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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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Senate Appointments Not Helping Democrats in 2010 Quote of the Day
McCain the Maverick is Back Schumer Backed Gillibrand for Senate

News from the Votemaster

Paterson to Announce Senate Appointee Today

The NY Times is reporting that Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) has chosen Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to replace Hillary Clinton, who resigned from the Senate to become Secretary of State. It is an unusual choice because Gillibrand, 42, is only a one-term representative. She has to stand for election in both 2010 and 2012. On the other hand, she is a prodigious fund raiser even as she just represented part of the Hudson Valley. Once she starts raising money in New York City, there is no telling how much she can rake in. Women's groups will clearly go all out for her and New York is a very blue state, so any Democrat starts with a huge advantage there. Finally, although it is politically incorrect to mention it, she is probably the best looking woman in the Senate and maybe all of Congress. Like it or not, that is going to sway many male voters in her favor. While we may not get the kind of frenzy we saw around Sarah Palin, it is a factor. Only unlike Palin, Gillibrand is not in over her head. She performed well in the House and the day-to-day routine of a senator is not that different from that of a representative (beg for money, go to committee meetings, beg for money, vote on the floor, beg for money, talk to constitutents, beg for money, etc.). Politically, Gillibrand is hard to pigeonhole, as she is supported by both the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. She has also demonstrated her ability to get Republicans to vote for her, winning 62% to 38% last November in an R+3 district (NY-20).

Kirsten Gillibrand

Bunning Urged to Retire

Unnamed Republican sources are urging aging and infirm Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) to retire in 2010. If these reports are true--and they probably are--it is almost without precedent for a party to push a sitting senator to retire--unless he likes to play footsie in airport mens' rooms. Bunning is seen as a very weak shot at hanging onto his seat and the Democrats have several strong contenders for the nomination, including Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo and Rep. Ben Chandler. Mongiardo ran against Bunning in 2004 and despite a huge advantage in money, Bunning won by only 1 point, even though George Bush carried Kentucky by 20 points. Many observers feel that had it not been for Bush, Mongiardo would have won. Without Bush on the ticket to help him in 2010, Bunning is probably very vulnerable, which is why the Republicans want him out of there.

Jim Bunning

What Happened to Caroline Kennedy?

TPM has a nice piece on what happened to Caroline Kennedy's Senate bid. In a nutshell, being a U.S. senator from the media capital of the world requires one to like being in the spotlight. A standing joke in D.C. is that the most dangerous place in the world to be standing is between Sen. Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. Hillary Clinton is also not a bashful type. Caroline is a very private person. She could have been an excellent ambassador to England, which loves royalty, or any one of many other low-profile government jobs, but not senator from New York. According to the New York Post, Kennedy never had a chance.

Norm Coleman Gets a Job

Former senator Norm Coleman has been hired as a consultant by the Republican Jewish Coalition. The group lobbies Republicans in Congress on Israel and other Jewish causes. Coleman said that he still expects to win his court case and get his Senate job back, but meanwhile he needs to earn a living. That may be true, but it sends a peculiar signal to his supporters about his expectation of winning his court case.

Mac is Back

Sen. John McCain is back to his old maverick self, willing to work with the Democrats and not just obstruct for the sake of obstruction. While the Democrats will probably have only 59 seats in the Senate (assuming Al Franken's victory in Minnesota is not overturned in the courts), McCain's vote may well be within reach on some issues if the Democrats reach out to him, which they will surely do. He clearly wants to go down in history as a great senator who helped pass historic bills rather than just another losing candidate for President. He is going to be nothing but trouble for minority leader Mitch McConnell.

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