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Friday Senate Line: More and Less of the Line

Editor's Note: Chris Cillizza was online this morning at 11 a.m. ET discussing the veepstakes, congressional approval ratings, the Senate Line and the latest news on politics.

With the vice presidential sweepstakes heating up (we are t-minus one month -- or so -- before the choices are announced), The Fix is ramping up our Line.

From now until the vice presidential picks are made, we are doubling our pleasure: the traditional Line (Senate, House and battleground states) on Friday mornings and a BONUS veepstakes Line every Friday afternoon -- what better way to get ready for the weekend than boning up on the vice presidential jockeying!

Friday Line

Since we are doing two Lines every Friday, each one will be somewhat more brief. (Mrs. Fix is a once-in-a-lifetime woman and we don't want to push our luck!)

As always, the top ranked race on the Line is the most likely to switch sides in the fall. And, the Line is meant as a conversation starter so if you disagree (or agree) with our ratings, feel free to sound off in the comments section.

To the Line (part 1)!

10. Minnesota (R) : Entertainer Al Franken (D) has had a dismal last few months in his race against Sen. Norm Coleman (R), and polling reflects it. The most recent survey conducted in the contest put Coleman ahead 52 percent to 39 percent. That might be a bit on the high side but even Democrats acknowledge Franken has work to do. Franken has put together a solid campaign team but needs to right the ship -- and quick. (Previous ranking: 9)

Elizabeth Dole
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

9. North Carolina (R): Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) is in the race of her political life against state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) but the incumbent's recent flight of ads helped solidify her lead a bit. Still, Hagan showed her fundraising ability over the last three months -- $1.5 million raised! -- and significantly narrowed Dole's cash-on-hand edge. National Democrats believe strongly in their chances here as evidenced by the nearly $6 million in ad time they have reserved. (Previous ranking: 8)

8. Mississippi (R): The Magnolia State moves up the Line this week as strategists on both sides of the aisle are now conceding this one is going to be a barn burner. Former governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) is far better known than appointed Sen. Roger Wicker (R) statewide but Wicker has a big cash edge and will be able to make up ground in the name identification fight quickly. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is now up with ads in Mississippi -- unwilling to cede the airwaves to Wicker. Never forget: this is a special election so neither Musgrove nor Wicker will have any party affiliation on the ballot, a fact that almost certainly accrues to Democrats' benefit. (Previous ranking: 10)

7. Louisiana (D): Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) continues to run a solid campaign -- steadily stockpiling millions of dollars and now on television with an ad that casts her as "fighter" for the state. Democrats seem entirely too dismissive of state treasurer John Kennedy (R), however, who continues to impress on the fundraising front. Remember that Landrieu, despite running against two very weak Republican opponents in 1996 and 2002, never topped 52 percent of the vote. This one is going to be close. (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Oregon (R): Sen. Gordon Smith's (R) recent ad touting his ties to Barack Obama reeks of desperation. And yet, state House Speaker Jeff Merkley barely eked by in what was supposed to be a coronation primary. The $1.4 million Merkley raised over the last three months combined with the fact that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is now on the air and Democratic campaign guru Paul Johnson has been brought in to help all suggest this race could move up the Line in the coming months. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Alaska (R): It's getting more gloomy by the month for Republicans in the Last Frontier State. Not only did Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) outraise Sen. Ted Stevens (R), a former chairman of the Appropriations Committee, by $250,000 over the past three months but the ethics scandal that has devastated the state GOP shows no signs of abating. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. New Hampshire (R): Former governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) has established a steady and solid high single digit/low double digit polling lead over Sen. John Sununu (R). Sununu, however, ended June with $5 million in the bank compared to $2 million for Shaheen. This one is going to get closer but Shaheen is still the favorite. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Colorado (R): For months, The Fix insisted that former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R) would be a better candidate than Democrats believed. Or not. Schaffer has lurched from one problem to the next over the last few months while Rep. Mark Udall (D) just continues to stay out of the way. A Quinnipiac/ Street Journal poll put Udall ahead 48 percent to 38 percent. That seems about right. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. New Mexico (R): At the end of June, Rep. Tom Udall (D) had $2.9 million in the bank. Rep. Steve Pearce, who did have to spend heavily to beat Rep. Heather Wilson in the Republican primary in early June, had $533,000. In a cycle where national Republicans are in no position to come to Pearce's financial rescue this one is looking more and more like a done deal every day. (Previous ranking: 2)

Mark Warner
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bob Brown)

1. Virginia (R): Let the betting begin: How high can former governor Mark Warner (D) go in his race against former governor Jim Gilmore. We are setting the bar at 60 percent. Whose betting the over? (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 18, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: Friday Veepstakes Line: Stark Choices


Whose betting the over?

I think you mean Who's betting the over.

Posted by: anonymous | July 22, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The land is sliding. It is fun to see the delusions of the few remaining GOPers. Yes, Rass. does indeed have Coleman losing.
Monday, July 14, 2008 Email to a Friend
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Minnesota voters shows Democrat Al Franken attracting 44% of the vote and incumbent Republican Norm Coleman earning 42%. A month ago, it was Coleman 48% and Franken 45%

Posted by: Bye-bye Rove | July 21, 2008 5:20 AM | Report abuse

Sleeper race: Oklahoma. The state does elect Democrats to statewide office (current governor is a Democrat). Rice has youth and charisma (and a good handle on the issues). Inhofe is about as right-wing as you can get, and he's proud of it. And a June poll had his reelect number at 39%. This is a year where moderate Democrats have good shots at seats held by far-right Republicans. And since it's a cheap area for media buys, the DSCC has already given Rice some support. As more people get to know who Rice is, it will be interesting to see if the race gets competitive.

Ah Maine. Collins is a "moderate" but will never, ever be the swing vote, which renders all her moderation worthless. If Allen can make that point, maybe that race will continue to tighten and make it onto The Line.

Posted by: dsimon | July 20, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I will take the over at 60-40 in the VA Senate race.

Posted by: ebb | July 19, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

With the tempo of scandals, resignations, indictments picking up in DC, and the support for the subjects of the scnadals, the scorn for the honest whistle blowers rising ever louder among Republicans in general, and even endangered Republicans in particular, the primary driving force for the final vote, utter disgust at a totally corrupt, is just beginning to raise its gorge.

Just a bit more public support of corruption and NO Republican up for election returns to the Senate. They all go down before the Battle Cry, "Just Another Corrupt Republican" (Ask Rick Santorum)

Posted by: | July 18, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

@ NoOneImportant -- thank goodness Merkeley is not listed under "pubic charisma" - What's a hairy mess that would be. If that were you running for office with that descriptor, you'd know urine trouble.

Posted by: Eric | July 18, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

My comments were scrutinized by 2 on this column thus far. 1 being legite and the other not. Joey made the statement I have red blinders on, but did not address specifics. I think I blogged detailed facts, you didn't so your isn't worth answering.

Mike, I will say to you that yes sir. It is indeed good to be a NC Republican. I realize the Charlotte area is growing like a weed. Our R governor's candidate, Pat McCrory, is the current 7 term Mayor of Charlotte. He attracts alot of Democratic support as well as fundraising support that normally goes to democrats. He has great personal relationships with business leaders and has been very effective as Charlotte Mayor. Pittinger will motivate traditional conservatives/social conservatives while McCrory will motivate business/fiscal conservative democrats. Dole will cruise to re-election. Republican's in NC are going to have a good year here in 2008 in North Carolina. I enjoy the debate on this.

Posted by: reason | July 18, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Fix, it should always be noted that Mark Begich's father was the congressman from Alaska and died in a plane crash. As mayor of Anchorage he has a solid base from which to win statewide, but the story of his father may be enough for a few sympathy (and with the problems of Don Young, maybe "what-if") points. Notice that Begich mentioned this in his first ad.

At least this is a fun year; just by this list there are 4 seats almost certain to change hands, 3 tossups, one seat barely leaning dem, and 2 barely leaning gop. I bet two or three more develop into competitive races after Labor Day (I'm looking at Kentucky, Texas, and Idaho in particular. Not likely to flip, but could get interesting.)

Posted by: Ctman | July 18, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to the gubernatorial list?

Posted by: RC | July 18, 2008 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Chris, the FEC shows Jeanne Shaheen with $4 million on hand, not $2 million. That is more than enough to stay competitive with Sununu, who has yet to launch his advertising campaign.

Posted by: Political Realm | July 18, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

tic, the survey cited in the column is a Survey USA survey, released Monday. The Rasmussen poll, also released Monday, does show Franken leading Coleman by 2%.

Posted by: THUD | July 18, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

--"6. Oregon"--

If you look up "pubic charisma" in the dictionary you won't find a picture of Merkley. That's not saying that a stiff stuffed shirt can't be a good senator, but maybe the Democrats might get more mileage out of a ham sandwich as a candidate.

Posted by: NoOneImportant | July 18, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Landrieu's the only Dem in any trouble in this cycle, but the polling average has given her a reasonably good lead of 5-7 points, so I think she'll pull through; this is a Democratic year.

Posted by: SC | July 18, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

10000 Lakes 12:53 PM who claimed that the Rassmussen poll had Franken up by 2 points over Coleman apparantly can't read very well and is making up his own numbers. The Fix in this very blog above mentions that Coleman is ahead of Franken 52 percent to Frankens 39 percent.

Posted by: tic | July 18, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Maine? Are Franken and Hagan really greater threats than Allen? Is Susan Collins among the safe? I bow to no one in loathing of Libby Dole, but wishing her defeated should not be confused with thinking she will be. And, let's face it, Franken has run a campaign at a level of incompetence worthy of Al Gore or John Kerry. And they paid their taxes. No, Minnesota and North Carolina are going to remain with the dark side.

Posted by: Fleur du Mal | July 18, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

another one obama was right on...

"TUSCON, July 18 -- President Bush and Iraq's prime minister have agreed to set a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as security conditions in the war-ravaged nation continue to improve, White House officials said here today.

The agreement, reached during a video conference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks a dramatic shift for the Bush administration, which for years has condemned any talk of timetables for withdrawal.

But Maliki and other Iraqi leaders in recent weeks have begun demanding firm withdrawal deadlines from the United States. "

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

When did Liddy Dole become Asian? I thinks she's been under the knife....

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Actually the most recent Rasmussen poll out of Minnesota (released this week) has Franken up by 2 points over Coleman.

Posted by: 10000 Lakes | July 18, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is now traveling in a new "Straight Talk Express" campaign airplane. It "features a special area" with "a couch and two captain's chairs" where "McCain will conduct group interviews with the press." But not all reporters covering McCain can enjoy this new lap of luxury. Top McCain aide Mark Salter said "'only the good reporters' would get to sit in the specially-configured section for interviews. 'You'll have to earn it,' he said." So how can these reporters "earn" a seat? Never challenge the Senator, as McCain biographer Matt Welch explained in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times:

" You can come on the bus, everything is great but if he knows or if his team knows that you have a hostile line of questioning or you have a long and well documented critique, they're not going to talk to you. [...]"

Posted by: so much for straight talk | July 18, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly agreed with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and argued that it was fair for insurance companies to cover V*agra but not birth control because "birth control is not a medical condition":

OK, listen up. Vi*gra is used to help a medical condition. That's why it's covered. Birth control is not a medical condition. It is a choice. Why should I or anybody else have to pay for other people's choices? Do I have to buy you dinner before you use the birth control?

Posted by: crude and sexist | July 18, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Gramm to continue as McCain adviser and surrogate.

Last week, Phil Gramm, Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) "econ brain," said that America is a "nation of whiners" suffering from a "mental recession." In response, McCain said that Gramm "does not speak for me," and McCain policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin asserted that Gramm would no longer be giving McCain advice. Today, however, Robert Novak reports that "Gramm will continue as an adviser and surrogate":

After Sen. John McCain publicly repudiated his close friend and adviser Phil Gramm's comments about a "nation of whiners" and a "mental recession," the two old political comrades patched up their relationship.

McCain told Gramm not to worry about the expected pitfalls of a campaign surrogate. Gramm will continue as an adviser and surrogate.

Posted by: another flipflop | July 18, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

If the Minnesota GOP were to bring up Al Franken's involvement in the $850,000 Harlem, NY-based Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club Charity Foundation rip-off he and his liberal Democrats scamed them out of to keep their liberal Democratic Party AirAmerica Radio Show on the air, Al Franken's poll numbers I'm sure would plumet. Minnesotans can't be that dumb to elect someone that corrupt and that low. This charity is no more because of their scam.

Posted by: madhatter | July 18, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article about the Idaho Senate Race. I truly believe that, with the bad climate for the Republican party, the wins of Democrats in red district special congressional elections, there will be seats changing parties that are off the radar of the national pundits.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | July 18, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) seat will probably go Republican. Louisianas voters are disgusted with Democrats after their total incompetance in the Katrina hurricane affair and have voted in a Republican Governor, Jindal. She barely squeeked by the last time that she ran, but she's done nothing to improve her status among voters since. With Louisianas voters she's probably toast come November. Pick up for the R's.

Posted by: tic | July 18, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: DDAWD | July 18, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

For Virginia, I'd have taken the over if you had put it at 65 for Warner. I think the question, maybe the only interesting one, is whether he can reach 70%. Oh, and also what bump he provides upticket to Obama in VA (I think a few points).

Posted by: Harold | July 18, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Boutan -

pls eml me at

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 18, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

n an interview with the Kansas City Star, John McCain points out that Barack Obama was labeled as having the "most extreme" record in the Senate.

"Extreme? You really think hes an extremist? I mean, he's clearly a liberal," interviewer Dave Helling asks.

"That's his voting record," McCain responds. "All I said was his voting record, and that is more to the left than the announced Socialist in the United States Senate, Bernie Sanders of Vermont."

"Do you think hes a socialist, Barack Obama?" Helling asks.

McCain responds with a with a shrug, "I don't know."

Watch the video.

Posted by: talk about a demagogue | July 18, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Warner at only 60% in VA? I'll take the over.

Posted by: Rob | July 18, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Yesterday, for example, during an interview with the Kansas City Star, McCain suggested Barack Obama is an "extremist," and possibly even a "socialist.""

Got a quote? I'm always suspicious when someone said that someone else "suggested" something.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 18, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

To Larry Hunter:

Speaking of unconstitutional abridgments -- have I got one for you. This is pervasive, and I'm wondering if you have ever encountered manifestation of this program:

Posted by: scrivener | July 18, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

'm a lifelong Republican - a supply-side conservative. I worked in the Reagan White House. I was the chief economist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for five years. In 1994, I helped write the Republican Contract with America. I served on Bob Dole's presidential campaign team and was chief economist for Jack Kemp's Empower America.
This November, I'm voting for Barack Obama.
When I first made this decision, many colleagues were shocked. How could I support a candidate with a domestic policy platform that's antithetical to almost everything I believe in?
The answer is simple: Unjustified war and unconstitutional abridgment of individual rights vs. ill-conceived tax and economic policies - this is the difference between venial and mortal sins.
Taxes, economic policy and health care reform matter, of course. But how we extract ourselves from the bloody boondoggle in Iraq, how we avoid getting into a war with Iran and how we preserve our individual rights while dealing with real foreign threats - these are of greater importance.
John McCain would continue the Bush administration's commitment to interventionism and constitutional overreach. Obama promises a humbler engagement with our allies, while promising retaliation against any enemy who dares attack us. That's what conservatism used to mean - and it's what George W. Bush promised as a candidate.

Posted by: Larry Hunter | July 18, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Boutan. I try not to engage in cheap partisan shots too often, but this one was just too easy - and, IMO, too richly deserved.

Posted by: FlownOver | July 18, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Don't write off Idaho's Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Larry Craig. Former Rep. Larry LaRocco is running a very aggressive and relatively successful campaign against Lt. Gov. Jim Risch.

Check out this story about it:

Posted by: thecrisis | July 18, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

This is a great list and I agree with a lot of it. However, can we just make the statement of "Mark Warner is going to win Virginia" and move on to make room on the line for another possible race. I mean, the guy left office with an almost 80% approval rating as governor...he's not going to get beaten in his race for senate, lets move on.

Posted by: Dan | July 18, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Reason - is it really good to be a Republican in NC. McCain MAY win NC and if so by aonly 2-4% whereas Bush won by 12% in 2000 and 2004 - umm some great victory for you. The areas of the state that are actually growing Charlotte, the Triad and Triangle are Democratic or Dem leaning. New people moving in are going to the urban areas and those trend Democratic. If NC does not flip this year 2012 and 2016 beckon.
Dole was a disaster at the Red Cross and running the 2006 Republican Senate campaign (how did that go). She is a Bush rubber stamp and does not represent NC well (Naval landing strip in the Eastern part of the state as one example).

Posted by: Mike | July 18, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Not only did you leave out OK, but what about KY???? I predict McConnell may go down, like Dashscle did on the Demo side and like Bunning ALMOST did two years ago in Ky.

Posted by: Gary Klahr | July 18, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Former Republican Representative Bob Schaffer is taking heat for his CNMI, Abramoff, Fitial, Tan, (A-Team) connections in Colorado where is is running for a seat in the US Senate. This week Talking Points Memo has a post and The Denver Post has a story on Schaffer's A-Team involvement complete with the "secret memo" between Ben Fitial, Willie Tan, Eloy Inos, and Abramoff. The memo outlined the lobbying strategy which included "impeaching" Stayman; preparing hearing questions and factual backup for the friendly Senators and Congressman; arranging junkets to the CNMI; and cutting funding for the pro-federalization Department of Interior.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Good list Chris.

I'd flip MN and NC due to the potential of Obama coat tails to carry Franken over the line (if the two campaigns chose to exploit it, coat tails will only occur if the two campaign openly campaign with each other.)

I'd also flip LA and MS. I see the numbers being about even here, however the strength of the Democratic party this year I feel gives Landrieu and Musgrove slight, SLIGHT advantages.

Still, excellent job.

Posted by: Joseph | July 18, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

When the race was first announced between Musgrove and Wicker, everyone, GOP and Democrat thought it would be close and competative. However, Musgrove's campaign has been quiet. He shows up a few festivals and gatherings. Only this week have ads began to run for him, while Wicker has been on for about 6 weeks.

Remember, us Mississippians fired Musgrove 4 years ago, and it was for a good reason. Also, Musgrove has had some embarrasing personal problems since leaving the Governor's Mansion that will not help him.

It will be close, but Wicker will win.

Posted by: Magnolia | July 18, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Afghanistan has been drawing a fresh influx of jihadi fighters from Turkey, Central Asia, Chechnya and the Middle East, one more sign that al-Qaeda is regrouping on what is fast becoming the most active front of the war on terror groups.

More foreigners are infiltrating Afghanistan because of a recruitment drive by al-Qaeda as well as a burgeoning insurgency that has made movement easier across the border from Pakistan, U.S. officials, militants and experts say. For the past two months, Afghanistan has overtaken Iraq in deaths of U.S. and allied troops, and nine American soldiers were killed at a remote base in Kunar province Sunday in the deadliest attack in years.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned during a visit to Kabul this month about an increase in foreign fighters crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan, where a new government is trying to negotiate with militants.

Posted by: while we wasted our time in Iraq | July 18, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

What's wrong with the Alaska GOP? It's obvious to all that Stevens is headed for prison. Why won't they save the seat by taking him out in the primary?

Posted by: Dave | July 18, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

RE: New Hampshire
Chris, I don't get it. Sununu has $5 million but you never see him around (seacoast sitings have been few). Shaheen has been all over the place and getting good local media.

John Sununu is a nice guy. He is often thoughtful as well (except on his recent FISA change). However, he definitely is not being aggressive. The challenge for him is going to be that the media will become dominated with Obama and McCain in Sept-October. If Sununu is holding onto $5 million, where is he going to spend it?

At the grassroots, it seems like all Obama and Shaheen all the time. I think Sununu didn't kick into high gear soon enough. And, despite McCain "feeling good" about the granite state, I think they forget that the Obama crew never really left NH. Meetings and activities have been going on with Barack for nearly two years. It will pay off in November.

Posted by: rpinNH | July 18, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

great analysis...
the good news for dems here is not just the pickups, but also the potential coattails in some of these battlegrounds for Obama. in VA especially if Warner hovers near 60%, i don't see how mccain can make up a that spread. NM seems to be moving into the VA category, but i see it staying a lot closer in CO.

Posted by: nicolasny | July 18, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

10th is a good place for the MN race this week. It reflects the trend of the Franken campaign well, while it is a bit early to remove the race from the Line entirely. Franken ought to focus on his primary challenger & use the experience to sharpen his campaign skills. As it stands now, Coleman is running rings around him.

Posted by: bsimon | July 18, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Though it may seem like a longshot, State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-OK) may just topple the terminally stupid (and national embarrassment) Jim Inhofe. With the tide turned against the GOP, who knows?

Posted by: Soonerthought.Blogspot.Com | July 18, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

McCain: Obama an extremist and possibly a socialist. Ole John really losing his grip.

Also note McCain's changed position on the Bush tax cuts in which he just lied through his teeth about his own record. He never gets called on this sort of stuff.

If you just say up is down people don't know what to make of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

FlownOver... that was genuinely funny.

That should make some sort of Friday Line Redux.

If people are going to take cheap partisan shots, they should at least be funny. Nice work.

Posted by: Boutan | July 18, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

From your analysis, it seems the Dems stand a chance of achieving a filibuster-proof majority. Where's your math on that one?

Of course that assumes Teddy and Tim Johnson can show up for key votes. Interesting how the numbers work and how their troubles share some similarities. Just coincidence...


Posted by: scrivener | July 18, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Personally, I think the Franken/Coleman race should be higher up the line. Survey USA and Rasmussen released polls this week showing Franken ahead by a few points.
The Oregon Senate race should go lower in the line. It's not too clear how Merkley can win. Smith is a moderate on the environment which is a really big issue in Oregon.
As for the New Hampshire race, it's just like the Pennsylvania Senate race in 2006. Santourum had more money but still was crushed. I think the same thing will happen in New Hampshire.
Alltogether, the Democrats will pick up 5 seats.

Posted by: frogandturtle | July 18, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I will totally take the over on Warner. Even though it's an easy race for him for a bagillion reasons, he's still trying -- his ground organization's doing a better job than Obama's in the state at this point. That's what's going to tip him over 60 in the end. Just barely, but it will.

Posted by: jesyke | July 18, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

What do these republican incumbents have to talk about as their successes? Support for Bush? Considering how mediocre many of these politicians are, one can only think that people prefer the idiot they know to the one they don't

Posted by: nclwtk | July 18, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I know a guy who used to do two Lines every Friday, and he wound up in the White House.

Posted by: FlownOver | July 18, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

It turns out that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain has attended even fewer Afghanistan-related Senate hearings over the past two years than Obama's one. Which is a nice way of saying, McCain, R-Ariz., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his own committee's six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years.

Meanwhile, Obama attended the full Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan in March 2007, and he used the opportunity to ask Gen. James L. Jones, then the commander of NATO, about Pakistan.

Jones also came before the Senate Armed Services Committee that week. But McCain was a no-show.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"I'm 62, I'm having trouble remembering things."

-- President Bush, at a news conference earlier today, in comments not helpful to 71 year old John McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

the old man is losing it...

'In the modern political era, voters have come to expect presidential candidate to be, well, presidential. There's an expectation of respect and decorum. Candidates are going to go on the attack on occasion, but Americans have a reasonable expectation that would-be presidents aren't going to fly off the handle and lose their cool. After all, if a candidate can't conduct himself or herself with dignity and class while on the campaign trail, how would the candidate perform in the White House, when the pressure's on?

With that in mind, it seems, with each passing day, that John McCain is starting to lose his cool. It's one thing to go on the attack; it's another to get reckless. As much as I understand McCain's desire to be president, I can't help but notice that his desperation is beginning to cloud his judgment.

Yesterday, for example, during an interview with the Kansas City Star, McCain suggested Barack Obama is an "extremist," and possibly even a "socialist."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 18, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

It's not necessarily on the list, but I think Ohio's newfound Democratic contingent is going to blow it. Ohio has a chance to really get a lot of money flowing in from Washington based on their swing state status, but like always, they are squandering it. Virginia by contrast is much more apt to continue it's drive toward the blue, leaving Gilmore in the dust along with George Allen et al.
Modern Whig Party -- For the rest of us

Posted by: Ohio Whig | July 18, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

'WASHINGTON -- Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.

And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.

Electrical problems were the most urgent noncombat safety hazard for soldiers in Iraq, according to an Army survey issued in February 2007. It noted "a safety threat theaterwide created by the poor-quality electrical fixtures procured and installed, sometimes incorrectly, thus resulting in a significant number of fires."

The Army report said KBR, the Houston-based company that is responsible for providing basic services for American troops in Iraq, including housing, did its own study and found a "systemic problem" with electrical work.'

Posted by: cheney profits, soldiers die | July 18, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Observations.... Has Al Franken run a bad race? Yes and I now doubt he can pull it out. However, the rest of these races look really good for the Democrats. Bob Shaffer used to be my Congressman in the Colorado 4th and he ran in the 1990s. He ran against very weak candidates in an area there was not much of Democratic organization. He has never really ever had to take on a well funded opponent and I am sure he feels this is not fair. He is toast.

Down here in Texas it looks like "big-in-his-own-mind" John Cornyn will be able to take Noriega out. He will do this by just running over him with money and changing his votes on bills just in time. Great article in Texas Monthly about Noriega and what he has to do to win. Time is slipping away. This will be the last time the Republicans will win this seat. Texas has just become a white minority state.

Posted by: bradcpa | July 18, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"Top 10 Obese States
These are the 10 states with the highest levels of adult
obesity, according to a 2007 survey by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
1. Mississippi, 32.0 percent
2. Alabama, 30.3
3. Tennessee, 30.1
4. Louisiana, 29.8
5. West Virginia, 29.5
6. Arkansas, 28.7
7. South Carolina, 28.4
8. Georgia, 28.2
9. Oklahoma, 28.1
10. Texas, 28.1
Source: Associated Press"

Can you say "Red State America"? Looks like fat, drunk, and stupid IS a way to go through life for many people.

Posted by: Spectator2 | July 18, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

'Reason', I think your glasses are tinted red.

Let's stick to the facts - or rather, let the Fix stick to them - and keep the wishful propaganda to a minimum.

Check back with us in November, chief.

Posted by: Joey | July 18, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Great analysis Chris I agree with all of it! Get your bags packed Joe Liberman it's gonna be time caucus with the GOPERS and give up that Chairmanship!

Posted by: Gordon | July 18, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

CC, pretty good analysis. As a North Carolinian, I think Dole is looking great for re-election right now. Her %'s have been well over the 50% mark. 52% or 54% in the polls vs. Hagan. Dole's money is also well ahead of Hagan. McCain is ahead here in NC & when the nasty ads run in this state of Obama saying "small town people turn to guns & religion out of bitterness", McCain will be winning this state by more and so will Dole. Lt. gov. Perdue was an early endorser of Obama, and McCrory is turning out to be a great candidate for gov. here in NC. Right now it's a statistical tie: Perdue 47%-McCrory 46% and Liberterian Munger w/ 3%. It could well be a great year here in NC for Republicans. The Presidential 15 EV, Dole winning comfortably vs. Hagan & finally winning back the governor's mansion. It's good to be a Republican here in NC.

I think Norm Coleman & Ted Stevens is still in pretty good shape. I think in the end they will both win re-election. Wicker, Smith & Sununu are all in for very tough fights. Sununu is almost certainly helped by the fact that McCain is the GOP nominee. That boosts his chances and so does his cash advantage over Shaheen. It's going to be a tough fight. Wicker has a big cash advantage in Miss., and get the pleasure of sharing the ticket with US Senator Thad Cochran who will win re-election easily. Gordon Smith of Oregon is a centrist. He won't motivate the R base, but has lots of cash & big name recognition in Oregon. Smith vs. Merckly will be a tough battle, but I'd say Smith has the advantage. In Colorodo, Schaffer hasn't been a great candidate this far. He has erred quite a bit, he has to feel good that McCain's numbers are going up in Colo. and that Udall has never been past 50% in polling. This one is still far from over. I'd say leans Udall now, though. Your right, CC, Virginia is over. Warner will clean Gilmore's clock. The big question in Va.: will Mark Warner create coat-tails for Barack Obama & the 11th congressional district as Tom Davis retires? Warner wins easily. New Mexico is an interesting race. Noone thought Stevan Pearce could beat Heather Wilson in the R primary, and he did it. Even after Domenici endorsed Wilson in the 11th hour, Pearce still pulled it out. Pearce will motivate the base, have good fundraising as he always has, has a bit of personal wealth he is likely to be willing to spend & will have the Club For Growth squarly in his corner. Environmental groups are attacking Pearce already, but the Club will certainly be attacking Udall. They have alot of ammunition to go on. Domenici will likely help McCain & Pearce campaign hard in NM. This one looks like Udall now, but Pearce just finished a very tough primary and the race is just beginning. Remember how things looked in the Udall/Pearce primary in the beginning? Well, Pearce won. This one is just developing.

Democrats can play hard in Colorodo, New Mexico, New Hampshire & Oregon. They almost have a guarantee in Virginia. Republicans will play hard in & need to win in La. Kennedy is a candidate who can pick up a seat for them there. R's know the very best they can do is lose a few seats. If R's win La. and D's win Virginia, then R's still have to defend NH, Colorodo, New Mexico & Oregon hard. Good news is, Sununu & Smith have their own money and both have cash advantages over their D opponent. R's have to play really hard in Colorodo & New Mexico to try to break even.

Posted by: reason | July 18, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

>>Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) is in the race of her political life against state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) but the incumbent's recent flight of ads helped solidify her lead a bit.

Huh? Just because someone runs an ad, it means their numbers solidify or that the ad actually makes a difference? Really? That makes no sense to me.

Posted by: van | July 18, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 18, 2008 7:41 AM | Report abuse

It is difficult to imagine AK and MS in play, from here in TX. Perhaps we will hear from someone in those states.

My sister in NC thinks Sen. Dole is in BIG trouble. But she is in Durham, and living in R-D-CH is to NC what living in Austin is to TX.

Posted by: MarkInAustin | July 18, 2008 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Good analysis on the Senate, Chris, as usual.

Posted by: bradleyhirish | July 18, 2008 7:36 AM | Report abuse

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