16
May
09

Looking Ahead to 2010 and the Senate

vote

I dislike copying an entire page and presenting it in a blog, but there’s no other way to really to get an excellently written assessment of what’s in store for voters in the up and coming 2010 congressional seats.

This page is presented by Council for a Livable World at their link here:

An Early Look at the 2010 Senate Elections

18 Democratic seats up for election

Evan Bayh (IN)
Michael Bennet (CO)
Barbara Boxer (CA)
Roland Burris (IL)
Christopher Dodd (CT)
Byron Dorgan (ND)
Russell Feingold (WI)
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
Daniel Inouye (HI)
Ted Kaufman (DE) (retiring)
Patrick Leahy (VT)
Blanche Lincoln (AR)
Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Patty Murray (WA)
Harry Reid (NV)
Charles Schumer (NY)
Arlen Specter (PA)
Ron Wyden (OR)

18 Republican seats up for election

Robert Bennett (UT)
Christopher Bond (MO) (retiring)
Sam Brownback (KS) (retiring)
Jim Bunning (KY)
Richard Burr (NC)
Tom Coburn (OK)
Mike Crapo (ID)
Jim DeMint (SC)
Chuck Grassley (IA)
Judd Gregg (NH) (retiring)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Mel Martinez (FL) (retiring)
John McCain (AZ)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Richard Shelby (AL)
John Thune (SD)
David Vitter (LA)
George Voinovich (OH) (retiring)

The landscape

1. Number of seats up in 2010: After the unexpected Specter party switch, Democrats and Republicans now both have to defend 18 seats, but the Pennsylvania contest now swings toward the Democrats.

2. Retirements: At this point, five GOP Senators have announced their retirement at the end of this term, compared to only one Democrat. Open seats are frequently highly competitive.

3. Newly-appointed Senators: There are four Democratic seats previously held by Obama, Biden, Clinton and Salazar. Their appointed successors will be much more vulnerable in two years.

4. Candidate recruitment: Both parties are searching for strong candidates to run as challengers or for open seats, but have suffered some disappointments as favored candidates declined to enter the races.

5. External factors: The decisive factor may be the popularity of President Barack Obama in November 2010 and his success in solving U.S. domestic and foreign problems, especially the recession. Many mid-term elections become referenda on the incumbent President’s party.

The early battleground states

California: The nation’s largest state becomes a battleground only if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) decides to challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) . She will face spirited competition even if he does not run, perhaps from ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (R), but should prevail.

Colorado: Political newcomer Michael Bennet (D) was appointed to replace Sen. Ken Salazar (D), who resigned to become the new Secretary of Interior. Well-regarded for his performance as superintendent of Denver public schools, Bennet is little known to voters across the state. Republicans are sure to mount a stiff challenge. Polls point to a close contest in the general election. Bennet raised $1.4 million in the first three months of 2009.

Connecticut: The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Chris Dodd (D) is in trouble. His sagging poll numbers are due to the banking crisis (he is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee) and to what the media describes as sweetheart real estate deals. While the state is strongly Democratic, polls show that Dodd will face a strong challenge from former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) or former state senator Sam Caligirui (R).

Delaware: Sen. Ted Kaufman (D) is Sen. Joseph Biden’s former chief of staff. He has announced that he will hold the seat for only two years, keeping it warm for Attorney General Beau Biden (D), one of Biden’s sons who is expected to announce his candidacy after he returns from his military deployment in Iraq. Republicans are hoping to nominate popular U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, a veteran legislator. A March 2009 poll showed Castle leading Beau Biden.

Florida: This Senate contest for the seat of retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R). took a dramatic turn when popular Governor Charles Crist (R) entered the contest in May. He will be challenged from the right by former Florida state Speaker Marco Rubio (R) and on the left by U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D). While Crist has his detractors, he is likely to win the seat easily.

Illinois : Former Governor Rod Blagojevich’s (D) appointment of Sen. Roland Burris (D) embarrassed state and national Democrats. It is not clear whether 71-year old Burris will run in 2010. State treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) is running and has raised over $1.1 million. The GOP is recruiting suburban Chicago U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R).

Kansas: Sen. Sam Brownback (R) , currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate, has kept his promise to retire after two terms. Two GOP House members, Reps. Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran have indicated they will run in the primary. Now that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) has entered the Obama cabinet, the Republican primary winner is almost surely the general election winner. Democrats have not won a Kansas Senate seat since 1932.

Kentucky: Two-term incumbent Sen. Jim Bunning (R) won by only 23,000 votes in 2004, a strong Republican year, and is considered highly vulnerable. Indeed, some Republicans are urging Bunning to retire rather than risk defeat. He has responded by attacking Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConell (R), also of Kentucky. Bunning had only $376,000 in the bank at the end of March. Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D), who ran in 2004, has declared he will run, as has state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) .

Louisiana: Democrats have been targeting Sen. David Vitter (R) (Mr. Family Values) since his name was found in the D.C. Madam’s list of prostitutes’ customers. Vitter may receive a primary challenge and will certainly face a strong opponent in the general election.

Missouri: Sen. Kit Bond (R) survived a series of credible Democratic challengers over the years. Now he has announced his retirement. Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D), the daughter of a recent governor and senator and sister of a congressman, is the early Democratic frontrunner. Early polls show her with a narrow lead over potential Republican opponents, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt and ex-state treasurer Sarah Steelman. This is a toss-up race.

Nevada: In 2004, Republicans upset Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle and hope to repeat that victory by defeating Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D) in 2010. Potential serious challengers are former U.S. Representative Jon Porter (R) and Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki (R). The GOP will almost surely mount a serious challenge to Reid. While Reid triumphed handily in 2004, he won by only 428 votes six years earlier. At the end of March, Reid had $5 million in the bank. The National Republican Senatorial Committee began running attack ads against Reid in January 2009. Reid may be vulnerable for re-election depending on the state of the national economy.

New Hampshire: This state has been voting increasingly Democratic as evidenced by the defeat of both Republican House members in 2006 and Sen. John Sununu in 2008. Democrats are optimistic about winning another Senate seat in 2010, particularly now that Senator Judd Gregg (R) has announced his retirement. Rep. Paul Hodes (D) has declared his candidacy. The other U.S. Representative from New Hampshire, Carol Shea-Porter (D), will not run.

New York: Gov. David Paterson’s selection of little-known U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) from upstate New York to replace former Senator and now Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could lead to stiff primary opposition. U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), who objects to Gillibrand’s pro-gun position, may contest the party nomination. Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King may run. Gillibrand is an effective fundraiser and a formidable campaigner, but not well known across the Empire state. The state’s Democratic leanings make her the early favorite, and she raised $2.4 million in the first quarter of 2009.

North Carolina: North Carolina was carried by Barack Obama in 2008 and elected Sen. Kay Hagan (D) over incumbent Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R). Democrats have turned their sights on Sen. Richard Burr (R) . State Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) is considering a challenge. Polling shows Burr only slightly ahead of potential challengers.

North Dakota: Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) will breeze to easy re-election unless Gov. John Hoeven (R) gets into the contest.

Ohio: Ex-U.S. Rep. and ex-Office of Management and Budget director Rob Portman (R) declared his candidacy immediately after the announced retirement of Sen. George Voinovich (R). He may run opposed for the GOP nomination. Democrats face a primary between Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and state Rep. Tyrone Yates. Both the primary and general election are wide open. Portman has over $3 million in his campaign treasury, well ahead of either Democratic candidate.

Pennsylvania: Incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter’s (R turned D) surprising party switch in April 2009 has totally shaken up this contest. Threatened with defeat at the hands of former Conservative Club for Growth president Pat Toomey (R), who almost defeated Specter in a 2004 primary, Specter has decided to run as a Democrat. The result is that Toomey is likely the GOP nominee and Specter the Democratic candidate, although the newly minted Democrat may still face primary opposition. However, Specter has $6.7 million campaign treasury.

Additional Reference Sources and Newswire Updates:

The Torturous 13

Making a List and Checking it Twice

Related Newswire Articles on 2010 Elections

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