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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VA-Sen: Gilmore Having Trouble Rallying the GOP

Over the weekend, former Virginia Governor and flameout 2008 presidential candidate Jim Gilmore eked out an underwhelming victory with a margin of just over a half a percentage point over a largely unknown opponent to secure the Republican Senate nomination in the commonwealth. As if that were not indication enough that the GOP base isn't coming together behind Gilmore, The Hill reports that some of the big local Republican players are shying away from making endorsements as well.

Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) is avoiding an endorsement in the closely watched Senate contest to succeed him, so far declining to support fellow Republican Jim Gilmore several days after the former Virginia governor clinched the GOP nomination.

Warner, 81, who announced last September he will retire when his fifth term ends in January, twice shunned inquiries about his stance in the race, directing reporters to a statement that his press office said is not forthcoming.

"I'm not going to keep answering this question about Gilmore," Warner said. "I'll get my press office to send you a statement."
Warner's communications staff said no statement has been released and that there is no specific timetable for one.

A sitting senator resisting to back the party's choice to succeed him would be extraordinary in itself, but Warner's seat also is a top target for Democrats next year looking to increase its majority in the Senate.

The Hill also cites Congressman Tom Davis, who is retiring in Northern Virginia this year and who was expected to run for the Senate before Gilmore jumped in the race, as another key pol unwilling to officially endorse at this juncture.

To an extent, this is a moot point. The Democratic nominee, former Governor Mark Warner, is remarkably popular in the state. Current polling puts the Democratic Warner up a solid 18-points over GIlmore in a head-to-head. Nonetheless, it's never a good thing for a party to be this divided and this unprepared heading into a key Senate election, one in a state that has at least a bit of a lean in their direction. And given the current state of affairs, it looks like the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is not going to need to invest much, if any, resources to Virginia this cycle -- freeing up cash to go to states like Mississippi, Alaska, North Carolina and others, increasing the likelihood of big gains come November.

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BruinKid's Senate race rankings

So with less than half a year to go, 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.  Now obviously, quite a few of the races are considered "safe" for the incumbent.  So I'll rank these in terms of tiers.  The top tier will be the races where the party holding the seat has a real shot of switching.  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.

Follow me below the fold for all the 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 March diary to see what things have changed since my last update.

There's more...

BruinKid's Senate race rankings

So with less than half a year to go, 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.  Now obviously, quite a few of the races are considered "safe" for the incumbent.  So I'll rank these in terms of tiers.  The top tier will be the races where the party holding the seat has a real shot of switching.  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.

Follow me below the fold for all the 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 March diary to see what things have changed since my last update.

There's more...

Full Senate rankings: The map expands for Democrats

The presidential primaries are heading towards a not so climactic conclusion and so the time has come to focus some attention on the congressional races. I haven't updated the  rankings since January and a lot has changed in the past 5 months, starting with the resolution of contested primaries in Oregon, Nebraska, North Carolina and probably Minnesota. Both parties have gone through final recruitment pushes, with the GOP playing a tragicomedic farce in New Jersey and suffering through one more round of failures in South Dakota and Iowa.

The full rankings are available here, on my blog at Campaign Diaries.

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