Shaheen looming over NH race

Election Central, the campaign-watching arm of the Talking Points web empire, has a post taking note of the Romney-ish repositioning of Katrina Swett, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican Senator John Sununu in New Hampshire.

Swett, who is the daughter of California Rep. Tom Lantos and the wife of former New Hampshire Rep. Dick Swett, is a long-standing friend and supporter of Joe Lieberman and one of his more vociferous backers in his Senate race last year. That association, of course, makes her toxic to Democratic activists, so now she’s running for cover, even donating $1,000 last week to MoveOn, Lieberman’s sworn arch-nemesis.

The posturing is interesting, I guess, but it strikes me as pointless, because there’s yet another sign today that Jeanne Shaheen, the state’s former three-term Democratic governor, will be coaxed into the Senate race this fall, effectively clearing Swett and Steve Marchand, the other announced Democrat, out of the race: The group Draft Shaheen, which was launched by former New Hampshire Democratic Chairwoman Kathleen Sullivan, now has a web site, where citizens can sign a petition urging Shaheen to run and can send the former governor personal messages.

This all looks like an elaborate wink-and-nod collaboration between Shaheen and Sullivan, who chaired the party for much of Shaheen’s governorship and during her (barely) unsuccessful 2002 Senate race against Sununu. ’02, of course, was a GOP year, one in which nearly every close Senate race swung to the Republicans in the closing days, Shaheen’s included. ’08, at least now, looks like it will be a Democratic year – and New Hampshire has only moved farther from its GOP roots since ’02. Look for Shaheen to enter in the fall and for her race to emerge as one of the best Senate pick-up opportunities in the country for Democrats next year.

Shaheen looming over NH race