It looks like Johnson may be in for more of a race than he expected when he announced that he would break his three-term-limit pledge.
First, according to the latest FEC discolures (through 6/30/06), Johnson leads his opponent, David Gill, in fundraising by a mere $70,000 ($194,484 vs. $123,487), a remarkably weak showing by an incumbent. By way of contrast, for the 2004 election Johnson outraised Gill by $533,478 to $102,352. To make matters worse for Johnson, he actually trails Gill in individual contributions ($114,121 vs. $70,713), a category he more than doubled Gill in last time around. It's the PACs that's keeping his campaign office lights on -- $7,500 from nuclear power giant Exelon, $6,500 from AT&T, $2,500 from the beer lobby, $2,000 from big tobacco, $2,000 from major Iraq war contractor Parsons Corp., etc.
Second, those weak fund-raising numbers reflect what appears to be a seismic shifts in the electorate away from George Bush and his rubber-stamp supporters in Congress. Non-partisan analyst Charlie Cook describes it as follows:
Republicans are facing a motivation deficit unlike anything they've seen at least since 1982 and probably since 1974, the post-Watergate midterm.
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the fall campaign. And if the political climate remains as it is today -- a very big "if" -- Republicans will likely lose the House and their dominance of the nation's governorships but hang on to the Senate by a thread. Every sign points to a reappearance of the "time for a change" dynamic....
Ultimately, the GOP's biggest challenge heading toward November 7 is getting its people out to vote. When a party's voters are disillusioned and disinclined to participate, candidates' leads in pre-election polls can disappear in the blink of an eye. And some who appeared headed toward victory end up giving concession speeches.
C. Cook, Chilling Numbers for the GOP, 9/2/06 (emphasis added). And today the AP is reporting that Southern women are turning away from the GOP over Iraq.