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Fix Poll: The best 2010 state

With 38 Senate races, 37 governors races and as many as 100(!) competitive House races on the docket, the 2010 midterm election are an embarrassment of riches for political junkies.

But, which state features the best series of races -- the one state where a Fixista would spend the next year if the goal was full immersion in the politics of the midterms? (Yes, this is our version of the "stranded on desert island" question.)

Is it Connecticut with an open seat governor's race and a Senate race that features an embattled incumbent, two self funders, a former Member of Congress and an acolyte of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)?

How about Texas with what is shaping up to be a legendary Republican primary for governor and a special election for the Senate that could be a free-for-all the likes of which haven't been seen in the Lonestar State in decades?

We've nominated those two and four other states below. Vote early, vote often. We'll hold the vote open until noon tomorrow and then announce the winner.

Have state suggestions we didn't mention? Make your case in the comment section below.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 11, 2009; 11:06 AM ET
Categories:  Fix Poll  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Fix: Obama's Ft. Hood moment
Next: The most important number in politics today


How could you skip OH its got a Gov. open seat seat and at least 4 competitive house races???

Posted by: bparrish | November 12, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

How about New York? The Governor is likely to lose, either in the primary or in the general. Both races could be competitive, though Cuomo starts both as favourite. A former governor is mulling a challenge in the Senate special election and there is a scheduled Senate election on the ballot too. There will also be several competitive House races.

Posted by: qlangley | November 12, 2009 3:10 AM | Report abuse

I think the Perry/KBH feud gives Texas the edge. What could be more entertaining than a sitting governor who accuses the president of taking us on the path to socialism and advocates secession?

Re: the "democrat" party - I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh use that and push for its use. He seems to enjoy plays on names as insults.

Posted by: -pamela | November 11, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

joe, as far as dog-whistle is concerned, you can't beat 'diversity' which they always pronounce in winger ads with dripping contempt.

i have written and directed radio spots, the tonality and the emphasis [and music] is as integral to meaning as the words.

Posted by: drindl | November 11, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Ohio and Pennsylvania have plenty of contests, but look at the particular personalities involved, not very exciting. Texas with it's Texas-sized personalities and several hundred counties will be interesting. Also, we will see an ugly side of Charlie Crist in Florida's GOP primary. California will be a tough election, our state government, botl GOP and Dems is totally disfunctional, will Jerry Brown roar back to life? He has been governor, mayor of Oakland, a tough city, and attorney general, what are his accomplishments? Will Ebay CEO Whitman get the job? Is she competent or all for show? Gay marriage could make or break either one of them. Finally, let's not forget New York State with 2 Senate seats, including one appointed by a very inept governor also seeking reelection. Will Guiliani run for governor? Will former GOP governor Pataki run for senate? The state senate is practically split. 27 of 29 members of congress are now Dems, that could all change depending on the top of the ticket.

Posted by: gckarcher | November 11, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Chris, I voted based on the places I would want to go to on the weekends, so it was Colorado, not Pennsylvania I would have voted for New Mexico last year. Big fan of the four corners area.

Posted by: jameshauser | November 11, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

I can dream, can't I?

Imagine waking up one morning and there are no more Palinites anywhere. No trolls filthing up the blog, no 35-MPH drivers on the freeway, no cold dead fingers bumperstickers, no Bachmann or Palin or Pawlenty screaming for attention.

It would be a much better USA.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 11, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure about this, but I think the the Marianas Trench was protected by the Shrub administration (after making sure no one he knew actually owned it and that there was no oil or any other valuable resource to take). So it can not be polluted.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I really don't get any amusement or satisfaction watching our nation's politics lurch though one disgraceful episode after another.

It's bad enough that we have this ugly Palinite underclass, the fact that they make such a disproportionately loud noise and have such a disproportionately ugly effect on our discourse is in no way interesting. I wish we could send the whole seventeen percent on a one-way trip to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 11, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, yes Mike I remember Dole doing it, it was jarring, it sounded hateful, but I coundn't figure out why; OHIOC, absent a thiopental release, I can't remember those guys talking, but you are probably right if you do.

Meanwhile, it is true Rubio/Meek would really be something, but so over the top I don't even want to wish for it. Seriously, that would be one that could be bloody.

So I'll stick with hook'm horns.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I think many Republicans started dropping the "ic" from Democratic when speaking of the opposing party at some point during the 1980s. Don't recall who the individual Republican---maybe Lee Atwater or Ed Rollins ?--was who first started doing this, but it's been happening for more than 20 years.


Well at some point it went from a personal verbal tic to part of the GOP lexicon of dog whistle for the base. I think for Bush the Lesser it was never a four-syllable word.

Dole had so many little tics so many little tics so many little tics so many little tics that it wasn't even noticeable.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 11, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I think many Republicans started dropping the "ic" from Democratic when speaking of the opposing party at some point during the 1980s. Don't recall who the individual Republican---maybe Lee Atwater or Ed Rollins ?--was who first started doing this, but it's been happening for more than 20 years.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 11, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm with sverigegrabb--same reasons. It's a swing state, so the district races should be interesting. But nothing is going to beat the PA Senate elections. Insurgent vs. turncoat in the primary. Grudge match of one kind or another in the

I'd vote Florida as my second choice. Rubio/Crist is shaping up to be a barn burner and if Rubio wins, Rubio/Meek is going one of the hottest races in the country. Add to that a governor's race and you'd got a PhD thesis or two.

Me, I'm hoping for Sestak/Toomey and Rubio/Meek. As political theatre goes, it's Shakespearean!


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 11, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Of these, PA is by far the most instructive about trends in the nation as a whole. Plus how can you beat Toomey-Specter-Sestak?

Posted by: billmcg1 | November 11, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I remember Bob Dole called it the "Democrat Party" during the 1996 elections, but I'm sure it was common before then. Gingrich always used it, so it goes back to at least 1994.

Posted by: mikenmidland | November 11, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Ah, Chris!

What torture! Having to choose just one. Because I couldn't choose more, I chose PA: Will Sestak defeat newly minted D. Specter in the primary? Will Toomey be able to rebrand himself (falsely) as a moderate in the McDonnell mold? Will the Dem. be able to defeat Toomey or the other way around? Ah, the exquisite torture!

I almost chose your former state of CT, b/c of Dodd, but if he can shepherd Wall St. reform through, he might be rehabilitated enough to pull it out.

IL was a brief temptation, but Kirk's bleating request to Palin gave me pause; ditto the gay rumours which, although they make no difference to me or most of the electorate, might create enough of a scandal if they surfaced to derail him.

Depending on who else gets into the D. primary, Lexi should be able to take this one fairly easily, but then, never say never in politics! Ain't it great?

Posted by: sverigegrabb | November 11, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Joe I was joking about the Current Party table labels over there on the right side of the screen. That is what krush was talking about.

And sadly, in text, CC did use Democrat as an adjective the week before last, it could have been a typo, but I thought it was a send up.

Say, do you know for sure whether Rush invented that? I though it was Rove.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2009 2:52 PM

Yeah, s2, I spotted the references in the table after I had already posted. Sorry.

You may be right about the inventor of "Democrat." In any event, insofar as this space is using "Democrat" as an adjective, it is a clear dog whistle to the extremist Phalinite community, sort of like "multiculturalism."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 11, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Well there was a time (the 30s IIRC) when the "In God We Trust" motto was removed completely from all our coinage because the president regarded it as banal to have the name of the deity on money. His successor restored it.

Leave it to Palin to see monsters, pulling the plug on God.


Personally I find any presumption of belief in the supernatural to be offensive. If you want to put up Halloween decorations with cutesy ghosts and adorable monsters then knock yourselves out but for adults it's increasingly creepy.

Saw a "Yes Virginia There Is No God" sign on the side of a bus last night. BIG letters, hopefully prompting children to wonder. Warmed mah hart lemme tell ya.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 11, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Joe I was joking about the Current Party table labels over there on the right side of the screen. That is what krush was talking about.

And sadly, in text, CC did use Democrat as an adjective the week before last, it could have been a typo, but I thought it was a send up.

Say, do you know for sure whether Rush invented that? I though it was Rove.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

The Keystone State is the most exciting state because you have extremes in POV,a few primaries on both sides, a candidate running on a different line, 3 district races, some open, that can flip and an open Gov. seat. And like Indiana Michigan and Ohio, PA. is an barometric to be analyzed carefully. It does has more races than any other state.

Posted by: mkaplan1220 | November 11, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

While the local progressives have not been happy with Betsy Markey she is doing what she needs to do to get re-elected. She voted against the health care. That may make up for Cap & Trade (a vote she might want back). She is well funded and the progressives are just going to have to understand not voting for her will allow the Musgrave clone to take that seat.

Posted by: bradcpa | November 11, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jdcw | November 11, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Iowa should be considered for this list. The governor's race will likely feature the incumbent versus a former governor and Grassley will likely face an actual opponet who can tap into large amounts of money in Roxanne Conlin. Combined with his prominent role and withdrawal from the healthcare debate and the swing towards the left that Iowa has taken, these races will demonstrate the popularity of Obama's politics in the heartland.

Posted by: justinerickson | November 11, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

These morons will swallow anything:

In addition to the suggestion that government officials would consider hastening the death of
the infirm or handicapped, she began her remarks with a puzzling commentary on the design of newly minted dollar coins.

Noting that there had been a lot of “change” of late, Palin recalled a recent conversation with a friend about how the phrase “In God We Trust” had been moved to the edge of the new coins.

“Who calls a shot like that?” she demanded. “Who makes a decision like that?”

She added: “It’s a disturbing trend.”

Unsaid but implied was that the new Democratic White House was behind such a move to secularize the nation’s currency.

But the new coins – concerns over which apparently stemmed from an email chain letter widely circulated among conservatives – were commissioned by the Republican-led Congress in 2005 and approved by President Bush.'

Posted by: drindl | November 11, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

As HRC might say, as far as I know, CC has used the adjective "Democratic" rather than the insulting Limbaugh-invented term "Democrat." See below:

"The Quinnipiac numbers should be of concern to national Democratic strategists due to the primacy of Ohio to the electoral calculus of the two parties. Ohio has been a central battleground state at the presidential level for decades and has taken on an evem more heightened profile over the past two elections."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 11, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

If The Fix was an early adopter in identifying MN Governor Pawlenty as a member of the GOP's 'rising', we should label this piece by Dan Balz as pinpointing Pawlenty's apogee:


More of the same. Pawlenty speaks out both sides, first saying that the GOP needs to be more inclusive but unwilling to include anyone not vetted by the Palinites.

If an electable moderate like Scozzafava "fails to meet that standard" but an unelectable twit like Hoffman does, then there really is no path back to power for the GOP other than national catastrophe to exploit for political gain. Small wonder that the GOP, from online trolls to elected officials, pray daily for harm to befall the country.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 11, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Ditto on Ohio. The best state is unfortunately going to be Ohio - yet again. Particularly if the Brunner/Fischer Senate Primary plays out. The winner takes on Bush loyalist Rob Portman (who played both Gore and Kerry in Bush practice debates). Then it looks like Fox commentator, former Rep. Kaisch is taking on Gov. Strickland. How many competitive House Seats - at least Space, Kilroy (rematch with Stivers) and Driehaus (who is in a rematch with former Rep. Chabot). The closer on the fun side of being in Ohio is that they just passed casino gambling.

Personaly, I am also looking forward to the KY Senate race to replace Sen. Bunning - looks to be a good primary on both sides and then a heated general. Plus you have a little
"Paul" and three statewide elected officials running.

Posted by: WAKYtombone | November 11, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh look, Sarah is even embarrassing Fox now with her loony conspiracy theories:

'Sarah Palin's public pronouncements have now reached an amazing point -- where even Fox News is fact-checking her.

As Fox News anchor Bret Baier noted this evening, picking up on a Politico report, Palin said this past Friday that there had been a lot of "change" of late, and talked about the dollar coin -- how the phrase "In God We Trust" had been moved to the rim of the coin, rather than on the face. "Who makes a decision like that?" said Palin, seemingly pointing to the Obama administration, adding: "It's a disturbing trend."

However, the coins were in fact commissioned in 2005 by the Republican-led government of the time. And as Baier adds, Congress acted specifically to change this in 2007, and Fox displayed a James K. Polk presidential coin with the phrase on the coin's face."

Posted by: drindl | November 11, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The Fix might want to look at Feingold in Wisconsin. I live in west central WI and a Feingold volunteer knocked on my door Saturday. He wanted to know three things:
1. The issue that is most important to me.
2. Would I support Feingold in the next election.
3. Would I volunteer for Feingold.

The last time Feingold ran I tried to get a Feingold sign at the local Democratic campaign office and they didn't have any. His presence in our traditionally Republican area was nonexistent. It is a year before the next election and he not only has someone knocking on my door but is looking for volunteers? Because Feingold is so far to the left his election strategy is blowout Dane and Milwaukee counties and hope to lose by only a couple votes in the other seventy counties so that the final tally puts him in first place. This has worked to date, but I think he is nervous this time around. And as I live in one of those counties he'll lose, he seems to be trying hard to only lose it by so much.

Posted by: caribis | November 11, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm going with PA among the choices. The 3way battle between Toomey, Specter, and Sixpack might be a good one.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 11, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

No Florida? The Crist-Rubio matchup seems to be turning out to be a good one.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 11, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks krush for reminding CC, Democratic is what he should label the party. If you say the current party is Democrat, you sound like you are trying to suck up to Republicans.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't you update the Friday lines? Take off the Virginia and New Jersey governor races? Reset the NY 23rd from Republican to Democratic?

Posted by: krush01 | November 11, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

d, I can see the TX campaign now. Can't wait.

Perry starts by saying he wants TX to secede. KBH comes back with the proposed ban on the immigration of, well, "those people. Perry counters with a proposed constitutional amendment requiring each pres. candidate produce his long form birth certificate. KBH comes back with school segreg-, er, "community based school assignments." Perry promises to appoint Rush as head of the EEOC and Jeff Skilling as head of the Fed. KBH pushes for the Annie Oakley Act giving every Texan gets to carry an unlicensed concealed weapon. And so on....

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 11, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

How about Wisconsin? The neocom statists can't even find anyone to run for governor after Diamond Jim Doyle dropped out after taking the state to "California" levels in recent years.

Posted by: leapin | November 11, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

You're right, bsimon -- pawlenty will be another casualty of the Civil War, flippin and floppin like a dying lox [or a romney] trying to appeal to both the sane middle and the lunatic right, a task which is now almost impossible.

Posted by: drindl | November 11, 2009 12:45 PM

Huh? Clueless Obama has flipped flopped more than Pawlenty or Romney put sad.

Posted by: allenridge | November 11, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

To follow up on bsimon, maybe the Fix, of "Pawlenty in 2012" fame, should check in with Dan Balz. Dan has a slightly different take on Pawlenty's chances. :) From Balz:

"But the Pawlenty who has stepped onto the national stage in recent months has said and done things that have other Republicans wondering about his instincts and his sure-footedness as a prospective 2012 presidential candidate. Pawlenty could learn from the earlier mistakes of one of his potential rivals for the GOP nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Last week, during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program, Pawlenty was asked repeatedly whether he welcomed Sen. Olympia Snowe, the lone Republican to vote for the Senate Finance Committee health care bill, in the GOP. At a time when some conservatives are insisting on purity within the ranks and others say the party must truly be a big tent, Pawlenty ducked the question. He hemmed and hawed, but couldn't bring himself to say "yes" -- suggesting that he believed "no.""

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 11, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

You're right, bsimon -- pawlenty will be another casualty of the Civil War, flippin and floppin like a dying lox [or a romney] trying to appeal to both the sane middle and the lunatic right, a task which is now almost impossible.

Posted by: drindl | November 11, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm voting for texas because it's where the most unhinged winger is running -- Rick Perry, the 'patriot' who wants to secede from the union. Excellent way to demonstrate your patriotism, sir. It's another situation where a once sane moderate like Hutchison is now lurching to the wiggy right to appease the Norquist/Armey]FOX Axis of Evil.

But California will be a different version of the Republican Civil War, where the Axis powers have already stated their intent to destroy the only Rs who could be elected in California -- semi-moderates like Fiorina and Whitman. Interesting so far too that the Republicans they are picking off are generally women.

Posted by: drindl | November 11, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I kinda like the Texas race, where secessionist Perry and KBH will try to out-extreme each other. BTW, how will KBH trump Perry's secession card? Fort Sumter, SC, lookout!

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 11, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Don' mess with Texas.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 11, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

OHIO! Gov., open Senate seat with primaries in both parties, CD 1, CD 2 (with primaries in both parties -- Schmidt and to the right of Schmidt in one race), CD 15, 16, and 18 all promising to be races. And then you have the AG, Sec. of State, and Auditor. Not to mention a battle over control over the state house.

How can it be anywhere else?

Posted by: philgirl | November 11, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

you didnt include Ohio! Ohio is long seen as a bellwether state and the results of thier gubernational and senate elections should tell us a lot as where the country stands. Obama won this state last year, but the GOP have top recruits in both the Senate and the Gubernatiorial race that this will be favorite one to watch!

Posted by: dee150586 | November 11, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

What goes up must come down.

If The Fix was an early adopter in identifying MN Governor Pawlenty as a member of the GOP's 'rising', we should label this piece by Dan Balz as pinpointing Pawlenty's apogee:


Posted by: bsimon1 | November 11, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: joe49 | November 11, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I'll be a homer here and say Texas. We have easily the most heated primary in the country-KBH and Perry despise each other in a way that made the Democratic Primary last year seem chummy. Her Senate seat could involve every statewide elected official (all R's),the Dallas Mayor (an R), the Houston Mayor (a D) and the last Dem to win a statewide race (in '94). Chet Edwards is in a nearly 70% GOP district who stepped out an endorsed Obama in the primaries, was a semi-finalist for VP, and voted for the stimulus bill and against the Stupak amendment. He basically removed his 'conservative who happens to be a Democrat' cloak in a year and district that wouldn't appreciate it.

Posted by: TexasProud1 | November 11, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The Crist-Rubio fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party alone makes Florida deserving of a spot in the poll.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 11, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

While I voted for Pennsylvania here, I was surprised to see Ohio omitted from the ballot. There is what promises to be a competitive Senate election to fill an open seat being vacated by a moderate-to-conservative Republican. That race will pit a Bush acolyte who is much further to the right than the retiring Republican Senator versus a traditional liberal Lieutenant Governor.

There is also a Governor's race which may be competitive depending upon the state economy. The incumbent Democrat is a clear favorite but could be vulnerable if the economy remains in its current plight.

Add to this a few House seats which are not exactly safe, including Districts 1, 12, 15, 16 and 18 and the fact that both chambers of the State Legislature currently feature narrow advantages (the State House is Democratic-controlled 52-47 while the State Senate is Republican-controlled 18-15) and Ohio's status as a swing state nationally and 2010 could be very interesting.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 11, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

California deserves mention, particularly if DiFi jumps into the Gov's race. That would produce two good primary battles for Gov, the existing Senate race plus a potential replacement for Feinstein's seat.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 11, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The primaries won't be as contested as some think in PA. Specter is going to run away with it. Colorado will be a barn burner in the general, and should be a fun one to watch.

Posted by: AndyR3 | November 11, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Knowing that the bill will likely be political suicide for any red state Democratic congressman, particularly if he is a freshman, the House leadership had to negotiate with its members to assure that the 38 defectors were the ones who needed political cover the most. That there would be 38 Democrats who would oppose the bill was preordained. Who they would be was the subject of negotiations right up to the wire.

Posted by: snowbama | November 11, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

PA, baby! Both the Governor and Senate races feature contested primaries on the D side (in a blue state) as well as interesting general elections. That there are competitive CDs too is just a bonus.

Posted by: mnteng | November 11, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Gotta agree, Connecticut best tells the tale.



• Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan

• FEMA Director Craig Fugate

• NSA Director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander

• DIA Director Maj. Gen. Michael Maples

• DOJ Asst. Atty. Gen./National Security David Kris

• FBI Director Robert Mueller


What do they know -- and when did they know it? OR RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 11, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

It's Delaware.In one small state you have an open Senate and an open House seat. The Senate seat will likely pit a former Governor and long-term House member who will be in his 70s against the son of the Vice President.

Just to add spice to the mix, a vigorous Republican primary seems likely between the moderates and conservatives. A Democratic primary is certainly possible.

Posted by: kywddavid1 | November 11, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

I really hope that the Iowa Senate Race becomes competitive. Grassley is old as dirt and it's time for him to go. Where are our promised term limits!

Posted by: Kerry1 | November 11, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

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