Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Road to 60

Yesteday, I said that the Republicans are likely to pick up House seats, as the climate and history favors them, but Republicans would still have a steep mountain to climb if they think they can become the majority party. What about the Senate?

The Senate is a different situation, as Democrats are likely to pick up even more seats. With the retirements of six Republican Senators (Judd, Voinovich, Brownback, Hutchinson, Martinez, Bond), New Hampsire being a strong Democratic state, three in notorious swing states (Ohio, Florida, Missouri), the high unfavorability ratings of Sen. Bunning (Kentucky) and Sen. Burr (North Carolina), and the serious primary fight of Sen. Specter (Pennslyvania; another strong Dem state), the Republicans are likely to have another disastrous election cycle. NRSC Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) fully expects losses:
“That’s going to be real hard, to be honest with you,” Cornyn said of keeping Democrats from reaching 60 seats, adding: “Everybody who runs could be the potential tipping point to get Democrats to 60. We’ve not only got to play defense; we’ve got to claw our way back in 2010. It’ll be a huge challenge.”
If Obama hadn't named Napolitano and Sebelius to cabinet positions, Democrats would have been heavily favored to capture more seats, in these cases Arizona and Kansas, respectively. Democrats, however, are not without their problems (see Sen. Dodd's high unfavorabilities), but on the whole, clearly the scale favors Democrats again. After two election cycles with severe losses, as it currently stands, Republicans are in for a long 2010. As I have said many times, however, two years is an eternity in political realtime.

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