Over the past week or so, I attended a few campaign meetings for some of the folks I am helping out this cycle, and the question of the impact of the eventual GOP Presidential Nominee will have on local races is really starting to be asked, now that we have basically winnowed down a wide field to two front-runners, Gingrich and Romney (although did I see a poll somewhere that, egads, Ron Paul is still in the running?). Up to now, the large number of candidates made it a bit of a silly exercise to try to predict the impact our eventual nominee would have on local races, but we're getting to the point where that question is no longer quite so academic.
A few people I talked to over the weekend noted that the local Dems (a/k/a Terry Link) have packed every race they could with a candidate, any candidate. Some of these candidates reportedly don't have a lot of interest in the office; rather, they are doing it because they were asked (begged), and don't plan on spending a lot of time, energy or (especially, their own) money. They figure, quite literally, that 'if it's a great Obama year and he sweeps me into office, great. Otherwise, no big whoop.'
Given the lack of motivation on the part of such candidates, the respective top of the ticket becomes even more important. Columnists like Charles Krauthammer seems to be increasingly concerned that the two main candidates on the GOP side are so flawed, that Obama, despite his best efforts not to be re-elected, will nevertheless squeak by.
So, what does everyone think about the GOP ticket, who the eventual nominee will be, and how that will affect our local races?
UPDATED: From The Hill, here's kind of a frightening assessment of where things might head if Newt Gingrich continues to gather momentum.
UPDATED x2: Here is Gingrich's response (to Nancy Pelosi, from the above link). This could be getting quite interesting....