Skip to comments.2010 U.S. Senate races preview, Part 2
Posted on 12/31/2009 10:33:24 PM PST by freespirited
In Part 1, I ran down the 2010 Senate races that are safe or where one side was in control, plus another where the race depends on whether one particular candidate jumps in. That leaves 13 races remaining that could go either way. These are the races that I'll be writing most on.
Arkansas: Blanche Lincoln is a Democrat in a state that has turned increasingly red over the last decade (George W. Bush won it twice and John McCain won it by 20 points in 2008). This fact, combined with her low approval ratings, has made her very vulnerable. State Senators Kim Hendren and Gilbert Baker, as well as retired US Army colonel Conrad Reynolds, Little Rock Businessman Curtis Coleman, real estate investment firm owner Fred Ramey, Harvard alumnus Tom Cotton, and Arkansas Tea Party movement founder Tom Cox have already jumped in the Republican fray.
Colorado: Governor Bill Ritter appointed former Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet earlier this past January to replace Ken Salazar, whom President Obama appointed to be Secretary of the Interior. In essence, this is two elections wrapped into one - a special election to finish Salazar's term that ends on January 3, 2011, and a regular election for a full term that begins on that same date in the new Congress. Five Republicans, including former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, have already lined up on the Republican side. Many were not happy with Bennet being appointed, and Colorado is very much a swing state, so Bennet has his work cut out for him.
Connecticut: Ordinarily, it shouldn't be difficult for a long-term Democratic incumbent like Chris Dodd to win re-election in this state. But he has come under fire for his involvement in the AIG bonus payments controversy, the Countrywide financial political loan scandal and his involvement with fundraiser and accused Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford. Former Congressman Rob Simmons, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, Euro Pacific Capital President Peter Schiff and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley will battle it out in what should be a very interesting primary. A November 2009 poll showed Dodd trailing Simmons, Foley and McMahon.
Delaware: Joe Biden, after winning a seventh term in 2008, vacated this seat to become Vice President. Biden's longtime aide Ted Kauffman was appointed as a caretaker with the expectation that Biden's son, Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, would then take the seat after returning from serving in Iraq this year. But former Governor and long-time At-Large Representative Mike Castle threw a wrench into those plans by entering the race. Castle is easily the most prominent Republican in the state, and polling shows him leading the younger Biden. What would otherwise be a Safe Democratic seat is now very much winnable for the Republicans.
Florida: The Republican Primary alone will be interesting to watch here. The battle between moderate Governor Charlie Crist and conservative former State House Speaker Marco Rubio has already sparked a larger Civil War within the state GOP, and it is sure to be bloody. With the primary not taking place until late August, the survivor will not have much time to mend fences and rebuild his war chest before having to take on the Democratic nominee, which is likely to be Congressman Kendrick Meeks. If not for Rubio's primary challenge, Crist would likely win easily. But since he is, this will be one of the more competitive races.
Illinois: This is President Obama's former seat. Roland Burris, who was infamously appointed to this seat by the since-impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich, is not running for a full term, a fact which certainly makes his party's leaders happy. But despite the state's strong Democratic lean, the party is by no means home free here. Congressman Mark Kirk, a moderate Republican from Chicago's north suburbs, is running for the seat. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is the likely Democratic nominee. Polling has been all over the map, and this state is a definite pick-up opportunity for the GOP.
Kentucky: Similarly, Jim Bunning's decision not to run again in 2010 does not assure the Republicans of victory in the Bluegrass State. Attorney General Jack Conway and Lieutenant Governor Jack Mongiardo, both of whom have won statewide elections, are the Democratic frontrunners. Secretary of State Trey Grayson and Opthamalogist Rand Paul are the top Republican candidates. Kentucky certainly leans Republican, but the current governor is a Democrat, so this remains a swing seat, at least for now.
Louisiana: Like much of the Deep South, Louisiana has turned very red over the last decade, a trend that was exacerbated by the population decline following Hurricane Katrina. But Republican incumbent David Vitter was involved in the "D.C. Madam" prostitution case, throwing what should have been an easy re-election into doubt. Democratic Congressman Charles Melancon will challenge Vitter, but will have to run an outstanding campaign to win a statewide election here.
Missouri: Kit Bond is retiring, creating an open seat in a swing state. The nominees for both sides are essentially decided already - Congressman Roy Blunt for the Republicans and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (daughter of former Governor Mel Carnahan) for the Democrats. Polls have shown Carnahan with a slim lead. But this is a race that could definitely turn on what Missourians think of health care reform - Blunt is an outspoken critic of the House bill. If independents continue to turn on health care reform and/or the Democratic base stays home because they think it didn't do enough, Blunt could definitely win.
Nevada: This could be to the 2010 elections what South Dakota was to the 2004 Senate elections. Much like his predecessor, Tom Daschle, Harry Reid's leadership position in the Democratic Party requires him to be partisan. But being a partisan Democrat doesn't usually work in a more moderate state like Reid's Nevada. Ten Republicans, most notably Las Vegas Attorney Danny Tarkanian (son of the former UNLV basketball coach) and former state GOP Chair Sue Lowden, are fighting to get the chance to do to Reid what John Thune did to Daschle. Polls have shown Reid trailing both Tarkanian and Lowden. Reid was once an amateur boxer, and he'll need his fighting instincts (not physically, of course!!!) to keep his political career alive.
Ohio: Like Missouri, Ohio is a swing state with an open seat due to a Republican retirement. Congressman Rob Portman, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and United States Trade Representative under President George W. Bush, is the expected Republican nominee. Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner will duke it out for the Democratic nomination. Governor Ted Strickland endorsed Fisher, but given Strickland's own political problems (more on that in the Gubernatorial Preview), that may not necessarily be a good thing. Perhaps more than any other state, Ohio is prone to wild political swings based on the national mood of the day. In addition, this state will, given Portman's ties to the Bush Administration, also be a test of how much of a liability the former President remains for his party.
New Hampshire: The Granite State has been rapidly trending blue this decade, and Judd Gregg's retirement seemingly created another pickup opportunity for the Democrats. Rep. Paul Hodes certainly gives them a chance to do so. But this became a much tougher race when Attorney General Kelly Ayotte entered the Republican fray and quickly won over the party establishment. Despite its recent trends, the state still has a fiscal conservative streak, and polls have shown Ayotte with a slim lead. But this will be her first-ever campaign (she was appointed AG), so we'll have to see how she handles things if adversity comes her way.
Pennsylvania: Arlen Specter's party switch last spring made what already would have been a compelling race into perhaps the most compelling one on the 2010 docket. First, Specter will have to prove his Democratic bonafides to fend off Rep. Joe Sestak's primary challenge from the left. If he does that, he will then have to defeat staunch conservative Pat Toomey, who has already been making use of Specter's switch, claiming that Specter only represents himself and not Pennsylvanians. Toomey would seem to be too conservative for Pennsylvania, but the polls suggest that he's got an excellent chance. Toomey has also tried to moderate his stances a little - for example, he supported Sonia Sotomayor's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. This race will be fun to watch, and, being in Philadelphia, I'll be right in the middle of it.
Ping for later read
Fair to say Specter is toast. No one like a traitor, from either party.
I sure hope so. Had enough of Scottish law for one lifetime.
The 2010 U.S. Senate Race At A Glance
Votes these bums out :D
Its a wrap up, but I will say that here in PA it will be OK to pull the lever for Toomey in November, but I’m not cheering over his “moderation.”
Toomey praised Sotomayor and is locked in with the liberal GOP political bosses pulling his strings right now.
Political activist-mom Peg Luksik is challenging Toomey in the GOP primary and Toomey’s waffling may cause some of us to vote for her in the spring primary.
I am so glad that I vote in Pennsylvania!!! That alone makes 2010 exciting to welcome. :) No matter what happens this year, Specter will be gone from politics and that will be a good thing.
Ping for later
GOP will pick up 5 to 6 seats. Nevada, CT, AK, DE,PA, & ND (if the Gov runs; I don’t think he will though)
In just over 2 weeks we need to get Scott Brown elected in Mass.
The way I read this is net +1 for PUBs, with the only Conservative likey will be either Rubio or Toomey. The rest are more of the same RINOs that the PUBs keep foisting on us. Why vote for RINOs when you get the same thing with RATs?
More Communist, huh ? I'm REALLY past the point of fed up with people using the Orwellian Newsspeak colors for the parties. The Communist flag and color AIN'T blue, kids, so why are you calling them that ? We've already lost the propaganda war every time we call a Marxist state a "blue" state and call ourselves "reds." Since they call us "teabaggers", a gay sex act, should we call ourselves that, too ? They're laughing at us and our stupidity.
RINO’s will be forced to toe the line when they see the House cleaned and moderates not being the “chosen” ones in the Senate anymore. It will take two election cycles though. Have faith. We can do it!!
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