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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

2006 Senate & House Races Open Thread

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Get ready to talk about 2006 Senate and House races as challengers indicate their intentions of running.  If there are any states/races you want to focus on above a cursory review, indicate it here.


Posted at 12:30 AM in 2006 Elections | Technorati


One already vulnerable Senate seat could turn into a disaster if a certain former football coach decides to run....and that seat is Nebraska. I haven't heard anything about Tom Osborn's plans to run, but if he does, it's certainly game over for Ben Nelson.

The second most vulnerable incumbent is also sadly a Democrat. Mark Dayton of Minnesota is gonna have a very hard time winning re-election no matter who runs against him, but Congressman Mark Kennedy will prove to be a particularly formidable opponent.

Furthermore, I wouldn't dismiss the idea of Guiliani running against Hillary in 2006. As grating as Guiliani is, a Hillary defeat may actually be the best-case scenario if it unhinges her almost certainly fruitless 2008 Presidential ambitions.

Anybody think there are any vulnerable Republican incumbents for 2006? How about Conrad Burns of Montana? I remember he nearly got toppled in 2000, and that the 2004 election yielded big gains for Dems in the Montana legislature. Any likely retirements on the GOP side that could help us out? And any word on possible impending retirements for Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy or any of the fossils on the Dem side? Regrettably, 2006 appears to be another defensive year for the Dems in the Senate.

Posted by: Mark at November 30, 2004 12:12 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I read an article in the NYTimes that said West Virginia was going more and more Republican (its always been a conservative Democratic state anyway). The article even suggested that Byrd may be in trouble. I don't think thats correct, but if Byrd were to retire, the Republicans could make a play for that seat.

Posted by: erg at November 30, 2004 02:59 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Mark & Erg.

Kos listed, from the subcription only Hotline, that indeed the former coach of Nebraska football, Tom Osborne, has his sights set on the US Senate seat.

Here is the link to others with designs on running for seats in 2005 & 2006.


I don't think Robert Byrd would be in any trouble in W.V. The guy is an insitution there. When he does decide to retire, or pass in office, there will probably be a considerable challenge from the state Republicans. Until then, the seat is probably safe. Also, not a chance in hell Ted Kennedy gets beat, and I don't think he has any interest in retiring either.

For my money, I think the most vulnerable Republican is Rick Santorum from PA. Although I have no idea who the Democrats are going to throw against him. One name I keep hearing over and over is Barbara Haffer, formerly a Republican. The other name is Bob Casey Jr., an anti-choice Democrat. Hold your nose and vote, but anything is better than Santorum.

I'll come up with a list and we can discuss possibilities in more depth. It will incude a look at past preformances and the way states are trending as well.


Posted by: Tim T. at November 30, 2004 04:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

In terms of Republican incumbants who are vulnerable -- that's a pretty tough question. Lincoln Chaffee MAY have a hard time, maybe not with the election, but more with pressure for him to switch to a Democrat.

Pennsylvania I think is going to be almost guaranteed to be close. Rick Santorum is going to have a very tough time, especially after the far more popular Arlen Specter had a much closer win than expected.

George Allen in Virginia could have a very difficult time if current Gov. Mark Warner does indeed decide to run for the seat (it's either that or president, so the rumors go).

I think that's about it in terms of vulnerable Republican incumbants, however Sen. Frist has announced he will retire, and if Harold Ford Jr. runs for the seat, I would dare go far enough as saying that that open seat would lean in our direction.

Another possibility is if Thomas retires in Wyoming, Gov. Fruedenthal (D) could not run for re-electon as Governor and instead run for the Senate, presumably against not so popular Rep . Barbara Cubin (R-AL).

However, I would say the map is again, against us this year. Luckily we have only one "southern" Senate seat to defend, Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida (I think that's his name at least), and that's not quite so southern at least compared to this year's seats in Louisiana, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Other potentially vulnerable seats (besides Nelson): Mark Dayton (MN), Ben Nelson (NB), Maria Cantwell (WA), Kent Conrad (ND), and maybe even Jeff Bingaman (NM),

I think it's safe to say, if Byrd runs again, there is not a chance in hell he will lose.

Potential retirements for the Ds (and they would become tough seats): Herb Kohl (WI), Ted Kennedy (MA -- tough only if Romney runs), and Paul Sarbanes (MD -- tough only if Ehrlich or someone like Connie Morella runs).

It doesn't look like an optimistic year, we should just hope we can recruit some top notch candidates to run against safe Republicans and put those seats into play, and hope a bunch of unexpected retirements occur on the GOP side (like in Maine, for example).

Posted by: Jonathan at December 1, 2004 02:43 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I could certainly see George Nethercutt toppling Maria Cantwell in Washington, and I wouldn't doubt if he runs again.

Mark Dayton of Minnesota is a poor politician. I agree with him and think he's a good Senator overall, but he has zero charisma and seems quite awkward in most formal settings. The only reason he won in 2000 was the fact that he was up against incumbent Republican Rod Grams, an equally poor politician who at least at that time was too conservative for Minnesota. Dayton's likely challenger Mark Kennedy is just as conservative as Grams, but for whatever reason has successfully painted himself as a centrist, and because of Congressional district gerrymandering, has served the rural southwestern quadrant of the state AND the northern, western and eastern suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul in the last four years. That's alot of territory to have already sown seeds. Dayton's gonna have his hands full. The only hope is that Minnesota's radical right Republican Party primary voters decide to forgo Kennedy and favor someone that can be more easily caricatured as a right-wing bogeyman.

I agree that Wisconsin would also become a problem if Herb Kohl runs, but I think Conrad's safe in North Dakota (the Dems wouldn't let him retire even if they had to hold a gun on him throughout 2006).

Another potential wild card in the South (presumably Tennessee) could be country singer Tim McGraw, who has indicated a long-time interest in running for the U.S. Senate and is a known Democrat. With this in mind, a Frist retirement could prompt some arm-twisting by the Dems to pony up a celebrity candidate who has proven to "connect culturally" with a state where that matters more than anything else. I'm not sure if Harold Ford would appeal outside of Memphis, but agree he would be the best candidate if they can't convince McGraw to run.

Posted by: Mark at December 1, 2004 10:23 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Thanks for the info on Tim McGraw. I hope the Dems can oprganize a Nashville/Bluegrass/Folk performance next time rather than a solely Hollywood performance ...

Posted by: Marc at December 1, 2004 12:17 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

By the way, I noticed on the Newsweek map that a lot of counties in my old home, eastern, appalachian Kentucky, were blue. Any clues why this region still votes blue? Is it age? Is the FDr/Kennedy legacy still something that keeps people on board? Is it cultural? This would play a role on Tennessee too, where Gore actually carried the women's vote in 2000.

Posted by: Marc at December 1, 2004 12:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Byrd can barely walk. I have read that he is way to frail to campaign, he will retire.

I have my sites on Ohio still as it is the road back to the Whitehouse. The Republican Govenor is up because of term limits in 06. His entire admin is wrought with scandals and the state is now destitute. The Cleveland female mayor is up in '06. She deserves to be replaced! I want the Clinton admin. guy Pierce to win, a blackman. Since Cleveland placed #1 on the list of the poorest cities in the Nation, I hope all seats in Ohio are up for grabs, including the Republican state house. I am not quite sure if Mike DeWine's Senate seat is up in in '06 or '08. This ugly, ill-speaking, ditto lemming of the right wing extremists needs to get unplanted. I believe DeWine ran on term limits himself. He has a sympathy factor (his child was killed during his 1st Senate Race).

We need the bloggers, Democrat leadership, and clergy to organize, organize, and strategize to re-take Ohio. The plannning must start NOW.

During the election, all attention was given to the southwest part of the state, Cincinnatti. The focus, as I keep hounding, needs to be on the southEAST part of the state. These folks are much like W.VA. If we conquere the fundamentalists, then we have a successful key to retake W.VA.

Jerry Springer is still thinking about running. I like him very much as a person. His show however may be a laughing stock and the focus during any debates or campaign. He has the power, wealth, charisma, showmanship, demeanor, and posse to give back to his community that made him famous. Go Jerry go! Go Jerry Fo!

Posted by: acbalint at December 1, 2004 01:02 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Marc, I think there are two main reasons why much of eastern Kentucky remains Democrat. I'm not from the area, but my understanding is that coal mining is a major industry. Bush's policies, as anti-environmental as they have been, have not warmed him up to coal miners. I understand there has even been a rollback of safety regulations for the miners that hasn't set well.

Besides the coal issue, you touched upon the New Deal-Great Society pork that was given throughout the Appalachains for many years. This still holds tremendous pull with seniors in the region, but indications are that it's significance is waning with every four years. For instance, Pike County is the most populous in Appalachain Kentucky. In 1984, Walter Mondale won Pike County by more than 22 percentage points. In 2000, Al Gore's margin was down to 10 points. This year, Kerry won it by slightly more than 5 points. This tells me the young people are not voting like their grandparents do. Also interesting is that Kerry picked up a few 2000 Bush counties in eastern Kentucky, such as Bath, Carter and Magoffin, but he lost some Gore counties from 2000 in some of the poorest areas of eastern KY such as Perry and Letcher Counties. Perhaps the coal issue is relevant in the former counties but not the latter.

As for a Nashville-based organization for Democrats, there already is one. The Music Row Democrats was formed last year and performed all over the South for Kerry. The problem they faced was drawing in current country singers who fear being Dixie-Chicked by the right-wing Clear Channel radio monopoly and flag-waving country fans if they align themselves with Democrats. Rumor was that Tim McGraw is a silent member of the group and wanted to be more active, but his handlers advised against it since it could be career poison. It was since then, however, that McGraw revealed his senatorial ambitions and lavished praise for former President Clinton.

Byrd will probably retire, but I'm not overly frightened at this point about West Virginia becoming Republican at the state level. They just elected a Democratic Governor at the same time as they re-elected Bush by a 12-point margin, and they just re-elected Jay Rockefeller in 2002. Even without Byrd, that seat isn't high on my list of vulnerable, although the long-term trendline for WV certainly favors the party of intolerance. Jerry Springer would be a credible candidate in Ohio were it not for his TV show, which would instantly ruin him in that culturally conservative state. The Dems should have gotten Ohio in 2004 in a walk. The fact that they didn't (and that the most economically devastated areas supported Bush by LARGER numbers than they did in 2000) tells me it may be hopeless for decades.

Posted by: Mark at December 1, 2004 01:44 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just posted under the "Welcome to Canada" thread my idea to convince 136,000 geographically mobile progressives to choose Ohio, just as Libertarians have gotten 5,000 of their own to pledge to move to New Hampshire in 5 years -- would appreciate any thoughts on feasibility of this, or things that would attract mobile, progressive people to Ohio -- thanks!

Posted by: Marc at December 1, 2004 05:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Just launched a site with all the info on the 15 Republican Senators up in 2006:


Spread the word please!

Posted by: AnthonySF at December 2, 2004 03:38 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Jerry Springer would be a great canidate for Ohio, he would bring the Mobile Home vote out in droves.

On a more serious note some possible Democrats ranked in terms of best chance to win that might run against Santorum:
1. Bob Casey Jr.- I'd much rather have a pro-life progessive rather than scum of the earth Rick Santorum. He also recieved the most votes of any canidate every in Pennsylvania.
2. Allen Kukovich a long serving PA State Senator in South Western, PA who just lost his seat in a conservative district, he's kind of a Wellstone type Democrat who is popular in both wings of the Democratic party.
3. Joe Hoeffoel ran against Specter in 04, he's got pretty good charisma and is articulate, he's a good progessive, if he was less pro gun control I'd say he'd be almost the perfect canidate if his funds are on par with Santorum, unlike how Specter had 5 times the finances.
4. Tim Holden a moderate/conservative Democrat, who was the only Democrat to survive Republican gerrymandering who beat Paterno's son 60-39 in a district that voted for Bush about the same margin. I think he could probably win, but I think he's too conservative.
5. Babara Hafer I think it's a bad idea to run her since she just recently switched parties. She also has never gotten above 51% and was defeated by one of the largest percent margin in PA since 1920 when she lost to Gov. Bob Casey Sr. in 1990.
Other possible canidates: Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, Hardball host Chris Matthews, State Representative TJ Rooney(current Chairman of Democratic State Committee), and Chris Heinz if anybody would like info on these people just let me know.

Posted by: Bill Painter at December 2, 2004 09:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I heard that Casey is not running. Forgot where I read that. I would also ad another name to the list. Professor Chuck Pennachio -- who has already declared his candidacy.

I'm not saying, but, there are parallels to Paul Wellstone. Or maybe I am just hoping.

Posted by: Tim T. at December 2, 2004 09:20 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think Casey would rather become Govenor in 2010, but if he wants to run the Democratic party should embrace him.

Posted by: Bill Painter at December 2, 2004 09:30 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

GOP will target:
Dayton in Minnesota vs Rep. Mark Kennedy or Sec of State Mary Kiffmeyer?

Stabenow in Michigan vs GOP Chair Betsy DeVos, Rep Candace Miller or Rep Joe Rogers?

Nelson in Florida vs Gov Jeb Bush, Rep Katherine Harris or Mark Foley, or Atty Gen Charlie Crist?

Nelson in Nebraska vs Rep Tom Osborne?

Cantwell in Washington vs Former Rep Jennifer Dunn or Dino Rossi, if he loses?

Hillary Clinton in New York vs Rudy Giuliani, Gov George Pataki or Rep Peter King?
(All barely elected first term freshmen that seem vulnerable)

Possible Dem retirements:

Bob Byrd in West Virginia= the Dems would almsot certainly lose this seat if he retires and Rep Shelley Moore-Capito runs for the GOP

Diane Feinstein in California= Dems probably will still hold it, though Reps Doug Ose, Chris Cox, David Deier or Darrel Issa could snag it if the Dems aren't careful.

Paul Sarbanes in Maryland= Dems hold the advantage, though Lt. Gov Michael Steele would be a dream candidate for the GOP.

Herb Kohl in Wisconsin= Unlikely to retire, though if he did, look for HHS Sec and former Gov Tommy Thompson to run and win this seat for the Republicans

Joe Lieberman in Connecticut= Probably will seek another term, but if not Reps Chris Sahys or Rob Simmons would want to upgrade to the Senate and just could do it in this normally Blue State.

Jeff Bingamon in New Mexico= If he were to retire in this swing state expect lots of candidates, though the frontrunners would be either Gov Bill Richardson or Rep Udall for the Dems and most certainly GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson. Wilson vs Udall would be close, not Wilson vs Richardson though.

Posted by: caligop at December 4, 2004 03:35 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Unless the Democrats take a closer look at Thomas Frank's book titled "What's the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America" and stop this blue-dog/centrist/DLCer establishment, they will continue to lose. And it's not just the centrists in the Democratic Party like Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman who are the problem. Too old senators like Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy are killing the Democratic Party not because they are liberal politicians but because they are too liberal to DISCIPLINE and ORGANIZE the party or we would not have to put up with centrist Democrats like Jean Carnahan and Mary Landreu and the rest who vote for Bush's tax cut packages, Iraq War, Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind which even TEd Kennedy foolishly voted for, etc ...

Posted by: Anonymous at December 4, 2004 04:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

And I don't think Mark Dayton of MN will lose at all. Just look at his voting record at www.ontheissues.org . You'll see that he is a liberal populist much like Barack Obama I'd say. In fact, Mark Dayton and Barack Obama would make better role models for the Democratic Party than even Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton ! The right-wing Nazi media, pollsters, and pundits want you to believe that a populist liberal will always lose when that has rarely happened these past 4 years. Take a look at all the centrist/conservative Democrats vs. liberal/populist Democrats in the House, Senate, White House, Governorships, and even state legislature races who lost in 2000, 2002, 2003(including the CA recall), and 2004. You'll be surprised at what you'll find out.

Posted by: Anonymous at December 4, 2004 06:01 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Even if Bryd retires in West Virginia, the Democrats will keep the seat, because: They will run a moderate populist canidate that will win with almost 60%. Kerry lost West Virginia because he proposed a bill to ban semi automatic rifles, which is stupid since a pump action can shoot just as fast. And he voted against the steel tariffs and voted for Nafta and China most favored nations.

Posted by: Bill Painter at December 4, 2004 10:34 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I just wondered if anyone would find it likely that some of these democrats southern state legislatures such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana- any many others-, would possibly redraw the congressional districts to help the democrats in the next election. I think this sets a very bad precedent for Tom Delay to have done this in Texas. Moreover, the Republican Party has much more to lose in some of these particular states. If the Democratic Party could pull this off, they could possibly have the house back as soon as 2006.

Posted by: Chris at January 21, 2005 05:47 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Article about possible openings for dems.

3 GOP Lawmakers May Seek Governors' Seats

Sun Jan 23, 9:57 PM ET Politics - U. S. Congress

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON - Less than a month into a new, two-year Congress, the line is forming among House members considering their next career moves.

Republican Rep. C.L. (Butch) Otter of Idaho is all but officially running for governor of his state, and GOP Reps. Jim Nussle of Iowa and Jim Gibbons of Nevada both seem headed in the same direction in theirs.

All three have filed paperwork signaling interest in running.

"We will run a vigorous campaign," said one former Idaho governor, Phil Batt, leaving no doubt about Otter's intentions.

Nussle and Gibbons say they expect to make announcements in the next few months about their plans.

Nussle, elected to Congress in 1990 at the age of 30, said in a recent statement that he is "humbled that so many Iowans believe my leadership will help make Iowa a better place to live, work, raise a family and retire in dignity."

Gibbons' interest in running for governor was evident two years ago, when he rebuffed party recruiters seeking a challenger for Democratic Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record) in 2004. Additionally, Gibbons' wife is talking about a possible run to replace her husband in the House. If both run and win, she would wind up with twin public roles — first lady of Nevada and member of Congress.

Nussle's district in northeastern Iowa probably would offer Democrats the most tempting target of the three in 2006. He won re-election with 55 percent of the vote last year. Gibbons won a fifth term in November with 67 percent support. Otter topped that in conservative Idaho, gaining close to 70 percent.

Nussle, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has had by far the highest national profile of the three would-be governors. Democrats had a majority when he was elected to Congress, and he quickly joined forces with other GOP self-styled reformers to create the Gang of Seven.

Their most memorable moment came when they placed paper bags over their heads on the House floor to draw attention to Democratic refusals to disclose lawmaker overdrafts at the House bank.

Other Republican House members are potential candidates for statewide office.

Rep. Ray LaHood (news, bio, voting record) of Illinois has been canvassing support for a possible gubernatorial run, and Rep. Mark Green (news, bio, voting record) has expressed interest in Wisconsin. Rep. Katherine Harris (news, bio, voting record) of Florida is another possibility. She flirted with a senatorial campaign in 2004 before running for re-election to the House. Rep. Mark Kennedy (news, bio, voting record) of Minnesota is a potential candidate for the Senate, as well.

Some Democrats are considering their career options, too.

The party's Senate recruiters are interested in Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island as they look for a challenger for a GOP-held seat. Rep. Ted Strickland (news, bio, voting record) is a potential contender for statewide office in Ohio, and Rep. Harold Ford (news, bio, voting record) may run in Tennessee.


It's a Senate tradition for the two political parties to advertise their priorities by revealing their top 10 pieces of legislation with a flourish at the beginning of a new Congress.

Two years ago, Republicans made a Medicare prescription drug bill tops on their list. This time, they are expected to make President Bush (news - web sites)'s call for overhauling Social Security (news - web sites) Bill Number 1.

Tax reform, energy, limitations on lawsuits and measures relating to the war against terror also are on the list, according to several officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Democrats intend to make an increase in the size of the armed forces their top bill, according to several officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. More prescription drug coverage under the new Medicare law is also on the list, as is education legislation.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) campaigned for a 30,000-member increase in the size of the military last year. Senate Democrats have been thinking about raising that to 40,000.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because public announcements are scheduled for Monday.


Senate Republicans rolled out one priority on Friday — legislation to give tax-free $100,000 death benefits to survivors of active-duty personnel killed in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites). The current benefit is $12,400.

"Twelve thousand dollars is a paltry and miserly amount. In fact, it's insulting," Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record), R-Va., said at a news conference Friday with several other Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Allen said $100,000 is on par with death benefits that families of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty receive from local governments.

The legislation would be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2001, when military action began in Afghanistan, less than a month after terrorists struck the United States.

Also under the proposal, the children of a serviceman or servicewoman killed in Iraq or Afghanistan would receive free health insurance until the age of 18, or 22 if enrolled in school. Currently, dependents receive medical benefits for three years at no cost.


Associated Press writer Liz Sidoti contributed to this report.

Posted by: Jason at January 24, 2005 03:16 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Heather French Henry will run for either KY-3 or KY-4.

Posted by: Daniel at January 26, 2005 11:53 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment