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Senate Dem 59   GOP 40   Ties 1
House Dem 257   GOP 178  

Map of the 2010 Senate Races
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PW logo Bush Needed Explanation of Biden Controversy Maloney Will Announce for Senate This Month
In Case You Missed It Edwards Will Not Run for Senate
Another Cheney in Public Office? GOP Lacks Votes to Filibuster Sotomayor

News from the Votemaster

Special Election Coming Up in NY-23     Permalink

President Obama's appointment of Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) as Secretary of the Army is another brilliant political move disguised as bipartisanship--like getting Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) out of the 2012 presidential race by sending him packing to China (as ambassador). Obama can now brag he appointed a Republican to an important job, which is true, but more important, this move will force a special election in NY-23, an R+1 district that the Democrats could never win with McHugh firmly in place but now have an excellent chance of winning. Although the district is upstate, it is slightly less Republican than NY-20, which Democrat Scott Murphy just won in a special election. Also of note is that Obama carried the district with 52% of the vote. If the Democrats can win NY-23, there will only be two Republicans left in the 29-member NY congressional delegation.

In a slightly different vein, the choice of Sonia Sotomayor also fits this category. By appointing a summa cum laude graduate from Princeton who has more experience on the bench than any Supreme Court nominee in 70 years and then having conservatives spew bile all over her for one sentence she said in Berkeley 8 years ago, all he has to do is stand by and watch as the few Latino Republicans left get disgusted and leave the party. It is not clear whether Rahm Emanuel or David Axelrod was the driving force here, but from a professional point of view, Karl Rove is no doubt impressed with how clever these guys are.

The mechanics on the NY-23 special election are the same as the NY-20 special election. In a quickie election, there are no primaries. The county committees in the district pick the nominees and then they go at each other on a date 30-40 days from the date the governor announces there will be a special election. Since the state committees do the picking, people well known to them--such as members of the state legislature--typically get first consideration. However, the Democrats control the state Senate 32-30, so picking a state senator would risk losing control of that body if the state senator is elected to Congress.

Cuomo Has No Current Plans to Run for Governor     Permalink

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he has no current plans to run for governor in 2010. Some people are interpreting this as meaning he won't run for governor. He didn't say that. Politicians often say: "I have no plan to run for X." That does not exclude developing such a plan in the near future though. It is widely known that Cuomo wants to be governor, a job his father once held, and the current governor, David Paterson (D-NY) is both legally and politically blind, with an approval rating of 19%. Cuomo is never going to get a better shot than 2010 so he is apparently just keeping his powder dry. Given his widespread name recognition, his father's popularity and Paterson's lack thereof, and the state's late primary date (Sept. 14, 2010), Cuomo is in no hurry to commit himself.

Pawlenty Not Running for Reelection     Permalink

In a slightly surprising move, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has announced that he is not running for a third term in 2010. There are probably two reasons for his decision: (1) he wants to run for President in 2012 and being a sitting governor might take up too much valuable campaigning time, especially dealing with a state legislature in which DFLers (Democrats) have enough votes to override his vetoes, and (2) he barely won election in his first two runs for the governorship and a loss or a tiny win would be more of a hindrance than a help.

With Pawlenty now standing at one of Minnesota's 10,000 lakes with his toe in the water, Chris Bowers at Open Left has a nice rundown of the 2012 Republican field as it stands now, reproduced below.

Republican Net Favorable # Polls
Condoleezza Rice +29% 1
Tim Pawlenty +5% 1
Rudy Guiliani +4% 2
Sarah Palin +2% 5
Mike Huckabee +1% 4
Bobby Jindal +1% 2
Mitt Romney -11% 3
Mitch McConnell -16% 2
John Boehner -21% 2
Newt Gingrich -23% 2

What can we conclude from this list? There is no evidence Condoleezza Rice is interested in pursuing elective office and a black woman is probably a bridge too far for the Republicans in 2012 although a white woman (Sarah Palin) is a real possibility. Discounting Rice, that leaves Pawlenty as the most popular Republican out there, just slightly ahead of Rudy Giuliani, who conclusively demonstrated he knows nothing about running for President in 2008. He might run for governor of New York in 2010, but President in 2012 is inconceivable given his dismal performance in 2008. Jindal's reply to Obama's state-of-the-union speech shows he is not ready for prime time yet, and he has a gubernatorial election to deal only 2 months before the Iowa caucuses, so he'll have to wait until 2016. Thus Pawlenty, Palin, Huckabee, and the ever-ambitious Mitt Romney look like the main players at this moment (plus perhaps Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina), but as pointed out above, politicians with no plans now can suddenly develop plans if circumstances change.

Pawlenty's withdrawal from the 2010 race undoubtedly has implications for what happens if the Minnesota Supreme Court says Al Franken won the Senate election. If Pawlenty's next election is a Republican primary, he may want to keep conservatives happy and dawdle about signing Franken's election certificate. On the other hand, if the court decision is unanimous and the justices really mean it, they could order him to sign the certificate within, say, 48 hours. If he refused point blank to do it, his primary opponents will scream that he has no respect for the law, definitely not a winner with conservatives. So the devil is in the details, as it often is (see Reform, health care).

Corzine and Christie Will Compete for the New Jersey Governor's Mansion in November     Permalink

Former prosecutor Chris Christie (R) won the New Jersey gubernatorial primary yesterday against Steve Lonegan and Rick Merkt and will face Gov. Jon Corzine (D-NJ) in November. Corzine's approval rating has been hovering in the 30s lately, giving Christie a real shot at being elected governor. The only other governor's race this year is in Virginia, which holds its primary next week.

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