approval rating, with 37% approving of her job performance, while 54% had a negative view. While she still leads her potential opponents in publicly released polling, you can be sure Wadhams will help bring those head-to-head polling numbers into more favorable GOP territory.
While Wadhams recent gigs have not turned out as successfully as he would have hoped, most of those losses can be attributed directly to the verbal diarrhea of his candidates. From the impossible-to-spin "Macaca moment" of George Allen to, well, everything Dan Maes said, Wadhams can hardly be blamed for those two campaigns going down the drain.
On the other hand, Wadhams does have the distinction of being a dragon slayer, taking down US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle in 2004, the first Senate leader to lose in over 50 years. Add to that helping elect conservatives from Bill Armstrong to Wayne Allard and Bill Owens and his electoral record is pretty hard to match.
Despite his struggles with liberty leaders over the last couple of years in Colorado, Wadhams helped to drive the conservative revolution in Colorado, starting his career working for conservative luminary former US Senator Bill Armstrong. In working for the conservative grassroots candidacy of Durant, Wadhams will be returning to his old stomping grounds leading conservative challengers over the establishment in primaries, just as Bartels noted he did with Allard's primary against Gale Norton.
With Michigan having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and people fleeing Detroit at the rate of one resident every 22 minutes over the last decade, the Wolverine State could be a prime pick up opportunity. With Dick Wadhams signed on to lead Durant's campaign, Debbie Stabenow's chances at re-election just got a whole lost worse.
Probably good news for the Hoekstra campaign –
Dick Wadhams has been on a losing streak for years, including a disastrous tenure as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party (Colorado bucked the nationwide trend of GOP wins in 2010, and only narrowly avoided a repeat of total Democrat dominance of all three branches of state government).