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Ben Cardin and Sheldon Whitehouse, from Wikimedia's 'Men Who Gesture' series

Yr Wonkette would never ever ever want to suggest that any Democratic-held US Senate seat is "safe," because A) we know magical thinking is insane but it's always worked for us; and 2) Noted political pundit and bringer of emergency bourbon Our Girlfriend always reminds us nothing is predictable anymore now that we all living on Hell Planet. Far be it from us to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing. That said, we're cautiously optimistic about the prospects of Ben Cardin of Maryland and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island to each win a third term in the Senate. Yes, we already went outside, turned around and spat. And cursed.


Maryland: Hooray for Boring!

Ben Cardin is a reliable Dem vote who also works across the aisle when it's useful, a very nice person, and will never make anyone's sexiest senators list -- and that's all to the good. He's in a three-way race against Republican Tony Campbell, a political science professor at Towson University (and graduate of Jerry Falwell's Liberty U) with no experience in office, and Neal Simon, a wealth manager dude and independent who is not the late award-winning playwright, threw $1.7 million into his vanity campaign, and also has never held office.

This may be what you really need to know about Tony Campbell's prospects: Ben Cardin's reelection campaign has raised $4.9 million for the cycle, and as of the mid-October FEC filing, had 1.5 million cash on hand. Tony Campbell had raised a total of $193,000 for the whole dag election, and was down to $35,000 and change for the stretch. He's also not getting any significant national money from the GOP or outside groups, either (fine, a thousand bucks from Citizens United). Money isn't everything, but it's definitely a thing, yes?

The three candidates did a debate October 7, and it seems unlikely to have changed Cardin's 40-point lead in the polls. The talking points were predictable enough: Simon repeatedly pointed out that Cardin (who served in the Maryland legislature for 20 years, before running for Congress and then the Senate) has been in office for 52 years, and isn't experience a terrible thing?Campbell condemned Cardin for opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh (Simon said he wouldn't have voted for Kav either), and was simply outraged that Democrats would oppose Kavanaugh by "using people's pain for political gain." Because obviously women who have been sexually assaulted should be respected, but it's another thing entirely to respect their pain so much that you'd deny someone a Supreme Court seat over it.

Also too, Campbell has said he would be a loyal supporter of Donald Trump's agenda, and also that "any other president" would surely have been awarded the Nobel Prize for his peerless achievements like having a summit with North Korea that resulted in no actual changes, and declaring a plan to build a border wall without actually building a border wall. So that's a thing.

Cardin, for his part, actually knows what he's doing, has fought to prevent Republicans from gutting Obamacare, is working to actually protect people with preexisting conditions, and to resist the Trump administration's efforts to declare trans people unpersons. We think he has a reasonable chance, but you could send him some money if you're so inclined!

Rhode Island: Yes,There Are Fart Ads

In Rhode Island, incumbent Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse is also comfortably ahead of Republican Bob Flanders in fundraising; as with Maryland, the race is rated safe/solid/likely "D" by the usual political prognosticators, (and yet we turn around, spit, and curse AGAIN), and it's one of those rare races this year where OpenSecrets just plain hasn't found any outside spending for either candidate. Thank goodness Flanders, a former state supreme court judge, is at least prone to making some insane claims, or we'd hardly have anything to write about at all.

For instance, here's one of his first attack ads, where he accuses Whitehouse of being way too concerned about climate change, because why would anyone make a big issue of taking action to prevent worldwide economic and environmental calamity? Silly, silly Sheldon Whitehouse!

In an October 25 debate, Stupid Not-Sexy Flanders continued to insist Whitehouse had an unhealthy obsession with keeping the planet safe for continued habitation by human beings and other large mammals, which we'll admit is pretty selfish of us megafauna, isn't it?

Flanders accused Whitehouse of being the "senator who cried wolf" and an "alarmist" on climate change, suggesting he has made the issue too singular of a focus and thus inured many observers. The former judge said government should use tax incentives and other tools to "free up entrepreneurs and green energy innovators" to address climate change.

"Climate change is real, and we definitely need to deal with it … But I think the question is, how do we deal with it," Flanders said.

Instant polling that we completely made up in our head determined 70 percent of Trump voters reading the first paragraph of that blockquote thought Flanders had accused Whitehouse of urinating on voters, and were outraged.

Whitehouse, the goofball, just couldn't drop the issue and let the free market fix the problem it's failed to address for the last century:

"I think it's a little bit more urgent than that," Whitehouse countered, citing URI studies that show the "entire map of the state of Rhode Island is going to change … if we don't get ahead of [climate change] now."

He added, "There is a bad connection between fossil fuel industry lobbying and … the unlimited money that's allowed to flow into politics," he said. "Now we have a blockade, run by the Republican Party, paid for by the fossil fuel industry."

Also too, Flanders has tried to accuse Whitehouse of having "blood on his hands" for not doing enough to single-handedly end the opioid epidemic. Is this a good place to point out that Flanders's hero Donald Trump, by moving to repeal Obamacare, threatens Medicaid expansion, the single largest program providing treatment for addicts? It is.

Getting back to toxic emissions, there's also Whitehouse's questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during the confirmation hearings, for which Flanders accuses Whitehouse of being the Fart Candidate. Any fool knows "boofing" means farts and nothing else, duh, why would Kavanaugh make that up? Like, other than being a liar?

Sheldon Whitehouse is a very silly man, isn't that embarrassing? GOOD senators just believe everything a Republican nominee says, dummy.

Whitehouse, of course, pointed out that Kavanaugh seemed to be making shit up as he went along:

"He was far from being fully truthful, and in fact, Judge Kavanaugh would have been pretty harsh with witness Kavanaugh if Judge Kavanaugh was obliged to endure the behavior of witness Kavanaugh in a courtroom," Whitehouse said in an interview. "No judge would put up with that nonsense for a moment."

We can't think of a better way to end our review of the 2018 Senate races than with an erudite discussion of farts. Here's Sheldon Whitehouse's donation page, and also that link for you to help ALL the Democratic candidates running in red states again, the end! Or almost the end, because we'll do a Senate roundup next week.

[Baltimore Sun / WaPo / Herald-Mail / Rhode Island Independent / Providence Journal / WPRI / Ben Cardin for Senate / Sheldon Whitehouse for Senate]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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