Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The US Senate Race in ’08: Best Case/Worst Case Scenario

I've been concentrating on only one US Senate race because it is important to me, but lest we forget, there are 34 other senate races next year, and we stand to make some gains.

Right now the Senate stands tied at 49 Democrats and 49 Republicans. With 2 Independents, Lieberman (who cannot be counted on) and Sanders (who can) who caucus with the Democrats.

It has been a sore subject with me, but this 60% rule that the Senate has keeps and has kept a lot of great legislation from reaching the Senate floor. I doubt that we’ll need 66 Senators for an override vote after January 2009 as we will have a Democrat in office as President. But that 60% rule can do a lot of damage.

So we need a 9 Senator pick-up in 2008.

Republicans have by far the most to lose in this election. Of the 34 senate seats up for election in ’08, fully 22 are currently being held by Republicans, and 12 by Democrats. Of the Democratic seats, only one is really vulnerable to any great extent. Republican? Somewhere between 5 and 9. Nine, being the magic number.

Worst case scenario, for Democrats that is, is that we’ll have a net gain of 4 seats. That’s if Landrieu (D - LA) loses her seat to a Republican challenger in the wake of Katrina, and we gain 5 Democratic seats.

John Sununu (R - NH) is looking at a loss as he faces a strong Democratic opponent in Jeanne Shaheen.

And we have 4 either left leaning or soft conservative states with incumbent Republican senators. McConnell (R - KY) is going to have trouble with his pro-Bush ties and his below 50% approval rating. He has two probable Democratic opponents, Kentucky AG Greg Stumbo, and attorney and Iraq War veteran Andrew Horne. I am calling Coleman (R – MN) as “in trouble” also. This is because while Minnesota’s demographics are going more to the left. This became clear when Amy Klobuchar handily won election to the senate in 2006 over Republican candidate Mark Kennedy (58% to 38%). Smith (R - OR) might have trouble keeping his seat. Not only are Democrats coming out of the woodwork to run against him, he might even have an opponent in the Oregon Republican primary. Finally, we have our dear own Texas senator, John Cornyn. His approval ratings are sub-arctic (41%), he has the lowest ratings of any senator in the current senate, and he faces 2 Democratic opponents, a successful trial lawyer, Mikal Watts, and a Texas State
Representative and Afghanistan Veteran, Rick Noriega.

Next worst scenario, Landrieu pulls it out in Louisiana and we gain 5 seats.

Best case scenario, An additional 4 Republican senate seats go to Democrats. In order of likelihood of losing (from highest to lowest) we have Allard (R - CO), mainly because he is retiring and there is no clear favorite yet, but Republicans are going to continue to have trouble. Dole (R - NC) is vulnerable in that if term-limited governor Mike Easley runs against her, a poll has him edging the sitting senator by 44% to 41% (he says he’s not running but the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, I think). Since John Warner (R - VA) is also retiring, there is a chance, based on Allen’s narrow defeat in ’06, that we can have a repeat, although we’ll probably never see a “Macaca moment” ever again. And finally, the least likely to lose of the 4 is Domenici (R - NM). He’s on the list because New Mexico is officially a “Toss up state” with a 50-50 Democrat-Republican voter split. But since Domenici has broken with Bush over Iraq, well, who knows?

Honorable mentions that will probably stay Republican are Cochran (R - MS) and the seat that Chuck Hagel is retiring from. The latter would be a sweet deal, but Nebraska still maintains a strong Republican base.

I don’t know. In the end who knows what the voters will do? When Democrats took over the House in ’06 it was with a “roar”. In the Senate, a mere “meow”.

Maybe it’s their turn.


Media Czech said...

KY- Draft Horne for Senate

The Hyper Critic said...

If Bob Kerry gets in the race, Nebraska looks very possible.