2010 Senate: Detailed rankings

Bumped from the diaries -- Jonathan

This is cross-posted from my blog, Campaign Diaries.

Over the past two cycles, Republicans lost 13 Senate seats (14 if Al Franken emerges victorious in Minnesota). And the GOP's Senate nightmare is set to continue for the third cycle in a row: 2004 was a great year for Senate Republicans, so they have many more vulnerable seats to defend in 2010.

No matter what the political environment will be in two years, Republicans are looking to spend yet another cycle playing defense and Democrats are more likely than not to gain the one or two seats they will need to finally achieve a filibuster-proof majority.

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House rankings: The field continues to shift towards Democrats, particularly in New York

In the past 3 months, Democrats have increased their House majority as they picked up a remarkable 3 seats in a series of special elections organized in Illinois's 14th district, Louisiana's 6th district, Mississippi's 1st district. What is particularly remarkable is that all three of these districts leaned heavily Republican; in 2004, George Bush had won them respectively with 55%, 59% and 62%. Each defeat increased the chaos of the Republican caucus as the NRCC started to settle in panic mode. After the loss of MS-01 on May 13th, Tom Cole, the chairman of the NRCC, issued a remarkable statement calling on Republican incumbents to brace for the worse and find individual ways to deal with the onslaught.

And Republicans have reason to fear a second November debacle. First, Republicans are now three more seats away from the majority and it is hard to find a GOP operative willing to suggest their party has any hope of reducing that margin in November. Second, the party continues to be at a significant financial disadvantage while the DCCC has a huge pile of cash that it will use in dozens of districts in the coming months, testing any Republican seat that shows any sign of being vulnerable. While the GOP was able to respond in the special elections, they will not have the money to do the same in the fall and will be forced to make some painful choices.

These rankings are posted on Campaign Diaries.

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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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House Ratings: Things look even better in October!

The full rankings are available on Campaign Diaries.

Plenty of action in House races since our first ratings came out in mid-September. This is recruitment and retirement season in the House, and Ohio has been the center of it all, with three Republicans retiring, two of them in very competitive districts (OH-15 and OH-16). Democrats have had better news on the recruitment front as well (look at AK-AL, FL-24, IL-11 and MN-06), but Republicans reply that they are very satisfied with their newest candidates in NM-01 and OH-07...

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Senate Rankings: (Almost) Everything breaks for Democrats in October

September was a great month for Senate Democrats. Is started with news that John Warner was retiring, featured the endless saga of Larry Craig's guilty plea to lewd behavior, saw another crucial GOP seat open up in Nebraska and was marked with recruitment coups with the candidacies of Mark Warner in VA and Jeanne Shaheen in NH. In fact, the only bad news Democrats are fearing now is that Bob Kerrey might end up taking a pass in Nebraska -- but even there, the fat lady hasn't yet sung.

All of this is really icing on the cake for Democrats, who already felt great before Labor Day. Not only is the GOP is defending 22 seats, and the Dems only 12, but the NRSC has been doing poorly in fundraising and recruitment, failing to move to target states beyond... the one state of Louisiana. Democrats, on the other hand, are expanding the map left and right: While they are huge underdogs in TN, KY, NM, TX, and ID, odds are they will at least put one of those in play (just like VA in 2006 and KY in 2004 became competitive only in the last stretch). And the most problematic second-tier seat is turning to be Alaska, where incumbent Ted Stevens is facing significant bribery allegations.

The coming weeks are likely to bring more news that will determine how some of these races shape up. Bob Kerrey's decision is obviously what everyone is waiting for, but there are other important questions: Will Craig retire as he had promised? Will there be more open seats, with all eyes turned towards SD's Tim Johnson, AK's Stevens, and NM's Pete Domenici? Will Democrats find candidates to run against Dole in NC, Domenici in NM, Stevens in AK, McConnell in KY? All of these races could end up on the map, but Democrats have to succeed in their recruitment efforts first.

The first 4 states are listed after the jump. For the full rankings, go here, to CampaignDiaries.com.

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