Which Democratic candidate has the longest coattails?

Democrats in Congress are reportedly considering which of the potential nominees offers the most advantage down-ticket.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 13, 2008 6:39PM (EDT)

Via the indefatigable Steve Benen, I see that the Hill has a report on congressional Democrats considering the potential coattails that each of the prospective Democratic presidential nominees could bring to the races down-ticket.

The conclusion thus far? The Hill's Alexander Bolton reports that "Democratic lawmakers are becoming persuaded that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) would have a more positive impact on other Democrats on the November ballot than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)."

That belief apparently stems from a sense that Obama would have particular impact in the South and the West. South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the House Democratic whip, tells Bolton, "In these Southern states [Obama's] bringing out more people, young people, African-Americans. They’re being energized by him ... He'll bring new people into the process in Southern states, there's no question about it." Clyburn has remained publicly neutral in the race, but declared Obama supporters are making similar arguments.

On the other hand, it seems as if the Clinton supporters with whom Bolton spoke didn't attempt to argue that Clinton would be better for other Democrats than Obama, just that the two would be equally effective.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee may begin running polls to gauge the exact impact each candidate would potentially have in certain races.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton War Room