Manu Raju writes up Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.)’s skepticism of some Obama initiatives as proof that he’s becoming the president’s “Dem foe,” and offers one reason why:
The Democratic senator is up for reelection in 2010 in deeply red North Dakota, and the state’s Republican Party is eager to tie him tightly to the most liberal elements of President Barack Obama’s agenda.
The problem is that North Dakota isn’t as red as it used to be, not on the federal level. Barack Obama made a real push for the state in the general election, visiting it after he’d already won its caucuses, and dipping back in with an ad buy (not too expensive in a state with small media markets) in October. The result sort of validated Sen. John McCain’s decision not to worry about the state—Obama lost by around 9 points, scoring 44.5 percent of the vote. But four years earlier, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had lost to George W. Bush by 27 points. Obama’s performance was the best for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976.
Another way of looking at this is that Sen. McCain won only 42.7 percent of the vote in Nevada, worse than Obama did in North Dakota, but you rarely read stories that place Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in a “deeply blue” state.