It's early in the cycle, but it already appears that National Republican Senatorial Committee head John Ensign already appears headed toward Liddy Dole-style inglorious ineffectiveness.

Some of you may remember the Dole formula: 1) fail to recruit any good candidates, and 2) fail to raise any money. Who knew that Ensign would embrace that formula so quickly?

First, there's the recruitment problems.

Former Colorado Rep. Scott McInnis (R) is expected to end his Senate bid as soon as today, according to sources familiar with his thinking who asked not to be identified because they did not have permission to speak for the McInnis camp.

McInnis's exit from the race comes less than one month after he formed an exploratory committee to run for the seat being vacated next year by Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.). McInnis did not return a call placed to his Denver office Tuesday seeking comment. And it's worth noting that several sources who said they expected him to abandon the race refused to rule out the possibility that he would change his mind, insisting that McInnis is notoriously unpredictable about his political plans.

McInnis was the strongest candidate the GOP would be able to put up, and even has nearly $1 million sitting in his House account. But as much as McInnis' associations want to hope that he changes his mind and decides to run after all, it look like the former Rep has surveyed the political landscape and his state's dramatically changing partisan lean, and decided he has better things to do than lose to Democrat Mark Udall. (Via ColoDem's diary.)

Meanwhile, when he's not failing at recruitment, Ensign appears to be failing at raising money.

National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Ensign (R-Nev.) is pressing Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) to break tradition and steer Republican National Committee (RNC) funds to Senate races for the 2008 cycle.

Historically, the RNC has done little to help individual Senate candidates in presidential election years, although candidates in battleground states have reaped the collateral benefits of the RNC's get-out-the-vote program.

But under Martinez's stewardship, the RNC may come to NRSC's aid in 2008.

Could Democrats be hearing better news? The Senate map is already dramatically stacked against Republicans in 2008. Now they're going to bleed the RNC for money -- money that would otherwise be used to help out the Republicans' presidential candidate. And Republicans will have little choice in the face of Schumer fundraising juggernaut -- they either put their incumbent Senators at an even worse disadvantage, or they weaken their White House chances. Either way they lose.

I'm no longer so sad to see Liddy Dole exit the NRSC. It looks like Ensign will be more than a worthy replacement.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:29 AM PDT.

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