&#8220Republicans across the nation would do better to focus on more realistic targeted races.&#8221

In 2006, the media’s darling, Hillary Clinton, will run for re-election to the United States Senate and will face Ed Cox, John Spencer, or Jeanine Pirro. Right now the odds are on Pirro being the Republican nominee. According to Dick Morris, Pirro has a strong chance at either winning or getting Hillary to drop out and concentrate on the 2008 Presidential run. Lately, Dick Morris’s advice, $500.00, and a stay at the Jefferson Hotel might mean you get your toes sucked by a hooker, but most likely won’t get you into the United States Senate.

Cox nor Spencer nor Pirro has a shot at beating Hillary. The calculus is that simple. Hillary Clinton is extremely popular with the south end of the state and is doing very well with the more Republican north end of the state. She will no doubt have Mike Bloomberg’s support in New York City, if only tacitly, and will most likely have Guiliani helping her opponent in the north, though only nominally. It does not matter.

The Republicans in New York more desperately want to hold on to the governor’s mansion than capture Hillary’s seat. The state party is going to be focusing its resources there and on the other New York government races. The Republican Senate Primary is going to be a bloodbath — its New York — and the Republican donors will spread themselves thin between three worthy candidates only to see a shortage of funds in the general election. Meanwhile Hillary will be able to pool from a national database of capital from which she can club her eventual opponent to political death. Hillary already has great name ID and her popularlity is solid. Any one of the Republicans can throw mud to raise Hillary’s negatives, but in doing so they will raise their own negatives and help Hillary raise more cash with which to drown out the Republican. (Hillary will also have fawning media coverage)

More power to Pirro for getting in the race. She’s a tough woman and has the mental acumen to debate Clinton. She will hold her own. She will also consume national resources that could better be spent on closer races that do not have an entire national backbone of Democratic infrastructure and Bill Clinton behind the candidate. Lastly, Pirro has husband negatives like Clinton does. But, while Clinton’s are excused because of who her husband is and what he did, Pirro will not so easily escape from her husband’s troubles. It may not be nice to say, but it is the truth.

Republicans can learn from the Hackett race in Ohio. Having an attractive candidate is a good thing, but standing back and looking objectively at the demographics, trends, and dynamics of a race outweighs an attractive candidate. In Pirro, Cox, and Spencer’s case, Republicans across the nation would do better to focus on more realistic targeted races. A few will chase New York Senate windmill. The rest of us need to keep our eyes focused on the realpolitik goals of 2006 — keeping the Senate and House safely Republican through the most effective and efficient use of party and people resources.