Sunday, May 31, 2009

Senatorial Predictions 2010 (cont.)

After thoroughly beating the GOP in 2006 and 2008, 2010 seems like the last chance Democrats have to pick up some GOP Senate seats. 2012 will see a lot of the first term Dems from 06 up for reelection and we will have to play defense. For now, offense looks like the name of the game, unless you're one of the few vulnerable Democratic Senators.

Safe Dems
Arkansas - Lincoln: Though it's often red as can be in Presidential politics, Arkansas is pretty Democratic on the state level. That having been said, Blanche Lincoln isn't looking as invincible as she did earlier this year. She did some hedging on EFCA, probably to nullify the GOP base preparing to challenge her, but this race may be one to watch once the GOP has a nominee. Luckily for Lincoln, the challenger won't be Mike Huckabee.
California - Boxer: Things aren't going well in California these days and politically things are all over the place. The budget it out of control and it looks like no one is especially popular. The interesting thing about 2010 will be the open race for Gov. happening at the same time. If the GOP can find a powerhouse for Gov., and a reputable challenger for Boxer, then she may be in trouble. If Sen. Feinstein leaves the Senate for Governor and the GOP can't recruit a strong opponent for Boxer, things will probably be much, much simpler.
Delaware - Open Seat: VPOTUS Biden's seat is pretty safe from the GOP. It's looking like his son Beau will return from Iraq and pick up where his father left off. Barring some unforseen changes, we'll have another Senator Biden come 2011.
Hawaii - Inouye: The third ranking Democrat in the Senate and the Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee shouldn't have any trouble winning reelection in Hawaii. He's probably safe until he retires.
Indiana - Bayh: Two term Governor turned Senator Evan Bayh is safe in Indiana, end of story.
Maryland - Mikulski: The most senior female Senator is safe from challenge is thoroughly Democratic Maryland.
New York - Schumer: Chuck Schumer shouldn't face any challenge in NY, especially since there's a much more appealing target on the ticket in 2010.
North Dakota - Dorgan: This race will be no sweat for Byron Dorgan unless Gov. Hoeven decides to run against him. Unlikely to be a nail-biter.
Oregon - Widen: Widen in unlikely to face a tough challenge, and if he is part of the movement that ultimately passes health care reform, Oregon voters will repay the favor.
Pennsylvania - Specter: Fresh from several years as a Republican, moderate Sen. Arlen Specter should win reelection in PA. He may be challenged by Rep Sestak in the Dem primary, but he has such a history in PA that Democratic primary voters will probably trust him. Toomey has no chance to beat him now.
Vermont - Leahy: Patrick Leahy will coast to reelection unless something terrible happens to the Sotomayor nomination in his Judiciary Committee and the GOP can find a stellar candidate. Chances of that are fairly slim.
Washington - Murray: Patty Murray should find her reelection campaign fairly easy with Washington trending bluer and bluer these days. She could stand to raise her profile a bit, but she's probably not in too much trouble back home.
Wisconsin - Feingold: Usually outperforming the Presidential candidate significantly, Russ Feingold should be a shoo-in for reelection. Always the chance of a major upset, but not likely.

Vulnerable Dems
Colorado - Bennet: When Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter picked Michael Bennet to succeed Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, many saw this as an opportunity to take back some GOP strength in the Mountain West. Bennet may still be in some trouble considering many Coloradans don't know too much about him, but the GOP also has a way to go in finding a credible candidate (aka Not Tom Tancredo). Depending on who they choose, this could be a contested seat, or it could be a less than challenging fight.
Connecticut - Dodd: If you would have mentioned to me last year that Chris Dodd's name would appear on any list of vulnerable Senators I would have laughed out loud. The collapse of the banking system (he's chair of the Banking Committee) and a scandal involving a sweet deal mortgage have hurt Dodd to the point that several Republicans are looking to challenge him. CT is still pretty reliably Democratic these days and Dodd still has some time to bolster his image at home. Maybe the economy will pick up again and he'll coast to reelection. If not, he may find himself out of a job.
Illinois - Burris:
Who knows if Roland Burris will even run for reelection, but if he does, he certainly won't win the Democratic Primary. Up against Rep. Schakowsky and Treasurer Giannoulias, not to mention a Kennedy, Burris is looking more and more like a seat warmer. This is probably a safe bet for Democrats, and it's safer yet that that Dem won't be named Roland Burris.
- Reid: It's strange how Democratic leaders find themselves in such hot water when it comes to reelection. Daschle got knocked off in 2004 and now Reid is looking terribly vulnerable. His numbers are down and the GOP is salivating about grabbing this seat. Unfortunately for them, the GOP prospects are slim. Those who aren't in corruption scandals of their own may not want to go up against Reid who does have the possibility of calling in the big guns (like POTUS) for fundraising and campaigning, because we all know Mr. President would like to keep Nevada as blue in 2012 as it was in 2008.
New York - Gillibrand: Succeeding Hillary Clinton is no easy task and Kirsten Gillibrand has found herself under fire from lots of potential challengers. Most of them are from within her own party of gun rights or other issues. If she can survive a primary challenge (which thanks to some help from the White House, she probably will) then she has a good shot at hanging on. Of course we can't predict what will happen until we know who the GOP challenger will be.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Senatorial Predictions 2010

Since the last election cycle is over and done, political junkies have no other option than to look ahead 18 months to the next November night when we will be clicking F5 over and over again waiting for updated election results from The glorious haze that is the Obama Administration is starting to clear slightly and some on the left are beginning to see that Obama does not equal perfection. With that in mind, we lefties are gearing up for the next test to see if we can extend this ideological winning streak yet again. 2010 provides its own challenges, but it is also the last election cycle where Democrats have less seats up for election that Republicans. 2004 was a booming year for the GOP and now they have to defend those seats in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.

Here are some preliminary thoughts about the Senate in 2010.

Safe GOP Seats
Alabama - Shelby: This former Dem switched to the GOP in 1994 and hasn't looked back. He's got enough money to secure reelection and Alabama isn't anywhere near hostile territory for him. This seat seems thoroughly out of reach.
Alaska - Murkowski: Lisa is pretty darned secure in her bid for reelection. I mean Mark Begich barely beat the elderly convict in 2008, and it doesn't look like anyone is gearing up to challenge her.
Arizona - McCain: John McCain would have certainly had a challenge on his hands from former Governor Napolitano, but now that she's Sec. of Homeland Security there doesn't seem to be any Dem willing to challenge him. He's pretty safe, unless one of his primary challengers happen to knock him off. Now that would be interesting.
Georgia - Isakson: No challenge here.
Idaho - Crapo: Dems didn't even field a challenger last time and this time around doesn't look much different.
Iowa - Grassley: Ranking member of the Finance Committee, Grassley may face a primary challenger and has one declared Dem opponent, but as of today he seems like a shoo-in for another term.
Kansas - Open Seat: Oh Kathleen Sebelius, why did you have to take the job at HHS? She was our only hope. Now all we have to do is see which Republican wins the primary and we'll know who the next Senator is going to be. Sad.
Oklahoma - Coburn: We'll have to see whether or not Coburn actually wants to run again, but if he does, the job is his. If not, we might have a chance with Gov. Brad Henry or Rep. Boren. Either way, we'll have to wait to truly classify this one. We should know in early June.
South Carolina - DeMint: One of the most conservative Senators is going to coast to reelection in SC. Ugh.
South Dakota - Thune: John Thune isn't going to face any obstacle.
Texas - Hutchinson: We don't know if Kay Bailey Hutchinson is going to retire before of after the election, but if she does this probably will stay in GOP hands regardless.
Utah - Bennet: Though he will likely face a challenge from the right, it's pretty certain that this seat will stay in the GOP column.

Vulnerable GOP
Florida - Open Seat: Martinez is retiring and this seat looked very vulnerable until Gov. Crist jumped into the race. It's pretty clear that he'll be the next Senator from Florida barring some strange turn of events, but it may happen. Too early to tell for sure.
Kentucky - Bunning: Jim Bunning is so unpopular that GOP senators are praying that he retires. If he does they have the option of keeping the seat (and they might if he loses a primary challenge) otherwise this looks like a great pickup for the Dems.
Louisiana - Vitter: Probably not too vulnerable in post-Katrina LA, but Vitter is a scumbag and he might face some challenge here. The hardest thing for Dems is to find a reputable person to challenge him. Mitch Landrieu might be open to it, but when was the last time that a brother and sister were the two Senators from a single, I'm going to say never.
Missouri - Open Seat: This is a tossup. GOP Rep. Blunt isn't all that popular these days, but then again MO did (narrowly) vote for McCain over Obama, so who can tell. Carnahan is very popular here and is probably the Dem's best bet to pick up a seat in 2010.
New Hampshire - Open Seat: From powerful Senator to Commerce Secretary-designate to retiree. Judd Gregg has been all over the place. Nowadays New Hampshire is pretty darn blue and Rep. Hodes has a great chance at picking up this seat for the Dems.
North Carolina - Burr: A sorry excuse for a Senator, Burr seems pretty vulnerable just by looking at poll numbers, but no Dems seem ready to challenge him, even given Kay Hagan's win over Dole in 2008 and the Dems keeping the Gov. mansion. There's still hope if one of the Dem Reps jumps into the fray.
Ohio - Open Seat: This is another tossup. Portman may be able to hold this seat for the GOP, but Lt. Gov. Fisher and Sec. of State Brunner will make this race one to watch.

We'll be back later with updates and the list of Safe and Vulnerable Dems.