Friday, January 8, 2010

Dropping like Flies?

On the trail of the recent announcements by the Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) that they are not running for reelection, the ‘Beltway media’ has near collectively tried to announce the impending doom that faces the Democratic Party in 2010.

Most Progressive bloggers have pointed out that the Dodd retirement all but secures the seat for Democrats with current CT Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal, hopping in the race following Dodd’s announcement. Yet conversely, the Dorgan announcement was completely unexpected and nearly guarantees that the Republicans will pick up the seat, barring an entrance by MSNBC commentator Ed Schultz. So by this math, the Republicans have a net gain of +1 in the Senate, which would obliterate the Democratic ‘supermajority’ in the Chamber.

But the media fails to highlight in the same breath that so far 6 Senate GOP members are retiring, Bond (R-MO), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Gregg (R-NH), Martinez (R-FL), Voinovich (R-OH). Democrats will also have three previous held seats that have no incumbent running in the 2010 election, President Obama’s old seat, Vice President Biden’s former seat, and the late Senator Kennedy’s seat (which will temporarily be filled in a special election next month). Therefore on November 2nd, there will be 11 open US Senate seats.

If Beau Biden decides to run for his father’s former seat, that increases the chances of the seat remaining in Democratic hands, otherwise, I would rate this seat as the most endangered for GOP pickups, behind ND. Congressman Mike Castle, the presumed GOP nominee, is very popular as DE’s only congressional representative, and leads in polling match ups against Dems other than the younger Biden. IL and MA both have strong Democratic candidates and are heavily Democratic, so they will mostly likely stay in Democratic hands, especially MA. Likewise, Kansas will go Republican without a doubt. But that still leaves 5 currently GOP-held seats open.

KY could be an unexpected Democratic victory because Rand Paul, son of Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), is running for the GOP nomination on a Libertarian platform, and from what I have read this might cost the GOP the seat. The Flordia seat has a good potential for a Democratic victory under either of two conditions, Rubio (the Tea Party supported insurgent candidate) wins the GOP primary and/or current Governor Crist (who is currently running for the GOP nod against Rubio) switches to the Democratic Party. The FL Senate race in recent months has begun to look like it will claim the title of 2010’s NY-23.

MO, NH, and OH are harder to judge a victor in. All three states have played out as swing states in recent Presidential elections and all have Democratic governors and 1 Democratic Senator. Polling in all three states has shown the races to be tight, with Republicans ahead in NH and OH and a Democrat ahead in MO, so for this article, we will say these 3 races follow these trends at the ballot box.

So just from open Senate seats, it looks like 2010 could be a good year for Democrats with a net gain of +2 or 3 seats. In the coming weeks, I will explore which incumbents have the potential to lose their seats and what that how that will affect the Democratic supermajority in the Senate.

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