As a coda to DR’s political obituary of Inhofe, let me add that I spent a few hours with challenger Andrew Rice last Thursday. My takeaway? Game on.

He’s smart and charismatic, and he has a compelling story. He understands politics.

He’s also picked a great opponent. In politics, people are more motivated by hate than love, and, well, there’s not a lot of people whose name don’t begin with Exxon or end in Mobil with Inhofe on their Valentine’s list. Inhofe’s ‘definite re-elect’ numbers are in the pits.

I spent some time around Jerry McNerney when he took on Pombo. Bless his heart, he had a lot of wonderful qualities, but Rice strikes me as a better public speaker and campaigner.

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Here’s my prediction: Rice will make it competitive. Then this race is going to get nationalized.

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