Senate 2006

I would say at this point, the best the Democrats could hope for is enough wins to put the Senate back to the 51-49 split it was prior to the 2004 elections. If that happens, there is a chance the Democrats could retake the Senate during the open Presidential election of 2008. Of course, as always, we shall see who chooses to retire and who doesn't in 2006.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Talent will almost certainly will run for reelection and be strongly favored for the win. Republicans have almost locked up this state these days.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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, 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 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.


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.


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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Tags: Senate 2006 (all tags)



MN, WA, PA updates
MN (I live here): this year two-term suburban/ exurban Rep Mark Kennedy (R) won decisively in his much-watched race against challenger--- and nationally-admired child advocate-- Patty Wetterling (D). Many observers believe that Kennedy intends to run against Dayton. Kennedy would certainly make the race close; he's a good campaigner and a good fundraiser, and it's not clear that Dayton (who takes admirably principled stands) has been either; Dayton self-funded his 2000 senate run but has said he won't do that again. This year he began to fundraise seriously and has ramped up his constituent service as well. Unless Debbie Stabenow's problems are worse than I thought, Dayton is probably our most vulnerable blue-state incumbent.

WaPo and others have suggested that Dino Rossi will run against Maria Cantwell if Rossi loses the governor's race in WA (where ballots are still being counted); if Rossie beats Gregoire for governor, Cantwell may be safe-- the state is blue enough and expensive enough that a challenger from the "wrong" party would need significant fundraising prowess and name rec going in.

As of a few months ago PA observers thought treasurer and former Republican Barbara Hafer the best pick to take out Santorum; Ed Rendell seems to think so too. Should be an attractive race. OTOH the paucity of genuinely challenged R incumbents-- Santorum is practically the only one who both expects serious opposition and represents a blue state-- means that the RSCC can flood PA with money; the DSCC, responsible for defending Dayton and Stabenow (and Cantwell and WV if Rossi loses and Byrd retires) may not be able to do the same.

I'd like to know more about VA; Mark Warner could run for Senate, or he could pursue a leadership role in the national party and a Presidential bid, but he probably can't (and shouldn't) do both. I believe he's term-limited; he can't run for reelection as Governor.

by accommodatingly 2004-11-13 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: MN, WA, PA updates
Yes I would tend to think that Mark Kennedy would make a strong opponent for Sen. Dayton. Dayton might not want to self-fund but if push comes to shove he may drop a little something-something to make sure he has what he needs. The upside is that hopefully 2006 will be more favorable to Democrats than 2002/2004 were. If Pres. Bush is neutralized as a positive factor in the 2006 races then Dayton has a better shot. Minnesota is always close but still ever so slightly favors Democrats. Wellstone was thought to have been in a position to win his Senate seat again in 2002 prior to his death. Norm Coleman ultimately won, many believe, by supposidly backlash (legitimate or not) to Wellstone's funeral. So that adds a bit of weird and unusual history to a complicated and tight political environment that makes up Minnesota. The state has alternately over the years elected such widespread ideological people as Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Rod Grams, Paul Wellstone, Walter Mondale, Jesse Ventura, and Rudy Boschwitz. So in that race we will have to see how things unfold day-to-day before we handicap it.

In Washington, I suspect that Cantwell might end up in the same position as Patty Murray was in this year. Basically a lot of talk about a credible race that turns out to be a relatively easy race.

I would say that Santorum in PA is probably the most vulnerable Republican Senator going into 2006. He should have lost in 2000, but the Democrats nominated Ron Klink who was a bad fit for the way PA is going these days. Kerry won PA easily (and as did Rendell in 2002) largely due to the explosion of the Democratic vote in greater Philadelphia. Rendell will be on the ticket in 2006 and will likely be heavily favored for reelection. You can bet he will have the Philly vote machine well-oiled and that will only help the Democratic US Senate nominee. If Hafer is the Democratic nominee, she is from Pittsburgh which gives her credibility in that part of the state while enjoying the fruits of Rendell's Philly vote machine. She is also a woman and fairly moderate considering she spent most of her political life as a Republican which will help in many other parts of the state.

As for Virginia, Mark Warner has been exceptionally popular for a Democrat, mainly because he has managed to almost completely untangle the mess left by Fmr. Gov. Jim Gilmore who fought with everyone including many in his own party. Warner made an effort in his Gubernatorial race in 2001 to appeal to everyone in Virginia from the greater DC area to the rural isolated communities in the mountains. Many consider him to be the model to which Democrats can win in the south. It does help, though that Virginia is changing, slowly but surely, in the Democrats favor mainly due to the growth of the area around Washington. Some speculate that Virginia will emerge as a battle ground state 2-3 cycles from now. Warner would probably walk into any open Senate seat in Virginia at this point, much the same way Chuck Robb did in 1988. Sen. John Warner is likely to retire in 2008, since Gov. Mark Warner is term-limited it is questionable as to whether he will care to wait that long though Chuck Robb did in the 80s. Sen. Allen's seat is up in 2006. He was generally a popular Governor in the 90s and went on to beat Sen. Chuck Robb finally in 2000. A Warner/Allen race would be tough favoring Allen slightly at first because he is the incumbent and Virginia still leans Republican. However Gov. Warner is about as good as it gets as a political operator in the state these days and it would be a marquee race.

by southerndemnut 2004-11-13 06:07PM | 0 recs
Cantwell not so safe
There are big differences between the Cantwell and Murray situations.  If Cantwell had been running this time I think she would have lost to Nethercutt.  Murray has a solid record with Boeing and Hanford issues that gets her some support a bit ourside of the normal Seattle base and gets her known positively in Eastern WA.  I haven't really heard Cantwell's name associated with these issues in the news--or with any issues at all (not that she hasn't done anything, but she's been fairly invisible in news coverage).

The big difference between Cantwell and Murray, though, is their support from the base.  WA Dems love Patty Murray and Republican attacks calling her a "dim bulb" raise our ire and re-energize us.  WA Dems do not love Cantwell.  In fact many of the party activists that I know actively dislike her.  Their reaction to her is very similar to their reaction to Christine Gregoire (our current D candidate for governor who is fighting to stay afloat in a race she should have won easily).  

I personally don't understand why so many Dems dislike her--I plan to ask around and find out if it's about politics or personality.  Either way, if she faces tepid Dem support and the Republicans field a decent candidate, she could be in trouble.

by benchcoat 2004-11-14 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: MN, WA, PA updates
Senator Affleck, D-MA.
by badpolitiks 2004-11-14 05:21AM | 0 recs
Re: MN, WA, PA updates
Also, why isn't anyone mentioning Hoeffel to take out Santorum?  He now has much better name recognition and did surprisingly well against Specter.
by badpolitiks 2004-11-14 05:26AM | 0 recs
that was "well"?
Didn't Hoeffel lose by more than ten points? If that's "well," I'm scared to see what "poorly" means. I'd rather have a candidate already well-liked, able to reach out to Rs, and now holding statewide office. Santorum will be very well-defended, both from RSCC funds and from his own fundie fundraising: believe it or not, he'll be able to raise money from people across the country who hate gay marriage and view him as a bulwark against it.
by accommodatingly 2004-11-14 11:08AM | 0 recs
Re: that was "well"?
Lost by nine points.

Losing by nine to Specter is good.  Bear in mind, Specter has been in office since the 60s.

Also, Specter is about the only GOP'er I can name off-hand with Philly ties.

Even among Dems who vote against him, Specter is generally not viewed as the end of the world.

I know.  I voted for him.

by jcjcjc 2004-11-14 06:26PM | 0 recs
Not so "well"
I agree this wasn't a strong enough showing by Hoeffel; I'm concerned in particular that his fundraising wasn't strong enough. Does anyone know where we can look at his numbers and compare to other Senate races?

The blogs did support Joe  and presumably there'd be a good lift there again. But how much did he get from the large liberal interests -- Trial Lawyers, Union, etc.? Hefty national wingnut resources will be sure to be marshalled in support of Santorum. We need a candidate who can do equally heavy fundlifting...

by Anandi in PA 2004-11-15 05:31AM | 0 recs
any chance of Dick Gephardt running there? if so, any chance of him winning there?
by johnny longtorso 2004-11-13 05:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Missourah
After watching Gep's retirement, it seemed to me he was tired of the business.  Maybe, if strongly pressured, he could run for the seat.  However, I doubt he would be a very strong candidate.  He only represented a small district around St. Louis, and St. Louis & KC polticians tend not to run too well statewide.  McCaskill or someone else might be stronger, but Talent is still pretty safe in MO.  
by asearchforreason 2004-11-13 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Missourah
Talent is a St. Louisian as well--he represented the 2nd before he was a senator.  He is a damn crazy wingnut, to the point that it could be used against him.  He can be beaten if he scares the suburban folk, and downtown KC and StL turn out against him.  This all, however, requires a strong Democratic candidate, which has been lacking since the death of former governor mel carnahan.
by Valatan 2004-11-13 06:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Missourah
I'm from Missouri and I was pretty bummed about McCaskill's loss to Matt Blunt for governor this year. I think she would be great for the Senate. She knocked off our incumbent governor in the Democratic primaries.
by news 2004-11-14 08:37PM | 0 recs
Dayton loses...
I'm from MN too. I see Dayton losing also... unless the economy goes south so badly that the GOP has to go into hiding...

Dayton needs to become more visible and in a positve way if he is to hold his seat.

by dryfly 2004-11-13 05:56PM | 0 recs
wow, you're negative
I didn't say Dayton would lose (although I've heard that prediction elsewhere). I think it will end up close, and may turn on national factors: is Bush less popular in '06 than he is now? Will terrorists attack the US again between now and then? Will they do it tomorrow, or in September '06? Incumbency brings significant advantages; Dems did well in MN this year, but Kerry didn't win the state by all that much (Bush actually upped his numbers here compared to '00, though of course he didn't campaign here in '00); "unlikely voters" (students, Somalis) turned out, probably in higher numbers than they will in '06. OTOH the suburbs have stopped turning red-- some of the banner suburbs went for Kerry. The only predictions I'm willing to make about the '06 senate contest here are that if Kennedy runs against Dayton, the race will be close, and that if Dems try to unseat Dayton in the primary, they'll likely regret it.
by accommodatingly 2004-11-13 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: wow, you're negative
There is NO ONE who could unseat Dayton in the primaries...

I like Dayton but he is invisble. The only ink he has had lately (last six months) was sending his people home... that did not go over well... he might have been right to not take the risk given what he was being told by Team Bush... but it looked bad.

He can turn it around but he needs to be lucky and execute well...

If he effectively opposes the worst of the Bush Term II agenda... he can salvage a SOLID win. But he has to pick his battles and formulate his opposition carefully. Bush is going to screw up as badly as he did in Term I... you see it already in articles like this ... (I first saw it on TPM - unbelievable)... Dayton will have material to work with just has to do it with class and character... and not let the GOP define him... and we all know Dayton hasn't always been the best campaigner...

by dryfly 2004-11-13 07:04PM | 0 recs
utah 2.0
don't get your hopes up too high about UTAH. jim matheson was able to win because of two main factors:

  1. the main county (salt lake) he ran in is largely liberal (notice i said county).

  2. his opponent, john swallow ran one of the most negative campaigns i have ever seen. i think that people's distaste for swallow's negative energy won in the end.

don't expect UTAH to turn blue anytime soon.
by ypsilanti 2004-11-13 06:02PM | 0 recs
It's *Harold* Ford, Jr. in Tennessee
Not Bill.
He will have a tough time, and Ed Bryant (Hourse impeachment manager from the Clinton days) has already announced his intention to run on the GOP side, as has Chattanooga mayor Bob Corker.

Other Dems may include Nashville mayor Bill Purcell, who may be term limited out, depending on which lawyer you ask. There is a conflict between the state constitution and a county referendum for term limits. Nobody quite knows if he is eligible to run again. He'd have to challenge in court. May decide to run for Senate instead.

by DonBinTN 2004-11-13 06:56PM | 0 recs
Re: It's *Harold* Ford, Jr. in Tennessee
I am sorry for calling Harold Ford, Bill. Yes I am aware of Harold Ford met him and his father at various times over the years. Harold the son, in my opinion, is much more engaging and dynamic than the father who was your typical urban politician. I am in the automotive industry and well Bill Ford Jr is the current CEO of Ford Motor Company.
by southerndemnut 2004-11-13 07:01PM | 0 recs
Red Texas
It sure is looking like that we will have an open seat here in 2006.  Sen. Hutchison is almost certainly going to challenge Gov. Goodhair Perry in the R primary for Governor, and she will probably whip him.  (This guy is worse than W in terms of being a greasy partisan, so he will not be missed).

Even though we tipped over into Majority Minority status last year, the D's chances of capturing this seat are less than zero, especially with W in the White House.  It doesn't matter who the R's nominate, that person will win.

by Allmaya 2004-11-13 10:50PM | 0 recs
North Carolina???
You forgot to include your assessment of Liddy Dole, current NC carpetbagger. Unfortunately, not much assessment need be made, I fear. She runs, she wins. SIGH... Sickening...
by RNinNC 2004-11-13 11:19PM | 0 recs
Re: North Carolina???
No, that would be in 2008.
by David Weman 2004-11-14 03:10AM | 0 recs
Dear GOD
Hasnt it been six years YET? (feeling a bit slow today, I guess...)
by RNinNC 2004-11-14 12:31PM | 0 recs
The Rove Six
2006 is the make or break year for Rove's permanant majority plan
he is 6 Senators shy of locking in the filibuster proof majority in the Senate -
2006 Senate campaign will be nationalized by Republican because their favorite villian is running for reelection HILLARY.
Now Rove is smart and knows that he won't be able to knock off Hillary so instead of wasteing valuable energy and money trying (unlike DNC try to do in 2002 to Jeb) --- he will use her candidacy to help fundraising and nationalizing the race for other candidates in red states.

Here are the 6 that i think Rove goes for.

1.FLORIDA - BILL NELSON (D) one of two scenarios in Florida.. Bush company has influence on voting machines to elect anyone or Florida is trending republican -- either scenario means that Nelson has a huge target on his back and will go down in defeat in 2006

2.VERMONT - JIM JEFFORDS (I) Revenge is sweet - I am sure Bush has been savorying to take down Jeffords since he turned on him in 2000.. Bush will probably visit Vermont in 2006 more than he visited Ohio in 2004 -

3.WEST VIRGINIA - ROBERT C BYRD (D) Once again the trend is their friend and WV is no longer a swing state but solidly Republican. After Vermont Bush will be visiting this state to take down this institution..

4.NEBRASKA - BEN NELSON (D) weak candidate who barely won in 2000 in a red stae .. He could be a tempting take down.

5.NORTH DAKOTA - KENT CONRAD (D) once again expect strong Republican play for this seat in red state

6.WISCONSIN - HERB KOHL (D) same as Conrad.

by smartone 2004-11-14 04:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The Rove Six
Jeffords is safe: Vermont hates Bush, and if he's in trouble he can nationalize the election. Kohl is probably safe: he can self-fund if necessary, and Feingold outperformed Kerry by something like ten points. Byrd is personally safe but an open seat would not be. The other three are endangered and know it.
by accommodatingly 2004-11-14 04:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The Rove Six
Scratch Jeffords from that list -- he's completely safe. Robert Byrd is safe, too, if he doesn't retire. Instead, add WA and MN to that list, where Maria Cantwell and Mark Dayton have been all but invisible and undistinguished in their senate careers.
by edgeplot 2004-11-14 07:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The Rove Six
I'd like to point out that in 2000, Kent Conrad won his race by a wider margin than Bush beat Gore in the state.

The ND GOP has not seriously contested a Senate seat  since 1986 when they failed to defend then Sen. Mark Andrews(R).  

Unless the GOP is successful in recruiting a top name in the state (which includes all of two names, former Gov. Ed Schaefer who has said he won't run, and current Gov. John Hoeven), Conrad will be safe just as Dorgan was this time.

by Matusleo 2004-11-14 05:45PM | 0 recs
not much Dixie
This year featured the Democratic
wipeout in the South -- North Carolina,
South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana,
and Florida.

We also got swept in Border State
races -- Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma.

In 2006 we're only looking at Mississippi,
Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West
Virginia from the South, near South,
or once-South.

I'm not sure if Florida is still part of
the South, and not the Sixth boro,
off to the Right of Staten Island.
Texas may have more in common
with Arizona than with Virginia.

If by 2006 we still haven't figured out
how to win in the Democratic Party's
one-time heartland, where poverty
rates exceed church attendance,
our losses won't be so stunning
as this time around.

by Woody 2004-11-14 04:38AM | 0 recs
Re: not much Dixie
and Missouri again. oops.
and Florida again. oops.

so looks like we'd better learn to win
in Dixie, near Dixie, and once-Dixie
or prepare for a stunning wipeout
next time around.

by Woody 2004-11-14 04:56AM | 0 recs
Doesn't look good
Barring retirements, there simply aren't enough vulnerable Republicans in this cycle for the Democrats to take back the Senate.

The right Democrat could beat Santorum, but then again, the right Democrat should have beaten Specter, widely disliked by members of both parties, but centrist enough to win.

John Ensign and George Allen are the weakest seats, but they both have the incumbent advantage in red states.

Despite all the talk about Pataki or Giuliani running against Hillary, New Yorkers won't send Republicans to Washington anymore, even if they do elect them on a state and local level.

More than likely, the Democrats will be trying to hold seats, not take them. 2008 is a considerably more Republican cycle, and the Democrats should be looking to take back the Senate then.

by wayward 2004-11-14 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Doesn't look good
Don't write it off. If national discontent with Bush is as strong in 2006 as it was with Clinton in 1994--not an outlandish possibility--that makes pretty much all the Republicans except Chafee, Lugar, and Snowe at least nominally vulnerable. The question then becomes how good are the Democratic candidates and how much money can be poured into the races.
by JoshInNYC 2004-11-14 05:50AM | 0 recs
not realistic
I don't see the 1994 comparisons as realistic: Dems got shellacked in that year in part due to great R organization and national message, in part due to national discontent with Clinton, Hilary's health care plan and gay-people-in-the-military, and in part due to sluggishness and complacency in the Dem congressional party, which had come to believe in a permanent Dem House majority. With some great work (and some bad economic news) we could well see the first two of those conditions (national Dem organization, national discontent with Bush) but we are certainly not going to see the third (congressional R complacency): Karl Rove and Tom DeLay won't allow it. I would like to see who we put up against John Ensign, though: Nevada's changing demographics favor us, if (a big if) we can push Clark County turnout to what it was this year, when Kerry came close to winning the state.
by accommodatingly 2004-11-14 11:12AM | 0 recs
Ensign looks strong
Unlike other statewide Republicans, Ensign is from Las Vegas.

Although he is a veterinarian, he is from a casino family.  Hence access to almost unlimited cash.

He has TV weatherman good looks.

And, perhaps most importantly, he hasn't screwed up in any major fashion.

And, barring the amazing Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman running against him, he looks like a shoo-in.

An Aside:  If anything, Oscar Goodman will run for Governor.  He has the highest approval ratings of any big city mayor in America - 90%.  And Clark County already has 70% of the state's population, and this share is growing.

by Allmaya 2004-11-14 05:12PM | 0 recs
Agreed, I don't think we can beat Ensign in '06
Many websites are incorrectly listing Ensign among the most vulnerable GOP senators in '06, primarily because his 55% in 2000 was not overwhelming and Nevada is only slightly red. However, as you indicate, unless celebrity mayor Oscar Goodman shocks everyone and runs, there simply isn't a Democrat who seems capable of defeating Ensign. Only congresswoman Shelly Berkley of Las Vegas jumps to mind at all.

The Nevada Democrats had a disastrous cycle in 2002, losing every major statewide race. That followed 2000, when we had to run local personal injury attorney Ed Bernstein against Ensign after Democratic frontrunner Frankie Sue Del Papa bailed out early. Harry Reid brought in a highly respected woman to rebuild the party statewide after 2002, but right now there is a lack of ideal candidates. Goodman may face congressman Jim Gibbons in a very interesting governors race in 2006. Gibbons is already posting billboards in Las Vegas areas well outside his district, to build name recognition for 2006.  

by jagakid 2004-11-15 01:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Agreed, I don't think we can beat Ensign
Oscar is our Ahnold.  Heck, I think they even like him in the Cow Counties!

He can beat Gibbons, but Ensign would be very, very tough.  Ensign has already run statewide twice (Reid beat him by 400 votes in 1998).  I don't think Gibbons is that well known outside of his district.

by Allmaya 2004-11-15 06:36AM | 0 recs
An example of Oscar's Ahnold
A friend of mine in Las Vegas always badmouths Democrats, would never vote for one, but loves Oscar Goodman. He initially refused to believe Goodman was a Democrat. When others confirmed it to him, he reluctantly announced, "Well, that's the first good one since Kennedy."


by jagakid 2004-11-15 03:20PM | 0 recs
wow --
I love gloom and doom on my Sunday mornings!

What happened to our invigorated anger?  There must be viable candidates in these states, but of course the ground work has to begin NOW.  I'm not being Pollyannish; I know it's an uphill climb. But these GOP senators all have voting records -- let's start connecting the dots for the masses who don't know it yet. We can start writing local LTE's to force accountability, begin legislative lobbying for worthy causes (health care plans don't have to die, you know -- they may not get passed, but we can keep being squeaky wheels), etc -- that and continuing voter reg drives, etc, would be time more productively spent than all of this handwringing.

Sermon over -- go enjoy NFK gameday!

by silverleaf 2004-11-14 06:23AM | 0 recs
House 2006; Senate 2008.
I really don't see the potential for a lot of turnover in the Senate (the House, though, that's another matter), even if people are pissed at Bush. It's just not the people in the right states.

Democrats outnumber Republicans, 18-15 (counting Jeffords as a Democrat), and there aren't a lot of swing (or mis-matched Sen/Pres) states represented. The vulnerable Republicans/Republican seats look to be Chafee (leave the party now, dude!), Snowe (your constituents don't like Bush, why would you?), and Frist (if he retires). Santorum's going to be a target, but he survived 2000, so I'll grudgingly admit he must've done something right. And Kyl, Talent, Burns, Ensign, and Allen could be challenged, but they're in red-purple states. Not a lot of room for turnover.

The vulnerable Democrats/Democratic seats look to be the Nebraskan Nelson (how did Nebraska elect a Democratic senator?), and the purple trio: Nelson(FL), Dayton, and Cantwell. Everyone else seems comfortable and/or entrenched with their voters, even if they aren't aligned on partisan lines.

And retirements could change the scenario, too. But without a few big changes, or another national election, the Senate shouldn't change much. The House, on the other hand... it isn't a great map, but at least it's all theoretically in play. And we don't have to wait 4-6 years to build on this year...

by Chris 2004-11-14 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: House 2006; Senate 2008.
House 2012 Senate 2008

It will take two good cycles to retake the Senate again.  And that's only possible if we're really lucky and we win big both times.

The House will require a redistricting for us to win.  Even if we win a big, giant national majority of House votes and win every single contestible seat, with the current gerrymanders we will face a deficit of at least five seats.  

We gave the House away in 1991 with our majority-minority packed districts so that Republicans needed only one good election to take the House from us.  The Rrepublicans will not make such a blunder.  And if we continue with bad leadership like we had in 1991, it will be at least until 2022 before we have a chance at the House.  Who in the current leadership can be as ruthless as DeLay?  once we have such a person, then we can start to think about a long term strategy to take back the House.

by Newt 2004-11-14 01:38PM | 0 recs
Arizona and Pennsylvania
I think Arizona and Pennsylvania are both good possibilities for a Democratic pickup.  If Kyl decides to run again, be on the lookout for a primary challenge that could weaken the Republicans.  

As for Pennsylvania, there is no good reason that this Gore/Kerry state should have such a wingnut Senator.  The Dems need to seize this as their opportunity to take a new approach to challenging the far right.  I think this election is crucial for the state of the Democratic party, and if Dems learn to win, it could be a great victory and signal for 2008.  

by Onward 2004-11-14 07:56AM | 0 recs
Snowe is well liked here and has an incredible constitutent services operation.  However, the Dems have to start somewhere and going after "moderate Republicans" in states trending blue might be a good idea.  The national party didn't do much for Chellie Pingree (in my opinion) and she did much better than expected against Collins in 2002.

I think the Rethugs have gotten where the are in part by making it impossible for a moderate Democrat to draw Republican votes - thus permitting Repub moderates to move to the right.  I think the Dems should develop a comparable strategy and test it in Maine. (We should all also offer the libations necessary to beat Santorum).

by Pudentilla 2004-11-14 02:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Maine
Yup, after Rethugs went after Daschle, we need to challenge every Republican in blue states, moderates or not.

by news 2004-11-14 08:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Maine
Wouldn't it be easier to get Jeffords, Chaffee, Snowe, and Collins into some recognizable grouping of independents? A third "Yankee" Party?

We have to do to these seats what the GOP did to the Old Confederacy. We can't beat these people as incumbents, but we might be able to convert them (Richard Shelby in reverse) and we absolutely must pick the seats up at any retirements.

by Andrew Lazarus 2004-11-15 06:38PM | 0 recs
Snowe endorsed Bush
Snowe may be well-liked (I like her, myself) but she can be beat. She endorsed Bush in a state that went for Kerry (and a state where a lot of the Kerry voters went that way solely because they can't stand Bush). There's a big opportunity if the Democrats manage to run a candidate who can be seen as independent by moderate Republicans. Angus King would be my dream candidate -- even if he ran as an Independent, but I doubt he'll go for it. Any idea how to draft him?
by rusty 2004-11-16 04:32AM | 0 recs
We need a good strong DNC Chair to twist Bob Casey's arm to run against Santorum. This is how Rove recruited people like Coleman to run in MN. Casey is now the all time highest vote getter in PA. Someone should tell him to step up for the party and knock off Santorum.
by Matt42 2004-11-14 05:26PM | 0 recs
Not Casey v. Santorum, and here's why
Look, Casey's been absolutely clear he has his eye on following Rendell into the Gov's mansion, when term limits hit. It's a feasible long-term plan. He's just won statewide office for the first time. Seems kooky to me to try to push him to run for Senate 2 years from now, before he's established the record and gravitas to do so.

I don't know anything about Hafer beyond the obvious (already posted upthread). But that obvious seems fairly compelling to me. Particularly one thing not upthread: if I'm reading her record correctly, she has for several years delivered key services, with a balanced budget, and tax cuts. This will make it very hard for the usual Repug charge -- liberals will pick your pockets -- to stick.

None of this is to say that Casey's not strong. Not a lot of data yet but everything we know so far seems good. It's that we need to be thinking about the PA farm system -- nurturing a slate of really strong Dem. candidates for a number of different job functions, for the long run. Gotta be sure not to focus our view too narrowly.

by Anandi in PA 2004-11-15 05:23AM | 0 recs
Please correct
Stabenow is a D...and a good one...don't insult her with that R after her name!
by DC Pol Sci 2004-11-14 06:13PM | 0 recs
I hate to be a downer, but...
...this analysis doesn't make things look too terribly great for Dem senate hopes in '06. It looks like we have at least as many potential losses (Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, Dayton) as gains (Santorum, Ensign?, open TN seat??). Obviously it all depends on who retires and whic candidates we field, but it also seems that Dem pickups are, if anything, a little LESS likely than GOP pickups.

   This just makes me wonder who is up for re-election in the senate in 2008. Do things look any better for us there, or are we just screwed in the Senate for the long-term? We had better not go below 40 seats or I seriously might immigrate to Canada...

by scottso 2004-11-15 07:40AM | 0 recs
The Other New Mexico Senate Seat
As someone who has closely watched the venerable Republican Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) over the years, it is clear that he has been dramatically declining in health over the past two years. His marked nervous system deterioration has my MD friends speculating that he has either had a stroke or is possibly in early stage Alzheimers. If Pete continues his downward spiral, New Mexico may find itself with an open US Senate seat in a year or two, or by Christmas 2004.

This sad news should hearten New Mexico Democrats, but just about every knowledgeable Democrat in the state would tell you that Congressmonster Heather Wilson (R) has an inside track on "Saint Pete"'s seat and would likely defeat any Demo or Repub challenger right now. That's the conventional wisdom.

However, this season Albuquerque political circles have been buzzing with some very interesting tales regarding the sexual proclivities of someone very, very close to Heather. The implication of the widely reported story was that the private life of Heather herself was about to become a topic of intense public scrutiny also.

While this news did not erupt during her race this November, I expect that fairly soon Heather may be a much-dimished political force in New Mexico which would open the Senate seat race up considerably. New Mexico Democrats should be casting about now for the strongest challenger they can find for this senate seat. Sadly, the field right now is very thin.

Given governor Bill Richardson's dismal track record on selecting candidates (he likes them much weaker than himself) it's probably still the Republicans' to lose despite the nominal Democrat majority in the state. Maybe Big Bill will go for the seat himself, though he claims to be happy where he is.

The national Dems should be scoping out this seat as it will certainly be there for the taking, likely sooner than later.

by NewMecca 2004-11-15 12:00PM | 0 recs
If Mark Warner runs for Senate then the race will be a toss-up.  Allen's popular, but Warner's more so and as well as being a fundraisng machine he's independently wealthy.  Even before he was governor he was a good enough campaigner to almost knock off Senator John Warner (no relation).  There's some indication Warner won't run; a loss would tarnish him and John Warner's seat will likely open up in 08 (John Warner serioiusly considered retiring in 02, but the rumor is that he didn't do so out of dislike for the only possible Republican successor, Jim Gilmore).  Mark Warner's also touted as a presidential nominee in 08 and this might lead him to make the bid as two years in the Senate would make him a stronger candidate, though again not finishing his Senate term might sour VA voters on him.  If Warner doesn't run then Allen is heavily favored.  Rep Rick Boucher might give him a race, but he's comfortable in the 9th and likely harbors no ambitions for the Senate.  Rep. Bobby Scott is good but too liberal and Rep. Moran is an embarassment good only for jokes.  There are some Dem delegates who got knocked out in the Republican redistricting of 01 who are very talented politicians (Tom Jackson comes to mind), but none of them have a wide enough following to really challenge Allen.  Doug Wilder might try it, but he'd lose.  Dems haven't forgiven him for knifing Mary Sue Terry and Chuck Robb.
by slduncan79 2004-11-15 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Virginia
I would generally agree with this assessment. If Sen. John Warner (who was married to Elizabeth Taylor when he first ran for the US Senate believe it or not!) had plans on running again, Gov. Mark Warner probably would run against Sen. George Allen. While there is still a chance that Gov. Warner will run against Allen, I would be more inclined to believe he will run in 2008. It is widely assumed that Sen. Warner will retire in 2008. Sen. Warner has always been a Republican but one that stands to the side of most other Republicans in Virginia. While hardly liberal, Sen. Warner is somewhat less liberal than most other Republicans, in and out of Virginia, if not in actual votes but in personality and temperment.

There are advantages for Gov. Warner in waiting until 2008 to run for the Senate. While he would give Sen. Allen a run for his money unlike any other candidate could, in an open seat environment Gov. Warner would have the advantage. Coming off four years as Governor in 1986, then-Gov. Chuck Robb was enormously popular. So much so that Sen. Paul Trible, who was elected in 1982 to replace Sen. Harry F. Byrd, Jr. decided that running against Gov. Robb would be too much for him. So he retired instead leaving Robb to run against a hapless preacherman. The second would be the fact that in 2008, the political environment may be more favorable to Democrats, even if only slightly. As time goes on, Virginia is becoming more and more of a swing state. Partly demographics, and partly the 'Mid-Alantic' phenomenon that Jerome Anderson has spoken about. If Gov. Warner can lead a ticket in Virginia in 2008 it might be able to break the whole state wide open.

Virginia's political future will largely be foretold by how the parties do in the 2005 races. Gov. Warner is term-limited, and it is all but assumed that Lt. Gov. Timothy Kaine will be the Democratic nominee. Virginia has only three statewide Constitutional offices, Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. GOP Atty. Gen. Jerry Kilgore is expected to be the Republican nominee. Lt. Gov. Kaine is more liberal than Gov. Warner, but was elected with almost the same percentage in 2001. Also being associated with the popular Warner administration will only help. If Kaine wins the Governorship, then that bodes well for Democrats in the state. (On a side note, Lt. Gov. Kaine is the son-in-law of Abner Linwood Holton, the first Republican Governor of Virginia in modern times.)  

by southerndemnut 2004-11-16 05:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Virginia
Yes, but Holton is cut from different cloth than most Republicans.  He destroyed his political career by taking a very strong stand in favor of integration.  How many Republicans can you say that of?
by slduncan79 2004-11-18 07:50AM | 0 recs


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