May 16 absentee ballot for overseas voters

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

Map of the 2010 Senate Races
Downloadable polling data
Previous report
Next report

strong Dem Strong Dem
weak Dem Weak Dem
barely Dem Barely Dem
tied Exactly tied
barely GOP Barely GOP
weak GOP Weak GOP
strong GOP Strong GOP
Map algorithm explained
Senate polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): PA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Bonus Quote of the Day Steele Says Same Sex Marriage is a Financial Issue
Twitter Meets Political Wire Bloomberg Has Already Spent $18.7 million
Quote of the Day Obama Taps Huntsman for Ambassador to China

News from the Votemaster

Obama Helps Gillibrand     Permalink

Lots of Senate news today. Several downstate Democratic members of the House have threatened to challenge appointed senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a primary, largely due to her previous support for gun owners' rights. Yesterday, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) said President Obama asked him not to challenge Gillibrand and he agreed. Two other representatives, Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) have also threatened to challenge Gillibrand. It remains to be see if they also get presidential phone calls, but that seems very likely. Neither of them probably wants to run in a primary with a Democratic President actively campaigning for her opponent. So it looks like Gillibrand will sail through primary season easily, which will reduce the likelihood of any serious Republican signing up to challenge her. The Republicans' only chance in a state as blue as New York was for the Democrats to commit sororicide and that appears a distant hope now.

Hutchison Likely to Resign from the Senate in the Fall     Permalink

Another piece of bad news for the Republicans is the long-rumored resignation of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) this fall. Apparently Hutchison, whose ambition to be governor of Texas is no secret, feels she can campaign better for governor if she doesn't have to be in D.C. to vote on pesky cloture motions all the time. If she resigns after September, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) will appoint a temporary replacement and then there will be a special election in May 2010. A Hutchison resignation will undoubtedly cause Houston mayor Bill White (D) to run for her seat and he has a decent chance of winning.

You win some, you lose some. NRSC chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) has been pleading with Hutchison to stay in the Senate but from all appearances, he is going to lose this one. On the other hand, he got Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) to run for the Senate instead of running for reelection. These two events show you can't predict politics very well. If Hutchison thinks that being governor of a big state is a better deal than being a senior member of the minority in the Senate, why in the world does Crist think that being a junior member of the minority is a better deal than being governor of a big state? Strange.

Torsella Will Not Challenge Specter in Primary     Permalink

Democrat Joe Torsella announced yesterday that he is dropping out of the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate now that Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) has become a Democrat. Specter has no announced opponents yet, although Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), a retired Vice-Admiral now in Congress, has said that he is considering a primary challenge but it depends on how Specter votes in the next few months. It could be that Sestak said this merely to remind Specter which party he is in now, or it could be that Sestak is serious about running. Some people in the left-wing blogosphere have taken Sestak at his word and started a "Draft Sestak" campaign already and are raising money for him. If there is one thing that gets politicians' attention it is money, especially when it is being raised for or against them. The likely Republican nominee is Pat Toomey, who is so far to the right of the Pennsylvania electorate that he has almost no chance to win the general election, no matter who the Democratic nominee is and no matter how bloody the primary is.

Huntman to Be Ambassador to China     Permalink

Several sources are reporting that President Obama will name Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) ambassador to China. In the medium term, this is a smart move for Obama. In the longer term it may not be so good for the Democrats. Naming Republican Huntsman, who speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese going back to his time as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, to such a key foreign policy position, enhances Obama's reputation as being bipartisan--without it costing him anything. Furthermore, Huntsman is clearly a rising star in the GOP and might have challenged Obama in 2012. This appointment eliminates that possibility. However, the ploy might backfire eventually since this tour of duty gives Huntsman heavy-duty foreign-policy credentials. Could somebody use being Ambassador to China as a springboard to the presidency? Well, it worked for George H.W. Bush (although Bush also had other foreign-policy experience as well). So this manoeuver moves a potential Huntsman candidacy from 2012 to 2016.

Ron Paul's Son May Challenge Bunning     Permalink

The son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), Rand Paul, a surgeon who lives in Kentucky, is considering challenging Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) in the Republican senatorial primary in 2010. The senior Paul, an eccentric by any measure, ran for President in 1988 as a Libertarian and in 2008 as a Republican. He didn't win either contest but raised money by the boatload. If the younger Paul can attract his father's supporters, he might be a viable primary candidate. Of course a messy primary could weaken an already unpopular Bunning even more and increase the chances that Democrats Daniel Mongiardo or Jack Conway could win the general election.

Nobody Wants to Take on Reid     Permalink

Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is not especially popular in his home state of Nevada and could be vulnerable if the Republicans can come up with a top-tier candidate. But so far, nobody wants to try. The governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons (R-NV), has been embroiled to more scandals than anyone can count at this point and the lieutenant governor, Brian Krolicki (R-NV), is currently under indictment. The state's only Republican Congressman, Dean Heller, has been completely mum on the subject of a Senate race. The state's other senator, John Ensign (R-NV), is not likely to be of much use since he and Reid have an agreement not to go after each other, and with Reid by far the more powerful of the two, Ensign would be foolish to break the agreement. Unless somebody pops out of the woodwork quickly, Reid may luck out and get a free pass.

Arkansas Senate Candidate Calls Schumer "That Jew"     Permalink

The only announced candidate challenging Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) in 2010 so far is minority leader of the state Senate, Kim Hendren. In a speech this week he called Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) "that Jew." A blogger caught him and all of a sudden it was national news. Kendren immediately said he wasn't his fault because he is a gaffe machine. Schumer wasn't angry with him, but many people remember what a single word--macaca--did to former senator George Allen in 2006.

Cooper Will Not Challenge Burr in North Carolina     Permalink

Finally, some good news for the Republicans concerning the Senate. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has decided that he will not challenge Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in 2010. Cooper was the Democrats' strongest candidate to run for this "cursed seat" (it has flipped parties five times in a row now). Nevertheless, the Democrats have a deep bench in the state, with numerous representatives and state legislators potentially interested in challenging the unpopular Burr. And all of them know how a relatively unknown challenger, now-senator Kay Hagan (D), upset superstar former senator Elizabeth Dole (R) in 2008.

If you like this Website, tell your friends. You can also share by clicking this button  

-- The Votemaster