Sunday, January 31, 2010

Race for the Senate. . .

You may not know this, but 2010 is an election year. Seriously, I’m not making this up. In fact, 36 Senate seats are up for grabs. Of those, 18 are currently held by Republicans, the other 18 are held by Democrats. Those numbers are going to change. Here is your primer on each race.

Safe Republican Incumbents

The following twelve seats have Republican incumbents and are considered safe at this point:

Richard C. Shelby -- Alabama
Lisa Murkowski -- Alaska
John McCain -- Arizona
Johnny Isakson -- Georgia
Michael D. Crapo -- Idaho
Charles E. Grassley -- Iowa
David Vitter -- Louisiana
Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
Richard Burr -- North Carolina
Jim DeMint -- South Carolina
John Thune -- South Dakota
Robert F. Bennett -- Utah
Both McCain and Bennett face difficult primary challenges, though neither seat is expected to fall to the Democrats, no matter how the primaries turn out.

Safe Republican Seats Without Incumbents

The following three seats were held by Republicans who are retiring. These are also considered safe.
In the race to replace George LeMieux, both Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio are well ahead of their Democratic opponents:
49% Marco Rubio (R)
35% Kendrick Meek (D)

42% Charlie Crist (R)
36% Kendrick Meek (D)
While both Crist and Rubio are tied in current polls, Crist has been losing momentum. He lost ten points against Rubio from August to the present. Crist’s lead over Meek also has lost six points in that time.
There are no polls from Kansas, where Republicans Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt are running to replace retiring Senator Sam Brownback, but the seat is not expected to fall into Democratic hands.
In the race to replace Jim Bunning, both Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, are ahead of both possible Democratic opponents: Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo and Attorney General Jack Conway.
49% Rand Paul (R)
35% Daniel Mongiardo (D)

46% Rand Paul (R)
38% Jack Conway (D)

44% Trey Grayson (R)
37% Daniel Mongiardo (D)

45% Trey Grayson (R)
35% Jack Conway (D)

The Endangered Republican Seats

The following three seats are/were held by Republicans, and they are in the toss up category.
In the race to replace Kit Bond, Republican Congressman Roy Blunt has recently overtaken Democrat Robin Carnahan, the Missouri Secretary of State. Carnahan had a two point lead last month.
49% Roy Blunt (R)
43% Robin Carnahan (D)
New Hampshire
In the race to replace Judd Gregg, Republican Kelly Ayotte, the former New Hampshire Secretary of State and likely nominee, leads Democratic Congressman Paul Hodes. But, two other potential Republican challengers, businessman Bill Binnie and perennial loser Ovide Lamontagne would lose fairly handily to Hodes.
49% Kelly Ayotte (R)
40% Paul Hodes (D)

45% Paul Hodes (D)
38% Ovide Lamontagne (R)

43% Paul Hodes (D)
37% Bill Binnie (R)

In the race to replace George Voinovich, former Republican Congressman Rob Portman holds a slight lead over either Democratic challenger, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher or Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, though his lead is increasing.
43% Rob Portman (R)
40% Jennifer Brunner (D)

44% Rob Portman (R)
37% Lee Fisher (D)

Safe Democratic Incumbents

The following six seats have Democratic incumbents and are considered safe at this point:
Daniel Inouye -- Hawaii
Barbara Mikulski -- Maryland
Chuck Schumer -- New York
Ron Wyden -- Oregon
Patrick Leahy -- Vermont
Patty Murray -- Washington

Safe Democratic Seats Without Incumbents

Chris Dodd is retiring in Connecticut. While he had been vulnerable to defeat, the new Democrat, Richard Blumenthal is likely to retain the seat for the Democrats.
58% Richard Blumenthal (D)
34% Linda McMahon (R)

56% Richard Blumenthal (D)
33% Rob Simmons (R)

The Endangered Democratic Seats

The following eleven seats are/were held by Democrats, and they are in the toss up category.
Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln would lose to each of her four challengers: State Senator Gilbert Baker, State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren, businessman Curtis Coleman, and Tom Cox, head of the Arkansas TEA party.
51% Gilbert Baker (R)
39% Blanche Lincoln (D)

47% Kim Hendren (R)
39% Blanche Lincoln (D)

48% Curtis Coleman (R)
38% Blanche Lincoln (D)

48% Tom Cox (R)
38% Blanche Lincoln (D)

Incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer leads each of her likely opponents: former CEO Carly Fiorina, Assemblyman Chuck Devore, and ex-Congressman Tom Campbell, though it’s close.
46% Barbara Boxer (D)
43% Carly Fiorina (R)

46% Barbara Boxer (D)
42% Tom Campbell (R)

46% Barbara Boxer (D)
40% Chuck Devore (R)

Incumbent Michael Bennet is being destroyed by each of his three Republican challengers: former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, State Senator Tom Wiens, and district attorney Ken Buck. However, he now faces a Democratic primary challenge from state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who also loses to the Republicans, but not as easily.
49% Jane Norton (R)
37% Michael Bennet (D)

44% Tom Wiens (R)
38% Michael Bennet (D)

43% Ken Buck (R)
38% Michael Bennet (D)

With little Beau Biden bailing out of the race to replace Lying Joe Biden, it appears that Republican Mike Castle will claim the seat. Even though no Democrats have announced that they will run, Castle handily beats the likely challenger New Castle County Executive Chris Coons.
56% Mike Castle (R)
27% Chris Coons (D)

In the race to claim Barack Obama’s seat, the likely Republican nominee, Congressman Ron Kirk, is slowly falling behind his likely competitor, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. However, he remains ahead of the two other potential Democratic candidates: Cheryle Jackson, president of the Chicago Urban League, and Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman.
42% Alexi Giannoulias (D)
39% Ron Kirk (R)

42% Ron Kirk (R)
38% Cheryle Jackson (D)

42% Ron Kirk (R)
39% David Hoffman (D)

Until this week, it appeared that Evan Bayh would have an easy re-election. But new polling by Rasmussen shows that Bayh has an uncomfortably small lead against former Congressman John Hostettler (Bayh actually loses 47% to 44% to Congressman Mike Pence, but he has declined to run). Bayh also leads freshman State Senator Marlin Stutzman.
44% Evan Bayh (D)
41% John Hostettler (R)

45% Evan Bayh (D)
33% Marlin Stuzman (R)

Harry Reid is currently losing badly to each of his three possible challengers: Nevada Republican Party chairwoman Sue Lowden, businessman Danny Tarkanian, and Assemblywoman Sharron Angle. (Apparently, Nevada's Lt. Governor is now thinking of jumping into the race as well.)
50% Danny Tarkanian (R)
36% Harry Reid (D)

48% Sue Lowden (R)
36% Harry Reid (D)

44% Sharron Angle (R)
40% Harry Reid (D)

New York
New York is a disappointment. Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand is unpopular and should be a ripe target for Republicans. But all of the Republicans who outpoll her have refused to run. Giuliani, for example, outpolls Gillibrand 53% to 40%, but he won’t run. Gillibrand also faces a primary challenge from Tennessean Harold Ford, though she is beating him easily. As it currently stands:
39% Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
34% [insert Republican name here]

North Dakota
Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan announced his retirement after polls showed him trailing Republican Jon Hoeven by 22 points (58% to 36%). With no other Democrat announcing, we don’t have any new polling yet, but this seat is expected by all sides to fall to the Republicans.
In Pennsylvania, lady’s man and turncoat Arlen Specter faces both a primary challenge from his left and a strong challenge from Republican Pat Toomey.
49% Pat Toomey (R)
40% Arlen Specter (D)

Last week, Wisconsin was considered a safe seat but new polling by Rasmussen this week, shows incumbent Russ Feingold suddenly in serious trouble, as he now trails Republican challenger Tommy Thompson (if Thompson runs).
47% Tommy Thompson (R)
43% Russ Feingold (D)

Summary: The 2010 Elections

The Senate currently is set up as follows: 59 Democrats, 41 Republicans.

It the election were held today and the polls are accurate, the Republicans would pick up seven seats, making the new count: 52 Democrats, 48 Republicans. However, voter intensity could change these results in favor of the Republicans.

NOTE: According to Michael Barone, if independents turned out for Republicans in the same percentages as they did for Scott Brown, only districts which Obama carried by more than 64% would be safe for Democrats. That would mean that the Republicans could theoretically win 332 House seats, leaving only 103 “safe seats” for the Democrats. Right now, the House stands at 256 Democrats, 178 Republicans.


StanH said...

I love it Andrew! At this moment it would appear that the country is indeed swinging hard right. 2010 looks to be a good year. We must keep the pressure up, and not be fooled by soothing rhetoric coming from the press.

As for the House, Michael Barone who is a brilliant political analyst, said based on MA as many as 150 D’s in the house are in play, and any senate seat in vulnerable.

Tennessee Jed said...

Having read the Barone material, I applaud your stamina just in putting the numbers down. That said, I do believe there is a real potential to take back the House in a big way!

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I agree -- now is not the time to feel bad about our chance, to panic, or to get complacent. This will be a hard fight and we need to make sure that everyone we knows goes to vote and that we do our best to keep debunking all the garbage the media is putting out.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed, This one was a lot of work for the little that it appears. I'll update this in the future (after the primaries) which should lead to a smaller post! :-)

I agree that the House in very much within our grasp. I think Barone is a little off because in Mass, there are no Republicans, so the independents are already likely to be more skewed toward the Republicans than they would be in other, more balanced states.

Still, it's getting pretty clear that independents have left Obama at a 2-1 ratio. If more of the 2 vote than the 1 because of intensity issues, then we could come pretty close to the 3-1 that Barone talks about. That could be a tidal wave of American opinion!

Also, I expect a couple more Senate seats might still swing out way -- especially with the intensity issue going our way.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Hope for change! Yay! Very nice summary. I am not holding my breath, but it has been a very long time since any California Republican has gotten within the margin of error in the race against Babble Boxer. Now we have at least two. I'm putting my heart with Campbell and my money on Fiorina (for betting purposes only, not at the ballot box) in the primary. The problem is that the two conservatives draw votes away from each other, leaving the RINO free rein.

I'm not sure how much effect the Massachusetts Miracle had on the current California polls, or if that effect will stick, but for once, at least I think my vote won't be a mere protest against the left.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, From what I read, the Mass election sent the California delegation into a tizzy. They were all over the papers talking about how if the Dems could lose at Democratic Headquarters (formerly known as Massachusetts), they could lose at the Looney Bin (formerly known as California) as well.

How that changes the way they run isn't clear, but it clearly shook them up.

I'd love to see Boxer replaced!

Unknown said...

Andrew: It shook up the California Republican Party leaders as well. Largely controlled by RINOs, they were sure Massachusetts would go Democrat in the end, and were in shock on election night. What I'm looking forward to is what Fiorina will do to recognize that, if anything. So far her stands have been Boxer-lite, and I don't much care for some of her past associates. She's a long way from getting any support from me (as if that matters much), but it would still be that crucial "R" I'm always talking about in the total of the two Senate caucuses.

StanH said...

Bab’s Boxer being bopped from the senate, would alone make 2010 a memorable year, can’t stand her. And Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, that sanctimonious, self righteous jerk. Schumer and Gillenbrand(?) in NY …now I’m dreaming…but after MA?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Getting the R is important, even if it is a moderate -- just no RINOs because they aren't loyal. I don't know much about Carly. I do know that Whitman is a true RINO and should not be trusted, but I don't know about Carly.

In the end, I still doubt that a Republican can win in California. You all seem determined not just to stay to the left, but to go as far to the looney fringe as possible.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, Gillibrant can be beaten if the Republicans can find a real candidate. Schumer I doubt.

Tennessee Jed said...

What I think is particularly encouraging is that Obama shows no signs of moving to the center, just spending more of our money. I doubt if any Dem.'s who are in trouble will lead the charge, but if some of the more noxious ones are prodded by their base to go idealogical on us, so much the better.

Stan - I know you had another noun than "jerk" in mind to top off your descriptive of Feingold. I know what it is, of course, and you could not be more accurate.

Unknown said...

Andrew: We all might be surprised. The Republican leadership in California has played a major role in picking lousy candidates and issues in the past. But California has a long moderate-conservative history quite unlike Massachusetts. Voters became quite disheartened because of the terrible choices, and many voted Democrat out of habit. The suburbs are Republican-leaning and the Central Valley is very Republican-conservative, and maybe they now have a choice.

We first elected Schwarzenegger because he was a conservative, and he and Campbell together took nearly two-thirds of that recall gubernatorial vote. Wasn't that long ago. We rebelled during that crisis, and this one makes that one look like child's play. I'm not giving up on my hope that this could be the year of the California Miracle. Of course, I still have my alternate plan of moving out-of-state on active hold.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree. They've show no signs of giving the public a mea culpa and promising to stop doing stupid things -- instead, they seem intent on speeding up their stupidity. That will only make their problems worse.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I hope I am surprised, but California seems to have become a really insane place. I'll keep my fingers crossed for a "California Miracle"!

AndrewPrice said...

Update: For those of you interesting the California race (and you know who you are), we received a couple polls this morning: a Field Poll and a PPIC Poll, which show that Campbell now has a significant lead over Carly Fiorina.

Unfortunately, the Field Poll shows that Boxer has a larger lead over each of the Republicans than the Rasmussen Poll showed, though Campbell continues to do the best (Boxer 48% to Campbell 38%).

The PPIC poll, however, shows Boxer with a similar lead to the one shown by Rasmussen (Boxer 45% to Campbell 41%).

That means Boxer still leads, but anything below 50% at this point is not a good sign for an incumbent.

Unknown said...

Andrew: See? I toldja so. There's a lot yet to assume, but those polls look really good. Even if Campbell is outside the margin of error in the general election (assuming he gets that far), it will all come down to "how energized are the Democrats?" Right now, they ain't. In fact, they're demoralized, and the momentum is in our favor. Independents will make the decision, much like in Massachusetts. Assuming that the Obamists don't learn their lesson, and nothing big happens that makes them look good, I have very positive thoughts about Campbell's chances. That's a lot to assume, of course, with over nine months to go to the general election. But gee, allow a guy a little hope.

BevfromNYC said...

Weighing in for NY - Rick Lazio is cosidering a second run at the Senate against Gillibrand. Lazio ran against Clinton at the last minute when Guiliani dropped out 2002. He didn't have a prayer because of time restraints. However, this time he would be running against an increasingly unpopular appointed Senator who's nickname is now "Tweety Bird" for being Schumer's little parrot.

Also well known R's Rep. Peter King (led the charge to move and not fund NYC terror trials) and Former Gov. George Pataki are testing the waters too. By April the candidate should be clear.

Ammunition is being gathered against Schumer as well. His late in the game about face on the NYC terrorist trials and hard line on Healthcare and Wall Street issues that clearly would be bad for NY State could be his Achilles heel if he has a viable challenger.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I hope they get this sorted out fast. Gillibrand's seat in particular is ripe for the plucking, but they need to get a strong candidate. Getting one of the two seats in NY would be a huge victory for the Republicans.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, You want hope? And no doubt change? Hmmm. Who's side are you on?

Unknown said...

Andrew: I have hopey-hope, they have dopey-hope.

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

I know I should be focusing on the positive news that we'll very likely be picking up many seats, but I can't help being irked by the Chris Dodd situation. Should we be worried about other vulnerable Democrats (such as Reid or Lincoln) dropping out and being replaced with formidable challengers?

As for Benedict Arlen Specter, we here in PA will do our parts to hammer the final nail in the coffin.

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, I agree about Dodd. . . very annoying. Still, I don't think we need to worry about Reid or Lincoln. First, both seem intent on saving themselves (they are spending a ton of money) -- so I can't see them quitting.

Secondly, those are generally conservative states, so taking out the Democratic incumbent would not result in a better situation for the Democrats like it did in highly Democratic Connecticut.

Writer X said...

Excellent analysis, Andrew.

I wonder if Rep. Peter King is a big enough name to challenge Schumer? I've been very impressed with him the last 6-8 months or so. It would be sweet karma to see Schumer lose.

I don't see Reid retiring. His ego is too big. There have been calls in AZ for McCain to retire; he won't. His ego is way too big too.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Writer X. The magic number for retirement seems to be 22% -- the two sentors who gave up were both down more than 22% when they suddenly decided that it was time to move on.

I don't know if King could beat Schumer -- I'm not in tune enough with New York, but he was outpolling Gillibrand. That's the easy seat for a pick up. I haven't seen anything saying that Schumer is in trouble.

Ellie D. said...

State Senator Marlin Stutzman is the most conservative, qualified, yet fresh new face to Indiana's Senate Race.

Just like Scott Brown, the polls show him within striking distance of Sen. Evan Bayh and unlike the other candidates, he has no baggage that Bayh can use against him. He's a farmer and small business owner who has been endorsed by major Right to Life groups and has served a couple terms in the State House and is serving his first term in the State Senate.

Please sign up to help Marlin Stutzman by donating, volunteering, and/or recruiting people.

We can beat Bayh this year, and Marlin Stutzman is our Scott Brown-type campaigner!

AndrewPrice said...

Ellie D, Welcome! I hope someone beats Bayh. We don't officially endorse candidates, but I wish him luck and I hope that we grab that seat! That would be fantastic!

BevfromNYC said...

Writer X: All the Repub candidates are gunning for Gillibrand in NY because she's the easy target right now. King has raised his profile with his stance against the NYC terrorist trials and defunding the same. Unlike our Johnny Come Lately Sen. Schumer, King has been against the trials from the beginning. It's a hard call since we have the unusual situation of having to elect both of our Senators.

Writer X said...

Bev, thanks for the insight. That is encouraging. If only half of them could go after Schumer, too. It's amazing to me that he gets re-elected all the time.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Maybe you'd like to give us an election primer on New York? :-)

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