I know this was discussed in the Alaska Senate race column, but I wanted to put in my two cents. Since that column is old, I wanted to put up a fresh one for everyone to talk at.
First off, Georgia. Now, I know that everyone's giving up on Georgia, but I have some good news for everyone. It appears that Michael Coles, the cookie company CEO and '98 Senate nominee (he nearly beat Paul Coverdell) has been recruited by the DSCC to run for the Senate again. Coles is a multi-millionaire and so can self-fund, plus he has an amazing life story. In addition, the GOP primary is getting nasty, with Collins and Isakson blasting away at each other. If the winner of the GOP primary is damaged, Coles could win.
Also, don't forget about Sonny Perdue's effect on the race. The ballot referendum on the new flag is not including the 1956 Confederate flag, and many Georgians are irate about this. They're likely to take their anger out on Perdue's party-the GOP. I'm not saying the Democratic nominee can win Georgia against Bush in 2004, but I am saying that we shouldn't count Georgia out yet. Another thing you should know is that a GOP pollster recently did a generic ballot test in Georgia of Dem vs. Repub. It was 46-46, meaning that the race will likely be competitive if we put up a strong candidate. Coles is a strong candidate, as are two other possible nominees-wealthy attorney Jim Butler and State Senate Minority Leader Michael Meyer VonBremen. I don't know their ideologies, but any of them would be better than Zell.
South Carolina-As a previous comment noted, a GOP poll shows Inez Tenenbaum easily beating the 4 major GOP candidates in the Senate race. So long as David Beasley, the former Governor, stays out of the race, Inez has a good shot at victory.
North Carolina-This race will be close. A Raleigh News-Observer poll has Bowles ahead 43-40 over Burr, with both men at roughly equal name recognition. With Dean only down by 14, Clark by 10 in NC in 2004, it's possible the state could be competitive in 2004 on the Presidential level (both are at 40% against Bush), which would help Bowles immensely.
Florida-No need to talk about it, only that I recommend we all support Betty Castor for the seat. She's the former Education Commmish, and a very strong candidate-she's also the same ideology as Graham. Let's just pray that Harris enters the race.
Now we come up to the GOP targets. If we can hold those four open seats (tough, but definately doable), then we only need two seats to take back the Senate. I see five good opportunities to do this:
Illinois: Democrats have very strong, multiple candidates here. My recomendation is State Senator Barack Obama, a brilliant progressive in the mold and spirit of Paul Wellstone. He's also won the support of many moderates in Illinois, and may have a slight edge in the primary. The GOPers are a bunch of no-namers, but they're mostly all rich, so the race will be somewhat competitive. Look for Jack Ryan to emerge from the GOP primary.
Alaska-Already discussed, but I'll add a recent poll from Ivan Moore Research (he's a Democrat, but his polls are independent), that shows Knowles up 46-43 over Murkowksi. Close, but a good sign so far.
Missouri: Nancy Farmer is getting some major political backup from the DSCC, and I think she's a strong threat to Bond. If she can break $750,000 by the end of the year, she's in good shape.
Colorado: Look for either Mark Udall or Gary Hart to run for the Senate here. Campbell is a notoriously poor fundraiser, and his health is in question. I'd hate to eliminate diversity in the Senate by defeating the only Native American Senator, but wouldn't you rather have a moderate Democrat than a conservative Republican?
Pennsylvania: This race depends on the GOP primary. If Toomey (as I think) downs Specter in the primary, then either Hoeffel or Charlie Crystle (the other Democratic candidate-he's a Howard Dean supporter and a millionaire!) will probably beat him. If Specter wins, but is bloodied, then it will be competitive. If Specter brushes Toomey off like a gnat, then expect this seat to fall off the table.
Those are my two cents, at least.