Quick Senate Update...
It looks as if the Senate will remain largely similar in 2005 as it is today. Perhaps the Republicans will pick up one seat. Or two. While the polls are interesting in themselves, I think the Tradesports options are a more accurate view of the likelihoods right now, and they are linked above.
Here are the races that bear little to no mention.
Definite Incumbent Wins:
Senators Shelby, McCain, Dodd, Inouye, Grassley, Crapo, Bayh, Brownback, Gregg, Schumer, Bunning, Mikulski, Dorgan, Reid, Bennett, Voinovich, Wyden, and Leahy could all suspend their campaigns right now and go campaign for other Senators or the President and still all win with huge margins. And actually several of them are. Heck Senator McCain is taking time out his schedule to make football picks on ESPN Radio (he went 7-1 against the spread last week) and introduce movies on Bravo.
It is nice to be an incumbent in the era of McCain-Feingold. (Unless you are Russ Feingold).
Likely Incumbent Wins
These races should fall to the incumbent but the RSCC and DSCC may have to spend some of their national money to shore up the seats just in case. They probably will not be sending anyone to these states. And not too much money mind you, but some:
Boxer (D-CA): Because of the expense of advertising in California it is unlikely that either national party will float much money into California. Which is good news for Boxer. She will likely win this, but it is closer than it should be.
Christopher Bond (R-MO): Missouri is always tough to call, unless one of the candidates is dead, but at this point the RNC will want to focus more on Presidential advertising in Missouri as opposed to Senate advertising.
Arlen Specter (R-PA): Hoeffel's campaign just hasn't seemed to get off the ground. Maybe it was smart for the administration to stick with the winner in Specter in the primary despite his centrist predilictions. Right now Specter is polling higher than Bush is in PA. And that’s with the marbles in his mouth.
Probable Incumbent Wins
Murray (D-WA) Senator Murray is running against the hard fighting giant killer George Nethercutt in Washington State and the race is much closer than it should be. Possibly because Senator Murray said some rather complimentary things about Osama Bin Laden in 2002. National money will flow to Washington to help retain this seat.
Feingold (D-Wis) This race should not be close...but it is. There has been a Bush resurgence in Wisconsin, possibly because he remembers POLAND, and a rising tide lifts all ships. This race was not even on the radar earlier this year, but unless Senator Russ and the party hunker down, this could be a lost seat.
Toss-Ups Called for Incumbent Parties
Both parties had several retirements this year that created races where there were none in the past. Both parties will have to flood these markets with money to retain the seats.
Pete Coors (R-Col) Coors is trying to win the seat of retiring Republican Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. He faces a tough uphill battle against highly qualified candidate Ken Salazar. Coors does have the advantage of using his own money and some name recognition. Plus he has John Friggin Elway out there campaigning with him. And that is worth at least 5% in Colorado. This could come down to a few thousand votes, but Coors should win.
Erskine Bowles (D-NC) Bowles in running in the seat vacated by John Edwards. Strangely the conventional wisdom was that Edwards could not win re-election in North Carolina and so that was why he went for the Presidency. But now Bowles is slightly ahead in the polls. This one will be tight as well, but I am throwing this one to Bowles by a nose.
Now onto the races that will affect the balance of power. The Senate is currently at 51R -48D-1I right now so a switch of 1 seat, with a change in the oval office, or a switch of 2 seats without that change, will affect the balance of power. (Even if Kerry wins the Presidency, there is a special election held to fill his seat and it looks like D-Barney Frank will ascend to that role.)
Definite Seat Switches:
Barrack Obama (D-IL) Despite the huge margins of victory that many incumbents enjoy right now, however, the biggest lock to win this fall is not a sitting United States Senator, but an Illinois State Senator, and Democrat, Barrack Obama, who is going to take over a Republican seat. In fact he is actually on the stump campaigning for other Democrats, namely Joe Hoeffel of Pennsylvania, due to the fact that the more Alan Keyes talks, the wider Obama's lead grows. If Obama wasn’t aiming for higher office it would be entertaining to see just how crazy he could get and still win. Right now he could naked down Michigan Ave, stopping only to get some popcorn at Garrett’s, and still maintain a healthy 60 point lead in the polls.
Obama Wins Illinois- Democrats +1.
Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Similarly strong is Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia. While Denise Majette will run a fine campaign, and will get a number of votes, this state has had a de facto Republican Senator in Democrat Zell Miller for the last few years and that will not change.
Isakson wins Georgia- Even
Likely Seat Switches
David Vitter (R-LA), with Senator Breaux's retirement, this long time Democratic seat should fall to a Republican. There is a wacky voting system in Louisiana so anything could happen. But it looks possible that Vitter may get over 50% on November 2, thereby obviating the need for a run-off election in December.
Vitter wins Louisiana- Republicans +1
Jim Demint (R-SC) Demint looks to replace departing Senate legend, and last of the great Fritz’s, Senator Fritz Hollings. It has not hurt him that his opponent Inez Tennenbaum, has had a rocky campaign, which is just unnacceptable in a largely Republican state.
DeMint wins South Carolina- Republicans +2
Toss-Ups Called against the Incumbent Parties
Tony Knowles (D-AK) This is a very close one, but I think that Knowles will pull it out in a squeaker over Senator Lisa Murkowski. There is going to be a ton of money spent in Alaska over the next month. We will see how effective that will be....
Knowles wins Alaska- Republicans +1
Mel Martinez (R-Fl). Martinez looks to take over the seat left by departing Senator Bob Graham. Predicting elections in Florida is only slightly more difficult than predicting Hurricane paths, and, much like the hurricanes, these things seem to go which ever way the prevailing wind is blowing. If the President wins Florida, Martinez is likely a shoe in, otherwise.....? But I am callling this one for Martinze.
Martinez wins Florida- Republicans +2
Brad Carson (D-OK) Carson should not be winning this race. But he is. I do not believe that he will win by more than a percent or two. Unless his opponent starts sterilizing more women, that is.
Carson wins Oklahoma-Republicans +1
And finally the big one: Thune v Daschle.
Right now Daschle is at 56/61 to win this race on Tradesports. If gambling on the internet wasn’t STRICTLY ILLEGAL I would take that bet. Thune is winning in the polls right now, which means nothing, as pollsters don’t let people vote twice. cough ahem cough. A sitting Democratic Leader should not lose his seat given all of the power of that office, but Thune is a very disciplined candidate.
So right now I am calling it for Thune, by 87 votes.
Final tally, Republicans +2.
The Republicans will retain the Senate.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Quick Senate Update...