Feb. 20 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 257   GOP 178  

Map of the 2010 Senate Races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (57)
weak Dem Weak Dem (0)
barely Dem Barely Dem (1)
tied Exactly tied (1)
barely GOP Barely GOP (5)
weak GOP Weak GOP (1)
strong GOP Strong GOP (35)
Map algorithm explained
Senate polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): (None) GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Burris Chief of Staff Quits Bonus Quote of the Day
Obama Approval Rating Slips Quinn Wants Burris to Resign
Are Media Polls Bad? Murray Holds Solid Leads for Re-Election

News from the Votemaster

Blunt Enters Missouri Senate Race

Rep. Roy Blunt, a former member of the Republican House leadership, has announced that he is running for the Senate seat to be vacated by Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) in 2010. Blunt is not the only Republican eyeing the seat, however. State Treasurer Sarah Steelman (R) is also pondering a bid. On the Democratic side, the most likely candidate is Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. The Missouri race will be one of the most closely watched races in 2010. Open Senate seats in states that are this closely balanced between Democrats and Republicans are pretty rare. In Nov., John McCain carried the state by fewer than 4000 votes out of 2.9 million votes cast.

House Seat for D.C. to be Debated by Senate Next Week

A bill to give D.C. a full seat in the House of Representative may clear Congress this session. Generally, Democrats are for it (because D.C. is full of Democrats) and Republicans are against it (because D.C. is full of Democrats). However, to make the bill more palatable to Republicans, it would increase the House from 435 members to 437 members, with the other seat going to the state that came closest in 2000 to getting another representative. That state is Utah, where the Republicans control the state machinery and can gerrymander the districts to make sure the new representative is a Republican. If the bill passes both houses of Congress and is signed by President Obama, it becomes law. No changes to the constitution are required. Congress has changed the size of the House many times in history as the nation grew.

Giving D.C. senators is a different story altogether. The constitution says clearly that each state gets two senators and this bill would not make D.C. a state. Making it a state would require only an act of Congress (which happened when Alaska and Hawaii) were admitted to the union), but Republicans would filibuster it to death because it would virtually guarantee two more Democratic senators. Other proposals to give the residents of D.C. representation in the Senate, such as making it part of Maryland, are nonstarters. (Making it part of Virginia would be even worse for the Republicans since it would change Virginia from a state trending blue to a permanently deep blue state; adding it to Maryland would change little.) Conceivably Republicans could accept making D.C. part of Utah, but Democrats would probably balk at that. If the Democrats were ever to achieve 60 votes in the Senate, actually admitting D.C. to the union as a state would probably be on the agenda. By way of analogy, the the European Union's executive branch (the European Commission) is in Belgium and the European Parliament meets in France for several sessions a year, although it also conducts some of its business in Brussels. The Secretariat is in Luxembourg. Neither is in some special no-man's land not part of any country.

Burris' Support Dissolving

A group of prominent black pastors has added its voice to a growing chorus asking Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL) to resign from the Senate due to his possible perjury and willingness to at least contemplate raising money for now-impeached-and-convicted former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich. Several Republicans and an editorial in the Chicago Tribune have called for him to step down. No Democrat is on record supporting him; they are all silent. There is no question that they all want him to resign, though. He will be a very weak candidate in 2010 and they would rather have a new senator who is squeaky clean. So far, the Illinois state legislature has not done what was talked about a lot last month: change Illinois law to require all Senate vacancies to be filled by special elections, just as House vacancies are. This would be a good time to do that, but there is no detectable motion in that direction so far.

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