This week updates: Florida, Nevada, Utah, Virginia
Note Until we see how the Arizona race develop, I'm not ranking it as marquee or one to watch. Also to mention West Virginia is off the list.
Marquee Races & Ones To Keep An Eye On
Open Seat: (ID) Joe Lieberman retiring
Democrat: Rep. Chris Murphy, Former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz
Republican: Former WWE Executive Linda McMahon, Former Rep. Chris Shays
Rating: Strong Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) Two top tier recruits on the Democratic side, Chris Murphy & Susan Bysiewicz. On the Republican side you have Former WWE Executive Linda McMahon who got taken to the cleaners by now Sen. Blumenthal. Despite his on occasion distorting his military service he was able to win comfortably by a 55-43 margin. Carrying every county in the state except for the Northwest corner, Litchfield County. Chris Shays survived the blue tide of '06, but eventually the Obama tsunami caught up w/ him in '08 by losing his New York City suburban district in Southwestern Connecticut.
Bysiewicz has recently took a few hits in her numbers. Probably do to the fact of her playing musical chairs last year. Running for Governor, then instead running for Attorney General when Blumenthal was running for the open seat left by Chris Dodd's retirement, only come to find out she wasn't even qualified. Also her debacle as State Secretary by calling the very close Gubernatorial race between Dan Malloy & Tom Foley too early.
Those things, voters are most likely starting to remember & is what giving Murphy the edge in the primary & the general. Despite her pass stumble this going to be a great primary on the Blue team between two good candidates. Personally I would love to see more women senators elected, but no matter who wins the nod, Democrats shouldn't lose this seat. McMahon is going squash her opponents in the primary w/ her money only to blow it away in the general. Either way it's either going to be Senator-elect Murphy, or Bysiewicz, & so long to Joe Lieberman.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson
Challenger: Rep. Connie Mack IV, Former. Sen. George LeMieux, Former House Maj. Leader Adam Hasner, Ret. Army Colonel & University Professor Mike McCalister
Rating: Toss-Up/Slight Democrat Edge
Background: (10-10-11) I don't know what it is with Bill Nelson. Politicians all over DC would give a leg & arm to be in his position. Either he's a very good politician, or he's been extremely fortunate. I think both. Since being elected to the senate in 2000, Nelson has had the luxery of facing bad challengers. In '00 he faced Bill McCollum, which was a nasty campaign & his toughest to date. Nelson still won pretty comfortably by a 51-46 margin, that's pretty good in a state like Florida. Further proof that McCollum is a bad candidate is him losing to now Gov. Rick Scott in the Gubernatorial primary, Scott went on to barely beat CFO (State Treasurer) Alex Sink by the skin of his teeth.
'06 he had an even worst challenger in Fmr. Rep. Katherine Harris, who he just blew out the water! Nelson beat her in places that are Republican friendly. Places such as Pensacola, Panama City, Jacksonville, & Sarasota. I knew when Rick Scott got elected as Governor, Charlie Crist was politically shunned from Tallahassee & Washington GOP'ers, & Jeb Bush ruled out running for the senate, that Nelson had a much clearer path to a third term. Him & Democrats are going to benefit tremendously the fact that Obama is going to make a big push in Florida like almost every presidential candidate does, & that fact that the Dems have the Fair Redistricting in Florida where the GOP legislature in Tallahassee cannot gerrymander Florida's map on a federal & state level anymore.
Leaving a good recruit in the wings in 2018 shall he decide to retire. Bill is a very skilled pol & is a fairly moderate progressive. He has the edge & I think he'll win, but it's definitely going to be a close race. If he get's LeMieux who probably be bruised in the primary, he wins with some wiggle room to spare. If it's a far right tea party opponent like Hasner or McCalister, two individuals who support the Paul Ryan budget plan, that will play into Bill's hands in senior heavy populated Florida. Expect Bill to take them to the woodshed. As of right now this a lean hold.
(11-14-11): Even though Bill Nelson was leading his Republican challengers by double-digits in the high 40's we all knew that wasn't going to sustained for that long as the election got close. Once the Republican candidate was know the race was going to tightened up. Guess what? The future is now for Bill Nelson. After having a change a heart Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV, other wise known as Connie Mack has decided to jump in, and has made it a race. Still Mack has alot to prove. Welcome to to the big leagues (no pun intended). He giving up a safe house seat for a statewide election, against a tough incumbent who is not going to be easy to beat. It's going to be a very bloody GOP primary, benefiting Nelson. Like I said national GOP can't control their primaries. Just because he has a popular last name don't think for one moment his primary opponent won't drop the gloves.
There hasn't been a Mack on a statewide ballot in Florida in more the 15 years. '94 to be exact (his daddy was a former senator). There also was an early poll release in February as a hypothetical match up before Mack originally decided not to run, showing Nelson leading him 45-40. I don't think Bill Nelson is stupid where he taught there wasn't going to be a major shake-up in the race to challenge him, and he was going to cruise to reelection. Cause it certainly look like it. The way he's been raising money, going to have close to 15-20 mil. He hasn't taking it likely. Given Mack announcement I'm still rating this lean Dem but a slight lean hold.
For some miraculous if Mack turns out not to be the deal the GOP hopes him to be, and loses the primary, then this Nelson gets reelected. The good thing for Nelson is that you already know huge push Obama is going to make in Florida. With Obama on top of the ticket, if Obama wins Florida (which I believe he will), then Nelson also wins. I think Nelson will outperform Obama in Florida, by winning pick up more counties such as ones in the Tallahassee area like Madison, and Hamilton. Bill can definitely win Duval, if he does then it's a wrap. Even if the election was today, against any of the GOP nominee I believe Nelson will still win.
Open Seat: (D) Daniel Akaka retiring
Democrat: Rep. Mazie Hirono , Former Rep. Ed Case
Republican: Former Gov. Linda Lingle
Rating: Likely Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) With Senator Akaka retiring & Hawaii's favorite son on top of the ticket, it's very unlikely the Republicans flip this seat. The candidates on the Democratic side are Rep. Mazie Hirono & worthless asshole Ed Case. We all know what kind of gutter politics Case is going to run in order to try to win the primary that he won't win. We all know the muck he ran up in the that special election for Hawaii's 1st congressional district last year. Knowing that he had no path to being elected, instead of doing the honorable thing by stepping aside for the other Dem Colleen Hanabusa to win, he stayed in race thus splitting the vote. Resulting in Charles Djou the Republican being elected. Granted Hanabusa did win in November, but it just goes to show how much of a dick Case is.
My thought is that once campaigning season begins Hirono is going run rough shot, & pull away to clinch the Democratic nod. She'll be the first women senator from Hawaii, as well the first ever Asian-American women in the United States senate.
(10-18-11): So it's official former Gov. Linda Lingle has official thrown her hat for the open seat in Hawaii. Some so call political pundit now has rated this as a "Toss-up" Pleeeeaasse (rolling my eyes).
(10-24-11): Maybe it wasn't wise to overlook Linda Lingle jumping into this race, & dismissing her as a joke because she has made this a race. So much so that I'm changing the rating to a strong to likely hold. At the same time it's no reason to get nervous. 1. It's a big hole in Ed Case chances of being the nominee, & plus most of the state party is behind Hirono. 2. Obama is on top of the ticket. I think Lingle has hit her ceiling & can't get further beyond that mark. I tell you one thing tough, whoever is the Chair of the Democratic Party in Hawaii should vigorously pull all the establishment & every elected official to rally behind Hirono & make her the presumptive nominee.
Incumbent: Republican Sen. Richard Lugar
Challenger(s): Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly & Republican State Secretary Richard Mourdock
Rating: Leans Republican Hold
Background: (10-10-11) Lugar is in the same boat as Snowe, he's a top target for the far right. His challenger in the primaries is State Tres. Richard Mourdock who is running far to Lugar's right. I think Obama was very lucky to win Indiana in '08. He edged McCain by carrying Indianapolis, but by carrying the Chicago burbs in Northwest Indiana, & the Louisville burbs in Southern Indiana. Indiana is least likely to go blue this time around, but there's a chance that if Lugar goes down that Donnelly can win. So right now to play this safe I'm rating this as lean red.
Incumbent: Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (As of right now)
Challenger: Former Gov. John Baldacci? House Min. Leader Emily Cain? Former Gubernatorial Candidate & Businesswomen Rosa Scarcelli?
Rating: Leans Republican hold
Background: (10-10-11) This has casualty of Tea Party written all over it. Snowe probably knew when Maine elected a tea party governor in 2010 in Paul LePage, she was in troble. Credit given he barely won in a four person race by two points. Still Maine Republicans are in a mood for a more conservative Republican candidate. There alot of If's, What, & Who. Lets start with Who? The Dems need to recruit a top tier challenger.
John Baldacci is a great pick up. Now with the If, cause if Snowe is taken down by a more conservative challenger, the Democrats need to have a nominee that could guarantee one of a few pick ups they'll have that night. That make up for likely loses in North Dakota & Nebraska. Now What? Snowe could take the easy way out & just decide to retire, but she already running for re-election. I don't think she'll become a Democrat, do a Crist & turn Independent, or do write-in like Lisa Murkowski if she lose her primary. The Republicans won't have that, they're hell bent on taking the senate on they don't want nothing slowing them down. She might just take a que from Michael Bennet & Arlen Specter (eat your humble pie & accept you loss). I know Markos has wrote alot about Olympia Snowe & the dilemma facing her. As of right now this is a lean hold. Stay tune folks, because this is going to be one to watch!
Incumbent: Republican Sen. Scott Brown
Challenger: Former Obama Adviser & Consumer Financial Protection advocate Elizabeth Warren
Rating: Toss-Up/Slight Democratic Edge
Backgroud: (10-10-11) This race should'nt even be marque, or competitive. If Martha Coakley just shook hands outside of Fenway Park, and campaigned like she really wanted to be a senator from Massachusetts, then we wouldn't have a Republican sitting in Teddy Kennedy seat. Maybe the Brown win was a blessing disguise, because Liz Warren is a far more better candidate then Coakley. She squashes the notion that Sen. Centerfold is untouchable. She already has Brown shitting in his pants. Also the people of Massachusetts like what they here from her so far. Massachusetts is pretty likely to go blue in '12, but I don't Brown will be able to convince the people to split their tickets. Until this race progresses further I'm going to rate this as a toss up.
(10-18-11): Just barely a month since she launched her senate campaign & so far Liz Warren has raked in a little over 3 mil. Making it very likely for Brown to be burning thru his 10 mil like you can't believe. Plus the report of Brown plagiarising from former Sen. Liddy Dole, make it safe to say it's been a crap month for Sen. Centerfold.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow
Challenger: Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra
Rating: Likely Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) After the red tide of '10 DC pundits believed Debbie Stabenow would be vulnerable. Probably because of Romney's Michigan roots, (assuming he wins the GOP presidential nod). The fact that he was born in Detroit & his father was Governor in the 60's. I beg to differ. 1. That was so long ago that people don't even remember those day when his pops was Govnah. 2. Mitt's "Let Detroit go Bankrupt" comment isn't going to play well in Michigan. 3. Expect Obama to tout what he did to save the auto industry. An industry not just vital to the Motor City, but the entire state of Michigan. Hoekstra is a crazy fuck. He Tried to run hard right for the GOP primary for Governor of Michigan last year. Even though I believe she's going to win this race, expect her to run like she's 10 points down. Got this as a likely hold.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill
Challenger: Former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Rep. Todd Aiken
Background: (10-10-11) I think we all knew back when Claire beat then-Sen. Jim Talent by a 50-47 margin,who back in '02 barely beat Jean Carnahan, chances were she's going to have to fight for re-election given the swingish nature of Missourah. McCaskill is a smart & savvy politician. I know she not perfect & she goes off the reservation a bit, but by no means is she a Ben Nelson, or Evan Bayh. Guys who intentionally try to screw their own party at every turn they get. She preaches economic populism like her colleague Sherrod Brown from Ohio, & that plays well especially in the Midwest. Depending on who the challenger is, it's going to have and impact on the race. Both candidates are going to give her a run for money.
Obviously this is a prime seat that the GOP are eyeing & believe they could pick it up. If she has Todd "bat shit crazy" Aiken, she has a better chance of holding on. If it's Steelman she is gonna have to work for it either way. It also helps that Gov. Nixon is going to be on the ballot with her. She need to hope that Democrats have a strong ticket in Missouri along w/ her & Nixon. So far that seem going in the right direction w/ Fmr. State Auditor & Chairwomen of the Missouri Democratic Party, Susan Montee throwing her hat in the ring for Lt. Gov. Even though I think she has the edge as of right now this is just a pure tossup, to close to call.
(10-24-11): Missouri Republicans are becoming quite nervous, & are starting to pull the alarm. They're having a rough time finding credible candidates for next year elections. Luckily Dems have top tier recruits for '12. Gov. Nixon is most likely a shoe in for reelection. State Party Chair & Fmr. State Auditor Susan Montee is running for Lt. Gov. Chris Koster who switch parties in '07 is running for Attorney General again.
Unfortunately State Secretary Robin Carnahan is retiring instead of seeking a likely shoe in for reelection, State Rep. Jason Kander from KC is looking replace her. We all know about Lt Gov. Kinder no need to go there. The two GOP candidates vying to take on McCaskill, Sarah Steelman & Todd Aiken are having awful, matter of fact horrific fund raising numbers. That's probably making McCaskill grinning a bit, but she still polling slightly ahead in polls within the margin of error. A little two close for comfort, but the bright side for Democrat are Republicans are having such crap candidates that even though Obama probably wont win Mizzou, Dems would do better down ballot in the other races.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Jon Tester
Challenger: Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg
Background: (10-10-11) Tester barely won in '06 what was a good year for Democrats, against a very vulnerable incumbent Sen. Conrad Burns in a 49-48 nail biter. Tester also voted against the DREAM Act showing that he only cares about getting re-elected. He has the strongest challenge in Montana only member in the House of Representatives Danny Rehberg. Rehberg was smart not to vote for the Paul Ryan plan, knowing that Tester was going to beat him over the head w/ it. This race is most likely going to be a toss-up till election day.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson
Challenger: Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning, State Treasurer Don Stenberg, State Sen. Deb
Rating: Leans Republican Gain
Background: (10-10-11) Nelson is the most endangered Democratic incumbent up for re-election. Beltway insider thought that he was vulnarable for in '06 cycle to the possible by then Governor Mike Johanns challenge. Right after Bush was re-elected in '04 he tapped Johanns to be his Ag. Secretary. Nebraska GOP could'nt find a good candidate cause their top choices passed. But now Nelson will not be so lucky. Polls shows him losing to Bruning & Stenburg. His best hope is to have a tea party nutjob, but even still Nebraska is a pretty red state & I don't see people spitting the tickets at the ballot booth unless the GOP nominee is really, & I mean really crazy as fuck.
Bruning has loss some steam resulting in Ben Nelson closing the gap. If there's any Democrat I would love to see lose in '12 it's Ben Nelson. He was probably one of those "anonymous Democratic senators" who criticized Obama's tone as of lately towards the GOP as "not being productive" (if anyone could find that artice that would be great!). This is a leans republican gain, not putting this as likely yet.
Incumbent: Republican Sen. Dean Heller
Challenger: Democratic Rep. Shelly Berkley
Rating: Toss-up/Leans Democratic Gain
Background: (10-10-11) This is one of the few seats that the Dems can pick up in a map that's let's favorable to them, where they don't have luxury of playing offense, and have to defend 23 seats. With the John Ensign marital affair scandal that came too surface in 2009, he at first still was going too run for reelection. Then he decided not to run because he was going to get crush either in the primary or the general. Due to pressure to retire from the GOP senate leadership, he made way for then-Rep. Dean Heller & decided not to seek re-election. Facing the prospect that he was going to face ethic charges he resigned from the senate, & Dean Heller was appointed by Gov. Sandoval.
The challenger Rep. Shelly Berkley is a formidable opponate, but she has had to endure some bumps in the road as of lately, involving her husband's medical practice. Personally I would had preferred Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez-Mastos. Senate age wise she's young, attractive, ambitious, but most of all she's Latina. Having a Democratic Latina senator from a state that is 1/4 Hispanic would a good cast mate for the Dems. There would had been no way that Heller would had beaten her, especially with the Democratic machine that Harry Reid has built in Nevada over the years.
But still Berkley is a good prime recruit for Team Blue, and Mastos is a prime recruit waiting in the wings, if a possible Reid retirement happens in 2016. Giving that Heller voted for the Ryan budget twice, It'll come back to bite him. The fact Reid has built a good state establishment for the Dems from the ground up, is a plus for the Berkley. I still believe the Dems have a good chance of gaining this seat.
(11-14-11): Even Dean Heller knows this is going to be a tough race. Also appointees, statically most of them don't get nominate for a full term. To me that's kind of a true, but also false stat. It really depends what state that senator is from. Shelly Berkley isn't just from Vegas, she is Vegas. Her fund raising capabilities is ridiculous. Because of her fund raising abilities she is tied with Heller. One thing to point out is that Berkley is polling with 3/4 of the Latino vote in the Silver State. That's the amount that help Harry Reid beat Sharron Angle, as well as Obama win over McCain in Nevada. If that continues then you can bet that Heller will be another statistic.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez
Challenger: State Senate Min. Leader Tom Kean, Jr? Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno?
Rating: Likely Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) I had to put this race on here 1. because I live in Jersey & 2. NJ politics is quite interesting. Menendez became senator when Corzine was elected Governor of New Jersey back in '05, & tapped then Rep. Menendez to be his successor. In '06 he faced quite a challenge from the State Minority Leader in the in the state senate Thomas Kean Jr. Son of popular Governor in the 80's Tom Kean Sr. But when it was all said & done Menendez mopped up Kean Jr. 53-43 margin.
Menendez had to leap some hurdles. Some were partisan, some were political, & some were ethical. Specifically by at the time US Attorney for New Jersey Chris Christie. There's no love lost between two. In '06 Christie tried to open & issue investigations & subpoenas against him in his politcal dealings in the Garden State, nearly derailing his campaign in a heat race with Kean Jr. Just two months before the elections. A blatantly partisan hit by Christie, which was an attempt to raise his stock within the GOP ranks in Jersey. Before he was in the Senate, his congressional house district comprises of New Jersey's two largest cities in the two largest counties. Newark in Essex County & Jersey City in Hudson County. Op-eds in the Times & Star-Ledger proclaim him as running Hudson County as a politcal machine.
Still his foes who've alleged corruption have still failed to generate a single indictment. However, Menendez looks good for another term. Menendez is a strong voice in the US Senate, in which he was a staunch voice for the DREAM Act & the Zadroga Bill. He is probably New Jersey most powerful politician. In 2001 he coordinated Jim McGreevey gubernatorial campaign, as well as state legislative races in New Jersey. Effectively ending Republican rule in Trenton & establishing a Democratic trifecta, resulting in Dems controlling the State House & Senate. So far no major canidate has step up. I doubt Kean Jr. wants another shot (probably waiting for '14) whoever he faces Menendez has the upper hand as New Jersey is likely to go blue in '12.
(10-18-11): Blah, blah, blah. It's that same old story again. That story that suggest a Republican can win a federal statewide race in Jersey. Yet Roberto is still crushing his opponents. For some reason Garden State Dems seem to lead in polls, or labeled "potentially vulnerable". Only to win there race weather it's close, or a double digit blowout. At the end they win. It's like Garden state Dems are Lucy with the football, & the Repubs are like Charlie Brown always landing on their asses.
Just because folks in NJ the state I live in, would tolerate electing a GOP Governor at times as a balance to our Democratic controlled legislature, doesn't mean they would elect a Republican to the US Senate. Nor the White House. It's something that national Repubs can't seem to understand. Just let them keep believing that pipe dream.
Open Seat: (D) Jeff Bingaman retiring
Democrat: Rep. Martin Heinrich, State Auditor Hector Balderas
Republican: Former Rep. Heather Wilson, Lt. Governor John Sanchez
Rating: Leans Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) Two very competitive primaries on both sides, which will lead to a competitive general. Heinrich & Balderas are the candidates on the Demoractic side. Both of them have very bright futures, & are quite handsome individuals. Obviously & rightly so the DSCC are not going to take side in this race. Giving that you have a Hispanic candidate, in a Hispanic heavy state. Heather Wilson tried to run for Domenici open seat in '08, but lost to a more conservative challenger. Expect the same thing to happen to her again. She's not a favorite for the likes of the Tea Party Express, Club For Growth & Redstate crowd. Most likely they going to roll w/ Lt. Gov. Sanchez. The thing is the Dems have two good recruits, so who ever wins the primary will have an advantage for the general due to the fact that New Mexico leans blue.
Incumbent: Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown
Challenger: State Treasurer Josh Mandel? Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor?
Rating: Leans Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) In '06 Brown pick the perfect time to run for the senate when took on Mike DeWine. Who was the second most endangered incumbent senator that year, right behind Rick Santorum. also back in '06 then term limit incumbent Bob Taft was very unpopular, which resulted in Ted Strickland elected as Governor. Sherrod Brown toughest race to date was back in '94 with Newt Gingrich Republican Revolution. Brown eked out a 49-46 victory. Ever since then he has won pretty comfortably, but '12 he gonna have to fight. Brown has alot going for him, recents poll shows him running double digits among his likeliest opponents right now. He preaches that oh so good economic populism that play well in Ohio. Expect Brown to have the inside track in this race. As of now this is as a lean hold.
Incumbent: Democrtic Sen. Bob Casey, Jr.
Challenger: Fmr. US House candidate Tim Burns, Businessman Steve Welch
Rating: Likely Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) The Casey name is like gold in the Keystone State. It's like what the Kennedy's are to Massachusetts, the Carnahan's in Missouri, Coumo's to New York, or the Landrieu's to Louisiana. Alot Democrats don't like his position on abortion, but beside that he's a moderate progressive, overall he a good team player for senate Dems. He doesn't go haywire or is a thorn in the side. Republicans just cannot find a top tier in this race, so I don't want to get confident & put this as a strong hold so instead I'm going to rate this as likely Democratic hold.
(10-24-11): Apparently the GOP in Pennsylvania can't find a good candidate to take on Bob Casey. These individuals who've declared themselves in the race are just waiting for an ass whooping. Tim Burns who lost twice two now Rep. Mark Critz in '10 one in a special election & then in the general. Another candidate is a business man name Steve Welch. One candidate that I'm surprise that the GOP haven't been able to recruit is Fmr. Governor & the first Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. They tried to in '10 but it didn't work. He the only challenger to Bob Casey that could make this race competitive.
Open Seat: (R) Kay Bailey Hutchison retiring
Democrat: Former Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez
Republican: Lt. Gov David Dewhurst, State Solicitor General Ted Cruz
Rating: Likely Republican Hold
Background: (10-10-11) Lets face it the Democrats don't have a strong enough bench in Texas. Ever since the 90's the Republicans have dominated state politics. Starting with George W. Bush beating the incumbent Ann Richards for Governor of Texas in '94. That office eventually propelled W. to the White House in '00. Also that same year Bush was elected as Governor, Kay Bailey won a full term to the senate, & ever since then the Republican have been able to held Texas in a political headlock. Turning Texas into a deep red state with a few blue oasis. A state where for decades Democrats were pretty much the only party in Texas, & the rest of the South, before Nixon & the Republican in the 60's began the Southern Strategy.
The reason why I put this race on this list even though it's not going to be competitive in the general, is the primary on the Republican side. Between Dewhurst & Cruz, the potential of a establishment candidate being knockoff by a tea party candidate. So far Cruz stock is rising. The NRSC head by Texas Senator Jon Cornyn is not taking sides in this, just like Patty Murray & the DSCC w/ the race in New Mexico. Neither party wants to piss off Hispanic voters, especially the Republcans. Democrats will be competitive in Texas one day, but our time is not now. Either way I have this as a likely hold for the GOP.
Incumbent: Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch
Rating: Likely Republican Hold
Background: (10-10-11) I don't believe that a Democrat can win a state wide office in a state like Utah, especially in a Presidential year w/ the possibily that Romney may be the GOP candidate for president. Rep. Jim Matheson is the only Democrat in the Utah delegation, & the most electable. Hatch got a lucky break when Rep. Jason Cheffetz decided not to run for senate. Hatch is still vulnerable to a primary challenge. Also Jim Matheson has'nt decide on what he's going to do. Until then I'm having this as a likely hold for the incumbent party.
(11-14-11): I had a feeling that Matheson wasn't going to challenge Orrin Hatch. So I guess he going to run in a tougher district. Really the reason why this is on the list is because it's a huge possibility the Orrin Hatch can lose the primary, but I'm starting to believe that he might survive. I'm very close to putting this one on the shelf.
Open Seat: (D) Jim Webb retiring
Democrat: Former Gov. & DNC Chair Tim Kaine
Republican: Former Sen. George Allen
Rating: Toss-Up (assuming that Allen wins the GOP nod)
Background: (10-10-11) Just incase I need to refresh your memory Macaca should have been the end of his political career. Allen was a likely Republican front runner for the GOP presidential nominee for '08. He went on to lose to Webb. Apparently he has a good shot to win his old job back. Tim Kaine who Democrats had bust their ass to get him in this race and finally did, Is very popular in Virginia and was recently Governor. This is going to come the to two things.
1. Who's on the GOP presidential ticket. 2. The tea party effect. First if Allen does win the GOP nod he needs to wish for the Republicans to have somebody on the ticket that can attract voters in rural VA. If you look at my review for Wisconsin, no GOP establishment candidate has the nominee too him or herself. Remember the 2012 election does not begin until the Iowa caucus. So right now establishment GOP candidates are in a good spot, because people are not paying that much attention to their senate races.
So Allen can breathe easy for right now. Better believe once the campaign season begins alot of Tea Party candidates will generate traction, and take down establishment candidates. You already know of their names of those who cost their party senate seats last year, and those who won but GOP had to spend a few more bucks then they would have like. If Allen loses in the primaries then this is an absolute hold for the Dems, if he does survive, and depending on how he does, then race is a toss-up.
(11-14-11): If there's anything thing that the state elections in Virignia taught us last week, specifically the state senate races, is that the race between Tim Kaine & George Allen will be the most watched and tightest race in the country. This race may go to the wee hours of the early morning. It's a high possibility that the race will be called late night. Both men have been neck-and-neck in the polls. Just to point out the first ever polled conducted between Kaine & Allen back in November of last year, showed Kaine leading Allen 50-44.
Mind you this poll was release before Jim Webb decided not to run in February of this year. Kaine jumped in the race in April. Ever since then we all knew that the race was going to become tight as the months went on. As tight as polling is Kaine has lead in most of them anywhere between 1-4 points, only one poll showed Allen leading, and about two polls showed them tied. Anyway you look at it this race is going to be very very close. Obviously who ever wins Virginia is going to have a major factor who wins this race. I have a hunch that something telling me Kaine is going to pull it out.
Open Seat: (D) Herb Kohl retiring
Democrat: Rep. Tammy Baldwin
Republican: Former Gov. Tommy Thompson, Fmr Rep. Mark Neumann, Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald
Prediction: Leans Democratic Hold
Background: (10-10-11) Obviously with the political climate that been going on in Wisconsin this is going to be one of the closet watch senate races on election night. Democrats just like all over the country got bulldozed in 2010, and in a result we lost control of alot of legislatures in the senate and house. In Wisconsin Democrats lost the Governors Mansion, State Senate, and House. Walker and the GOP began their anti-union work, but not without backlash and becoming within one seat away in losing the state senate in the recall elections in July.
Tammy Baldwin is a prime recruit for the Dems. A great progressive fighter, and shall she win not only would she become the first female senator from the state of Wisconsin, but also the first ever LGBT senator elected to the United States Senate. This race is going to depend on who is the GOP nominee. Fmr. Gov. Tommy Thompson is the frontrunner, but he does not have the nominee to himself. Honestly his best shot was to run against Russ Feingold, and he passed. As a result Feingold lost to Ron Johnson. As we saw in '10, Republicans cannot control their primaries (i.e. Nevada, Colorado, and Delaware).
I believe his time has past, and it's been a long time since he's been Governor. If Thompson does not win the nominee then the Dems have a very substantial advantage in this race. If Thompson does win, then it's going to be more competitive, but Tommy is going to be very bruised up. The fact that he has two futher right opponets, and Club for Growth against him. Also doesn't help that WI primaries are in September, he may too bruised to take on Baldwin. Baldwin does benefit that Wisconsin is a lean blue state. It'll also help if Scott Walker is on the ballot for re-call. Right now I got this as slight edge for the Democrat assuming that Thompson doesn't survive.
(10-24-11): I don't know if it can get any better for Tammy Baldwin. She pretty much has the Democratic field to herself, giving her an enough time to define & introduce herself to Wisconsin voters. While on the the Republican side it looks like it will be an absolute bloodbath. Former Sen. Russ Feingold lend his endorsement to Baldwin while other Dems are being smart & not challenging her. Her follow WI colleague in the US House Ron Kind making sure she has an easy time to the general & holding that seat. Plus lets hope that the WI Dems can get a successful recall of Scott Walker aswell his Lt. Rebecca Kleefisch. If that happens that'll give a huge boost to Baldwin.
Races Not Likely To See The Light of Day
Open Seat: (R) Jon Kyl retiring
This race would have been competitive if the assassination attempt of Gabby Giffords never happened. Giffords was planning to run anticipating Kyl's retirement. Her family is making sure she is physically & mentally sound , shall she decide to run for her house seat. GOP Rep. Jeff Flake is in the race & likely to be the newest senator from Arizona.
Incumbent: (D) Sen. Dianne Feinstein
I tought when her campaign chest was wiped out she might instead retire, but apparently not. Even if she did decide to call it a career the seat wasn't likely to flip.
Incumbent: (D) Sen. Tom Carper
Obama & Biden are going to be on top of the ticket.
Incumbent: (D) Sen. Ben Cardin
I don't even think the Maryland GOP has a pulse.
Incumbent: (D) Sen. Amy Klobuchar
She very popular to be endangered to a fierce challenge.
Incumbent: (R) Sen. Roger Wicker
It will be a long time, or if ever we'll see a Democratic Senator from Mississippi.
Incumbent: (D) Sen. Kirsten Gilibrand
She's a rising star.
Open Seat: (D) Kent Conrad retiring
This seat is gone
Incumbent: (D) Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse
Rhode Island is the probably the bluest state in all of New England. No way Whitehouse loses.
Incumbent: (R) Sen. Bob Corker
Corker had to really fight hard in '06 by a fierce challenge by then Rep. Harold ford out of Memphis, in a race to replace retiring Senate majority leader (R) Bill Frist. It would been great to see the GOP lose the seat of their leader in the senate, in a reliably red state. Had Ford won he would had been the first African-American senator from the South since reconstruction. That never happened, Corker was able to sqeek out a 51-48 victory. Our only hope at this seat was if just recent former Gov. Phil Bradesen got in the race. Polls actually showed that Bradesen was the only Democrat that can beat Corker. Unfortunately that's not going to happen.
Incumbent: (I) Sen. Bernie Sanders
This race will definitely never see the light of day. Sanders win easily.
Incumbent: (D) Maria Cantwell
If they couldn't beat Patty Murray in '10, what makes you think that the GOP is going to beat Cantwell?
Incumbent: (R) John Barrasso