Tumultuous Senate Battles Expected in 2010
With the hoopla about the inauguration dominating that portion of the media not
reexamining the amazing landing of an airplane in the Hudson River last week,
you might have missed the fact that the Senate Democrats swallowed their pride and
Roland Burris (D) last week.
Thus a very safe Senate seat has suddenly become a hot target for the Republicans.
In fact, quite a few safe Senate seats have become top-tier races either because the incumbent
has retired or the seat is being filled by an appointee, and appointed senators don't have a
very good track record at being elected. Here is the list of open and appointed seats so far.
|| Michael Bennet (D)
|| Bennet has never run for public office
|| Open (D)
|| Appointed senator Ted Kaufman will not run in 2010
|| Open (R)
|| Sen. Mel Martinez is retiring
|| Roland Burris (D)
|| Burris hasn't said if he will run in 2010.
|| Open (R)
|| Sen. Sam Brownback is retiring
|| Open (R)
|| Sen. Kit Bond is retiring
| New York
|| ? (D)
|| New York is a very blue state and GOP bench is thin
|| Open (R)
|| Sen. George Voinovich (R) is retiring
The list might seem symmetric with four Democrats and four Republicans, but it is not.
First of all, the four Republican seats are all open seats, which are always harder to defend
than occupied seats. Second, three of the states Republicans are defending
(Florida, Missouri, and Ohio) are swing states
whereas only one of the Democratic states is a swing state (Colorado), and even that one is
rapidly trending blue (Obama won here and the Democrats control the governor's mansion, both Senate seats, five of the seven
House seats, and both houses of the state legislature).
Third, the Democrats actually have a decent chance to win very red Kansas
if Sen. Sam Brownback (R) runs for governor and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) runs for the Senate.
The voters may see this as simply swapping jobs for two popular politicians. Fourth, although
Roland Burris' appointment was very contentious, he may not run in 2010 or he may face a tough
primary. Illinois is a blue state and there are numerous Democratic representatives and statewide
office holders who could run a credible campaign. The Republicans don't have any statewide office holders
who could win a Senate seat. Their best shot is Rep. Mark Kirk (R).
Florida might be a bright spot for the Republicans. Although Jeb Bush has said he won't run for
the Senate, NRSC chairman John Cornyn is trying to
popular governor Charlie Crist (R) into running for the Senate.
Cornyn's problem is that being governor of the nation's fourth most populated state is a lot more
powerful job than being a freshmen senator in a small minority. Crist is surely aware of this.
One potential barrier to a Senate run has been removed though: Crist got married last year, which
will probably put rumors about his sexual-orientation to rest.
Steele Attacked for Being a Moderate
The race for chairmanship of the Republican National Committee is still on, with six contenders.
One of them, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland (who is black), is being
hampered in his
quest by his former association with the Republican Leadership Council, a moderate group violently
opposed by social conservatives. While Steele's election as RNC chairman would give the Republicans
a boost with minorities, he is a long shot. Another black candidate is former Ohio Secretary of State
Ken Blackwell, who is a true social conservative.
Review of the Election Data
Real Clear Politics has run a series of articles analyzing the November election data and
comparing it to previous ones. Today's installment is on
Previous ones have been
the South Atlantic,
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