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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 Who's to Blame? How the Vote Shifted in Massachusetts
First Thoughts Coakley Concedes
Massachusetts Election Results Election Night Survey

News from the Votemaster

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 seated 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.

State 2010 Incumbent Notes
Colorado Michael Bennet (D) Bennet has never run for public office
Delaware Open (D) Appointed senator Ted Kaufman will not run in 2010
Florida Open (R) Sen. Mel Martinez is retiring
Illinois Roland Burris (D) Burris hasn't said if he will run in 2010.
Kansas Open (R) Sen. Sam Brownback is retiring
Missouri Open (R) Sen. Kit Bond is retiring
New York ? (D) New York is a very blue state and GOP bench is thin
Ohio 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 cajole 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 the Midwest. Previous ones have been the introduction, on the South Atlantic, and on the West.

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