I decided to simplify things a bit for 2010, dividing the races into two basic categories (uncompetitive and competitive) for starters.

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Given how meaningless predictions are this far in advance of the elections, there's no benefit to trying to be more parsimonious until more information is available. Information such as the names of the candidates in a lot of races. You know, things of minor importance like that.

Last time around we introduced the uncompetitive races. There are 18 of those and they will produce a net gain of 1 seat for the GOP (the Dorgan retirement in North Dakota will be a cakewalk for GOP Governor John Hoeven). That leaves a very symmetrical 18 races in the competitive category. There is a lot of variance in this group, from just a bit competitive to too close to call. They will sort themselves out as the election progresses. Here they are with preliminary predictions:

A couple of these are particularly likely to get interesting. The open seat in Ohio may end up being the closest call in this election. Portman is a strong GOP candidate but his party is still a damaged brand name in the state. Neither of the Democratic candidates are great. However, the nominee (probably Brunner) will have a real chance to win. This will come down to turnout and how well the bases are motivated.

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All of the previous statements about Ohio are doubly true in Illinois. Those races are eerily similar – popular young GOP Congressman running against mediocre Democrats in states in which the playing field is tilted to the left at the moment. I will believe a Republican winning a statewide race in Illinois when I see it, though, and not a second sooner.

I think the Florida race could become a wild one. If Charlie Crist was the nominee he would waltz to victory.
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However, he is down 20-30 points to Teabagger icon Marco Rubio in the GOP primary. That's great for winning the nomination, but there is a legitimate possibility that he's too nutty to win the general election. Kendrick Meek is not a strong opponent. This election, however, is going to be less about Rubio vs. Meek and more about Rubio vs. Rubio. Can he convince people he is a normal, quasi-mainstream politician or will he Teabag his way into oblivion? Rubio has the early lead; let's see how he does with more exposure.

Pennsylvania will be very competitive, especially if Sestak unseats non-Democrat Arlen Specter for the Democratic nomination. Colorado seems to be trending Republican but the party (as is always the case) can't even find a decent nominee to run against weak incumbent Michael Bennet. I have Missouri going blue simply because I've learned over the years never to bet against a Carnahan in that state. Harry Reid and Blanche Lincoln are both in big trouble, but incumbency is a powerful thing. At the very least, I think those races will get a lot closer than they are at the moment.

Is anyone else getting disproportionately excited? No? I guess that's just me.

16 thoughts on “SENATE 2010: COMPETITIVE RACES”

  • If there's one clear theme to the last couple years, it's that the Dems could find a way to fuck up a 75-seat majority. It's sad to watch them in action, a bunch of one-leggers in an ass-kicking contest. That said, better the circular firing squad than some teabagger mascot.

    The KY prognostication does not quite make sense (or maybe I'm missing something; wouldn't be the first time). Bunning has gone back and forth on when he'll retire, either because he's a canny gamer, or simply an addled, senile coot. Either way, Mongiardo came respectably close to beating him in '04, so it's not a gimme. And if it's "open" (Bunning actually retires before the election), who's the Republicans' pinch-hitter?

  • The Bennet-Norton race in Colorado will be fun to watch. Bennet is not terribly popular but is raising big money. There seems to be a lot of anti-Dem sentiment in the state, which should put some wind in Norton's sails, except for the fact that she is about as exciting as a cardboard box. For at least the last 5 years, it's seemed like the Dems have just fielded better candidates in that state.

  • I'm getting disproportionately excited!
    While Democrats losing the house(good chance) wont be a deal to me, hearing "Obama is over, he couldn't even keep the House majority" is going to get old quick.

  • I'm curious as to why you placed my former-home-state Senator, B. Boxer, in the Competitive category. Are her numbers showing her to be vulnerable? (Not that this would shock me, given the total collapse of CA's budgetary economy.) A few years ago, common wisdom had it that she and Feinstein were pretty much lifetime appointments–is that no longer the case?

  • Elder Futhark says:

    Disproportionately? No.

    I might possibly could go to malproportioned. Only if legislation is passed so that all candidates must undergo a callosotomy. In which case, watching the act of their right hands not knowing what their left hands be doing just might come close to entertainment… especially if the older guys grab their crotches a lot.

    No! Wait! Gene therapy to promote Lesch-Nyhan disease! Nah. That's over the top.

  • displaced Capitalist says:

    wait… I'm confused. Aren't the teabaggers saying that the GOP will sweep and end up with a 101-0 majority? (the extra one because Texas will submit 3 senators)

    How is it that you're suggesting only a mere +2 for the GOP?

  • "I will believe a Republican winning a statewide race in Illinois when I see it, though, and not a second sooner."

    What? The last two governors before Blago were Republicans. Harkening all the way back to 2003. And the Democratic party is in complete disarray with regards to the statewide races this year. I think the odds are in Alexi's favor, but we could very well end up with a Republican governor at the same time.

  • I wish someone would tell the Demercretic party leadership that we done got us some libr'uls down here in Texas, and if they'd only, you know, *run* a Democrat, with backin' and fundin' and stuff, for Senate we could at least see if they have a fucking chance.

    (Mad props to my poor Dem Congressman, the indefatigable Lloyd Doggett.)

  • @J Dryden – I've been getting a lot of worried emails from Barbara Boxer's campaign. With the economy here in the toilet, and eMeg pulling out her checkbook to buy the governorship, the state could flip massively toward the GOP, at least at the top levels. I'm a bit worried despite the sometimes grotesque blunders by Carly Failorina (and whoever else is running for Boxer's seat). I heart Barbara and would hate to lose her.

  • Ben Menzies says:

    There's a mistake on Kentucky. Bunning announced months ago he's not running. Currently the GOP primary race is between Rand Paul (son of the infamous Ron Paul) and Kentucky Secretary of State Tray Grayson.

  • Bob Hopeless says:

    Here in PA, Specter is running well ahead of Sestak and is the presumptive candidate. Arlen is a barnacle- or "survivor", if you will. That said, his likely opponent, Pat Toomey, is a Republican. Nuff said. Go, Arlen!

  • Bob H:

    Mr Specter was an R(INO) until here recently. I am on the other side of that divide with that D in Alabamastan who converted to our dark side. I wanna wait until he adjusts to the dark before I get too enthusiastic about him. I'm sure Mr Specter is still adjusting to the light, so be careful!


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