PETE DAWKINS

Republicans thought they hit a candidate recruitment home run when Pete Dawkins, the former Heisman trophy winner, Rhodes Scholar, and Army General agreed to run against freshman Frank Lautenberg in 2008. But Dawkins, who moved to New Jersey in 1987, struggled as a candidate with comments like he'd blow his brains out if he had to live in small town. Lautenberg, in a campaign managed by up-and-coming Democratic operative James Carville, won 54%-45% and Republicans wondered why they didn't nominate Leonard Coleman instead.

PETE DAWKINS