Senate rankings: Democrats have their 9th target

Posted on Campaign Diaries. You can also check the House ratings here.

Over the past two months, the Senate playing field has gotten much clearer, and the gap between competitive seats and sleeper races has widened.

On the one hand, Democrats have solidified their position in the top-tier. They have managed to catapult North Carolina into the toss-up category, finally reaching their goal of putting 9 GOP-held seats in play. As a series of stunning developments in Alaska left the GOP pinning its hopes on an indicted incumbent, there now are five Republican-held seats that are leaning towards Democrats. That is not to say that Democrats can take 5 seats for granted (in fact, they appear to have sealed the deal in only two contests), but a testament to the fact that Senate Democrats remain poised to have a strong night on November 4th.

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A Look at the 2008 Senate Races, September Edition

So with the Alaska primary and the conventions now over, it's time for another look at all the 2008 Senate races.  There are 35 seats up for election because of a scenario in Wyoming and Mississippi where both seats are up, due to the passing of Craig Thomas and the resignation of Trent Lott, respectively.  Obviously, quite a few of the races are considered "safe" for the incumbent.  So what are the competitive races?

Again, just to be clear, I don't do predictions.  Every time I do, horrible things happen.  So I won't even make an actual prediction on the Virginia Senate race, because doing so would effectively jinx Mark Warner.  So, I'll rank these in terms of tiers.  The top tier will be the races where the party holding the seat has a legitimate chance of switching (but I ain't guaranteeing anything).  The second tier are races that could become top tier races, but are not at this point.  Tier III are ones where a major event would need to happen for the seat to come into play.  And the safe seats?  Well, Mike Gravel has a better shot at winning the presidency than those incumbents have of losing their races.

This is meant to be a primer for both newcomers and political junkies alike, so some of the information may seem repetitive for you junkies out there.  Also see my previous August diary to see what things have changed since my last update.

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Senate Republicans are Pulling Up the Stakes

The fact that John Ensign has been unable as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee to keep up with Chuck Schumer, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, in terms of fundraising, recruiting and just about everything else is having real ramifications at this point in the election cycle. Take a look, for instance, at what the cash-strapped NRSC is doing these days.

Republicans' Senate campaign arm called off television ads Tuesday that were to air in New Mexico in the run-up to Election Day, an indication that it's leaving the GOP candidate there to fend for himself as the party braces for losses.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee's decision to cancel the New Mexico spots reflects its priorities during a tough year for the GOP, with the party lagging badly in fundraising and resigned to losing seats in the Senate.

Remember, despite the fact that Democratic Congressman Tom Udall is leading in the fundraising race and in the polls, the seat in New Mexico is a Republican seat and has been for the last 36 years, so the GOP is writing off the race two months out from election day is rather remarkable. It looks like we should be seeing not only more and better Democrats in Congress, but also more and better Udalls in the Senate as well.

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NM-Sen: Congressman Tom Udall Live Blogging Now!

Tom Udall will be live-blogging today at Democracy for New Mexico at 4:30PM mountain time.  Come share your comments, questions, and concerns with Congressman Udall, who will be on hand for a half hour to speak with you.

Click here to head over to Democracy for New Mexico now.

And let us know in the comments here what you thought of the live blog when it's over.

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GOOD Congressional challengers on FISA: The List

In the last couple days, there have been several posts across the blogosphere citing what various candidates running for Congress have said on FISA and retroactive immunity for the telecoms.  But so far, it's been all over the map.  I'll try to corral all their statements into this diary, so you can see who the "good guys" are.

First, let's start off with the current House and Senate members who voted against this bill.  They do deserve credit, as it's their jobs on the line.

Follow me below the fold to see the dozens of Democratic challengers who are standing up for the Constitution, and are against this FISA bill and retroactive immunity.

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