The Jade Monkey

I didn't have a superiority complex until inferior people gave me one.

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Location: San Antonio, Texas, United States

6.07.2005

Senate 2006 Predictions

Since others have been playing, guess it's time to join. Here's my buddy Gulf Coast Bandit's picks (a bit more optimistic than I'm willing to be at this early stage), and the incomparable Dales' excellent analysis.

Here's the facts - 17 Democrat (+1 "Independent") seats up for grabs and 15 Republican.

Here are the seats I see as "safe" for the party, regardless of if the seat is open or not and needing no discussion:

D: Akaka (HI), Carper (DE), Clinton (NY), Feinstein (CA), Kennedy (MA), Lieberman (CT)
R: Allen (VA), Hatch (UT), Hutchinson (TX), Kyl (AZ), Lott (MS), Lugar (IN), Thomas (WY)

Add these as "virtually safe," with slightly more discussion:

Frist (R, TN) - I really don't see TN going blue, but the Dems are going to pour money into this race, in an effort to claim (with the aid of a complicit media) equal footing with what we did to Daschle, a poor man's version, since Frist isn't even running for re-election. (update: perhaps should be in the next category down, but I still say it's safe)

Snowe (R, ME) - Sen. Snowe is very popular in her state, despite being on the wrong side of the color line. It's possible Democrats (I mean the electorate, not the base of the national party which will of course try to do so regardless) will try and dump her to gain a seat, but assuming she survives any primary contenders unscathed (which probability is much greater than Sen. Chafee of RI), I think she is fairly safe.

Kohl (D, WI) - Wisconsin is trending more Republican especially at the very top of the ballot, but I don't think quite so much even at the next tier down. That plus vote fraud in Madison and Milwaukee should keep Kohl plenty safe.

So far that's 9 retentions for Republicans and 7 for Democrats. That leaves 11 Dems (including Jeffords) to discuss and 6 Republicans. Now the remaining in some semblance of order, from least competitive to most:

Bingaman (D, NM) - the right candidate could make this a close one, but NM's a lot like WI in this race, I think. Likely Dem hold.

Ensign (R, NV) - this could be a close one, but Nevadans could make this a referendum on the childish behavior of the newly re-elected and newly leader-fied Reid, and I can't see how that helps the Dem candidate. Likely Rep hold.

Corzine (D, NJ) - more shenanigans in the Garden state, with Corzine running for re-election Senator and Governor (which isn't technically shenanigans, but he could appoint his replacement if he wins the state house). NJ is also slowly tinting reddish, especially with all the corruption of the state Democrat party, but I don't think it's enough this time. Likely Dem hold.

Jeffords (I, VT) - one of the bluest states out there, and there doesn't seem a Republican (or even a moderate-by-comparison Democrat) that can stop Vermonters from the eternal shame of giving a Socialist the keys to the Senate house. Likely Ind/Dem hold.

Byrd (D, WV) - I actually considered this one much more competitive than most even before the shocking poll giving Byrd only a slim lead over an undeclared candidate. That said, should he choose to run, I think he probably holds his seat, no matter how close. Likely Dem hold.

Burns (R, MT) - not a particularly strong candidate, but I don't see this very red state helping the Dems out with the judges issue only tenuously settled. Likely Rep hold. (update: could be moved down into the Cantwell/Sarbanes area)

That cuts us down to 7 D and 4 R that I will dub truly competitive (though at least the last 4 above could become so).

Cantwell (D, WA) - IF Rossi runs, he wins, even in a state that re-elected one of the worst Senators in the country. That seems more likely with the court rejecting his appeal of Gregoire's fraudulent victory, but still not declared, so it remains on the borderline of competitive and not. Likely* Dem hold to Leaning Rep takeover.

Sarbanes (D, MD) - an open seat, with a strong, African American Republican candidate in Lt. Gov. Steele. But he's still got a lot to overcome in a very blue state. Leaning Dem hold.

Talent (R, MO) - I expect a close race, that's it. TOSSUP.

Stabenow (D, MI) - a weak candidate in an increaingly swing state. Wish the Repubs would have put up the Dem-turned-Rep preacher man, but it looks like it will be the pizza guy. TOSSUP.

DeWine (R, OH) - The big question here is will moderates come out and support him for the compromise, or will the base stay home? TOSSUP. (update: moving him up and Chafee down a bit, but also noting another reason DeWine could face a tight race - moonbat imaginings of a stolen election will not be allowed to die in the Buckeye state)

Nelson (D, FL) - with Harris as his opponent, this is going to be a very intense, big, and close fight (though polling has shown her lagging a bit behind other potential Republican nominees vs. Nelson). TOSSUP.

Chafee (R-RI) - assuming he survives a primary battle (no safe bet), he stands a better than even-money shot of winning re-election. However, RI is one of the bluest states, and they might well kick out even this very liberal incumbent Republican to try and put a scalp on their side of the board. TOSSUP.

Conrad (D, ND) - Could follow the lead of it's southern sister and put another nail in the long tradition of voting R for President and D for Congress. Leaning Rep takeover! (update: if Gov. Hoevan declines to run, this seat is a bit safer for the Dems)

Dayton (D, MN) - Dayton was an embarrassment, and MN is trending Republican. Leaning Rep takeover!

Nelson (D, NE) - A moderate Dem in a very red state, can his compromise save him? With Dr. Tom lending some coattails to a Rep challenger, I say close, but no cigar. Leaning Rep takeover!

Santorum (R, PA) - unless Swann gives some big coattails, and Specter returns a big favor, I'm afraid this is the most likely seat to change hands. Likely Dem takeover. :(

So, my (first) final (for now) prediction: We win 1 of Cantwell/Sarbanes/Stabenow, 1 of the Nelsons, and 1 or both of Conrad/Dayton, for 3 or 4 scalps. They beat Santorum and 1 or both of Chafee/DeWine for 2 or 3 scalps.

Net change: 0 to +2! (with a worst case scenario of -2 and a best case scenario of +5)

(update to move DeWine into slightly safer territory and Chafee and Ben Nelson into more danger, plus note a bit more danger for Frist* and Burns, though without changing designations)

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