No Democratic Senate Losses in 2006, 2008... and 2010?
by Jonathan Singer, Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 03:28:24 PM EST
The Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy (via First Read makes another interesting historical catch:
Not only did Democrats win the White House and pick up additional House and Senate seats, they also accomplished this feat: For a second-straight cycle, not a SINGLE incumbent Democratic senator lost. In fact, the Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy points out that this is the first time since at least 1908 (before the direct election of senators) that a party has gone through two consecutive cycles without losing a seat.
Accomplishing this feat in 2006 was remarkable. Accomplishing it again in 2008 was astounding. But is it possible that the accomplishment could occur a third time in 2010? Taking a look at the map for the next cycle, it indeed looks like a possibility.
The most vulnerable seat up for the Democrats in 2010 might be that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. However, Nevada isn't the state it was a decade ago, when Reid won reelection by about one-tenth of one percent in his last narrow reelection bid, and it's not even the same state it was four years ago when George W. Bush carried the state by a 51 percent to 48 percent margin; on Tuesday, Barack Obama won the state by a strong 55 percent to 43 percent margin. And the man who was thought to be the Republican challenger to Reid -- Congressman Jon Porter -- lost his reelection bid last week, earning just 42 percent of the vote in his district.
Beyond Nevada, other potential vulnerabilities for the Democrats are highly speculative and very well might not develop.
- In Hawaii, Republican Governor Linda Lingle is quite popular, but would have to knock off Dan Inouye, who has represented the state for more or less the entirety of its existence and who would be the sitting chairman of the Appropriations Committee.
- Arkansas isn't always an easy state for Democrats. But are the Republicans, who couldn't even field a challenger to freshman Democratic Senator Mark Pryor this fall, really going to get their act together to try to topple Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln?
- Depending on whom Rod Blagojevich taps to succeed Barack Obama in Illinois, the race in the state could be competitive. However, Illinois is a much bluer state than it was in 1998, the last time a Republican won a Senate race, and one could imagine that the White House will devote significant efforts towards keeping the seat in the Democratic column.
- North Dakota could be a close race if Governor John Hoeven were the Republican nominee, but, again, the state is bluer than it used to be.
- Colorado is a purple state, but given that the Democrats have been winning quite consistently in the state, and freshman Democratic Senator Ken Salazar won in 2004, unlike most other Democratic Senatorial candidates around the country, challenging him will be a tough row to hoe for the GOP.
- Barbara Boxer could face a tough reelection campaign in California -- but only if Arnold Schwarzenegger were her challenger.
- Finally, Wisconsin isn't a lock for Russ Feingold -- but neither is it a great target for the GOP.
It would be the height of hubris to assume at this point that the Democrats won't lose a seat in the Senate in 2010. That said, as you can see, it's not an impossibility that the Democrats will be able to go an unprecedented third cycle without losing a single seat.