If the country is going to make the U-turn that it needs to make in 2013, it will need not only a new president but also a Senate of at least 51 Republicans and hopefully closer to 60.
To reach the first number, the GOP is counting on wins by George Allen in Virginia, and Denny Rehberg in Montana. These two men are experienced and very able champions of conservatism whose records are well known and who are asking their state electorates to simply return to the traditional voting patterns from which they departed in the awful GOP year of 2006. Given the president’s abysmal record and the hard-left lurch he led the country on, Allen and Rehberg should be part of the GOP return to the majority.
Along with these three traditional candidates there is a quartet of very different GOP candidates who, while they will be very solid conservative votes in the Senate, represent a new generation of Republican rising stars: Jon Bruning in Nebraska, Ted Cruz in Texas, Adam Hasner in Florida and Josh Mandel in Ohio.
Cruz is 41. Bruning and Hasner are 42. Mandel is an ancient 33, but his two tours as a marine in Iraq count for extra credit in the actual experience department.
How different are these four from the typical Republican Senate candidate? Hasner and Mandel are Jewish. Ted Cruz is, like Marco Rubio, the son of a Cuban exile, and Jon Bruning has already been in statewide office for just under a decade, having first been elected Nebraska’s top law enforcement official in 2002, having already served in the state senate for six years.