REPUBLICANS’ DOWN-BALLOT WORRIES…. The New York Times had an interesting piece today about the widespread consternation in Republican circles about the prospects for the McCain/Palin ticket. It included ample advice from party leaders and state chairman, some of which contradicted itself.

But there was one tidbit about the party’s down-ballot concerns in the article that jumped out at me.

The difficulties of the McCain campaign have led some Republican leaders to express concern that he could end up dragging other Republican candidates down to defeat. “If Obama is able to run up big numbers around the country,” said Mr. [Saul] Anuzis, the Michigan party chairman, “the potential for hurting down-ballot Republicans is very big.”

One sign of that has emerged in Nebraska, where Representative Lee Terry, a Republican, ran a newspaper advertisement featuring words of support for him from a woman identified as an “Obama-Terry voter.”

Now, I’ve noticed that Rep. Chris Shays (R) has tried to tie himself to Obama in his re-election campaign in Connecticut, and in Oregon, Sen. Gordon Smith (R) has done the same thing. This isn’t especially surprising — Connecticut and Oregon are “blue” states where it pays to be tied to a popular Democratic presidential candidate.

But Rep. Lee Terry is a conservative Republican in Nebraska, touting “Obama-Terry voters.” Ben Smith even has a picture of the ad.

Granted, Terry represents Omaha and the surrounding area, where the Obama campaign believes it can possibly pick up an electoral vote, but that doesn’t make it any less unexpected.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.