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Florida's 2010 Senate race: One for the ages?

The expected decision by Gov. Charlie Crist (R) to run as an independent for Senate this fall catapults what was already one of the marquee races of the 2010 election cycle into the electoral stratosphere.

The contest has all the hallmarks of greatness: huge personalities, lots (and lots) of money, a swing state backdrop and national implications galore.

Given all of that, it has to be considered an early frontrunner for a spot in the Fix's best Senate races of the decade to come. But, how does it stack up against our ten best from the decade that was?

A quick refresher on our "best of the Aughts" list:

1. South Dakota 2004: Tom Daschle (D) vs John Thune (R)
2. Missouri 2000: Mel Carnahan/Jean Carnahan (D) vs John Ashcroft (R)
3. Minnesota 2002: Paul Wellstone/Walter Mondale (D) vs Norm Coleman (R)
4. Minnesota 2008: Al Franken vs Norm Coleman
5. New Jersey 2002: Bob Torricelli/Frank Lautenberg (D) vs Doug Forrester (R)
6. Illinois 2004: Barack Obama (D) vs Jack Ryan/Alan Keyes (R)
7. New York 2000: Hillary Clinton (D) vs Rick Lazio (R)
8. Virginia 2006: Jim Webb (D) vs George Allen (R)
9. Connecticut 2006: Ned Lamont (D) vs Joe Lieberman (I)
10. Georgia 2002: Max Cleland (D) vs Saxby Chambliss (R)

Where does Florida Senate 2010 rank? And, why?

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 29, 2010; 2:12 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The questions Charlie Crist must answer -- and fast
Next: Charlie Crist to run for Senate as an independent

Comments

Tomorrow: The "Buzz" is building for Crist.


Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 29, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News: Pawlenty just went to McDonald's. Developing...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 29, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

@noa:

Correction: you mean "Dan Coats, the anti-Obama" LOL

"Political News [Avoidance] and Analysis"

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 29, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

@kreuz,

You are awesome. The king of stats.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

-------

Copy that. I'll know better than to argue stats with this guy.

Posted by: Brigade | April 29, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@12Bar: I was just reeling at that one. I mean, the FIEND! Making conservatives look like nuts! How .. how manipulative!

An' stuff!

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@noa,

The big news story of YESTERDAY, that again is getting passed over is:

Since we are searching for something interesting to talk about, how about this, and HOW COULD WE HAVE MISSED THIS?

On a talk show yesterday:

Tom Tancredo, former GOP congressman and anti-immigrant crusader, claimed that Obama is purposefully withholding his birth certificate in order to fuel birther conspiracies that make the right wing look nuts.

This is a conspiracy within a conspiracy. The options are endless.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@BWJ: all five posts in the most-recent list to the left of this page are about Crist. It's just not that big a story.

Imagine if it had been Pawlenty retiring early to work on a presidential run. Jesus can you imagine the hyperventilation?

And ignoring the AZ law is contemptible, just like running that pointless Dan Coats puff piece instead of covering HCR.

So this mediocrity gets promoted?!? Hope that leads to someone else taking over this blog, someone who can (1) report and (2) write and (3) figure out what's important.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

smashin' good post, kreuz, outstannin'

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 9:03 PM
-------------------------------------
We can't say we don't learn something here everyday.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

smashin' good post, kreuz, outstannin'

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

For those who are following the rollout of HCR, it looks like these elements are being handed off:

1. Children under 26 who qualify under the parents' healthcare plan. Ahead of schedule. http://www.healthreform.gov/forums/blog/youngadults_1.html

2. Recissions are eliminated or in process. Ahead of schedule. http://www.healthreform.gov/forums/blog/youngadults_1.html

Problem areas from my POV:

200k persons insured in state high risk pools won't qualify for lower cost federal high risk program (have to be uninsured for prior 6 months). Predict that Congress will step in to change that.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

noa, you were right, he totally ignored the Arizona racial profiling law story. LOL. But three Crist stories. I guess you can never get enough Crist news. LOL.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | April 29, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

@kreuz,

You are awesome. The king of stats.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't know that. Who'd have thought? The midterm election, as it concerns the House of Representatives, will be a referendum on the Obama administration. With his approval rating bobbing up and down around 50%, that gives us one big number to keep an eye on---if history is any guide."

History's not much of a guide there because the writer's statistics stink. First is the problem of the law of small numbers, too much variation makes simply averaging them intellectually lazy since there are key reasons for major outliers throwing off the mean. Two of those elections were major realignment years (1966, Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement moved much of the South to the Republicans to stay, and 1994, when the rest moved). The five years in question, with approval ratings are:

Pres Apprv. Party Performance
1966 D 45% -48 seats
1978 D 49% -15
1982 R 42% -26
1994 D 47% -54
2006 R 38% -30

Obama has been most compared, in electoral performance, poll ratings, and achievements to either Carter or Reagan depending on your perspective, both suggesting this would be like 1978 or 1982, with a loss of between 15 and 26 seats; electorally, we are much closer to 2006 in terms of specific seats in play and nature of the political environment, suggesting a loss around 30 seats.

In reality, history won't be much of a guide because the dynamics of this election are being much more closely scrutinized than anything before the 1994 election, national resources on both sides are being targeted in known areas of trouble to minimize election day surprises, and regional polarization combined with gerrymandering and control of various media markets will likely make this more like 2006 than anything prior.

When you look at the numbers, more than 30 seats is truly an outlier in modern elections, and I don't think we'll be in that boat this year.

Here are the full numbers since 1962 for midterms (1974 - the Watergate election, is another outlier that isn't included by USAT because Ford was over 50 in a mini-honeymoon, otherwise Nixon would have been in the 20's):


Pres Apprv. Party Performance
1962 D 62% -4
1966 D 45% -48
1970 R 58% -12
1974 R 52% -48
1978 D 49% -15
1982 R 42% -26
1986 R 62% -5
1990 R 55% -8
1994 D 47% -54
1998 D 63% 5
2002 R 68% 8
2006 R 38% -30

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 29, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

This whole race is getting boring


I say we take it off the list completely -


Let's all agree that we don't talk about this race until after Labor Day.


Anyone else agree?

Posted by: 37thand0street | April 29, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

By what perverseness of logic do we call 70% of the Arizona electorate "their bigoted base?"

==

I said Arizona law, not Arizona Republicans. Reaction to the law and the divisions it highlights are national. As you know.

If you want to argue that generalizing bigotry to the entire remaining GOP is unfair, I'm not super interested. Maybe not everyone is a bigot but bigotry isn't a deal-breaker, as it should be.

As for those midterms, what does history have to say about a GOP that so recently performed so badly?

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I never know which of these threads to drop into in the evening after most people have left the building, but here goes . . .

jaxas70 wrote (somewhere today in one of these threads devoted to Crist):
"Historically, the party in power loses in the midterms. But, the polling on this midterm began so early that one has to wonder if they media simply went too far overboard and may find themselves embarrassed once again if the traditional "coming home" phenomenon occurs as we get closer to election day."

There was an interesting article by Susan Page in today's USA TODAY that should help anyone trying to assess what will happen this November in House swing districts:

"Since 1962 . . . in the five midterms held while a president's approval had dropped below 50%, his party suffered calamitous results, losing an average of 41 seats. That's one seat more than the Republicans need to win back the House this year."

I didn't know that. Who'd have thought? The midterm election, as it concerns the House of Representatives, will be a referendum on the Obama administration. With his approval rating bobbing up and down around 50%, that gives us one big number to keep an eye on---if history is any guide.


Posted by: Brigade | April 29, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Another advance in healthcare reform:

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "WellPoint Inc. and UnitedHealth Group Inc., the biggest U.S. health insurer by sales, said earlier this week they would no longer cancel customer policies without evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation." In addition, other AHIP members will also end the practice in May, according to the trade group's top executive, Karen Ignagni. The shift was likely prodded by an April 27 letter from Democratic lawmakers asking insurers "to end any such abusive practices immediately" and by comments supporting such a move from Obama administration officials (Armstrong, 4/29).

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Neocolar wrote,
"Let's have a post on how the Arizona law puts Republicans between the rock of winning elections and the hard place of appealing to their bigoted base."

By what perverseness of logic do we call 70% of the Arizona electorate "their bigoted base?"

Posted by: Brigade | April 29, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I was walking out with my Comrade Guard Dog, Fifi. Then we came up on the most amazing sight--a sidewinder so big and ugley and lookin' in the face somewhat like the President. So I says Fifi, whatya think we should do about this thar sidewinder with the sticky-out ears? So Fifi just says "argh" real scared-like. Don' worry Fifi, I'll save ua.

So, I pulls out of my pants leg my double barrelled honey that I just happen to take everwhere with me, and takin aim right between those big ears, KA BLOOEY. So's me and Fif, we high5, and pull ole snakey out of his Fedex box n' snap a few pictures in case anyone should ask us about what we're seeing on our walks. Then me 'n Fifi, we go on a sashaying our way up the way, whistling a happy tune. And that's a true story, right out of the ol' West.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues


Then open the files and be done with it.


The files should be open, they should not be hidden.


Posted by: 37thand0street | April 29, 2010 6:48 PM
-------------------------------------
Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

You don't get it. It's about not opening the files. It's ALWAYS been about not opening the files. Where's scrivener when you need him to explain this?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

'Tom Tancredo, former GOP congressman and anti-immigrant crusader, claimed that Obama is purposefully withholding his birth certificate in order to fuel birther conspiracies that make the right wing look nuts.'

Too funny! As if the right wing needed something to make it look nuts..

Posted by: drindl | April 29, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues


Then open the files and be done with it.


The files should be open, they should not be hidden.


Posted by: 37thand0street | April 29, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Since we are searching for something interesting to talk about, how about this, and HOW COULD WE HAVE MISSED THIS?

On a talk show yesterday:

Tom Tancredo, former GOP congressman and anti-immigrant crusader, claimed that Obama is purposefully withholding his birth certificate in order to fuel birther conspiracies that make the right wing look nuts.

This is a new conspiracy theory. The theory that someone is purposely making you look nuts. Didn't I see that in my divorce decree?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | April 29, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

@margaret: I think we've had at least two too many. But this one is worse than a beaten dead horse, these game-show-esque polls are silly and trivializing.

Let's have a post on how the Arizona law puts Republicans between the rock of winning elections and the hard place of appealing to their bigoted base. Which of course we will never have here because it conflicts with the determined "national environment favoring Republicans" narrative.

Posted by: Noacoler
-------------------------------------------
Let's have a post about Obama pandering to for power while ignoring the legitimate power of the Federal govermnment to secure the borders of the US (too busy working on the list of what food provate individuals can eat). Let's have a silly and trivializing poll on whether laws should be enforced or not.

Posted by: leapin | April 29, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

THE POLITICS OF AMERICAN ELECTROMAGNETIC ENSLAVEMENT?

Here's a question about Florida politics:

How many Floridians are being silently tortured and impaired by means of a covert U.S. government Homeland cellular "torture towers" weapon system while political pundits debate who's up and who's down?

***

"The forces of fascism cannot control those who love liberty, because all thinking persons know that without free will, life is not worth living. That is the ultimate reason why the Third Reich fell, and it will be the reason why America's Fourth Reich -- the fusion center Gestapo -- is about to fall."

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-take-down-fusion-center-gestapo-fire-secret-service-boss or http://NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "U.S. Silently Tortures..." and "Gestapo USA..."

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 29, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

@margaret: I think we've had at least two too many. But this one is worse than a beaten dead horse, these game-show-esque polls are silly and trivializing.

Let's have a post on how the Arizona law puts Republicans between the rock of winning elections and the hard place of appealing to their bigoted base. Which of course we will never have here because it conflicts with the determined "national environment favoring Republicans" narrative.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Can we move on to another topic? This is one Crist post too many. Cilliza has flogged this one into the ground.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 29, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

the only thing about the Obama race is that it's timing in 2004 and the likelyhood of his victory made him the perfect candidate to be highlighted at the Convention, which propelled him to the Presidency. The race itself was a joke.

As morbid as it was, 2002 MN deserves to be on the list because it was so hard fought and tight. I'd add Alaska 2008 Begich-Stevens to the list myself in place of Obama 2004, but down towards #8 or 9.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 29, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

If Crist runs as an Indy: Top 5. If he wins, Top 3.

If he bows out, it doesn't make the list at all.

Side note: The only reason Jack Ryan was at all interesting was because he was married to Jeri Ryan (Borg "Seven of Nine" in the skin-tight catsuit on Star Trek: Voyager) and managed to very publicly screw up said marriage. Alan Keyes wasn't particularly interesting at all. I'd replace that 2004 Illinois race with the Cantwell vs. Gordon race in Washington from 2000. That was a fun contest.

Posted by: Gallenod | April 29, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I live near St. Augustine and work in Jax. I'm ready for a rock 'em, sock 'em match up. Personally, I think this is the launchying pad for a Rubio for Prez bid further down the road (2016 or 2020)

Posted by: NJames1 | April 29, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Meh, I don't see what was so great about the Obama race. I suppose the Jack Ryan stuff was kind of interesting only because it was so bizarre. But it was a cakewalk for Obama just like everyone expected.

I think this race is a good one since we have three candidates with a real chance of winning. You don't see too many real 3 way races with three different parties. It's different from say the 1992 Presidential election where Perot played a big spoiler, but had no realistic change of winning. (yeah, not a Senate race, but the best example I could think of)

I think the Virginia 2006 race is underrated on this list. Not only did it have the Macaca moment, but it was the derailment of a career of a guy considered Presidential material. And furthermore, this was the race that determined who would control the Senate. Dems had 50 and Reps had 49. Dems needed to take 51 outright to control the Senate since Cheney was the tiebreaker.

But if the Florida race materializes as a real 3 way race and not something like Connecticut in 2006 with no Republican, then I think it would be top 5.

Posted by: DDAWD | April 29, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if this new law will turn law enforcement away from Rs in the next election--it's surely going to make their lives much harder.


"Columnist George Will is of the opinion that Arizona's police officers are capable of handling the task that the state's draconian new anti-immigration law drops into their laps.

On the other hand, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who I am assuming is something of a master of the "complex and demanding craft of policing" seeing as how he's been a policeman for over five decades, begs to differ.

Per Amanda Terkel, Dupnik called the law "racist" and "disgusting" and "stupid" and, in his "nuanced judgment" could not be enforced without mandatory racial profiling. Dupnik's reckoning of the legal issue is that he's just as likely to be sued for racial profiling as he is for not doing enough racial profiling, so he's standing pat, and will not enforce the new law."

Asked by local news station KGUN9 what he thought the solution to the law was, Dupnik replied, "The November election."

Even Gov McDonnell against it:

Arizona’s draconian new immigration law has split conservatives, with people like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) defending the law while others, like Joe Scarborough, call it “un-American.” In an interview WTOP on Tuesday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) criticized the law, saying that “the whole idea of carrying papers and always having to be able to prove your citizenship” reminds him of “some other regimes that weren’t necessarily helpful to democracy”:

Posted by: drindl | April 29, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree that I find the list a little morbid in general CC. Three of the top ten are cases where someone died. And another was because the main challenger was busted by his Ex-wife as a sexual deviant.

What about Kay Hagan and Libby Dole. Or Harold Ford and Bob Corker. They both should be on the list if you ask me.

Posted by: AndyR3 | April 29, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

What's this, five posts in a row about Charlie Crist? How obsessive. And what a diversion. Yeah the race is interesting but it's nowhere near as politically important as the disintegration of the GOP electorate accelerated by the AZ racial profiling law.

But that can't be parlayed into "good news for Republicans" so it gets no mention .. so much more wriggly an' squirmy an' happy an' stuff to fawn over Crist.

Gosh it's so exciting.

Posted by: Noacoler | April 29, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of gruesome that mention the Wellstone election. That wasn't 'best' anything -- it was a tragedy and then disgusting travesty -- and Coleman and his party were jerks about everything.

Posted by: drindl | April 29, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Chris, don't jinx it with hype. It could fizzle into a rout and turn into something memorable only for its unfulfilled promise.

Posted by: shrink2 | April 29, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Too early to tell, let's wait until it actually materializes.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | April 29, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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