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SSP's Competitive Senate Race Ratings: Initial Ratings for 2009-10

by: DavidNYC

Wed Jan 28, 2009 at 9:00 AM EST


The Swing State Project is pleased to announce our first set of Senate race ratings for the 2009-10 election cycle:

Likely D Lean D Tossup Lean R Likely R
IL (Burris)
NV (Reid)
WI (Feingold)
CO (Bennet) FL (Open)
KY (Bunning)
MO (Open)
OH (Open)
NH (Gregg)
NC (Burr)
PA (Specter)
LA (Vitter)
TX (Open)

Races to Watch:

     CA (Boxer)
     CT (Dodd)
     DE (Open)
     HI (Inouye)
     IA (Grassley)
     KS (Open)
     ND (Dorgan)

What follows are brief explanations of our initial ratings, including the "safe" races not listed above, in alphabetical order. DavidNYC, James L. and Crisitunity all contributed to this post - our individual contributions are noted for each entry. A permalink to our ratings is available in the right-hand sidebar and can also be found here.

  • Alabama - Richard Shelby (R): Safe R
  • Democrats in Alabama are focusing on the open gubernatorial seat - Shelby's eye-bursting $13 million on hand is a major deterrent. Some folks have speculated about a retirement (he's 74), but his press secretary told SSP he's running again. (DavidNYC)

  • Alaska - Lisa Murkowski (R): Safe R
  • The excitement here, if any, will come from a potential R-on-R primary matchup featuring Sarah Palin vs. Lisa Murkowski. There really isn't a Dem who could make this competitive, and in any case, there's a long list of more appetizing targets ahead of Alaska. (D)

  • Arizona - John McCain (R): Safe R
  • When Obama tapped Janet Napolitano to run the Dept. of Homeland Security, we lost our best candidate to take on John McCain - though I'm not sure she would have jumped in anyhow. Given Obama's unusual closeness with his former rival, I tend to doubt that any major names will get in. (D)

  • Arkansas - Blanche Lincoln (D): Safe D
  • Even though Arkansas broke sharply for McCain while most of the rest of the county got quite a bit bluer, there really is no Republican bench here. Only Mike Huckabee could make this race competitive, and he ain't running. (D)

  • California - Barbara Boxer (D): RTW
  • Dick Mountjoy. Bill Jones. Tom Campbell. Matt Fong. Those are the last four California Republicans to run for Senate, and the best performance among them was Fong's 43% against Boxer. But that was ten years ago, and things have only gotten worse for the Cali GOP as it has moved implacably rightward. The small chance that term-limited Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger runs makes this a "Race to Watch," but if he bails, it's Safe D. (D)

  • Colorado - Michael Bennet (D): Lean D
  • With Gov. Bill Ritter tapping a complete statewide unknown to replace Ken Salazar in the Senate, most assume that the GOP will mount a serious effort to dislodge former Denver Superintendent of Public Schools Michael Bennet as he faces voters for the first time in 2010. However, the bigger names seem to be taking a pass for now; both state AG John Suthers and ex-Rep. Scott McInnis have declined to run for the seat. While Bennet still has a lot to prove, he's off to a good start. (James L.)

  • Connecticut - Chris Dodd (D): RTW
  • Chris Dodd's favorability ratings in his home state have suffered ever since his very unsuccessful presidential run, an undertaking he was never quite able to explain to his constituents - or Iowa caucus-goers, for that matter. Allegations that he got favorable "VIP" loan terms from lender Countrywide haven't helped. What makes this a Race to Watch is the fact that three reasonably strong Republicans could all potentially give it a gander: Gov. Jodi Rell and former Congressmen Rob Simmons and Chris Shays. But Dodd is a powerful fundraiser in a blue state, and no one has stepped up to the plate yet. (D)

  • Delaware - Ted Kaufman (OPEN) (D): RTW
  • This race will only become exciting if Rep. Mike Castle gets in (something that could conceivably happen, especially since life in the Senate minority is a lot better than life in the House minority). If not, DE-Sen should be solidly in our corner. (D)

  • Florida - Mel Martinez (OPEN) (R): Tossup
  • An open seat race in one of the nation's most populous and most closely-split states? With Mel Martinez retiring, look for this one to be the marquee race of 2010. With popular Democratic state CFO Alex Sink taking a pass on the race, there's no clear frontrunner in the race or even a frontrunner for either party's nomination. On the Dem side, Rep. Kendrick Meek has already declared his interest, but he won't be the only one. (Crisitunity)

  • Georgia - Johnny Isakson (R): Safe R
  • If Democrats field a strong candidate here, this race could conceivably be of some degree of interest, but it seems unlikely that guys like Jim Marshall or Thurbert Baker would be willing to give up their perches for a run against an untarnished Republican incumbent in a state that has routinely snakebitten Democrats since 2002. If a high profile primary challenger emerges to take on Isakson (as has been rumored), then perhaps this one can get interesting, but until then, all we have is a dollar and a pocketful of "ifs". (J)

  • Hawaii - Daniel Inouye (D): RTW
  • Octogenarian Inouye has said he's running again, and he should have a clear shot. The only wrinkle is if term-limited Gov. Linda Lingle makes a play. But she's almost certainly better off biding her time, waiting for a senatorial retirement. (D)

  • Idaho - Mike Crapo (R): Safe R
  • Idaho Dems will be doing everything they can to protect Walt Minnick in his first re-election campaign. This race is not on anyone's radar. (D)

  • Illinois - Roland Burris (D): Likely D
  • We are the junior senator from Illinois - for now. By all rights this seat should be Safe D, but if by some insane mix-up we wind up with, say, Roland Burris vs. Ron James Tiberius Kirk, IL-Sen could be in serious jeopardy. Our "Likely D" rating is more of a commentary on the wildly unsettled state of play than an indicator of our real expectations. This is a good example of a race that is especially difficult to assess so early on; the label on this sucker is definitely going to change, probably more than once. (D)

  • Indiana - Evan Bayh (D): Safe D
  • Sadly, Evan Bayh has never even come close to living up to the legacy of his father, populist hero Birch Bayh. But the Bayh name is still incredibly powerful in Indiana, and Evan has done a good job entrenching himself in office. Prominent Hoosier Republicans, scratching their heads as to how their state swung twenty points bluer in 2008, are almost certain to take a pass. (D)

  • Iowa - Chuck Grassley (R): RTW
  • Grassley's been the subject of a lot of retirement rumors, if only because of his age. But his tight relationship with Max Baucus, and his career-long posture as more of a process guy than a legislation guy, probably mean that his life in the minority is a lot better than average. If he bails, though, this race will probably attract the likes of Rep. Bruce Braley and shoot straight to Tossup. (D)

  • Kansas - Sam Brownback (OPEN) (R): RTW
  • Several big-name Republicans have already declared for or openly contemplated getting into this race, so at least there ought to be a fun GOP primary. But unless term-limited Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is our nominee, Dems will be boxed out in this state (which hasn't sent a Dem to the Senate since before your mother was born). (D)

  • Kentucky - Jim Bunning (R): Tossup
  • With Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn both trying to shove Jim Bunning out the door, and Democratic Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo announcing his intention to seek a rematch, Bunning is feeling the squeeze from all sides. While a Bunning retirement would almost certainly be met with cheer from Senate Republicans, for now we have to assume that the doddery Senator is sincere in his desire to seek another term (and he certainly seems annoyed at any suggestion to the contrary). If he does indeed face the voters again, Democrats are eager to pound the notoriously poor campaigner with full force in 2010 after failing to to adequately fund the upstart Mongiardo in '04. A Bunning retirement or a nasty Democratic primary could cause us to readjust the scales here, but for now, the Republicans begin this race with no clear advantage whatsoever. (J)

  • Louisiana - David Vitter (R): Likely R
  • While some observers have singled out "Diaper" Dave Vitter as an incumbent facing serious jeopardy in 2010, we're not really as sanguine about Democratic fortunes in a state that actually took an even sharper turn toward the GOP in 2008 than it did four years previous. If Republicans outraged over Vitter's love of prostitutes manage to coalesce around a serious primary challenger, then we might see more of an opening for a Democratic challenge. (J)

  • Maryland - Barbara Mikulski (D): Safe D
  • Even if Mikulski, one of the few Dems who might be contemplating retirement, were to call it quits, we have a deep bench here and the GOP has... well, they have 83-year-old Rep. Roscoe Bartlett - so old he was originally elected on the Whig line. Hell, Tommy Carcetti would beat his ass. Next. (D)

  • Missouri - Kit Bond (OPEN) (R): Tossup
  • Kit Bond handed Democrats a major gift here by announcing his retirement earlier this month, but if this race follows the pattern of most other recent statewide elections in Missouri, it'll be a major battle all the way through election day. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan seems set to run for the Democrats, and she'll be a strong nominee against a Republican field that is still very much in flux. (J)

  • Nevada - Harry Reid (D): Likely D
  • Reid seems to have been scarred for life by his 400-vote win over John Ensign in 1998 and has run scared ever since. His perpetual defensive crouch has hurt Dems on the Hill, though it may save him against a potential strong run by either Rep. Dean Heller or former Rep. Jon Porter - or it might make him look like a weakling Dem from the bad old 2002 era. No matter what, Reid's prominent position means that protecting him will be a top priority for Bob Menendez. Knowing that, top-shelf Republicans might decline, which could return Reid to Safe status. (D)

  • New Hampshire - Judd Gregg (R): Lean R
  • Paul Hodes seems very likely to run here, and if he does, he's going to give Gregg a very serious race, and probably move the needle to Tossup within a year or so (if not before then). It's also possible that Gregg will retire, in which case Dems will be in the driver's seat. (D)

  • New York-A - Chuck Schumer (D): Safe D
  • You cannot even hope to contain Chuck Schumer. (D)

  • New York-B - Kirsten Gillibrand (D): Safe D
  • It's clear that Gov. David Paterson picked Gillibrand because she checks off a number of boxes - woman, upstate, prodigious fundraiser - and because she has considerable political skills. Peter King has been whining about the choice, but only because he's bummed he won't have the chance to take on Caroline Kennedy. Even if a Dem primary does materialize (something I'm skeptical of), there just really isn't a single GOPer in the state who can make this interesting. (And no, Rudy ain't gonna run.) (D)

  • North Carolina - Richard Burr (R): Lean R
  • Richard Burr faces several disadvantages in his quest for his first re-election: the fact that North Carolina is a lot bluer than it was in 2004, and his status as one of the Senate's most anonymous back-benchers. With a number of top-tier Democrats eyeing the race (AG Roy Cooper, former Treasurer Richard Moore, Rep. Heath Shuler) and polling very close to Burr, he looks to face a much harder fight than he did four years ago. (And for the superstitious among us, remember that this is the "cursed seat," which no one has successfully retained for decades.) (C)

  • North Dakota - Byron Dorgan (D): RTW
  • Byron Dorgan has ensconced himself quite nicely in North Dakota, increasing his already-sizable victory margins with every race (59% to 63% to 68%). The only dark cloud on the prairie is a possible run by popular GOP Gov. John Hoeven, hence the Race to Watch tag. (D)

  • Ohio - George Voinovich (OPEN) (R): Tossup
  • George Voinovich's retirement creates another open seat opportunity for the Democrats. Ex-Rep. and ex-OMB Director Rob Portman seems to have the GOP nomination locked down, while the Democratic field remains unsettled (although currently Rep. Tim Ryan seems very  much inclined to do it, while Lt. Gov Lee Fisher seems leaning against). Polling gives Portman a small edge right now, but once the attacks on his free-trading, loyal-Bushie ways begin, look for this to turn into a barnburner. (C)

  • Oklahoma - Tom Coburn (R): Safe R
  • Tom Coburn is a crazy bastard. Tom Coburn is a disgrace to the Senate. Tom Coburn has single-handedly held up tons of popular legislation to suit his personal whims. And yet Tom Coburn is very, very likely to remain a United State Senator come 2011. (D)

  • Oregon - Ron Wyden (D): Safe D
  • Ron Wyden has drawn third-tier opposition in his last two runs for the Senate. With the state's GOP bench in shambles and anyone left capable of playing statewide (Greg Walden, the newly-unemployed Gordon Smith) eyeing the open governor's race, this is likely to continue. (C)

  • Pennsylvania - Arlen Specter (R): Lean R
  • Democrats' chances at dislodging Arlen Specter may have gotten a little tougher, with Club for Growth honcho Pat Toomey training his circular firing squad on PA-Gov instead of a repeat primary challenge to Specter. Instead, the aging Specter gets to save his strength for the general election, where Rep. Allyson Schwartz seems to be on track to take the Dem nomination. With Pennsylvania, and especially Specter's power center in the Philly suburbs, gradually becoming bluer, though, this still looks to be a very competitive race. (C)

  • South Carolina - Jim DeMint (R): Safe R
  • DeMint, unlike his Palmetto State colleague Lindsay Graham, has established his conservative bona fides quite firmly - which is to say, he's a raging winger. In South Carolina, that probably helps, rather than hurts, most statewide Republicans as it ensures sufficient enthusiasm from the base. Dems don't really have much of a bench here. (D)

  • South Dakota - John Thune (R): Safe R
  • Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is the only Dem who could give Thune a race, but if she leaves the House, it'll be to run for Governor, not Senator. (D)

  • Texas - Kay Bailey Hutchison (R): Likely R
  • KBH is running for governor against incumbent Rick Perry. The only issue is when she'll resign, triggering a special election that's certain to be a free-for-all. Dems don't have a great shot unless they can rally around a single candidate, something complicated by both former state Comptroller Jim Sharp and Houston Mayor Bill White both saying they'll run. Plus, Texas Dems will be focused like a laser on winning the state House back, so as to have an all-important seat at the redistricting table. Still, this oughta be fun, and anything can happen in a special like this. (D)

  • Utah - Robert Bennett (R): Safe R
  • Does anyone know if Jeopardy mega-champion Ken Jennings is a Democrat? UPDATE: So he is! I should really read the articles I link to. Well, now all we have to do is convince Jennings to run. He's probably way too smart for that, though. (D)

  • Vermont - Patrick Leahy (D): Safe D
  • Gov. Jim Douglas is the only Republican of any stature in the state, but the one poll of the race so far has Leahy cruising 58-36. It's remarkable that a state which went Dem just once in the 20th century before 1992 could have turned so sharply blue (Vermont didn't even vote for FDR in 1936!), but there you have it. (D)

  • Washington - Patty Murray (D): Safe D
  • Patty Murray may be one of the most misunderestimated members of the Senate, as several highly-touted U.S. Representatives (Linda Smith, George Nethercutt) found out to their dismay. With Dino Rossi heading back to the private sector bathed in two-time loser stank, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers focusing on the House leadership track, it's looking like she'll draw only minor opposition in 2010. (C)

  • Wisconsin - Russ Feingold (D): Likely D
  • Feingold always seems to draw a respectable challenge, perhaps in no small part due to his iconoclasm and fundraising purity, but it remains to be seen whether this cycle will be the one that finally breaks the pattern. Rep. Paul Ryan is said to be keeping an eye on the seat, but otherwise, the Wisconsin GOP has precious few weapons in their arsenal. (J)

    DavidNYC :: SSP's Competitive Senate Race Ratings: Initial Ratings for 2009-10
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    CO-Sen: Bennett Leads All But Owens
    From Public Policy Polling on 1/27/2009:

    Looks like Bennett's doing modestly well, though these numbers are nowhere compared to a higher profile name such as John Hickenlooper.

    And although Bennett trails former governor Bill Owens, it's only a slight lead for the Republican, so there's some indication there of why Owens may not be so enthusiastic about a potential run, even against a rookie like Bennett.


    One More Thing
    AZ-Sen: I'm sure John McCain is off the radar screen for now, but that doesn't mean Napolitano is no longer a viable Senate candidate. I'm looking down the road at 2016. Janet will only be 59, and I'm sure by then at age 80 McCain will entire retire or have, God forbid, died in office.

    I think 2012 is way too soon even if going up against Jon Kyl will be much easier. Janet should have 8 years to build up her credibility in her department and have time to bring in the Immigration Reform policies and border security policies she put in Arizona to the entire country. She could then build up on that strength when she runs for Senate in 2016.


    I've sure Republicans have been saying that about Byrd
    since, oh, 1994.

    Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus

    [ Parent ]
    IL-Sen: Who's Ron Kirk?
    You mean Mark Steven Kirk right?

    I think former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk
    Has too much on his hands as Trade Rep. to make a senate race in Illinois. :)

    KS-Sen
    Kansas hasn't sent a Democrat to the United States Senate since before most of our grandmothers were born...it's been since the 1930's, the longest stretch of any state in the nation.

    http://kansasjackass.blogspot.com


    Wow, now I feel old...
    my grandmothers were born 1919 and 1929...

    33, living in Germany  

    [ Parent ]
    As do I.
    My maternal grandparents were born in 1919, my paternal grandfather and my only living grandparent in 1922, and my paternal grandmother in 1928.

    And I turn 26 next month!

    My blog
    Twitter
    Scribd
    28, New Democrat, Female, TX-03 (hometown CA-26)


    [ Parent ]
    Got you both beat
    My paternal grandmother was born in 1904 and grandfather in 1915 (!), but my dad was born way later -- 1949, so you can do the math.

    [ Parent ]
    Darn it
    Thought for a moment I had you beat with my paternal grandfather but when I worked it out he was actually born in 1907. And I'm only 30!

    [ Parent ]
    try the 19th century ...
    My pateral Grandmother was born in 1895 and my paternal grandfather some time before that.  Materal grandfather was in the 1800's.  Maternal grandmother was 1900 or before.  

    [ Parent ]
    I Got You Covered... :)
    Paternal grandfather was born in 1899, and I am only 36. My dad was in his 40s when I was born.

    Of course, no one beats the grandson (daughter?) of President John Tyler, who is still kicking around even though Grandpa was president during the 1840s.

    "You share your young with the wolves of the nation, there's nothing left til you pray for salvation."

    --Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

    "American X"


    [ Parent ]
    wow.
    my Great Gandfather was born in 1932.

    My younger Grandmother was born in 1950, and I'm 17.

    Call no man happy until he is dead-Aeschylus


    [ Parent ]
    Your great grandfather
    is younger than all my grandparents lol

    Liberty Avenue Politics - a place for politics in Southern Queens

    [ Parent ]
    Geez year
    my grandparents were born in 1919, 1922, 1924 and 1931

    and I'm only a few months shy of 26 years old. Am I really that much older than others on here?

    Liberty Avenue Politics - a place for politics in Southern Queens


    [ Parent ]
    Hmm - I guess I win
    Being 40 my maternal grandparents were actually married in 1907...

    paternal grandmother born 1894
    paternal grandfather: 1889

    maternal grandmother: 1885
    maternal grandfather: 1872!
    (mom being born 1930 as the youngest of 11...)


    [ Parent ]
    your grandfather was 34 when he married
    that was old for that time.

    young for our time though

    But your grandfather being 58 when your mom was born...you grandmother 45...geez.  

    Liberty Avenue Politics - a place for politics in Southern Queens


    [ Parent ]
    FL-Sen (in my gut) is probably lean R
    but only ever so slightly. The Dem bench sucks and with the exception of fmr Sen. Dick Stone (who won under unusual circumstances and was subsequently defeated in a primary), the last bunch of Dem senators in FL were statewide office holders. Nobody knows any of the Dems:

    Allen Boyd is way too conservative (or reactionary, pick one) to win a FL-Dem primary in 2010 (heck the dingbat voted against the Ledbetter bill for goodness sakes yet his district is very poor and barely republican leaning. Also, his son was recently arreseted for human smuggling at the AZ-Mexican border). If he managed to make it to the general, he'd have to do a triple 180 on just about anything and faced with a choice Dem who votes like a Republican and a non-controversial regular Republican; folks will pick the Republican.

    I just don't see Kendrick Meek winnig FL (yes Obama won but not the same thing). For one, Meek has a long and very liberal voting record that may not sell north of Palm Beach and he has a lot of enemies among the state's GOP establishment after many run-ins during his time in the legislature.

    Klein may be scared to risk his seat in Palm Beach, after a close scare in 2008 (wonder why, he should have skated through easily in such an overwhelmingly Dem year). Gelber is also an unknown but I hear he pissed off a lot of Dems by spreading resources too far out instead of concentrating on key marginals to make ground for Dems in the FL state house.

    But if I had to rank their chances right now for the primary and better chance in the general, I'd put Gelber ahead and Boyd dead last. As for the GOP, how shall I say this w/o sounding lame..if it's Connie Mack IV can we say "the Mac is back?"

    Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
    All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


    Klein has a close call in 2008?
    No he didn't.  A 55-45 win for a freshman incumbent in a marginal district hardly qualifies as close.  Republicans have a baseline of arouns 42% in that district.  It's hard to win in a blowout against even a weak challenger.

    [ Parent ]
    FL Sen.
    Take it to the bank...Meek is the nominee...seat stays(R)

    [ Parent ]
    North Carolina race
    I think the NC race will be interesting in a lot of ways.  Burr is not well-known in NC, although he's been in the Senate for 4 years and before that in the House.  He will probably be forced to run a campaign that is in essence against Obama instead of running against his opponent.  That could be playing fire with fire, so stay tuned.


    40, male, Democrat, NC-04

    That's my quibble
    NC should be toss up.

    [ Parent ]
    Not cursed ...
    It should be noted that the NC seat is not cursed.  It very reasonably goes Republican during Presidential years, when previously unknown Republican voters come crawling out of the woodwork to vote for the Republican Presidential nominee, and then go ahead and vote Republican for Senate while they're at it.  In "off-year" elections, the state shows its normal Democratic lean.

    Note that this seat has NEVER been won by a Republican in an "off-year" election.  Republican successes in Senate off-year elections has been limited to Jesse, who had a lot of name recognition and a tremendous constituent service operation (I know loyal Democrats who went to Jesse rather than his Democratic partners when they actually needed to get something done), yet still struggled to top 52% in the vote, and Liddy, who had name recognition, and was quickly noted to have been a mistake and duly turned out after one term.

    Presidential years tend to overstate Republican support in this state.  It is very difficult to be a Republican in an off-year election in North Carolina.


    [ Parent ]
    Which suggests that Hagan
    should be relatively safe if she doesn't screw up, given that she was elected in a Prez year.

    Might this reasoning apply to comparing Minnick, first elected in an "on" year, to LaRocco, first elected in an "off" year?

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


    [ Parent ]
    Also, note about Jesse
    He was a lightning-rod for controversy and enjoyed that.  So even with excellent constituent services he was still barely re-elected.

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

    [ Parent ]
    NC Sen
    Take it to the bank...Burr runs for re-election...seat flips to (D)

    [ Parent ]
    I think you guys are being too optimistic
    about Nevada and Illinois. I think that given its history, FL has to be lean R.  

    Flip NC and FL
    We have a bunch of 2nd-tier at best candidates in Florida.  But in North Carolina we're almost guaranteed to have at least one top-tier candidate running against an incumbent few people even know is their Senator, and those who do know Burr don't like him.  

    [ Parent ]
    Yup
    NC elects Democrats by default, and FL Republicans.  

    [ Parent ]
    Why is Reid in any immediate danger? From who?
    Until somebody serious steps up, we have to assume it will be a third tier candidate, who MIGHT have money.  Not much of an overthrowing equation right there.  Sure his poll numbers suck, but he's going to rake in the dough like McConnell.  

    [ Parent ]
    Reid's Only Danger
    Is himself, if he messes up passing Obama's legislation and people start to blame him, but he's still extremely safe for reelection.

    My hope is the NSCC and Cornyn get so obsessed with taking down Reid they spend all their resources in Nevada. Meanwhile, the Democrats pick up Ohio, Florida, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kentucky and many others to offset a potential Nevada loss.


    [ Parent ]
    Meanwhile
    the GOP is attacking him in Nevada FOR passing Obama's legislation...so you can see where the GOP is going here...down a hole.  

    Liberty Avenue Politics - a place for politics in Southern Queens

    [ Parent ]
    Nevada
    I's put it at likely D, but closer to solid D than Lean D.  The Nevada GOP is in disarray.  They aren't going to beat Reid.  

    [ Parent ]
    Agree
    also, their dolt of a Gov is running for re-election next year. The guy is a walking disaster, it's amazing how all this did not show up while he was a GOP member of Congress. If he is the GOP nominee, the Republicans are going to have their ass handed to them in a bucket of rusted syringes.  

    Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
    All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


    [ Parent ]
    NV Sen.
    Way to cautious/pessimistic about Harry...put down a big wager at an book in town...Reid gets re-elected

    [ Parent ]
    OR-Sen
    Walden will not run for anything but Rep. I would guess.  He just took a top job with the NRCC....

    True
    it's what you get representing an outlier of a district in an otherwise cosmopolitan state. Same goes with Hastings and McMorris-Rogers in WA. Anyone remember Linda Smith in WA?

    Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
    All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


    [ Parent ]
    Well
    Burris at likely Dem I think you are giving the man too much benefit. Lean Dem at least. Likely Dem if Kirk passes.

    A cat can have kittens in an oven but that doesn't make them biscuits.

    Our early assumption here
    is that Burris doesn't survive to be the nominee in 2010. But this race is truly a wildcard that will definitely need to be revisited once we get a better sense of who's in and who's out.

    [ Parent ]
    At this time, Dems have a better chance
    holding the IL seat if Burris is defeated in a primary in early 2010. There will be immense pressure on and threats against anyone challenging him because he's the only black US Senator (thanks Bobby Rush for taking us back to the social chasms of the 1970s). But if Burris does prevail (especiallly by wining 50%+), I'd still think he'd be a favorite to hold the seat. His appointment was very controversial but he himself is kinda like your crazy harmless very polite sweet mannered old uncle. You just can't bring yourself to dislike him.  

    Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
    All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


    [ Parent ]
    Is Burris going to run?
    I read that in discussions with Reid before being seated as a Senator, he was specifically unwilling to promise NOT to run.  Ok.  But does that mean he is currently planning to run?

    [ Parent ]
    Well
    Last night on Rachel Maddow, Blago indicated that he knew Burris was planning on running, and what's more, that he was a sure bet to win.

    Chortle

    It was pretty hilarious, actually.  The Guv made a big deal about how Burris never lost a statewide race to a Republican, then went on a lengthy digression about all the Democratic primaries the man lost in his career.

    Male, 23, DC-At Large


    [ Parent ]
    Illinois is amongst the ten most Democratic states in the country
    It's also an expensive state, so Republicans are going to think twice before spending big there.

    Now Burris' position is not necessarily secure. It's certainly not likely Burris.

    Still, even before Obama Illinois was D+9 and being able to use a popular president as a surrogate is a powerful weapon. Meantime, we can't be sure that Kirk will resonate well with voters throughout the Chicago suburbs, whilst he's liable to do no better than normal downstate and a drubbing in the city.

    Downstate Illinois just isn't conservative enough for him to rack up big enough margins. Kirk would need to score margins in the suburbs that Republicans haven't got for a decade.


    [ Parent ]
    Um, but isn't Kirk...
    seen as a "moderate"?  Clearly his chances of winning will be significantly reduced if the Dem is someone other than Burris, but...

    [ Parent ]
    He's seen as a moderate
    But Illinois is still a Democratic state and much of its Democratic population is not liable to cross over under any circumstances. I think Kirk would do better than a normal Republican, but I'm not sure that that would be enough for him to win.

    [ Parent ]
    Replay of Maryland 06
    Kirk is hyped all cycle just like Michael Steele was, we have to constantly listen to pundits saying he's such a great candidate, and then he gets 46% of the vote on election day.

    And that's if it's Burris.

    If it's Schakowsky he gets 44%.

    And we get his house seat.  

    The only real question is if the Dems wind up spending more than 120% of what the GOP spends.  That could be seen as a loss in some ways, because it diverts money from Florida and Ohio and MO and NC and NH.

    Colorado same deal.  If we have to spend 130% of what the Rs spend to win, then Ritter was a butthole.  Bennet isn't going to be so much better than Hickenlooper that it's worth spending $5 million that could have gone to Hodes to defend him.  He may be a great person, but he's not better than Sen Hickenlooper and Sen Hodes combined.

    28, gay guy, Democrat, CA-08


    [ Parent ]
    Great assessment.
    I now have a good picture of what should be expected to happen.  Thanks!

    [ Parent ]
    IL Sen
    For the last time...take it to the bank...IL stays (D) as Obama campaigns for the nominee and reps. run for cover

    [ Parent ]
    UT-Sen
    Hahahaha....that very link you provide does, in fact, mention that Mr. Jennings is a member of the Democratic Party.

    The man is a genius
    Was there ever any doubt what party he belonged to?

    [ Parent ]
    MD-Sen: "Hell, Tommy Carcetti would beat his ass"
    Major props for the Wire reference.

    I would so vote for that guy given the opportunity... then again, we kinda sorta already have him as governor : )

    Male, 23, DC-At Large


    Judd Gregg just became
    the Only Senator from the northeast--including Bob Casey--to vote to reinstate the global gag rule.  

    What is this "global gag rule"?


    [ Parent ]
    Ya, I just remembered
    Different terminology is used regarding that.  What was the final vote?

    [ Parent ]
    Oh wait
    That's the signing order Obama overturned allowing funds to go to groups who provide pregnancy termination right?

    [ Parent ]
    Yes
    More specifically, funding for overseas groups who not only provide the service, but provide information and education about the procedure. Really helpful for countries like Kenya where AIDs and STDs are a major problem and bringing a child into the world is not as joyous as it would be in America. Personally, I'm not a big fan of abortion but I'm not against letting people know about it so they can make their own decision.

    [ Parent ]
    But Gregg is pro-life
    has always been so this is no surprise.  

    Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
    All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


    [ Parent ]
    He's out of step with his state
    and the whole region.  

    [ Parent ]
    He may be one of the few yes votes on the stimulus
    He's left soem pretty strong indications that he will vote in favor.  So far it seems Snowe is the only guaranteed republican yes vote.

    [ Parent ]
    If I were Mitch McConnell, I'd tell her to put up or get thrown out of the caucus.
    Go thru the Senate roll calls thus far this session. She's voted with Republicans like zero times. TARP, Lily Ledbetter, Geithner (which I would have voted against myself), Land Bill, and today she voted against every GOP SCHIP amendment. LOL!  

    [ Parent ]
    Ya, screw a 60 vote Dem filibuster-proof majority
    Snowe has turned out to be our 60th (once Franken is in)Senator.  Last time she votes against EFCA.  Maybe Obama can work to get her vote.  We might need her in case Specter reverses course and votes against it.

    In all honesty I don't know why she puts up with her party.  She's become almost as big of a RINO as Chafee was before he was defeated.  


    [ Parent ]
    I really doubt Snowe will vote for the EFCA.
    She will be facing tremendous pressure from her party, big business, everyone on the right to vote against it. Specter will too, but he's far more vulnerable than Snowe and pretty much relies on union support to get re-elected. He's still our best bet, IMO.

    [ Parent ]
    Specter wouldn't dare diss the unions
    especially now that he doesn't really have to worry about a challenger from the right.

    Politics and Other Random Topics

    24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!


    [ Parent ]
    What repubs voted it down and Dems in favor?
    I'm guessing Snowe, Collins and Specter voted against.  Ben Nelson probably joined Casey in favor of reinstatement.

    [ Parent ]
    Casey voted it down
    Dems in favor - Ben Nelson

    Repubs against - Collins, Murkowski, Snowe, Specter

    http://www.senate.gov/legislat...


    [ Parent ]
    Lisa Murkowski
    She's really asking for a primary fight from the right-wing of her party.  I cannot imagine she gets a pass, be it from Palin or someone lesser known.

    [ Parent ]
    Quite happy with her
    Lucky to have Begich and he'll need all the help he can get in his re-election bid. Murkowski is really quite moderate by the standards of the rump GOP caucus left in the senate. Might even be worth helping her knock Palin out. Then again like the rest of us Obama/Plouffe/Axelrod/Gibbs etc are probably champing at the bit to run against her in 2012.

    [ Parent ]
    Pres. '12
    Can you imagine how the Dems want Palin to be the (r) nominee...can you say '64 all over again...67 sen. seats and 285 house seats...Obama 400 + elect. votes..palin is already dead-woman-walking when it comes to being elected pres.

    [ Parent ]
    And that's why
    They're running away from her as if she were a rabid [sled] dog (with apologies to the rabid [sled] dog!).

    My blog
    Twitter
    Scribd
    28, New Democrat, Female, TX-03 (hometown CA-26)


    [ Parent ]
    RE: Vote
    I cannot find the vote.  

    I tried the Senate website, and I was looking through the New York Times and Washington Post web sites.  What was it?

    Also, is this a sign of growth on Casey's part, or at least becoming more nuanced on this matter?


    [ Parent ]
    RE: vote
    Never mind.  I now see it.

    [ Parent ]
    I think he has always been nuanced
    He doesn't let his personal views on the matter get in the way of sensible public policy.

    [ Parent ]
    Yep
    He's miles better on these matters than his father was.  Casey has actually turned out to be a much better Senator than I figured.

    [ Parent ]
    I believe he voted similarly in the last Congress
    One thing you can take to the bank is that he is not his father.

    [ Parent ]
    But he is no Chuck Pennachio!
    :0)

    [ Parent ]
    Ken Jennings
    Hey, sure enough.  I followed the links from his Wikipedia entry and found this:

    http://ken-jennings.com/blog/?...

    That's his personal blog.  Look at what the three links at the end of the first paragraph link to.


    Indeed, The Wikipedia Article...
    Which was linked to indicates that multiple sources indicate that he is that fairly rare breed--a Democratic member of LDS.

    "You share your young with the wolves of the nation, there's nothing left til you pray for salvation."

    --Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

    "American X"


    [ Parent ]
    Along with Matheson and the Udalls


    My blog
    Twitter
    Scribd
    28, New Democrat, Female, TX-03 (hometown CA-26)


    [ Parent ]
    Only Tom is Morman
    Mark Udall was raised Presbyterian

    [ Parent ]
    Reid
    Harry Reid is one and he's Senate Majority Leader.

    [ Parent ]
    Is Rocky Anderson ..
    a member of LDS? .. he is the former mayor of Salt Lake City .. and sometime poster over at the Great Orange Satan

    [ Parent ]
    Almost positive he is
    I've been to Salt Lake City several times before, have family there.  It's VERY different than the rest of the state politically.  SLC is your basic liberal big city.  All the nutters live just outside the city.  I know Obama won Salt Lake County by a slim margin and probably won the city by a wide margin.  That's why a liberal like Rocky got elected Mayor.

    [ Parent ]
    I remember reading somewhere that
    he's a former LDSer.  Dunno where I read it though.

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

    [ Parent ]
    Being familiar with the LDS's
    His political views probably got him booted out.  Yes, they seriously do that sort of thing.

    [ Parent ]
    They do?
    Do they forbid you from identifying yourself officially as a member of the church?  Or do they just keep you from participating in the church's special events, and member benefits?

    I mean, the Catholic Church has grown out of that phase, heck.

    Well, I guess that knocks them down to being only slightly above wingnut evangelicals.  I still have had some rather favorable impressions of them, based on some really cool Mormon friends of mine, but...well.

    And as a sidenote, I have yet to figure out just what the hell the FLDS is.

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


    [ Parent ]
    RE:FLDS
    That is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They broke away from the regular Mormon Church when it condemned polygamy and excommunicated the practitioners of polygamy.

    The FLDS is the break away group you saw in the news before, the Jeffs case with the allegedly underage girls.

    That is who they are.  They're the ones still with multiple wives.


    [ Parent ]
    Not necessarily party
    But if you openly espouse beliefs that are contrary to what church leaders believe, such as choice for example, you can and will be kicked out.  My cousin was excommunicated for having a child before she was married.  They are a very arbitrary group.

    [ Parent ]
    Isn't being arbitrarily annoying
    the definition of "jackass"?

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

    [ Parent ]
    Draft Ken Jennings
    Seriously, why not?  Frankly, some fluke-ish type of thing is needed to get blue attention in Utah, not to win, but to bring it to the point of Montana circa-1980s.

    [ Parent ]
    Montana?
    I'm not familiar with what you're referencing.

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01

    [ Parent ]
    Absolutely useless comment
    "In 2004, Jennings won 74 Jeopardy! games before he was defeated by challenger Nancy Zerg on his 75th appearance."

    ZERG RUSH KEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKE

    (And I don't even play Starcraft.)

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


    Actually, this might mean something else
    The Zerg are Republicans?

    Hmm, didn't the self-styled "queen b**** of the universe" merge with the Zerg or something according to the storyline?  (Someone who's actually played Starcraft please correct me if I'm wrong.)

    party: Democratic, ideology: moderate, district: CT-01


    [ Parent ]
    notes
    I'd put Alaska into "Races to Watch" at the very least; despite the weak bench, Murkowski seems cruising towards a primary challenge from Palin or whoever, and the downballot pull from an indicted Don Young could give hope to the right Democrat. Another thing, even with your rationale, Burris being safer than Bennet just seems too out of wack.

    Also, I think you're being too bullish on Reid. He's unpopular, and there doesn't seem to be any indication that his position in the Senate will allow him to ameliorate that. NV is bound to be the banner race in 2008, and Porter could bring in millions. At the very least, Reid is as vulnerable as Specter.


    I agree. I have Reid at lean
    Certainly he is more vulnerable than Feingold.

    [ Parent ]
    I certainly agree with that
    But unfortunately, I suppose, we don't have a ranking system within each column. If I had to guess, I'd say that Feingold will probably drop off this chart altogether -- but if the Republicans can find a pleasant face to run against Reid, NV-Sen will be threatened.

    [ Parent ]
    Understood
    As you made clear this is all highly speculative until candidate recruitment firms up.

    [ Parent ]
    Reid's rating is just right
    Reid is unpopular but you can't beat somebody with nobody and the NV GOP not only has nobody, but they are heading into 2010 with the possiblity of anybody challenging Reid to run on the same ticket with Jim Gibbons, a real Gibbon monkey of a Gov. From a state that went double digits for Obama to vote for a GOP Senator on the same ballot as a toxic GOP governor is just asking too much. Reid will be fine, though he is an extremely weak Democratic leader.  

    Indepedent/Lean D. Dude.
    All 5s (now TX-5; frmly VA-5 and CA-5)  


    [ Parent ]
    Can't beat somebody with nobody.
    I find it hard to imagine that the Republicans can't at least find someone equivalent in stature to Kay Hagan to run there.

    [ Parent ]
    I dunno ...
    Since Kay was hands down the best possible candidate we could run (I'm convinced that any of the so-called "tier 1" candidates would have had a lot tougher time beating Liddy) this is a pretty strong standard.

    Remember, Jim Hunt wanted Kay to run against Liddy back in 2002.  Just because she wasn't know nationally doesn't mean she wasn't a great choice.  After all, just four years ago a nationally unknown state senator from IL was able to win election to the U.S. Senate, too, so it's not that unusual.


    [ Parent ]
    Vitter
    To beat the 'Worst Senator In The Country,' we're going to need to run dirty.  The Local UAW leader's comment about how "Vitter would rather pay a prostitute than an autoworker?"  That's what we need.

    I have faith in Louisiana.  Perhaps it's unbelievably misplaced, but I think the voters of Louisiana will replace that scumbag.


    Louisiana
    is probably one place where running dirty would work.

    Who would be our candidate? Cazayoux? I feel that he got screwed out of his House seat and would still be there if not for the royal screwing he got.  

    Liberty Avenue Politics - a place for politics in Southern Queens


    [ Parent ]
    Melancon
    Schumer and Menendez want Melancon, and he'd be our strongest candidate.  But, I haven't read anything indicating he's interested.  Also on the downside, we'd likely lose his house seat.

    After Melancon, I'm not sure who's possible.  Lt Gov Mitch Landrieu would be a strong candidate, but brother and sister senators seems a bit weird.  


    [ Parent ]
    Why?
    It bugs me that Mitch should be disqualified just because his sister holds the other seat.  If he's the best candidate (and he did outperform Jindal vote-wise), why not run?

    [ Parent ]

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