by southerndemnut, Sat Nov 13, 2004 at 05:14:33 PM EST
Look in the extended section for a complete, state-by-state breakdown of the races.
First elected in 1994 to replace retiring Sen. Dennis DeConcini. The more conservative of the two Republican Senators from Arizona, Kyl has accumulated a fairly predictable record over his two terms, without drawing too much attention to himself. Likewise, the Democrats' chances of taking this seat will largely be decided by whether or not Kyl chooses to run for reelection. If he does run he will likely win it without too much trouble. Arizona is conservative enough that most any Republican is safe unless he/she has done something wrong. If he does not run, look for JD Hayworth or Jeff Flake to run for the Republicans and perhaps Ed Pastor or another Democrat. As an open seat, it would lean Repblican though if the mood of the election favors the Democrats and we have a great candidate we have a chance.
CALIFORNIA - DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D)
Feinstein was arguably the most popular politician in California prior to the arrival of Arnold S. If she runs, which is expected, she will win easily. If she doesn't the Democrats will still be a in strong position to hold the seat despite a vigorous contest supported by Gov. Arnold S. The only Republican that can win California is someone like Arnold S. who is perhaps more liberal than many Democrats in most of the country. However, Arnold won in 2003 largely because of Gray Davis and the Democratic nominee would not have that problem. Potential Democratic nominees include Jane Harman, Ellen Tauscher, Bill Lockyer. Republicans could range anywhere from those leftover from the recall election to a social moderate that would be backed by Gov. Arnold.
CONNECTICUT - JOE LIEBERMAN (D)
If Lieberman stays (as is expected at the moment) then he will win easily. If he steps down look for Reps. Chris Shays and Rob Simmons to run. Both would likely face strong opposition for their House seats and while they would be slightly favored to win them they might choose to upgrade to the Senate. Connecticut is small and alot of voters are already familiar with both of them. Democratic possibilities include Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal, Susan Bysiewicz, and a state senator/rep or two. CT will also have a hot Gubernatorial race that will attract a lot of candidates and attention.
DELAWARE - TOM CARPER (D)
Tom Carper is expected to run for reelection and will win easily. Delaware is small and unless they have serious liabilities, they usually reelected their Congressional delegation without question.
FLORIDA - BILL NELSON (D)
Nelson won in 2000 against Bill McCollum fairly easily. However in 2006, especially in the wake of Bush's & Martinez's wins, he will draw serious opposition. Opponents will likely not include Gov. Jeb Bush who has indicated that he wishes to retire to private like. Rep. Katherine Harris has indicated an interest, there will surely be several if not a half-dozen candidates as is the case in Florida these days. Harris will likely have the advantage though over most other candidates. The bigger question would be whether she could win against Nelson. Florida leans Republican overall but Nelson is fairly moderate and also an incumbent. The Governor's race will be open as well which will also attract candidates.
HAWAII - DANIEL AKAKA (D)
If Sen. Akaka runs for reelection, game over. If he does not look for a spirited contest to replace him, however one that favors Democrats. The only Republican well-known enough to run a statewide campaign is Gov. Lisa Lingle who has to run for reelection herself in 2006. Otherwise look for Matt Matsunaga, son of the man who held the seat prior to Akaka, to run since he ran a strong race against Ed Case for Hawaii 2 US House seat. Hawaii has one other US House seat held by Rep. Neil Abercrombie, but its doubtful he would give up 16 years of seniority for a Senate seat.
INDIANA - RICHARD LUGAR (R)
If Richard Lugar runs for reelection he will be the prohibitive favorite. Lugar is part of a waning breed of moderate "quiet" conservatives from the midwest like Everett Dirksen or Charles Percy, or Robert Taft who used to dominate the Republican Senate caucus. If he chooses to retire, the Republicans would be favored to hold the seat as Indiana leans Republican. There is no shortage of viable Republican candidates. The Democratic bench is rather thin given the recent loss of the Governor's mansion. Too bad Evan Bayh couldn't run for both seats, har har...
MAINE - OLYMPIA SNOWE (R)
Maine like 'independent' people whether they are Democrat, Republican, or something else (they elected I-Gov. Angus King twice). Olympia Snowe, while a nominal Republican, is generally independent. Popular and respected she will have no problems winning reelection if she runs (likely). Democrats tried to knock off Susan Collins in 2002 to no avail and they will have less of a chance against Snowe. Sorry.
MARYLAND - PAUL SARBANES (D)
Maryland is heavily Democratic and Sarbanes will win reelection without any trouble. It would be a surprise if he chooses to retire in 2006 instead of 6 years later. If he were to retire another Democrat would step up and take his place. It is hard for a Republican to win in Maryland, although Gov. Erlich did it in 2002.
MASSACHUSETTES - EDWARD M KENNEDY (D)
If Kennedy runs, he wins, if he doesn't another Democrat will likely take his place. Virtually every US Representative had expressed interest in running for Kerry's seat had he won the Presidency and most would run in 2006. However the chances of Kennedy retiring (barring any health problems that might emerge) is remote.
MICHIGAN - DEBBIE STABENOW (R)
Stabenow knocked off a Republican incumbent in 2000 and would be in a fairly strong position for reelection in 2006. Michigan has trended Democratic overall over the last 4 years indicated by the virtually Democratic sweep of both US Senate seats, Governorship, and in the last 4 Presidential elections. Not to say that it would not be a spirited race and the Republicans would almost certainly mount a credible candidate. However Stabenow has no real reason to lose so it looks likely Democratic for now unless something else emerges.
MINNESOTA - MARK DAYTON (D)
This will likely be a marquee race in the country in 2006. Freshman incumbent Mark Dayton beat a Republican incumbent in 2000 but Minnesota is a swing state. The GOP snatched up Wellstone's old seat after he unexpectedly died during the 2002 campaign. Dayton would likely be favored slightly over most any Republican opponent - Gov. Tim Pawlenty would be up for reelection in 2006. However it is likely that 'a' formidable Republican opponent that would be well-funded would run and it would be a national race. Republicans could be any of the sitting US House Reps to a State Senator/House member, or Sec. of State Mary Kiffmeyer.
MISSISSIPPI - TRENT LOTT (R)
Lott would be favored to win easily if he ran. Odds are he does though since he was deposed as Majority Leader the odds decrease a bit. If he does retire, the Republicans would be favored to win the seat as the GOP is consolidating its grip on the south. However there are a number of attractive Democrats who could make it a race - without the backdrop of a Presidential race with a decent chance. Include former AG Mike Moore, and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove.
MISSOURI - JIM TALENT (R)
Talent will almost certainly will run for reelection and be strongly favored for the win. Republicans have almost locked up this state these days.
MONTANA - CONRAD BURNS (R)
Current Gov-Elect Brian Schweitzer almost knocked off Sen. Conrad Burns in 2000, so he would be perceived as being at least slightly vulnerable in 2006. If he runs (and the odds favor that) he would be favored as Schweitzer (since being elected Governor) is no longer available. The Democratic bench is a bit thin in Montana, but Montana is a small state and you don't have to already be a well-known candidate to have a legitimate shot. If Burns retires the Republicans would be slightly favored given the overall bent of the state, but it would be a much more spirited race. Given Schweitzer's victory and if he remains popular in 2 years Democrats would be on the upswing in the state. Democrats now control the Governor's mansion, most statewide Constitutional offices, the State Senate, and the State House is almost even.
NEBRASKA - BEN NELSON (D)
Nelson won in 2000 after try #2. He is a conservative enough Democrat to garner occasional attention about the possibility of a party switch though its likely not to happen. Nelson would be favored to win reelection if he ran (currently odds favor it) although the race would be heavily contested since Nebraska is a Republican state. Current Gov. Mike Johanns would be the most formidable candidate to face Nelson and would likely elevate the race to near-marquee status. Nelson and Johanns are/were both popular Governors so it would be an interesting race.
NEVADA - JOHN ENSIGN (R)
Likely to run again for reelection and likely would be favored slightly since Nevada is ever so slightly Republican. However due to the continued growth of Las Vegas, the state is becoming almost dead-even and the demographics will favor the Democrats down the road. If current Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman runs he would give Ensign a run for his money and it would quickly become a marquee race. If he does not the Democrats will likely nominate someone from the state legislature. The Governor's race will also be open as incumbent Republican Governor Kenny Guinn is term-limited I do believe and that will most certainly attract attention.
NEW JERSEY - JON CORZINE (D)
Corzine has indicated that he wants to run for NJ Governor in 2005 to replace soon-to-resign Gov. Jim McGreevey. If he wins, he will be in a position to appoint his replacement who would then be favored to hold the seat in 2006. Possible picks run the gamut of the NJ delegation though pay special attention to Rep. Robert Menendez and Robert Andrews.
NEW MEXICO - JEFF BINGAMAN (D)
He has not given any indication that he would retire in 2006 nor would we expect him to. He will win reelection easily. If by chance he would retire the seat would surely be a tossup and would likely become a marquee race nationally. In such a case one would think that Rep. Tom Udall would become a favorite.
NEW YORK - HILLARY CLINTON (D)
Probably be one of THE marquee races of the country in 2006. Question will be who runs as a Republican against her. Most likely either Gov. George Pataki or former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani. Despite what has be said on this blog and elsewhere, I do not see Hillary having much trouble, if any, with the Democratic nomination. Mainly because #1 she is a strong candidate herself, and #2 the Governor's race will be open as well attracting candidates. Rudy will likely run for something just what is the question. She would be favored to win as NY leans Democratic and Hillary has gone to great lengths to provide good constituent service to all areas of NY.
NORTH DAKOTA - KENT CONRAD (D)
North Dakota, like South Dakota, is nominally Republican but Democrats have always managed to do well. Dorgan never had any real opposition in 2004, and Conrad probably won't either.
OHIO - MIKE DEWINE (R)
Ohio likes Republican Senators lately so if Mike DeWine runs again he will be a strong position to win. Democrats in Ohio have a weak bench and with an open Governor's race they will be hard pressed to field good candidates for all the races on the ballot. Good candidates will likely pass on the Senate race unless it suddenly becomes open which it will likely not.
PENNSYLVANIA - RICK SANTORUM (R)
If a good Democratic candidate emerges, it will likely be a marquee race in 2006. Santorum never got the challenger he needed as a freshman in 2000, but he may now. Gov. Rendell will be up for reelection and would be favored to win helping the Democratic ticket. Rendell would turn out SE PA voters that would vote straight ticket and put pressure on Santorum. Candidates could range anywhere from Bob Casey to any of the Democratic US House members, to Treasurer Barbara Hafer. Hafer would probably be the most formidable candidate, being twice elected statewide as a Republican, now a Democrat from Pittsburgh she brings western credentials while likely benefitting from the strong SE PA turnout that Rendell's reelection would generate. PA is trending Democratic fast statewide because of the conversion of the Philly burbs.
RHODE ISLAND - LINCOLN CHAFEE (R)
He would be strongly favored to win a general election as either a Republican or a Democrat, IF he can get to the general election. Given his relatively liberal voting record, and public apostasy towards President Bush, there has been talk of a conservative primary challenger to Chafee. No conservative Republican would have much of a chance of winning statewide in RI, but if a formidable conservative primary challenger emerges against Chafee look for the Democrats to put someone up incase he gets knocked off. The most ideal scenerio for the Democrats would be for Chafee to receive a nasty scare in the primary but win because it would likely alienate Chafee even more from the Republican Party. If the Democrats do well in 2006 and come close to a majority, if not, win it would give Chafee compelling reasons to switch parties.
TENNESSEE - BILL FRIST (R)
Frist has indicated he will retire opening up this Senate seat. Republicans would be slightly favored since Republicans are in ascent in TN as they are across the South. However the Democratic Party is still clearly viable in this state. Bill Ford Jr. is almost certain to run and would be a strong candidate in the primary that is heavily influenced by Memphis. However Memphis candidates often do not do well statewide and Ford would have to overcome that as well as trying to become the first black from the south elected since the Reconstruction Era. However Ford is more conservative than the typical black Congressman even a member of the Blue Dog Democratic coalition. John Tanner would be a more formidable general election candidate which could also possibly attract Nashville-area Rep. Bart Gordon. Popular Gov. Phil Bredesen is expected to run for reelection. This will likely be a marquee race in the country and could be a real pickup opportunity for the Democrats if played right.
TEXAS - KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R)
Texas is heavily Republican these days without a single Democratic statewide elected official of any kind. If Hutchison runs for reelection, which is expected, she will win without blinking an eye. If she does not it will attract a variety of candidate of which the Republicans would be favored. Ron Kirk was an attractive candidate in 2002 but still lost. That is just how Texas is these days. However the demographics are changes so that in 10-15 years the Republicans will no longer be able to rely on the white vote to win elections.
UTAH - ORRIN HATCH (R)
Utah is reliably Republican and Orrin Hatch will win reelection easily. If he retires the only Democrat with any chance would be Rep. Jim Matheson. While brother Scott lost the Gubernatorial race, Jim is more well-known and popular than the brother. Hatch will be stepping aside from Judiciary and has bemoaned the negative tenor of the Senate these days. With those two things and his age he might find reason to throw in the towel. If the mood is Democratic friendly in 2006 and with Jim Matheson as the Democratic nominee with a Hatch retirement this COULD maybe just maybe be a possible pickup.
VERMONT - JIM JEFFORDS (I)
He will win with tacit Democratic support in 2006 if he runs. Republicans would nominate someone as a formality but he should have little trouble winning.
VIRGINIA - GEORGE ALLEN (R)
He was a popular Governor and has been a fairly popular Senator. Allen has won praise for running the Republican's Senatorial Campaign Committee for this cycle where they did well. However the big question will be whether Gov. Mark Warner, who is term-limited, runs against Allen. Warner is popular in the state for undoing the mess that the previous Governor got the state into and would be a formidable candidate. It would be a marquee race that would give the edge slightly to Allen but again Virginia is slowly but surely moving towards the Democrats and it would be a marquee race. Sen. John Warner will likely retire in 2008 opening that seat up for grabs.
WASHINGTON - MARIA CANTWELL (D)
Cantwell knocked off longtime Washington pol Sen. Slade Gorton in 2000 mainly due to the strength of the absentee vote from the Seattle area. She will likely draw a credible candidate but unless its Jennifer Dunn, that candidate would be hard-pressed to beat Cantwell. The Republicans had visions of beating Sen. Patty Murray but George Nethercutt turned out to be far less threatening. Cantwell's race will likely be closer but she would be favored to win. Washington trends Democratic and well thats a lot for Republicans to go against.
WEST VIRGINIA - ROBERT C BYRD (D)
The dean of the Democratic Senatorial caucus he is old but still posesses great mental acumen. However 6 years is a long time when you are in your 80s and we will see if Byrd wants to do it again. He probably does personally but whether he can is another story. If he does win he may not even get any opposition. If he does retire look for either Alan Mollohan or Nick Rahall to run as well as Shelley Capito for the Republicans. This could open up the entire WV Congressional delegation save for Sen. Rockefeller's seat.
WISCONSIN - HERB KOHL (D)
Kohl will likely run for reelection and would be strongly favored to win. He had a competitive race in 2000 but while Wisconsin is a mixed state it does favor Democrats statewide at the moment. Republicans thought that they could knock off Russ Feingold but it was not to be. If Kohl does retire then a variety of candidates could emerge from Ron Kind to Tammy Baldwin for the Democrats and Paul Ryan and others for the Republicans.
WYOMING - CRAIG THOMAS (R)
Thomas will likely run for reelection and win easily. If Thomas chooses to retire the seat will favor Republicans unless Gov. Dave Fruedenthal would happen to run. Thats doubtful since he's up for reelection in 2006.