Skip to comments.Senate Democratic majority becoming more fragile (Feel-good story of the day?)
Posted on 02/18/2011 6:02:06 PM PST by Libloather
Senate Democratic majority becoming more fragile
By Bob Cusack - 02/18/11 02:33 PM ET
Democrats' Senate majority has become more fragile since the November elections, and Republicans appear more confident they can retake the upper chamber next year.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman's (D-N.M.) decision to retire, announced Friday, is the latest blow to the Democratic majority. Democrats enjoy a 53-47 advantage over the GOP, but are defending 23 seats next year to Republicans 10.
There are now four senators in the Democratic caucus who will not run for reelection in 2012.
Retirements always pose a threat to congressional majorities. Before he took the helm of the Senate Democratic campaign committee in 2005, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told then-Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), "We can't let red-state Democrats retire in '04 we lost every race where they did."
Reid agreed; Schumer subsequently won back the majority in the 2006 cycle and later helped boost the Democratic majority to 60 seats.
The Schumer-Reid exchange was detailed in Schumer's book titled, "Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time."
The Democrats who are retiring do not all hail from red states. Sen.Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) does, and Republicans are heavily favored to pick up that seat.
Republicans are also favored to win Sen. Jim Webb's (D) seat in Virginia, and their chances increase if former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) opts not to run.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is also not running for reelection. Democrats are confident they can win in this blue state, especially in a presidential election year. But in all likelihood, they will have to fight for it.
Both parties will aggressively vie for Bingaman's seat. Obama won the purple state in 2008 and George W. Bush triumphed there in 2004.
Ross K. Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, said, "Parties in Congress, like armies in the field, suffer casualties in two ways: They are lost in election battles and they are pulled out of the line from combat fatigue after the elections are over. The Democrats have sustained both forms of loss. The combat fatigue casualties have sized up the bloody conflicts ahead on the budget, debt extension, and entitlements and have requested to be evacuated to the rear area."
He added, "This is an ominous sign for the slender Democratic majority that can berescued only with a smashing victory at the presidential level. Obama has shown he can provide coattails and he may have to do so again."
Democrats got some good news this week when Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) announced he would not run for a fourth term. But on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, ruled out a bid.
While the retirements of the three Democrats and Lieberman have attracted many headlines and boosted the GOP's confidence, the early announcements give Democrats ample time to find strong candidates.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, has been pushing Democratic senators up for reelection in 2012 to make up their minds early in the cycle.
Republicans picked up seven seats in the 2010 cycle, including Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) win in January last year.
Democrats are targeting Brown, who faces another tough election next year. They are also targeting Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), whose ethics controversies pose a major obstacle to winning a third term. Republican operatives note that Brown has a $7.2 million campaign war chest and Ensign will likely face a primary challenge.
Democratic incumbents who face reelection next year include Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.).
Republicans need to win a net of at least three seats to control the Senate (four if Obama wins reelection).
Quick...give the Government ee unions more rope.
Great article. Thanks for posting more than one or two sentences.
Coattails? Obama has coattails? LMAO! The Dems have lost every race he campaigned in and he’s an albatross around the necks. Misery loves company and the Democrats are stuck with an unpopular President and his equally unpopular policies! No wonder so many of them are retiring!
Righthaven has been suing individual posters on websites that have already settled with them. I'm not taking any chances with my posts.
Wanna make the Dems go ballistic?
Start a rumor that Obama is dying to campaign for Dems up for reelection.
The scared Dems’ll run for cover if the “Kiss of Death” makes an appearance in their state.
Exactly correct - the donkey senators who went to Washington in 2008 did so not because of Obama’s popularity, but more so due to the anti-Bush/anti-GOP sentiment that prevailed that year.
Sen. Patty Murray, who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee...
For once I’m glad that she’s on their side;^)
I doubt Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin will survive next year should he decide to run again.
Democrats' Senate majority has become more fragile since the November elections, and Republicans appear more confident they can retake the upper chamber next year.Thanks Libloather. Much good may it do us.
There is NO evidence that Democrats learned from their losses in 2010 elections. They must figure voter anger surely can’t last another two years...and voters SURELY want more taxes and big government. We’ll see.
“...and voters SURELY want more taxes and big government.”
That describes Independents.
To a person, they all seem to become brilliant intellectuals when they vote Democrat.
Just a few million people with fragile egos, needing to be “kneaded” by the Democrats will decide an election and give political power away to radical psychotics in exchange for a thrill up their legs.