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Friday Senate Line: Gregg Adds to GOP Pain

Incumbent Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) could all face serious challenges in 2010.

The withdrawal of Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) as President Obama's commerce secretary nominee on Thursday was initially greeted with relief by Senate Republicans who believed that the incumbent might now stay on and seek reelection in 2010.

Friday Line

That relief quickly turned sour, however, as Gregg made it clear that despite the fact he was returning to the Senate for the moment, he would not be running for reelection next fall.

Gregg's decision leaves Senate Republicans right where they started last week -- with yet another highly competitive open seat to defend. If you're counting that's five open GOP seats -- New Hampshire, Missouri, Florida, Kansas and Ohio -- all before the first congressional recess, which begins today.

The good news for Republicans is that it's hard to see any other retirements in their ranks beyond Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), which would be greeted with a massive sigh of relief within the strategist community given the incumbent's poor fundraising and dismal poll numbers.

But, any other retirement surprises for Republicans (and there always seems to be one or two every election cycle) would further hamstring GOPers before 2010 even arrives.

As always, the number one ranked race on the Line is the most likely to switch parties in 2010. Kudos or complaints are welcome in the comments section below.

To the Line!

10. Connecticut (D): It's hard to describe how shocked we were about the extent of the political damage Sen. Chris Dodd (D) has incurred in the Fix's home state over the past few years. The recent Quinnipiac poll was an eye-opener about the depth of Dodd's Countrywide problems, and even Democrats we talk to in the state acknowledge that this race has trouble written all over it for Dodd. Still, Republicans don't yet have a candidate -- former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) is the most likely -- and Dodd should benefit from the significant Democratic underpinnings of Connecticut. One to watch for sure. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. Nevada (D): The obvious parallel for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D) 2010 reelection race is the 2008 Kentucky Senate race. Democrats watched a series of top-tier candidates take a pass on a race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) before convincing wealthy businessman Bruce Lunsford to run. Lunsford didn't win but he made life very uncomfortable for McConnell for all of 2008. Ditto Republicans and Reid. Rep. Dean Heller and former Rep. Jon Porter are taking a look at the race for Republicans but even if neither runs, Republican strategists will find someone to make a real run at Reid. Beating him is an entirely different discussion as Reid is a very crafty politician. (Previous ranking: N/A)

8. Pennsylvania: Sen. Arlen Specter (R) got good news and bad news since the last Line. The good: former Rep. Pat Toomey, who very nearly ousted Specter in the 2004 Republican primary, is focused on running for governor. The bad: Democrats landed a solid recruit in Joe Torsella, the former head of the National Constitution Center and a close ally of Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D). It's not clear whether national Democrats have settled on Torsella as their candidate but there is a widespread belief that Specter can be beaten next November. Of course, that's been the widespread belief since Specter was elected to the Senate in 1986 1980. (Previous ranking: 8)

7. Louisiana (R): Political races in Louisiana tend to be slow to develop and this cycle is playing out according to form. It's a certainty that Sen. David Vitter (R) will face a serious race -- perhaps in a primary and a general -- after his acknowledgment of involvement in the "D.C. Madam" prostitution ring. The media stunt campaign of a adult film star further complicates Vitter's attempts to distance himself from the problems in his past. Democrats would like Rep. Charlie Melancon to run but the Congressman has not said anything publicly about whether he is interested in a statewide contest. Other Democrats mentioned include former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard. (Previous ranking: 5)

6. Illinois (D): This race's spot on the Line is entirely dependent on whether appointed Sen. Roland Burris (D) runs for reelection. If he does, expect Republicans to make a major push here -- tying Burris to disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. If Burris steps aside, this contest will likely disappear from the Line entirely as Illinois is a strongly Democratic state and any number of qualified candidate -- state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Rep. Jan Schakowsky -- would step forward and run. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Ohio (R): There is already a huge chasm emerging in how the two parties handicap this race. For Republicans, former Rep. Rob Portman (R) is their ideal candidate, a national rising star who gives them a real chance of holding this swing state seat. For Democrats, Portman, who served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Bush White House, is a symbol of everything that voters in Ohio -- and nationwide -- rejected last November. While that debate will rage on for the next 20 months, Democrats' more immediate problem is navigating a potentially dicey primary problem. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner both are interested. Fisher and his allies believe that Gov. Ted Strickland (D) has endorsed his candidacy but other neutral Democrats insist that Strickland has done no such thing. (Previous ranking: 2)

4. Kentucky (R): It's an open secret that Senate Republican leaders want Bunning to step aside. But, the Hall of Fame pitcher doesn't appear ready to hit the showers just yet. That's good news for Democrats who are falling all over one another to be the nominee against Bunning in 2010. Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who lost by two percent to Bunning in 2004, is running again and state Attorney General Jack Conway is expected to get into the race as well. If Bunning stays in (and we have no reason to think that he won't), this is a golden opportunity for Democrats. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Florida (R): Gov. Charlie Crist's interest in the open seat Senate race gives Republicans renewed hope in the Sunshine State. Crist is extremely popular statewide and would be an immediate favorite if he decided to run. We tend to believe that most of Crist's decisions these days are guided by positioning for 2012 so if he and his team decide that the Senate is a better perch from which to run for president in three years time, he may well jump. Democrats seem certain to have a contested primary -- Rep. Kendrick Meek and state Sen. Dan Gelber are already in the race and Rep. Ron Klein continues to mull the possibility. (Previous ranking: 1)

2. Missouri (R): Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) officially entered the open seat race to replace retiring Sen. Kit Bond (R) last week -- a major recruiting coup for national Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans lost arguably their strongest general election candidate in former senator Jim Talent and seem headed toward a contentious primary fight between Rep. Roy Blunt and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. New Hampshire (R): After much sturm und drang over the past week, we are left with one indisputable fact: the New Hampshire Senate seat is open in 2010. Rep. Paul Hodes is already in the race for Democrats and he as well as national Democrats are hoping that Rep. Carol Shea Porter, who retains a significant grassroots following in the state, decides against a primary challenge. Former Sen. John Sununu is regarded as Republicans' strongest potential candidate but has given strong indications privately of late that he won't run. Former governor Steve Merrill told the Fix that he would defer to Sununu but, if the senator is out, Merrill will likely take a hard look at the contest. No matter what, the Democratic trend in New Hampshire over the last two elections is unmistakable. (Previous ranking: 7)

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 13, 2009; 12:55 PM ET
Categories:  The Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: White House Cheat Sheet: Bye Bye Bipartisanship
Next: 1,000 Words: The Stimulus


I don't see any mention of Colorado. I hope Michael Bennett wins a full term, but he's little known even in Denver, where he was school superintendent for a couple of years before he was picked to take Ken Salazar's place. He's almost completely unknown in the rest of the state. Republicans are sure to try to mount a strong challenge here.

Posted by: dalenichols | February 17, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

It's good to know that at least six more Republican Senate seats are likely to fall to the Democrats in 2010. That would easily give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority. More and more, the Republican Party is looking like a party of damn fools, well on its way to joining the Whig Party in the dustbin of history. In his first three weeks in office, Obama has been demolishing the GOP almost the same way that FDR did in the 1930's with The New Deal.

Please visit my Blog: "Conservatives Are America's Real Terrorists"

Posted by: cjprentiss | February 17, 2009 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Wow, armpeg. That's a very interesting world you live in. Come and visit ours sometime.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 16, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

This discussion is very relevant. You can only keep the Democrats below 62 seats in a pipedream. I think the supermajority of 67 is almost a pipedream but easier than the Republicans holding the Democrats below 60 seats. It would be hard but Barrack will talk to Dodd about pulling out if he gets into serious trouble. It will not be hard for him to deal with Burris in the same way. Don’t worry about Reid he won in ’02 like you say he is craftily. So much for the Democratic states let us look at the states that Obama carried in 2008. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Hampshire. The only one who has a chance is Specter who fellow Republicans now call a Rino. I can see the Democrats picking Missouri and Louisiana. I could also see Snow and Collins switching to the majority party so things are not looking good for the GOP. Are they going the way of the party that preceded them…....the Wigs?

Posted by: bradcpa | February 16, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Below is an excerpt from NYT's Frank Rich's brilliant explanation today of why the passage of the stimulus bill has made BHO a huge winner and the obstructionists losers. Obstructionisim and hate are simply not governing principles.

"Republicans will also be judged by the voters. If they want to obstruct and filibuster while the economy is in free fall, the president should call their bluff and let them go at it. In the first four years after F.D.R. took over from Hoover, the already decimated ranks of Republicans in Congress fell from 36 to 16 in the Senate and from 117 to 88 in the House. The G.O.P. is so insistent that the New Deal was a mirage it may well have convinced itself that its own sorry record back then didn’t happen either."

Full column:

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 15, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I continue to be amazed why Republicans seem so excited by Portman. He's an across-the-board conservative from small-town western Ohio who now lives in an eastern suburb of Cincinnati and fomerly represented Ohio District 2, a conservative Republican-tilting district, in Congress. He never was elected statewide. And he's dull on the stump, not a compelling speaker at all.

Not only has Portman not been previously elected statewide, he has NEVER EVEN RUN statewide previously in Ohio. That is huge. Ohio seldom elects candidates as Senator or Governor who have not run statewide previously. In fact, prior to Governor Strickland's election in 2006 in a hugely anti-Republican year in Ohio amid the Taft (outgoing Governor) Administration scandals, no candidate had been elected in Ohio for U.S. Senate or Governor in their first statewide run for office since the 1950s. All Ohio U.S. Senators and Ohio Governors elected from 1960 forward prior to Strickland, had run statewide at least once previously, whether for Senate, Governor, or some lesser statewide administrative office. This is a monstrous disadvantage for Portman.

Portman will have the double disadvantage of having never been on the ballot statewide, and therefore being little known outside Southwest Ohio, and being a reminder of the Bush Administration's ineptitude.

This first-time statewide candidate issue is a huge problem for Portman, especially if Lee Fisher is the Democratic nominee. Fisher has run statewide five times, winning three. Plus Fisher is from the Cleveland area in Northeast Ohio, the most heavily populated and most heavily Democratic part of the state. Brunner would be a more controversial Democratic nominee due to her position as Secretary of State and role in administering elections. She has only run and won once statewide, that in 2006 for Sec.of State.
Fisher, and to a lesser extent Brunner, are already well-known statewide. Fisher particulary will have almost universal name-recognition.

Portman is largely unknown statewide, and therefore the Bush Administration experience, especially as someone who was a key player on economic policy in an Administration which presided over a national economic collapse, is going to be able to be used against him to a much greater extent than if he had real statewide stature. Because he has no real identity statewide, his experience in the Bush Administration is likely to be much more of a major issue, and a major point in defining who he is as a candidate, than if he were independently known statewide.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 14, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

HuffPo's John Ridley today explains that GOP bipartisanship was always a myth since they (except for Collins, Snowe, and Specter) never intended to vote for any BHO jobs bill:

Mr. Ridley's excellent article:

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 14, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Hats off to BHO and fellow citizens Pelosi, Reid, Collins, and Snowe for putting together a bold stimulus package to jolt the Nation out of the Second Great Depression.

I don't need polls to tell me the public reaction. When I picked up my Washington Post at the local 7/11, its little Filipina manager had a big smile on her face as I paid for the paper, whose headline announced passage of the bill. She said with the biggest smile you can imagine, "It passed." She then asked, "Will it mean more money for the people?" I proudly answered, "Yes."

Please no more articles about the fact the GOP voted, almost unanimously, against the bill. We get that. That's not news. Gregg let the cat out the back yesterday when he said the GOP never had any intention of voting for a stimulus package.
So BHO and Pelosi could have done cartwheels and it would not have mattered one bit. This is not some ideological split; the GOP offered no alternative biil. Rush already admitted the GOP agenda when he -- quite honestly -- said, "I hope Obama fails."

Memo to the Post: Tell us about what is in the bill for the financial institutions, schools, infrastructure, job creation, capping executive overcompensation, etc. That's what we want from our newspaper, not BroderWorld bloviating about the GOP voting against the bill.

We believe in a two-party system. But the GOP, by taking a meanspirited "let them eat cake" position on the stimulus package, has let partisanship and prejudice walk them down the same path the Dixiecrats and the Know Nothing Party went down, unsuccessfully, in earlier generations. This neo-confederatism is both sad and foolish.

Hate and greed are not legitimate governing principles.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 14, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Check Campaign Diaries's rankings and detailed descriptions of ALL 36 Senate races:

Posted by: Daniel20 | February 14, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Chris, re Crist: Given that you need to start running for president about two years ahead of time, how would the logistics work for Crist to run for the Senate in 2010 if he really has his eye on 2012?

Would he have to take a pledge that he would wait until after his swearing in as senator to start running for the White House? (Only being slightly snarky there -- Obama, Clinton and Edwards had all officially declared their candidacies by Feb. 10, 2007.) Would that be enough to defuse it as an issue in the Senate campaign?

Posted by: PhilHart | February 13, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse


usually when you guys hod a comment for moderation you really mean you are not going to post it. So since you decided to do this I decided i would edit my comment myself.

@armpeg, Not meaniong to be insulting towards you are the party of Obstructionist who have decieved you. You are sadly wrong. There are the Republicans in the House and Senate who have stood stolidly against the American populace. You see you guys aren't just attacking President Obama and Nancy Pelosi you guys are attacking the very constituents you claim to care about. and also The Republicans are holisticly wrong and doing themselves great damage thinking that an attack against Obama which is being led by none other than Republican Radio comedian Rush Limbaugh, is the course of Repentance they need to take. Silli-season continues in the House and Senate among the Rebushagain camp.

Posted by: need4trth | February 13, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Specter past the mandatory death age? Oh, I know, that's not nice, but the last time "nice" won an election was before the bronze age.

He's got eastern PA down because he's from eastern PA, that's how that works, and eastern PA is 2/5 of the beast. 1/10 is Scranton/Wilkes Barre, home to Caseys and Scrantons. 1/5 is central PA and the northern tier counties, what Carville called something like Mississippi on the Mon. And 3/10 is Pittsburgh (a subset of Allegheny County) and surrounding rust belt counties, where you get pro-labor Republicans like John Heinz and pro-life Democrats like the all too soon forgotten Pete Flaherty.

Allegheny County went for Wallace in 1968, just to throw its weirdness out there in public view.

Posted by: officermancuso | February 13, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse

No picks are perfect...this is just weeding out the riped fruit with conditions.

Posted by: opp88 | February 13, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

B hussain hits his high water mark in a short three weeks. All down hill from here. Down into Carter territory.

When you campaign on a bed of lies it is natural that when the truth is revealed, you stumble.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I would probably move PA a little up the line as the wingnut base seems determined to primary Specter for his stimulus vote and the Republicans have bled 100k mostly moderate votes in PA over the last 6 years. I would probably move KY and LA down the line just because those states are deep red. Previous disgraceful and crazy behavior on the part of Vitter and Bunning didn't hurt them.

Reid needs to grow a pair and force some Republican filibusters. Being tougher would actually help his image as an ineffectual doormat in NV. He has shown a bit of leadership this week, anyway.

Posted by: Nissl | February 13, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

just a thought...

Posted by: opp88 | February 13, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

king, BTW, there's no "zook" on the map. Henceforth you are, as Wright would say, "nullified." Bill passed. O is at 70% approval. Speaker Pelosi didn't miss her flight. It all worked out just fine.

Hope the representatives who voted against the bill will refuse to accept any spending authorized under it -- including those government jobs that Steele claimed aren't really jobs -- for their districts. Let 'em rely on tax cuts for the rich and the trickle down. And let 'em eat cake.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 13, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

the only thing that matters is how the messiah broke every empty promise he made: bipartisanship, frugality, transparency, waiting period, new politics, leadership, listening to ideas.....

He will continue to cdmpsign and make speeches, his only actual skill.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

did you take a good,hard look at sen.gregg during his press conference.
the man is coming apart at the seams,heaving all over the place,visibly distressed.what we don't need right now is someone who is disintegrating for whatever reasons,since America is disintegrating even more than Gregg.

Posted by: lenteach | February 13, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

did you take a good,hard look at sen.gregg during his press conference.
the man is coming apart at the seams,heaving all over the place,visibly distressed.what we don't need right now is someone who is disintegrating for whatever reasons,since America is disintegrating even more than Gregg.

Posted by: lenteach | February 13, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

"I see the Friday the 13th bill passed just in time for comrade peloony to head off to Italy to do some shopping. And it was bipartisan, that is, even dems voted against it. Hopey mcChange jets off in search of a crowd, votes not present this time. Still no decision on the dog. It's complicated.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 4:51 PM"
king_of_kook, the only significant "fact" in your post was that BHO's jobs bill "passed."

Gregg has already admitted (see Sam Stein in today's HuffPo) the GOP was not going to vote for the bill under ANY circumstances, no matter how much bipartisanship BHO tried. It never mattered what the bill said; the GOPers were going to vote "no."

The GOP is determined to follow Rush (I hope Obama fails) Limbaugh off the cliff into regional oblivion. They have cast aside Colin Luther Powell and other voices of reason.

Hooray for Commander in Chief BHO. Hooray for Citizen Emanuel. Hooray for Citizen Pelosi. Citizen Axelrod. The people's revolution continues...Stay tuned.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 13, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Can politics become more boring -- this Gregg stuff isn't really news -- too many reporters are just dying for some sort of stupid story. I am so over Obama picking losers from both parties...this should be simple..just put more morons into government jobs, it won't have any effect on the policy.

Posted by: newbeeboy | February 13, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

All these Republican Senators voting against the stimulus should turn down any funding to their states from the stimulus if they are honest.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 13, 2009 4:48 PM

Senators don't have the ability to turn down stimulus funding to their states. That would be up to the Governor/state leg. The only thing Senators can do is vote against the bill appropriating money to their state which is what they did.

Posted by: Jindal2012 | February 13, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I see the Friday the 13th bill passed just in time for comrade peloony to head off to Italy to do some shopping. And it was bipartisan, that is, even dems voted against it. Hopey mcChange jets off in search of a crowd, votes not present this time. Still no decision on the dog. It's complicated.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse



... coordinated multi-agency action "programs of personal destruction" manned by security/intel/revenue agents, local police nationwide, citizen vigilantes fronted by government-funded community policing and anti-terrorism programs.




Posted by: scrivener50 | February 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

All these Republican Senators voting against the stimulus should turn down any funding to their states from the stimulus if they are honest.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 13, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Roy Blunt isn't going to run in Missouri. He assuredly knows what was in his son's "missing" emails and the rumor around the state is that those emails discuss Matt's affair with a male interior decorator.

Posted by: nat22784 | February 13, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey zoukie, you've got to have a job to pay taxes. Writing trash on Cillizza's blog doesn't count as a job!

Posted by: jasperanselm | February 13, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I am considering not paying taxes so I can be eligible for the openings in the cabinet. It seems anyone who is not willing to bend over and take it like a Lib is not eligible so I will work on that too. but I thought that only applied to foreign policy???

Posted by: king_of_zouk
Please don't pay your taxes. You can go to jail and bend over and have all your openings made eligible.

Posted by: LABC | February 13, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

i agree broadwayjoe...
set him up so they can shoot him down....

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 13, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Vitter's chances of keeping office is better than the line thinks. He never really took a huge hit for his scandal and his numbers are good. We'll see what happens when someone actually runs against him, but Louisiana can have quite a bit of inertia with its elected officials.

Posted by: DDAWD | February 13, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Prediction for Illinois races in 2010 (from a resident of the state):

Lisa Madigan will be our next democratic governor

Sexy Alexei will be our next senator (whether Burris decides to run or not)

There are no republicans in the state who will be able to win either race; the party is essentially non-existant at this point and that is not going to change in the next couple of years. They ran themselves into the ground and have a long rebuilding time ahead of them.

Posted by: JPDupre | February 13, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't that be Comrade Peloony?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It turns out BHO faced a stacked deck trying to get GOP support.

Sam Stein of HuffPo reports today that, according to none other than Gregg, BHO was NEVER going to get GOP support. It was a set-up against BHO from the get-go. Total bad faith.

Sam Stein's full story:

Congrats to our President and Citizen Pelosi on the House passage of the jobs bill.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | February 13, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Burris is More popular than Mark Kirk TOO

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 13, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Is it the beer, a rubber crutch, or swallowing the bile of Rash Limburger and Bilge UnReally and Shorn Hate-titty, that gives “Armpeg” his loco-motion? His unkempt grammar, punctuation, and spelling; his bluster, and circular logic; give the impression of a contortionist who got his fat noggin stuck in the region of proctology. It maketh him a charming poster-boy for the GOP. --Phil Dow, Napa CA.

Posted by: phildow | February 13, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@ armpeg

It amazes me that the Republican argument is reduced to:

“The policies we have implemented over the last eight years as we controlled all branches of government (excluding the House from 2006-2008) did not cause the economic crisis and the only way to solve the problem is to continue those very same policies: And, we will resurrect McCarthyism in order to portray those elected officials actually attempting to solve the problem in a rational and bipartisan manner in the proper light. Lucky for us, the American people are extremely ignorant because their public education system was designed for needs of the 19th century.”

Posted by: johnnyneuron | February 13, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I noticed in your mention of Illinois you didn't offer the names of any potential Republican candidates. That's the problem; an state Republican Party organization should be on the warpath right now given the opening Blagoyevich has offered them. But the Illinois Republicans are not that. They have not moved a muscle to reform themselves after the George Ryan indictment or the Alan Keyes fiasco.

Frankly I don't know of any reputable Republican candidates that would run except perhaps Jim Oberweis our perennial fat wallet/tin ear/loser.

It's really a shame. I'm a Democrat but our state is suffering deeply from lack of political competition.

Posted by: bidalah | February 13, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Chris, Senator Specter was first elected to the United States Senate in 1980, not 1986 as your post indicates.

Posted by: clark7 | February 13, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Please spare us the term "kudos" and other corporate jargon in the future.

Posted by: deckeraaa | February 13, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Burris might conceivably be more popular than Ron Kirk (whoever that is), though I doubt he's more popular than Mark Kirk. We're talking statewide, remember....downstaters will MUCH prefer Mark Kirk to Burris.

Posted by: Digger2 | February 13, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse










61-33, 2/12/2009


Posted by: opp88 | February 13, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

...credible reports of ongoing domestic torture via radiation weaponry approved by the Bush-Cheney Department of Justice for use on civilians deemed as "undesirables" by federal and/or local law enforcement agencies nationwide.

This extrajudicial punishment -- victims say it is nothing less than torture -- is compounded by a coordinated series of multi-agency action "programs of personal destruction" which drain the family finances of the families of unjustly "targeted" persons, making it impossible for them to economically survive.

Ah, that's what happened to the impotent Pentagon crooks.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | February 13, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"the voters are not completely clueless."

Indeed. If all the seats on the line flip, the Senate goes to 61 - 37 - 2. The Ds would be filibuster-proof without Lieberman & Jeffords. TK and Byrd could alternate being wheeled in for votes.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 13, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse



Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is a good and decent man who carries inside him a heavy burden of history.

He can revivify his reputation as a fair-minded advocate for human and civil rights by confronting an ugly truth...

...credible reports of ongoing domestic torture via radiation weaponry approved by the Bush-Cheney Department of Justice for use on civilians deemed as "undesirables" by federal and/or local law enforcement agencies nationwide.

This extrajudicial punishment -- victims say it is nothing less than torture -- is compounded by a coordinated series of multi-agency action "programs of personal destruction" which drain the family finances of the families of unjustly "targeted" persons, making it impossible for them to economically survive.

These programs surely have contributed to the nation's financial meltdown -- and may indeed be a primary cause of the global economic crisis.

Sen. Specter, these abuses are going on in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. You are a skilled prosecutor; if you cared to sharply question police chiefs and other law enforcement and federal officials that you know personally, and if they responded candidly, you could incontrovertibly confirm the accounts presented in the articles linked below -- articles based on first-hand accounts of events happening in the Philadelphia area:


Posted by: scrivener50 | February 13, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

hey now....
i have to live in arizona with John McCain and Jon Kyl folks !!!!!!!!

the republican party will survive as long as a Bush and a Cheney are alive. specifically #41.
#43 has already probably stocked up Miller beer and doesn't care.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | February 13, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Too funny. Republicans celebrating early as usual. They have no vision beyond a single days headline. Trolls, all of them.

Posted by: Alka-Seltzer | February 13, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Democrats should not underestimate the vulnerability of Reid. Even many Democrats cant stand the guy, personally I think he is a weak and uncharismatic leader.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | February 13, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Considering that the Supreme court already ruled AGAINST the Lib mis-counting when slickie tried it, one can only assume that there are two sets fo rules. the ones for us and the ones the Libs use for their own purposes.

I am considering not paying taxes so I can be eligible for the openings in the cabinet. It seems anyone who is not willing to bend over and take it like a Lib is not eligible so I will work on that too. but I thought that only applied to foreign policy???

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I think Boxer could be in trouble depending on who runs against her.

Posted by: kenpasadena | February 13, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

To all the obstructionists in the Republican party.
When your this deep in the manure pile,
the sensible action is to stop digging.
Your just getting youselves in deeper.

Posted by: laurelphoto | February 13, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are like the Communists who complain that, if only Pure Communism had been given a chance and not hijacked by Stalin and other corrupt Moscow politicians, then it would have demonstrated it's superiority to all other ideologies. There are still National Socialists who believe that if only Hitler hadn't gone too far, their ideology would have proven Aryan superiority. There are always true believers who can't see reality.

The Republican Party is over and America has an intense hangover.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 13, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I am from Illinois and Kirk won't win. Burris is MORE popular than Ron Kirk

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 13, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Senator Judd Gregg
First you say you do, and then you don't
And then you say you will, and then you won't
You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?

Now you wanna play, and then it's no
And when you say you'll stay, that's when you go
You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?

I've been sitting on a fence, and it doesn't make much sense
'cause you keep me in suspense, and you know it
Then you promise to return, when you don't I really burn
Well, I guess I'll never learn and I show it

If you've got a heart and if you're kind
Then don't keep us apart, make up your mind
You're undecided now
So what are you gonna do?

Posted by: laurelphoto | February 13, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are dead Chris i don't see them picking up any seats in 2010. All i see are MORE Democratic seats being picked up. I am from Illinois and Burris and the other Democrats are more popular in Illinois than the tiny Republican side show their party might offer. All i see in 2010 is that Democrats will become filibuster proof in 2010.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | February 13, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

the leader of the already failed Lib senate and the designer of the mortgage crisis made the list. see, the voters are not completely clueless.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | February 13, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

The GOP is redefining "winning" in a way only the Detroit Lions can appreciate.

Posted by: keller1 | February 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I can tell you what will happen in Illinois. Burris will run again, but will be challenged in the primary by both Giannoulias and Schakowsky. One of the latter two will win. Mark Kirk, the Republican Congressman, will challenge Giannoulias or Schakowsky. That will be a close race I suspect, because Kirk likes to portray himself as a moderate.

Posted by: Digger2 | February 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Your comments on Illinois appear to assume that if Burris decides to run, he will make it out of the Democratic primary. His track record in primaries for high-profile state-wide office has been anything but impressive. Assuming Giannoulias runs and the president stays mum, its a coin toss as to whether Burris survives or not. If the president gives any indication of support for Giannoulias, Burris' chances of surviving the primary decrease dramatically.

The outcome for the senate seat in the general election will be heavily influenced by the race for governor. A lower quality Republican candidate for governor will make it extremely hard for them to win the senate seat.

Posted by: blpeyton | February 13, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

armpeg writes
"Cris Cillizza, like most of the Democrat--controlled MSM's wet-dream of Democrats taking more Republican seats in the midterm elections should be taken with a grain of salt."

Of course it should. Handicapping races 20 months out is more art than science. What makes the process intetersting for political junkies is seeing how the list gets juggled over time.

Having said that, you ought to go check the archives & review how the Fix did in handicapping the 08 race in early 07.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 13, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"the 'new' washington? same as it ever was."

Posted by: Waffle1 | February 13, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse


Talk about wet dreams. Your prognostications are the wet dream of the Republican party, the downfall of the United States in order for Republicans to regain power. Republicans love their party more than they love their country. Truly disgusting!

Posted by: Lefty_ | February 13, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Oh how will the republic party survive?

Please keep us informed.

Posted by: whocares666 | February 13, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

7 of the top 10 pickups are favoring the Dems, with no Dems in the top 5? The Norquist party might want to rethink their strategy; there's still time to change course before the election cycle begins in earnest.

Posted by: bsimon1 | February 13, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

armpeg, you are the best and brightest of the GOP these days. Keep up the good work. This country needs people like you to make sure that Sarah Palin runs for President in 2012.

Adios, GOP, you will cease to exist in 2012.

Posted by: PutDownTheKoolaid | February 13, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Gee armpit, you can predict murder, mayhem and disaster? How about hurricanes and tornadoes? If you can, maybe you can predict what that blowhard Rush will say next.

Posted by: ebabin | February 13, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused. This morning Cilizza insisted Gregg's departure was a huge blow to Obama. Now he's saying perhaps Obama knew what he was doing all along?

You sure are a slow learner, Chris, but I guess I'll take it.

Posted by: swallen1 | February 13, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Let Gregg go. He's a gutless coward and a backstabber who had a chance to serve his country for an innovative and intelligent President and he backed out after being bullied by pillow-bellied fat boys like Limbaugh and dimwits like Mitch McConnell. In the end, the "R" message to the nation is crystal clear--- we don't give a damn about you, unless you're a religious fanatic, a loud-mouthed radio talk show host, or a mentally unstable blond reporter for FOX news. That's fine with us. Go rot in hell, you cowards. We'll finish what we started in 2010 and bi-partisianship be damned. We don't need you anymore.

Posted by: pookiecat | February 13, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

What about Kansas? It's not the likeliest place for the Democrats to pick up a seat, but if Sebelius runs I'd say likelier than Connecticut.

Posted by: kleos | February 13, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: armpeg

I am truly amazed you are blaming Chris for this. This is just reporting PERIOD.

Are the Republicans worried that much if so you should have listened to us and had congress put a lease on the Bush administrtion. Have you ever heard of the word VETO if not look it up congress can with a majority support of congress do that.

Of course the Republicans decided to support the Bush administraton that was were they angred the swing voter no where else. Now they are mad and cleaning house.

Do you get it now.

Posted by: antonio3 | February 13, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The GOPs Rovian tactics will backfire on them in 2010, just as it backfired on George Bush & Dick Cheney during the last 8 years, and John McCain/Sarah Palin during this last Presidential Election.

The majority are crying out for CHANGE, they are desperate for CHANGE.

Our country is in "Dire Straits" and you still have people playing "Partisan Politics" with their Livelihoods.

It ain't business as usual anymore, it's now personal.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 13, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The massive egg on Gregg's face portends good times for the Democrats in 2010: they will pick up several Senate seats in that election as part of a further thrashing of the GOP for its Taliban-like treachery against efforts to save the nation's economy from ruin.

Posted by: dee5 | February 13, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Cris Cillizza, like most of the Democrat--controlled MSM's wet-dream of Democrats taking more Republican seats in the midterm elections should be taken with a grain of salt. By the 2010 midterm elections, Barack Obama's and the Democrat Socialist's Marxist agenda will have taken fruition, and our economy by then I'm sure will be much, much worse. When the American people see the unemployment and inflation numbers in the double-digits, the misery index a la Jimmy Carters, the war against Islamic terrorism lost with a lot of dead Americans all around the globe as a result, the Mideast taken over by our enemies because of Obama's and the Democrats Alfred E. Newmann what-me-worry style of leadership and cut-and-run for the hills policies, they may not vote in the same parties nominees that Cris and the MSM is rooting and leading the parade for.

Posted by: armpeg | February 13, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

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