GUT CHECK

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard's decision not to run for reelection last week gives Democrats a prime pickup opportunity in 2008. Is Allard's retirement a blip on the radar or a sign of things to come? Here's a look at the other Republican senators contemplating calling it quits in '08:

Sen. John Warner (Va.): Frustrated by his lack of power and still gasping at George Allen's drubbing in November, this five-term vet may take a pass -- especially if Democrats find a strong candidate.

The Betting: Slight tilt to retire.

Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.): One of President Bush's strongest GOP war critics, he has never come across as an enthusiastic senator -- and he still has an eye on the White House in '08.

The Betting: Lean retires.

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.): The former Senate Republican campaign chair had a miserable 2006, but her colleagues believe she will tough it out to reinstate her icon status.

The Betting: Lean runs.

Sen. Pete Domenici (N.M.): The official word is that he's running, but two years is a long time for a 74-year-old who has health problems and appears increasingly frail.

The Betting: Lean retires.

Sen. Larry Craig (Idaho): Another regular on the retirement rumor mill, but Democrats aren't paying much attention, because Idaho is Republican country.

The Betting: Lean runs.

Sen. Thad Cochran (Miss.): He recently suggested that a decision may be a year away. The longer a party loyalist such as Cochran waits, the more inclined he may be to stay.

The Betting: Lean runs.


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