LEFT IN THE WEST. The Hill discusses recent changes that have improved Democrats' '08 Senate prospects a bit. Several of them are happening in the West, where, as we've been hearing for a while, Democrats have been resurgent and well-placed to capitalize on opportunities as they arise. To be momentarily callous here, the death of Republican Senator Craig Thomas in Wyoming opens up a seat Republicans will have to defend next year; though the state's governor is Democratic, that obviously remains a deeply red state and would be a tough prospect. Wayne Allard's pending retirement in Colorado opens up a far better chance for Dems to pick up a seat. The Hill also mentions New Mexico's attorneygate-tarred Pete Domenici and Alaska's Ted Stevens (connected to a burgeoning state corruption scandal) as incumbents who could potentially undergo swift reversals of fortune.

Meanwhile in Nebraska, Chuck Hagel is facing a primary challenge from the dead-ender Republican right while rumors keep growing that the deeply aggravating Pain Caucus emeritus member Bob Kerrey is going to throw his hat in the race.

--Sam Rosenfeld

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