Friday, January 16, 2009

Democratic Senator: GOP "trying to shut Sarah Steelman down!"

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill opines on the 2010 race for retiring Senator Kit Bond's seat:

"[the state GOP] is trying to shut Sarah Steelman down.... I feel for her. There are a lot of people on the Republican side who want her to go away. Although I don’t agree with her on very much, she ran a tough campaign. I thought she did a good job in staying disciplined about her message.

If they have the ability to shut down Sarah Steelman, maybe somebody can clear the field for them. I’m going to be watching to see if they’ve got that kind of leverage over her."

So what's Claire trying to do? Is she implicitly claiming Steelman's a weaker candidate? Or is she trying to further muddy the primary battlefield for 2010?

I'd be inclined to take her at face value here. Later in the interview, McCaskill offered her opinion on the Democratic primary, and despite the CW that Robin Carnahan's got it locked up, threw out Rep. Lacy Clay's name as a possibility. If McCaskill were giving a purely partisan interview, she would have introduced as much dissension as possible on the GOP side, and as much homogony as possible on the Dem side.

But that doesn't appear to be her intent:

"I think Robin [Carnahan] is in a formidable position. But I don’t think just by virtue of her interest that she clears the field."