Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Predictions for 2008 - Senate

It's never too early to talk about the future. I suggest here that the Democratic majorities in Congress will remain, at least in the Senate, because of the very skewed 2008 electoral map.
21 Republicans, 12 Democrats up for Re-election in 2008. Many of the Republicans in blue-trending states are expected to retire, leaving ripe open seats, and the Republicans who won razor-thin races in 2002 in blue states are up for re-election.
Prediction: Democrats pick up 2-3 senate seats in 2008. New 2008 Senate: 51-52 Dem, 2 Independent, 46-47 Republicans. A detailed examination follows.

Republican Seats (21 up for re-election):
Wayne Allard (CO) may retire Highly Vulnerable
Open or not, Allard's 51% victory in a state trending very blue means that this is the top prospect for Democratic pickup in 2008.
Norm Coleman (MN) Highly vulnerable
Amy Klobuchar's drubbing of the Republican, plus the traditional liberalism of Minnesota, make this a tight race for the rookie Senator.
John Sununu (NH) Highly vulnerable
New Hampshire evicted almost all its Republicans in 2006. Sununu will be in a lot of trouble in 2008. Top prospect for Democratic pickup.
Gordon Smith (OR) Highly vulnerable
Oregon has been trending blue.
Susan Collins (ME) Vulnerable
Like Chafee, the "moderate" Collins could be buried as New England turns away from her party. Democrats control both houses and the governor's seat there.
Michael Enzi (WY) Vulnerable
Wyoming has a Democratic governor (Freudenthal) and this year the Democrat lost in the at-large House race by about 1,000 votes. Moderate libertarian Democrats can win in Wyoming.
Saxby Chambliss (GA) Vulnerable
Hated by Democrats and will be a major target in 2008. Unlikely to win unless Chambliss commits gaffes, which he is wont to do.
Elizabeth Dole (NC) Vulnerable
Heath Shuler for Senate? Stay tuned.
John Warner (VA) may retire -Vulnerable if open
Virginia has now had two Democrats in a row for governor (Warner and Kaine) and Webb unseated a sitting Republican. Warner is too respected to lose, but right-wingnuts despise his willingness to oppose Bush on the war. An open seat would draw out a right wing Republican who would lose to a moderate Democrat.
Ted Stevens (AK) may retire -Vulnerable if open
Alaska politics is very strange. There hasn't been an open seat in the Senate for years, as Murkowski advanced to the governor's mansion, then appointed his daughter to fill the seat. An open seat would be fair game for a Tester-style Democrat.
Mitch McConnell (KY) may retire -Vulnerable if open
An open Kentucky seat would be a re-run of the Corker/Ford race, but Kentucky is more northern.
Pete Domenici (NM) may retire- Vulnerable if open
An open seat would be easy pickings for a blue-trending state where Democrats control the governor's mansion and both houses of the legislature, plus one of the senators.
Lamar Alexander (TN), Lindsey Graham (SC), Jim Inhofe (OK), Pat Roberts (KS), Jeff Sessions (AL), John Cornyn (TX), Larry Craig (ID), Thad Cochran (MS), Chuck Hagel (NB) All Safe.

Likely result: Democrats +3-4 (Colorado, New Hampshire, Oregon or Minnesota, plus at least one of the likely open seats)

Democratic Seats (12 up for re-election)
Mary Landrieu (LA) Highly Vulnerable
This will be the top Republican target in 2008. She may be punished for having done too little with Katrina.
Mark Pryor (AR) Vulnerable.
He will be on their target list 2008, and if they can paint Pryor as a tool of a liberal Democratic caucus, and if the election is trending GOP, they have a chance.
Tim Johnson (SD) Vulnerable
South Dakota is conservative, but Johnson is popular. His biggest rival, Jim Thune, is now in the other senate seat. Hence "vulnerable" rather than "highly vulnerable." Likely to be top GOP target in 2008.
Max Baucus (MT) Vulnerable
Republicans will want this seat badly. It will be on their target list 2008, and if they can paint Baucus as a tool of a liberal Democratic caucus, they have a shot. However, Baucus has great staying power and will probably win again, as he has for the past 25 years.
Frank Lautenberg (NJ) may retire Vulnerable if open
New Jersey elected Menendez handily, but he was vulnerable because the state is unhappy with years of corrupt Democratic politicians like McGreevey and totally unsympathetic bean counting job-jumpers like Corzine. A moderate Republican could win here. The question is really whether the GOP can still produce moderates in the Northeast. If they can anywhere, it will be in New Jersey.
Tom Harkin (IA) may retire Vulnerable if open
Iowa has now elected two Democrats in a row for governor, and Dems control both houses of the legislature. Still, it's a swing state.
Jack Reed (RI), Jay Rockefeller (WV), John Kerry (MA), Carl Levin (MI), Joe Biden (DE), Dick Durbin (IL) All Safe

Likely Result: Republicans +1 (Louisiana or Arkansas)



Anonymous said...

Eh, just two things. First, take a look at recent approval ratings for all 100 senators . This might help paint the picture more clearly and it seems to say to me that Susan Collins isn't going anywhere. She is viewed as a moderate and the power of incumbency is strong. 

// posted by Bell Curve

Dr. Strangelove said...

Funny... the only name that stuck out on the list to me was also Susan Collins. I think her seat is safe. Otherwise, I really like LTG's descriptions. Very nice to have a complete rundown--and bold of him to make predictions so early.

Anonymous said...

Chafee was also very popular, but in the end it was a blue state and he died. In fact, the 2006 elections were all about relatively popular "moderate" Republicans losing because of the party label hanging around their necks. That could happen to Collins. Baldacci (governor - 2 term) might defeat her. The message of 2006 is that conserative Republicans in conservative districts are safe, but moderates are up for grabs.

Notice I do not predict a seat change in Maine, in any event. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Al Franken may run against Coleman in Minnesota. Franken all about announced his intention to run on the Daily Show a couple of weeks ago. Minnesota might take to Franken. Who knows.

Harkin is VERY popular in Iowa. He's like everyone's grandpa. If he does retire, the Democrats have been building up their candidate pool for the last several years. It would be better if he held on for a while and either retired mid-term (letting the Democratic governor appoint a special replacement) or retired in 2014. There are two young Demcoratic house reps in Iowa's 1st and 2nd districts who might be ready to run for the Senate by then.

The Christian Right would want to run Nussle (who got his butt kicked by Chet Culver in the gubenatorial). But if they GOP runs a less wild eyed candidate, they could win.

I've also heard that the GOP will be gunning for Rockefeller in WVA. Those hills are full of Christian conservatives. 

// posted by RBR

Anonymous said...

The Senate is more fun to speculate about than the presidency, which is just depressing. 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

I posted about Frist that we could see a number of Republicans quitting over the next year or so. It's no fun to be in the minority.  

// posted by RBR