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A year ago Democrats couldn’t dredge up a candidate against Liddy Dole – now they’ve got ‘em coming out of the woodwork to take on Richard Burr.

Burr has a litany of problems. For instance, he’s not nearly as strong a candidate as Mrs. Dole and he needs to get that fact clearly in focus – and do what she didn’t. Run like he’s ten points behind from Day One.

Second, the money equation in a Senate race has changed. Democrats have upped the ante. Burr’s facing raising $15 million – and that’s a mountain to climb. And he ought to count on Charlie Schumer upping the stakes, say, another five million.

The Democrats also just plain old outpunched Elizabeth Dole. Burr will face a similar blitzkrieg – he’d better be ready for a tough campaign and he’d better figure one slip like Elizabeth Dole made at the end of her campaign and he’s done for.

He also can’t sit back and let himself be a punching bag – Mrs. Dole demonstrated the time to fight back is while you’re ahead, not after your lead vanishes.

And don’t count on 2010 being a ‘good year.’ Count on it being a bad year. No party had swept two straight elections in seventy years – but the Democrats did it in 2008. Seventy years ago – in 1936 – they swept the third election too.

Finally, Republicans have had a long dry spell. They need something to cheer about – or at least to get their fighting blood up. I expect for Burr, like most Senators, controversy is a shoe that does not fit too comfortably. But he needs to pick a fight and dive right into it – and it’s not voting for bailouts for Wall Street (or Detroit). He needs to give his own troops something to fight for.

Bottom line: Assume all the bad news is true – in fact, assume it’s twice as bad as it seems and run scared. Burr’s got plenty of reason to be and it’s the surest way to win.

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