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The Friday Line: Dems Eye Possible Senate Pickups

By now any loyal Fix reader knows the state of play in the fight for control of the Senate. Democrats need six seats to regain the majority and have five possible pickup opportunities -- Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Missouri, Montana and Ohio. They also have three races on the cusp of competitiveness -- Virginia, Tennessee and Arizona.

2006 Election -- Interactive Map
Interactive Campaign Map: More Election Data and Analysis.

Republican prospects are actually looking up in both Maryland and Washington State while the open seat in Minnesota is a tough but winnable race.

Enough with the prelude, let's get to the Line.

10. Washington -- Maria Cantwell (D): This race should have been on the Line months ago. Cantwell beat then Sen. Slade Gorton (R) in 2000 by just more than 2,000 votes and Republicans have a well-financed and savvy candidate in former Safeco Insurance executive Mike McGavick. Cantwell has drawn the ire of the liberal left for her continued support for the war in Iraq, although her recent vote in favor of the Levin-Reed amendment may help ease those tensions somewhat. Two anti-war Democrats are weighing primary bids against Cantwell and must decide by the filing deadline toward the end the month. The question is not whether disaffected Democrats defect to McGavick but whether they stay home on Election Day. No credible poll we've seen of late has Cantwell over 50 percent or with a lead of more than five to seven points. The pro-Democratic national political environment should help the incumbent but this could end up being a very close contest. (Previous ranking: N/A)

9. New Jersey Bob Menendez (D): Can state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R) turn this race into a referendum on corruption with Menendez as the poster boy for old style, machine politics? Maybe, but he's not had much success with that tack thus far. An attempt by Kean's operation to raise questions regarding Menendez's role in a 1981 corruption case largely backfired and his campaign seemed to mishandle their plans to put together a film documenting Menendez's alleged corruption. Independent polling continues to show this race as a nip and tuck affair with Menendez typically carrying a lead within the margin of error. Kean has potential as a candidate -- especially when you consider his last name is political gold -- but has not shown much of it yet. (Previous ranking: 7)

8. Maryland -- OPEN, Paul Sarbanes (D): Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's campaign received some good news last week. A poll conducted by the Post showed former Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume leading the Democratic primary field and Mfume and Steele in a dead heat in the general election among likely voters. Rep. Ben Cardin remains the favorite in the Democratic primary thanks to support from the party establishment and a deep campaign warchest. Wealthy businessman Josh Rales remains the x-factor in the primary race -- he has already given himself $1.5 million to finance television ads, and appears ready to give more. We recently sat down with Rales and came away impressed. The more turmoil in the Democratic primary the better for Steele who still needs to draw a straight flush to win in November. (Previous ranking: 9)

7. Tennessee -- OPEN, Bill Frist (R): Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker remains the favorite in the three-way Republican primary against former Reps. Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant -- bad news for Rep. Harold Ford Jr.'s (D) chances in the fall. Corker will need to prove over the next month that he can withstand attacks on his record on taxes and abortion, both of which Hilleary and Bryant view as silver bullet. It's impossible to criticize the campaign Ford has run to date -- he has done a stellar job of painting himself as an agent for change while also being careful not to give Republicans any ammunition to label him a national Democrat. (Previous ranking: 7)

6. Minnesota -- OPEN, Mark Dayton (D): What to say? Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar (D) occasionally skirmish (witness the inevitable camera incident that went down recently) but generally are content to issue policy proposals and hoard cash for the fall. This should be an intriguing race but it isn't at the moment. (Previous ranking: 6)

5. Ohio -- Mike DeWine (R): This race is less a contest between DeWine and Rep. Sherrod Brown as it is a slugfest between their surrogates: President George W. Bush on one side and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the other. Brown and national Democrats have already begun to hang Bush (and his faltering poll numbers) around DeWine's neck; the National Republican Senatorial Committee has nicknamed the Congressman "Far Out Brown" for his allegedly out of touch views. Still a very good Democratic pickup chance but we are less gung ho about it than we were earlier this cycle. (Previous ranking: 4)

4. Missouri -- Jim Talent (R): It's a tribute to Democrats' chances of picking up seats this fall that Missouri is still ranked fourth on the Line. A Research 2000 poll late last month that showed state Auditor Claire McCaskill with a 49 percent to 43 percent edge over Talent demonstrated just how ripe a pickup opportunity this seat is for Democrats. McCaskill is spending most of her time in the Show Me State's vast rural expanses in hopes of improving on her less than stellar showing there when she ran for governor in 2004. She also looks likely to get a turnout boost from ballot initiatives advocating stem cell research and a minimum wage increase -- both of which should pass overwhelmingly. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. Rhode Island -- Lincoln Chafee (R): For months we've been mulling moving this race down on the list and now seems like the right time. Just one day after filing to run for re-election as a Republican, Chafee got a nice boost when he won the endorsement of the Republican state convention. Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey and his allies dismissed the convention results as meaningless but it seems to us that if there was widespread dissension toward Chafee it would have come to light here. Chafee's case that he is the only Republican who can beat former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D) this fall was bolstered by a recent poll that showed him trailing the Democrat by a single point while Laffey was behind by 30. (Previous ranking: 2)

2. Montana -- Conrad Burns (R): Democrats are higher on state Sen. Jon Tester than any other candidate in the country. His farming background, flattop hairdo and unique "hang loose" trademark (the result of his losing his three middle fingers on his left hand to a meat grinder as a child) seem to be the exact right profile for a Democrat to win in this state. Plus, we have continue to believe that Burns' late response to allegations of wrongdoing in connection with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff have damaged him deeply in the minds of voters. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. Pennsylvania -- Rick Santorum (R): Another month passes and public polling still consistently shows state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) with a double-digit lead over Santorum. Santorum's first television ad of the race focused on his tough stance on immigration -- a paean to his conservative base. If Santorum is shoring up his base four months before the election he may be in even more dire straits that we initially thought. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 7, 2006; 7:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Next: Insider Interview: John McCain



The Dems to include the big tent idea. I don't care how much the Repubs want to pointto the ouster of Leiberman as the dems excluding moderates, Leiberman is going out solely because he supports the war. Lamont may have other more liberal disagreements with Leiberman, but the real issue is the war.

Now Chaffee and Laffey on the other hand are Republicans trying to get rid of a moderate. Granted, the GOP party is backing Chaffee, just like the Dem party with Leiberman, but will the voters back him?

Both Chaffee and DeWine are in trouble because they pissed off conservatives by joining the gang of 14. The conservatives tried to knock off Specter in the past with Toomey. Don't think for a second that its the Dems who no longer espouse the big tent ideals, that belongs to the Republicans who are doing their best to eliminate the moderate wing of their party. The only reason Olympia Snowe didn't get a huge challenge is because no true conservative would survive in Maine. DeWine may have avoided a primary, but the polls show Brown was ahead and that may be because the conservatives aren't backing DeWine.

Posted by: Rob Millette | July 11, 2006 2:53 AM | Report abuse

I'm not getting carried away, Sandwich fix-it man. This guy is for real. Read up on him. He hasn't been the State Senate's Democratic leader in the 03 and 05 sessions for nothing. He's bright, has the common touch and is politically deft. He has natural charisma. He will rise in the U.S. Senate leadership because the other senators will recognize his leadership ability. This guy will be no back-bencher.

I don't think the term "shirt-tail relative" is a strictly Montana term, but it might be lesser-known in the cities. It is merely a term for someone remotely connected to your family maze, but not by blood. In this case, my father's sister is married to a Pearson. His mother is an Ophus. Tester's mother is an Ophus too, by, I believe, a cousin of my uncle's late mother. So we are remotely related though this connection in the family maze, but not directly by blood, thus a shirt-tail relative.

Montana is a big state with small population, there are no places in the state where I don't have friends, and there are many places where I have relatives. Our families date back to the 1910's homesteader days, when Eastern Montana got most of its ethno-Europeans. Our families in Montana are mostly Norwegian and German by nationality and those strains run strong in the wheat-growing region of the "Golden Triagle."

As far as gay rights, neither Tester or I favor taking any rights away from gays. I, in fact support at least civil unions. I'm an attorney and know how the lack of legal status is unfair when it comes to intestancy when a member of a gay couple dies or the rights of each person when a gay couple breaks up. Heterosexual spouses have legal protection in these situations while gay couples don't.

There are some legislative districts where favoring gay marriage is not a disability. One openly gay woman serves in the legislature from Missoula. But the gay marriage position is not politically viable in North Central Montana. Nor would it fly in a state-wide race. Those who favor gay rights will have to be satisfied that Tester does not favor junking up the U.S. Constitution with anti gay marriage ammendments or any other conservative cause of the day. He believes each state has the right to set it's own laws regulating marriage. He's content with supporting the overwhelming decision of Montana voters against gay marriage when the issue was put to referendum in '04.

Democrats have to be pragmatic and realize that we need to at least tolerate different positions on social issues in our party. Most of those traditional voters we lost to Republicans over the years have been over a seemingly purist and intolerant stance toward the more conservative positions on social issues. Our natural voter base on economic issues has been coopted in many places by Republicans because we are tagged with intolerance toward conservative social views. This is especially true in the Southern U.S. and also in ethnic blue collar areas in the cities.

We need to adopt the "big tent" idea. That had always been a hallmark of the Democratic party and it should be again.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | July 11, 2006 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to Will in Texas for completely eviscerating his imposter[vivabush?] on the issue of data vs anecdote. Neocon Webposters seem to have this remarkable ability to spout unsubtantiated rhetoric while completely ignoring emperical evidence that is staring them in the face [NO WMD, NO CONNECTION BETWEEN AL QUEDA AND SADAM HUSSEIN, NO NUCLEAR CONNECTION ETC ETC ETC]

C'mon Viva, what's your response? And please, no more anectdotes, just the DATA to back up your specious remarks.

Posted by: GARY STAIGER | July 10, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Rob, the liberal antipathy toward Cantwell is really substantial, and growing. I don't remember how familiar you might be with Washington state, but liberals are no tiny bloc to marginalize there. Today's bizarre development--one of her 2 anti-war primary rivals not only withdrawing and endorsing her, but joining her campaign staff as a full time worker--is likely to make Cantwell's challenge even harder, at least in the short term. I agree with Chris' decision to put WA in the top 10 Senate races. It was consistently and inexplicably ignored until the last minute in 2000. I think we should make sure to avoid repeating that mistake in 2006.

NJ I could see an argument for taking off, but at this point, AZ and VA don't seem like top tier races to me. Money alone (AZ) and demographics alone (VA) won't do it. Pederson and Webb have long ways to go. It could change--see my point about the 2004 Senate race in KY--but for now I think it's a fair assessment. I think Menendez will win, but for the moment his lead isn't that big or established.

Alan: What's a "shirt-tail relative"? Is that a Montana expression? I'm an urban liberal myself, thank you very much, and I strongly support gay marriage (as long as it's optional), but I'm not a fool with no pragmatic side, and that probably wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me to support Tester. I've been to Montana (I say that because I find that a lot of people haven't), and Tester's position is probably just where it should be for his time and place. A new Mike Mansfield?? Getting a little carried away with your rhetoric there? ;)

I don't have a car either, and I travel by walking, biking, or public transit. The oil-based economy is totally unsustainable. And regardless of that, Iraq was never a threat to the US, and BushCo has admitted that there are no WMDs there. You know we've spent $294B on the Iraq war so far, and annual Pentagon spending is up 50% since Bush took office?? No wonder we're approaching a $9 trillion national debt we owe to China and Japan. The Pentagon should be cut in half.

Kinky Friedman is highly entertaining, but he has no chance of winning. I'd rather Jim Hightower had run.

Viva continues to demonstrate that, like so many conservatives, he's unwilling to put his money where his mouth is. Constantly spouts unsubstantiated arguments that contradict most of the facts of the race, then will only pay 1/3rd of what he's willing to take if Blackwell were to win (which we all know isn't going to happen). The party making a bet does not set the odds; that would be considered corrupt or unethical. Then again, Ohio Republicans are awfully familiar with that...

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 10, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The Pentagon will please penalize Joe Voter one month of his military pension for violating the "We don't wash our dirty laundry in public!" Code.

For 40 years I've been waiting for an active duty military spokesman or senior commander to tell the truth in plain English.

Still waiting!

Posted by: Nor'Easter | July 10, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse


Another way Arizona could be picked up is for Pederson to agressively court the moderate republican voters vot voted for Janet Nepalatono (sp?) and Terry Goddard. They voted Democratic because they thought the Governor's and the Attornies General's opponents (I'have forgotton their names) were too conservative -- way to conservative.

Now Kyl is at least as conservatve as those guys, but has not had it brought to light. If I were, and get him on everything from abnormal homophobia, to illegal immigration, all the other kooky right stuff he has suported.

I.e. Arizona needs a professional senator for tough times. (not just someone who introduces bills to make the kooky --- as sifferent from the Prostestants and Epispalians and Catholics) religious people happy) Also few people have ever voted aganst someone because they took out of state money.

Posted by: Kurt | July 10, 2006 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Person who used my name to question my polling numbers-

You've simply forgotten that the plural of anectode is not data. I asked you to provide data challenging data and you respond with anectodes. I'm asking for data. I'll give you one more chance.

"I guess you think that they imply that Iraqis want us to leave. Note that none of these questions was the one I spoke on."

No, they don't "imply" that Iraqis want us to leave, they demand the conclusion that x% of people responded a certain way to a certain question within a margin of error. Since you have failed to challenge the methodology of either poll I provided, the data goes unchallenged. If the data is unchallenged then logic does not demand an implication, it demands a reasonable conclusion based off reliable and unchallenged data. Your refusal to acknowledge the correct conclusion speaks more about you than it does about polls.

"80% to 90% of the Iraqi people want
to have us there and do not want us to leave before the job is done."

Do you have some published work to support this number? Did the conference release said numbers? What evidence is there to provide for the methodological validity of their "polling"? Why would a conference of American troops in a specific area in Iraq give us any information for how Iraqis feel holistically?

These are important questions that require answers. Let me point out a few differences between Anectodes and Data:
1) Data is cited
2) Said citation necessarily provides methodological practices to ensure validity and, at the very least, for scientific review
3) Anectodes do not have any "implications" because they "prove" nothing

"It's your call - do you trust your fellow Americans in service or unreliable (at best) poll data."

Your questions is retarded. It should read "do you trust a small sampling that I have provided no evidence that it actually exists and that is indicative of nothing or do you trust a methodologically sound poll issued by a well respected polling agency and responded to by a large and varied enough sampling of American soldiers so as to make scientifically valid conclusions based off their responses." Of course, I would choose the latter. Again you've confused "anectode" for data.

I unquivocally, unabashadly, unquestionably would choose the Zogby poll as "evidence" far more than I would the anectodal uncited nonsense insultingly backed as truth by a blatant partisan on a message board. You can find this poll at:

It's very informative. I suggest you check it out as it provides DATA. As in, it provides the amount of troops questioned, the scientifically determinable +/- of the poll (3.3), the demographics of the people questioned, etc. In other words, the methodology.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 10, 2006 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear Will ITPN:

OK, I've heard enough! I retired from the military and spent some of the best years of my life in nasty places where most of the natives wanted me and my fellow Americans dead. Since you seem to be willing to drink the Kool-Aid and don't seemed to have served in the military (remember the NG during Vietnam doesn't really count), let me clue you in to how the military really works using your comments. (My response in parenthesis after yours).

80% to 90% of the Iraqi people want
to have us there and do not want us to leave before the job is done. (You mean 80-90% of the Iraqis who spoke to the General. What Iraqis do you think get to speak to a U.S. Army Infantry Division Commander? I'll tell you-one's who are pre-vetted as "friendly." What do you think they'll say, "Get the hell out"?)

-The morale and combat capability of the troops is the highest that the senior officers have ever seen in the 20-30 years that each has served. (What do you expect them to say. As a reminder of what senior military commanders (generals and admirals) will tell the press and Congress, look at the Senate Armed Services Committee testimony when Krulak was Commandant and Johnson was CNO and how they were upbraided by the Committee including McCain because they had routinely said "Yessir, Yessir, three bags full," when, in fact, the troops and equipment were worn out from operations. Junior officers and SNCOs will tell you that we don't have enough fresh boots on the ground, but the JCS will tell Rummy and Bush that we're fine.)

As for the Zogby poll, I can only tell you what I know. Two weeks ago, the local TV channels showed a 3rd ACR
re-enlistment ceremony held at Ft. Carson and officiated by Colonel McMaster.
Mind you, this unit has just returned from a one-year combat tour of hard and
bloody fighting in Iraq and will likely return there again in eight to ten
months. Of the 670 soldiers eligible for re-enlistment, 654 of them held up
their right hands and signed on for another four years. Would they prefer duty in Waikiki? Sure who wouldnt? (670 soldiers eligible likely means that after career counselors canvassed the troops to see who was willing to reenlist, they weeded out anyone who said they wouldn't and placed them in a non-eligible category. The difference of 16 is that those 16 backed out after the eligible figure was released or they padded the number because 100% retention would seem too good to be true. Also, my experience was that by reenlisting, oftentimes the reenlistor could get orders out of a unit he hated earlier than by serving out his full enlistment and simply separating.)

It's your call - do you trust your fellow Americans in service or unreliable (at best) poll data. (I wholeheartedly trust servicemembers. But I also know that when I was in, I never badmouthed the mission, my commanders, or the civilian authority-to do so is career suicide. Even troops that want out, won't badmouth the situation because there is an unspoken code that you don't dump on your family to strangers, and that you don't whine no matter how bad it sucks. When I encountered reporters in the field, I never gave them the whole unvarnished truth, and often wouldn't answer them straight. What they learned was from observation only. My approach to reporters was the same as Sherman's.)

Know this Will, the situation on the ground is bad, and our troops are doing a magnificent job everyday. People that sign up for this kind of abuse are also the stoic warriors who never complain to outsiders. If you're not one of them, you'll never know the truth. Quietly bearing the burden and denying the worst protects you emotional when your in the field and protects your family and friends from worry. Besides reporters, I never told my Mom or my wife the whole truth when I was in-I didn't want them to worry.

If your support of this endeavor is so strong, join the brotherhood of the profession of arms. If you're too old, encourage your children, neices, nephews, grandchildren to do so. If they're already in, encourage them to reenlist.

Posted by: Joe Voter | July 10, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I am still waiting for VivaBush to enumerate the other "hopeless left wing causes" Rep Brown backed... And, speaking of getting facts straight, your error regarding his position on NAFTA/CAFTA was pretty fundamental.

As for Will, what are the sources of your assertions that 80-90% of the Iraqi people want us to stay? The point about the morale of the troops being the highest in 20-30 years is clearly a very subjective one that is based on anectdotal, not emperical evidence. Without factual basis claims like this are nothing but more of the same smoke that the Bushies have been blowing up our collective butts for the last five years.

Posted by: Gary Staiger | July 10, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Anybody who still believes The Big Lie (Lieberman) should check out this analysis of his debate claim of "saving 31,000 jobs in CT":

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | July 10, 2006 7:10 AM | Report abuse

If Kevin had a brain he'd be dangerous.

For starters, either he can't read or is an outright liar.

I believe I read that Plain Dealer article he refers to but he is liaing to say that Blackwell backed down from the debate.

BOTH candidates said they would NOT debate if the Cleveland Call and Post, A black newspaper was not part of the 3 paper group, PD, Columbus Dispatch, and Dayton Daily News. These three papers do not feel that the Call and Post should be included in their consortium as it does not have a history of covering state politics as do the others.

Once again VIVABUSH04 comes through with facts, not wishful lies and pinko distortions.

My offer stands. If you want to bet Strickland today, I get 3-1 odds. Either he has a 16 point lead and can't lose or he doesn't.


Posted by: VivaBush04 | July 9, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why black voters would rally around Blackwell. The man single-handedly suppressed the BLACK vote in Ohio in '04! He is not the man to heal the state of Taft's mistakes. Furthermore, Blackwell and DeWine may win in Ohio, if Blackwell pulls the same crap he pulled in '04.


I am from Missouri and went to see Ms. McCaskill the other day. She is a fine speaker with the people's interests at heart. I was extremely disappointed to find her lose to Boy Blunt in 2004, but I now see that she may be of more value to the people of Missouri and the country by working in the Senate. I say this even though Missouri has been suffering Blunt trauma for 2-1/2 years now. We don't need a Bush lapdog like Talent in the Senate!

In Texas, I hope Kinky gets to be Gov. He would be the smartest man in the room at the next Gov. Convention. He seems to care about the people of his state and probably knows more of them and their plight than the rest of the candidates.

Posted by: War Is Not Pro-Life | July 9, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I live close enough to walk.
Our dependence on an oil economy does not justify what we are doing in Iraq.

Posted by: Gary Staiger | July 9, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gary,
Honoring your point...
How do you get to work?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 8, 2006 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"-80% to 90% of the Iraqi people want
to have us there and do not want us to leave before the job is done.

-The morale and combat capability of the troops is the highest that the senior officers have ever seen in the 20-30 years that each has"

Pray tell, just how were these "numbers"/"facts" arrived at? Out of the same Pentagon Fantasy play book that said we would be greeted with "open arms" as soon as we found the "weapons of mass destruction" or the one that came up with "Mission Accomplished"?

This adminstration has no exit plan from Iraq.{Paraphrasing bush: "this will be a task for the next adminstration"} We are building the LARGEST embassy in the world in Bahgdad AND huge military bases as well. The neocon strategy is for a PERMANENT presence in a client state. Read the book Bush and the House of Saud. As long as Big Oil controls the White House we will always be fighting wars somewhere to preserve their class privileges.

Posted by: GARY STAIGER | July 8, 2006 7:44 PM | Report abuse

thanks for posting a bunch of poll numbers. I guess you think that they imply that Iraqis want us to leave. Note that none of these questions was the one I spoke on.

I point you to a recent retired flag officer conference held at Ft. Carson, the home post of the largest number of troopers who have served multiple tours in
Afghanistan and Iraq and, regrettably, the largest number of troopers who have
died in combat there over the past three years. There are Ft. Carson units
going to and returning from the combat area virtually on a monthly basis.

Highlights of the conference led by Gen. Bob Mixon of the 7th Infantry Division included:

-80% to 90% of the Iraqi people want
to have us there and do not want us to leave before the job is done.

-The morale and combat capability of the troops is the highest that the senior officers have ever seen in the 20-30 years that each has

As for the Zogby poll, I can only tell you what I know. Two weeks ago, the local TV channels showed a 3rd ACR
re-enlistment ceremony held at Ft. Carson and officiated by Colonel McMaster.
Mind you, this unit has just returned from a one-year combat tour of hard and
bloody fighting in Iraq and will likely return there again in eight to ten
months. Of the 670 soldiers eligible for re-enlistment, 654 of them held up
their right hands and signed on for another four years. Would they prefer duty in Waikiki? Sure who wouldnt?

It's your call - do you trust your fellow Americans in service or unreliable (at best) poll data.

Posted by: Will in Texas's Poll Numbers | July 8, 2006 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad more of you are learning the strength of Jon Tester here in Montana. I belived in him from the beginning, not the least because he's a shirt-tail relative. It's an earnest grass-roots campaign and Tester will win it handily.

Burn's efforts have been weak. He ran an ad with an actor playing Tester's barber, spouting wedge issues that Burns hopes will help him, but which few Montanans see as major issues for us. The actor then says Tester doesn't tip well either.

Tester counters with his actual barber, who laughs at the "Hollywood Actor" and recounts that Tester tips very well, thank you.

Burns' doesn't have an idea of how to counter Tester's rising popularity. The so called "wedge" issues that the Republican Congress served up don't resonate in Montana. Montana cares little about issues with the Mexican border. It's a long ways away and Tester has actually come out for a strong border anyway. The gay marriage issue also goes nowhere. Tester supports traditional marriage, but he opposed the attempt to revise the constitution in the U.S. Seante, raising a state's rights issue. Montana overwelmingly passed an anti-gay marriage ballot issue two years ago and Tester is content to support that. As I've said before, he's a western Democrat, urban liberals won't like some of his stands. The urban liberals had better decide that being in power is more important than being a liberal purist and in the minority.

And Tester clearly won a TV debate in spite of the fact that Burns is a seasoned broadcaster. Burns knows how to sound "folksy" in his Missouri accent. But he's clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to talking about issues.

Tester has gained a lot of ground with his native Montanan appeal, "A Senator who looks and sounds like us."

Montana has a bit of a xenophobic strain and Tester's emphasis of his nativity over Burn's Missouri roots has struck a chord.

You'll hear more of Tester when he gets in the Senate, too. Tester has been democratic party leader both in the minority and the majority in the State Senate. He has a sharp mind and knows legislative process very well. He will be a major driving force, a new Mike Mansfield, in the U.S. Senate.

Posted by: Alan in Missoula | July 8, 2006 5:02 PM | Report abuse

late to the fight here, so I'll take it from the top.

Sandwich, Personally, I'd have taken both Washington and New Jesrsey off this list and added Virginia and Arizona. Pederson will continue to pour money into this race and Webb will get moving.

Mike, Kean can't capitalize on the trouble creating the budget for the state, he is part of the state legislature that couldn't get the job done.

Tina, thats the funniest thing I've read in a long time. None of that is anywhere close to the truth or likely to happen. Its all going to get worse.

Posted by: Rob Millette | July 8, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Chris the Seventh Congressional District Democratic Primary is turning into a three way race. Herb Rubenstein was the first to do direct mail. Now he is the first on TV with a powerful ad that is the talk of Colorado. Check it out at Democrats are now beginning to say that this guy might actually win.

Posted by: JoJoDancer | July 8, 2006 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I started this with the intent of observing that Casey's win in Pennsylvania will put the average IQ of the Senate back into the triple digits, but I really have to respond to the moronic remarks that Tina made, too.

If GW Bush is serious in believing that the star wars missile shield is capable of shooting down anything dangerous, why doesn't he just tell Kim il Sung that the US will simply shoot down his next test fire?

Bush is more dangerous to the world than anyone else.

Robert Chapman
Lansing, New York

Posted by: robert chapman | July 8, 2006 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Thee is a generaton of Ohioans who have never voted for Brown outside the 13th district and who will soon learn who he truly is."[viva]
Yes, there most certainly is, and, learning "who he really is" will bring huge numbers of them to the polls, because those views are consistent with their own. DeWhine can't run on his "record"...he doesn't have one. Brown's record speaks for itself and for a majority of Ohioans. Polls consistently show opposition to the Iraq war growing, Pro-choice sentimment steady [how Viva can take a pro choice position and turns it into a pro-abortion one is beyond me...].

Just what other "left wing causes" are we talking about here? Get your rhetoric on the table and let's see just how far off the mark you really are!! Wild claims need to be backed up with real facts, something you seem to have difficulty with. Time to put up or shut up.

Posted by: gary staiger | July 8, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Unlike Republicans, I don't play with stacked decks. Blackwell wins, I give you $50. Strickland wins, you give me $50. I'm not interested in cigars; I don't smoke.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 8, 2006 10:21 AM | Report abuse


I guess you didn't read yesterday's Plain Dealer wherein it indicated that Blackwell backed out of the first debate with soon to be Gov. Strickland (boy that sounds nice, Gov. Strickland)...3-1 must be really conf. in Blackwell. Strickland by 10 points in Nov! count on it. Indpendants and Mod. Rebublicans will NEVER vote for flip/flop Blackwell.

Posted by: kevin | July 8, 2006 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I did mean to say that Brown OPPOSED NAFTA and CAFTA as well as being anti-war, proabortion and a supporter of every other left-wing cause.
Thee is a generaton of Ohioans who have never voted for Brown outside the 13th district and who will soon learn who he truly is.

According to the PD, on June 6 Strickland stated, I will debate Ken Blackwell anywhere, anytime."

AS for putting my money, read my post of giving me 3-1 odds and 3 boxes of Cuban Cigars.

Posted by: vivaCalderon06 | July 8, 2006 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Like so many right-wing extremists, we see here that Viva is NOT willing to put his money where his mouth is. Guess all that hot and bothered rhetoric is hollow.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 8, 2006 1:45 AM | Report abuse

"Yeh Brown backed NAFTA, CAFTA and a lot of other hopeless left wing losing causes."

Um, no Vivian, Brown fought against NAFTA and CAFTA. Get your facts straight.

"What part of Red State don't you lefties not understand? Every state office, heavy majorities in both houses, 6 of 7 on the Supreme Court, 12 of 18 congressmen, 2 senators."

Amazing what gerrymandering can do, isn't it Vivian?

"Strickland made the horrendous mistake of agreeing to debate Blackwell. Politics 101: when ahead of your opponent, do not debate."

Vivian - there has never NOT been a debate in the Ohio governor's race in recent history. To not have adebate would be unprecedented. And second, Strickland did not "agree" to debate Blackwell you moron. He is the one who proposed the debates in the first place. Again, get your facts straight.


Democrats will definitely pick up at least 2 statewide offices in Ohio in November - State Treasurer (thanks for nominating the wingnut who has no chance in the general republicans - I appreciate it!), and Governor. 50/50 chance of victory in the Senate race, Sec of State race and State Auditor race. Dems also pick up 2 U.S. House seats in OH-15 with Mary Jo Kilroy defeating Deb Pryce (who didnt even spell her own name right in an ad - lol) and OH-18 with Zack Space defeating Bob Ney if he isn't in prison by then. Ohio Republicans cry themselves to sleep for 2 years.

Posted by: Ohio guy | July 7, 2006 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Being on the side of a bunch of anti american liars and cheaters is bound to make you crazy and you just go deeper into neocon fantasy land. Welcome to the BLUE state of Ohio

Posted by: Larry | July 7, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Let me clarify...I do not belive for one minute that Sherrod Brown is going to have a cakewalk over Mike DeWhine in will, and should be a hard fought ideological fight. I emphasize ideological because that is where the battleground is. Ohio is no more guaranteed Republican than Democrat. If we can keep Mr Blackwell and his cronies at Diebold in check we might even have an honest elction. Even with the blatant manipulation during the '04 election Bush did not get even close to a landslide in Ohio. There are still more Democrats in cities than there are repubs in the 'burbs and ultimately the question will come down to who can get their base out and working.

I find it hard to believe, in the racist society I live in, that Ken Blackwell is both going to win over rural repubs who have never voted for a black candidate in their lives AND lure away the progressive black community that is part of the democratic base.
by the way, VivaBush...did I read right>>>"Yeh Brown backed NAFTA, CAFTA and a lot of other hopeless left wing losing causes. "...please enumerate the other hopless causes, and, while your at it, re-check your facts about what Brown's position on NAFTA & CAFTA is/was.

Posted by: GARY STAIGER | July 7, 2006 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Again viva lies. Brown did not back NAFTA or CAFTA. You facists are desperate. Kerry won Ohio and Clinton won it twice. Metzenbaum was senator 3 times won in 3 landslides. Ohio is a BLUE state and will be for a long time. No matter how you facists try to lie cheat and steal again in the up coming election we true Americans will win. Remember we out number you.

Posted by: Larry | July 7, 2006 10:41 PM | Report abuse

What say Mon Ami.
You are so sure of Strickland's "double digit lead now. Give me underdog Blackwell at 3-1 odds.

I win and you give me 3 boxes of Romeo Julieta petit coronas. You win and I pay you the price of one. Perhaps we can wait till it gets closer to election day?

Posted by: VivaBush04 | July 7, 2006 10:13 PM | Report abuse

"Sherrod Brown makes no bones about his politics, takes care of his constituents and repeatdely wins re election in a fairly conservative district climate because, when they get up close to his political views people realize just how IN TOUCH he is with the views of the majority of Ohioans."
I wish you Dims would talk facts instead of making things up. Brown's 13th district is heavily union and Democrat, something the rest of the state of Ohio is not. Yeh Brown backed NAFTA, CAFTA and a lot of other hopeless left wing losing causes. What makes you think Buckeyes will rally around such issues and embrace Brown? LAst time he ran state-wide, he lost to the great Bob Taft. DeWine is no Taft.

What part of Red State don't you lefties not understand? Every state office, heavy majorities in both houses, 6 of 7 on the Supreme Court, 12 of 18 congressmen, 2 senators. And this state is a toss up? Hell, it ain't even purple. Who's smokin what here?

Election after election, year after year, you libs keep pouring money and effort into Ohio with the notion you're going to win something and all you do is wind up with your tails between your legs. Two years ago you were supposed to win Ohio for Kerry. Last year you were going to pass 4 state wide amendments to take control of the government and you failed miserably there too. Now you're going to win all the state offices plus senator, plus 2-3 house seats.

Strickland made the horrendous mistake of agreeing to debate Blackwell. Politics 101: when ahead of your opponent, do not debate.

I am yet to predict that Blackwell is going to win, not yet. I am waiting for the polls to be about 6% diff sometime in September when the debates begin and then watch Blackwell blow that empty suit Strickland out of the water. Seem to recall something similar happening once Kerry and Bush debated. The Bush convention lead got wiped out.

If anyone wants to bet me on this race now, I will need 3-1 odds. If you are so confident of your poll numbers, then that should be about right.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | July 7, 2006 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Mike DeWine made a little mark on the Senate at least. His legal counsel paid his 23 year old staff assistant, Jessica Cutler, for sex, and his legislative director was pimping her out to other men in the Senate at the same time. It was all over The Hill and Roll Call, and prompted a number of pieces in the Post. Real traditional family values.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Mike DeWhine is wrong on too many issues, too closely tied to the Bushies {96% pro bush voting record] Wrong on support for Veterans [he voted against three recent pro vet bills], Wrong on the War in Iraq, Wrong on the Medicare mess, Wrong on NSA {let's make what is apparently quite illegal legal with my legislation...], Wrong on a woman's right to choose, Wrong on Nafta, Wrong on Cafta. Mike DeWhine, who has left virtually no visible political foortprint in all his Semate career is just plain Wrong for Ohio.
Sherrod Brown makes no bones about his politics, takes care of his constituents and repeatdely wins re election in a fairly conservative district climate because, when they get up close to his political views people realize just how IN TOUCH he is with the views of the majority of Ohioans. Ohioans who are pro choice, anti Iraq war, believe Medicare is a mess, that the government should NOT be listening to your private phone conversations, that we should focus on KEEPING jobs IN the USA instead of allowing the giant corporations like Wal mart [whose Chinese suppliers pay their workers as little as 17 cents an hour] to ship them overseas.

Sherrod Brown has a solid history of being FOR the working-middle class and for the disadvantaged. He was a major player in the fight over NAFTA and especially against CAFTA. Several times recently, in conversations with him, he has stongly reiterated the position that he is not going to move to the political "middle" as some party "insiders" would like to see. The Senator he would most like to emulate...Paul Wellstone. Remember, this is the state that produced Howard Metzenbaum AND John Glenn.
At this time it may seem like Brown is running below the radar, but believe me,
he is most defintely energizing the traditional activist liberal base of the Democratic party. These are the people who can motivate and influence a much larger, tho more dormant, but still politically sympathetic, number of voters. I am confident that the issues Gubernatorial candidate Strickland and Mr Brown are pushing and will continue to develop will lead to Victory in Ohio this fall.

Posted by: GARY STAIGER | July 7, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

In NJ, Florio raised income taxes, not sales taxes. And I think the increase was probably a lot more substantial than this week's 1-point raise in the sales tax from 6% to 7%. Gallup has found that the property tax is the one Americans find most unfair (and I somewhat agree). NJ has always complained of high property taxes, and to the extent the deal cuts them, I think New Jerseyans may actually be pleased with it. I don't think this has any impact on the Kean-Menendez race.

Viva, if you're so smugly overconfident that, despite every piece of evidence, Blackwell is going to beat Strickland, why aren't you willing to put any money on it?

VA is changing in the Democrats' direction. Allen only got 52% of the vote there in 2000. Tim Kaine was elected Governor last fall by an even bigger margin than Mark Warner won by in 2001. Kaine won counties that hadn't voted Democratic in years, if not decades (e.g. Prince William). Democrats have won 2-3 special elections for state senators, which has put them at 19 to the Republicans' 21. The only candidate who could have given Allen a serious run for his money is Warner. Allen is a fairly strong and popular incumbent. But the explosive growth of DC's NoVA suburbs is taking the state further toward the Dems. I think you'd have to be delusional to consider VA a top-tier Senate race this year (unlike in 2000), but if Webb does well and the national trend continues to favor Democrats, or does so more strongly than it does already, he could have a chance. This is a sleeper race. Don't forget that in 2004, no one gave Dan Mongiardo a snowball's chance in hell of unseating Sen. Jim Bunning, yet on election day the race was decided by 2 points. Sometimes these things change.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 8:50 PM | Report abuse

"Hate to disappoint you Greg but judging by the improving polls and the numerous volunteers cranking out phone calls for Blackwell and Dewine, I'd say there are a lot of GOPs and Black Dems who are committed to see him win as well." - Vivian

My dad is a self-described "dyed-in-the-wool republican" who has not voted for a democrat since he voted for Kennedy, the first Prez election he voted in, and he is a life-long resident of Ohio. The other day one of those volunteers Vivian crows about called our house to spew nonsense about how great Blackwell and Dewine are to my dad. My dad treated them like they were telemarketers and hung up on them after openly mocking them for 5 minutes. It was pretty hilarious. He went on to expalin to me that he is extremely pissed off at the current job the republicans are doing of running Ohio and the country (he named debt, deficit, Iraq War and corruption in Ohio's republican-dominated state government as his reasons), and that he thinks Blackwell is a "nutjob" and Bush is a "simpleton" who has only ever gotten anything b/c of his family name. He has no hard feelings toward Dewine, but dosen't see him doing any good in Washington either, just being a do-nothing politician.

I of course asked who he will be voting for in November. He told me that he is not voting republican under any circumstances, but is probably not going to bother voting democrat either, but he might change his mind and go to vote for Strickland, who he likes.

I know at least one die-hard Ohio republican who will, at BEST for the repubs, be staying home on Election Day. Even worse, he votes Democrat.

Posted by: Ohio guy | July 7, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"Gas prices will be stablized, and reduced, which again will be based on stabilized Middle East relations." - Tina

Just today, gas hit a new all-time high ($75.67/barrel I believe, I could be off a few cents). Were'nt the same republican shills predicting four months ago that we would be seeing LOWER gas prices in June???

Neocon Fantasy Land is a strange place indeed....

Posted by: Ohio guy | July 7, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

To Tina,

You have been watching too much Fox News and reading too many right-wing blogs. I bet you're a fan of Rush Limbaugh too!

To everyman,

I disagree with your analysis of the "2006" elections. I talk to a lot of Republicans who are extremely upset by what is happening in Congress. Unfortunately, they aren't very happy with the Democrats either so they may stay home on Nov. 7th. That's fine with me because then our Democrats will get elected!

Posted by: Nevada Dem | July 7, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I have a feeling that Nevada will soon be a reliable BLUE state as well as NM and CO Maybe even AZ. Lots of Liberal Yankees moving out west.

Posted by: Larry | July 7, 2006 7:24 PM | Report abuse

In Nevada we have a great candidate running for the Senate - Jack Carter, son of former President Jimmie Carter, but he doesn't get much support from the senior Nevada Senator, Harry Reid. Why? Harry and Sen. John Ensign are buddies and Harry won't support a candidate that he can't control. Ensign has voted with the Bushies 96% of the time and seems to rubber stamp anything the Repugs want! Nevada liberals and progressives are extremely disenchanted with Reid as he wants to control everything Democratic in this state. I am working hard for Carter and the other great Democrats we have running. Too bad Harry isn't!

Posted by: Nevada Dem | July 7, 2006 7:18 PM | Report abuse

"Keeping the Senate in GOP Hands will be part of finishing the job"

Great Tina, lets let Bush have another rubber stamp Congress for the next two years. This way we know that Bush will be able to destroy world security, cut and destroy social security, provide tax reform(his and the GOP's idea of tax reform is more tax cuts for the rich and a sharp increase for the middle class.). Save this nation and elect a Democratic Congress in November.

Posted by: Ken | July 7, 2006 6:52 PM | Report abuse

CANTWELL. Dems supported Kerry-Edwards who hadn't at that point come out against the war, so it's not just Cantwell's stubborness about the war that gets my goat. She's stubborn and reserved. She doesn't show up for Dem Legislative District meetings. She asks for money, not your vote. When Hillary came to town for a fundraiser, that was it. When Howard Dean comes to town, we get a big fundraiser, then a small-dollar one, then it's party down. He's fun and this is a fun political town. You know what Cantwell's nickname is? "Where's Maria?"

I'll tell you what it is that has Dems here mad - it was her Alito vote. We knew the difference when she didn't join Patty and Hillary in support of the fillibuster, then next day voted against Alito. She passed it off as a vote against Alito - but we know that the 42 Dems who voted against Alito would have made a fillibuster the day before. We knew. She treats us like crap.

Posted by: mrobinsong | July 7, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

CANTWELL. Dems supported Kerry-Edwards who hadn't at that point come out against the war, so it's not just Cantwell's stubborness about the war that gets my goat. She's stubborn and reserved. She doesn't show up for Dem Legislative District meetings. She asks for money, not your vote. When Hillary came to town for a fundraiser, that was it. When Howard Dean comes to town, we get a big fundraiser, then a small-dollar one, then it's party down. He's fun and this is a fun political town. You know what Cantwell's nickname is? "Where's Maria?"

I'll tell you what it is that has Dems here mad - it was her Alito vote. We knew the difference when she didn't join Patty and Hillary in support of the fillibuster, then next day voted against Alito. She passed it off as a vote agianst Alito - but we know that the 42 Dems who voted against him would have made a fillibuster the day before. We knew. She treats us like crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

CANTWELL. Dems supported Kerry-Edwards who hadn't at that point come out against the war, so it's not just Cantwell's stubborness about the war that gets my goat. She's stubborn and reserved. She doesn't show up for Dem Legislative District meetings. She asks for money, not your vote. When Hillary came to town for a fundraiser, that was it. When Howard Dean comes to town, we get a big fundraiser, then a small-dollar one, then it's party down. He's fun and this is a fun political town. You know what Cantwell's nickname is? "Where's Maria?"

I'll tell you what it is that has Dems here mad - it was her Alito vote. We knew the difference when she didn't join Patty and Hillary in support of the fillibuster, then next day voted against Alito. She passed it off as a vote agianst Alito - but we know that the 42 Dems who voted against him would have made a fillibuster the day before. We knew. She treats us like crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2006 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Wyoming was brought up: are we talking about the Senate or the House?

The Senate (currently held by Craig Thomas) and contested by Democratic candidate Dale Groutage, is likely to be secure in Thomas' favor.

The House is held by Representative Barbara Cubin. It is being contested by Democratic candidate Gary Trauner. Given the dissatification with Cubin, one cannot say with absolute certainty that Cubin is going to win (though that does mean Trauner is guaranteed to win).

Posted by: Anonymous | July 7, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse


I have to agree with you. It's a mess.

I ended up voting for Miller because, at the very least, his campaign had their act together and he was willing to fundraise.

Don't get me wrong, I'll vote for Webb in November. But I cannot see myself giving any money to his campaign. Allen is defining Webb, Webb cannot speak for himself, Jarding keeps going off on Wadhams because he has no choice (trying to drum up needed cash, enthusiasm), and the DSCC has to figure out a way to get Webb through a "candidate 101" course without Webb losing his temper.

Now I see that Lowell Feld of Raising Kaine has been "officially" hired by the Webb campaign to coordinate in fundraising. What the heck is going on over there? The Webb campaign promised that after the primary there would be more money to hire a professional staff. Yet, amateur hour reigns.

You are right. This is not good.

Posted by: A Democrat | July 7, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse


I certainly hope my comments weren't construed as boosterism.

Democratic leadership is like the fabled mule-no intentional reference- whose attention can't be gotten without hitting it between the eyes with a baseball bat.

Lots of puffery here about polls here. But will any of the writers get off their butts and try to influence those numbers.

Not likely.

Posted by: everyman | July 7, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse


You are smoking the green stuff again....MOST RECENT poll shows Strickland ahead by 13 points. Strickland has never been below 49% in any poll, with Blackwell never being above 44%. GIve up! I will say what I have written many times before and will do so all the way to November - here in Ohio Strickland wins by 10% and Blackwell takes a job in the lame-duck Bush adminstration where he belongs....

Dewine may win, but, it will be razor thin.

Posted by: kevin | July 7, 2006 5:01 PM | Report abuse

A point for J Crozier-

No, not really. Here's a January Poll from Iraqis

Some findings:

87% of Iraqis favor their elected officials setting a timeline for American withdrawal
47% of the country approves of attacks on US led forces in Iraq
67% think Day-to-Day security of ordinary citizens would increase if American troops withdrew in the next 6 months
64% think violent attacks would decrease if American troops withdrew in the next 6 months
61% inter-ethnic violence would decrease if American troops withdrew in the next 6 months
67% think the availability of public services (electricity, schools, and sanitation) would increase if the American troops withdrew in the next 6 months
64% think the amount of crime would decrease if the American troops withdrew in the next 6 months

Not that this is surprising because, according to a Zogby poll in February ( "72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year, and more than one in four say the troops should leave immediately..."

So American troops in Iraq agree with Iraqis; our troops need to get out.

If you have any evidence besides your mere assertion that the majority of Iraqis want us there, I'd love to hear it.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 7, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Blackwell is a crook and informed Ohioans know it. He is making it harder and harder for us to vote and was personaly involved in the fraudulent election that gave pres Bush the win in Ohio. Blackwell does not stand a chance. Dems out number Reps in Ohio.

Posted by: Larry | July 7, 2006 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed by the boosterism here. Who is going to win in Mo, I have no idea. I hope its Claire, but I won't make predictions based on how I want the race to turn out.

Posted by: Dan | July 7, 2006 4:57 PM | Report abuse

taking myself too seriously. Meant to say the Dems don't take either house in 2006.

Posted by: everyman | July 7, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

What a waste of computer power and American productivity in these comments.

Democrats don't stand a chance to take back either house in 2008. May be close-but no cigar.

It will take two more years of GW's incompetent foreign policy and non-existant domestic policy, probably a bombing of Iran or North Korea in the arrogance over the Republicans holding both houses, and a dead-locked congress because of the gains the Democrats get in November.

God Save the Republic.

Posted by: everyman | July 7, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

re "racist rural Republicans will never vote for a black man for Gov of Ohio" or is it that the city black Democrats will not forgive Blackwell for not towing the black line and being a liberal?

if Mfume in Md manages to beat Cardin in the primaries, it should be interesting to watch how the fight between Mfume and Steele goes down. it was funny to see Mfume in an interview earlier this year actually whining that the Md Democratic Party was wrong to throw their support behing a white guy versus a black man.

and for the record, I am one of those rural Republicans - who happens to have multiple college degrees, black friends, and know many conservatives planning on voting for Blackwell - its a vote for who best represents our views, not a vote based on skin color.

Posted by: Ohio Watcher | July 7, 2006 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Outer Space, I'm presuming Webb is offering the same thing that former Gov (and future presidential candidate) Mark Warner and current Gov Tim Kaine would offer the state of VA when they both won their elections as Democrats.

Both of whom, by the way, also have much higher approval ratings than Sen Allen.

Posted by: Greg-G | July 7, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse


"The thing is, no one respects her sitting on the fence about Iraq. If she comes down pro-War, she won't get any votes, she'll lose tons of them. She'd better wise up soon and get with the mainstream of America in asking for our troops to be sent home soonest.

Time to swallow your pride, Maria. Nobody cares about principles, it won't win you the election."

So Will, let me pose a question for you. Suppose there are two people running for the same office, and you agree with one of them on 95% of the issues. However, there is one issue, very important to you, where they both disagree with your position( which, by the way, I agree with you). Are you trying to tell me that you will vote against the one you support 95% of the time in order to punish them. Wes in Seattle,...with a brain.

Posted by: WESETO | July 7, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Crozier,
Believe it from a veteran - the vast majority of Iraqis still want the U.S. military there.

Posted by: A point for J Crozier | July 7, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tina, whatever your smoking you should pass it around to the rest of America,and everyone in the Middle EAST! I was in hesterics by the time I got to MUSCULAR AND POTENT!I was speaking to somone who just returned from IRAQ and he said "its a mess and it's not getting better"! Wow, he must be mistaken huh??? Sue F

Posted by: Sue F | July 7, 2006 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy the Washington Post's continuing obsession with helping their party get back in power in at least one corner of the government, I really do.

But honestly, is there nothing more newsworthy?

For those of you who think Jim Webb has a chance in Virginia, think again. Since this is a red state, what does Jim Webb offer red voters that George Allen does not?

How is Webb going to appeal to even moderate conservatives who will otherwise turn out for Allen?

Surely, if turnout in the primary is any indication, Webb is doomed from the start.

Keep the dream alive Democrats!

Posted by: Outer Space | July 7, 2006 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I don't watch sports - just politics. Chris has made hash out of this. Its mostly all wrong. Does he talk to any political professionals or just read blogs and make stuff up. The hacks I know in both parties cannot figure out how you got a column your stuff is so far off.

Posted by: Other sports beckon | July 7, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse


Still looking for Blackwells "improving poll numbers".

You can cling to that 6 week old U of C poll but everything since still has Strickland up double digits.

DeWine, on the other hand, has made some improvements in some polls.

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Hate to disappoint you Greg but judging by the improving polls and the numerous volunteers cranking out phone calls for Blackwell and Dewine, I'd say there are a lot of GOPs and Black Dems who are committed to see him win as well.


Posted by: VivaCalderon06 | July 7, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse


You can bring back Cuban cigars from Cuba legally now.

Posted by: Will in Texas | July 7, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Blackwell update, Viva, I'm glad that at least HE thinks can win, cause no one else certainly does.

Posted by: Greg-G | July 7, 2006 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Just back from Mexico where I was covering Mexico's World Cup games and the presidential elections which Mexico's Republicans won.

To ally anyone's fears, I did smoke the Havanas down there but brought back only Mexican cigars and tequila.

Had the chance to meet with Blackwell before my trip and I must say he is confident that he is going to win. As a mtter of fact, I'm seeing a mood change in that race on the ground here in NEOH.

Same goes for DeWine who is one busy guy having spent several days including July 4th working this neck of the woods.

We're rolling.

Posted by: VivaCalderon06 | July 7, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Chris has done a complete job in computing the vulnerable Senate seats. But the REALITY is this, unless the Dems win 6 seats, they will remain in the minority.

Why 6 seats? Republicans have 55 now, so even if the Dems pick up 5 seats, making a 50/50 split, the power goes to Cheney and that gives the GOP the power to block Dems from causing too much trouble.

Yes, the Dems will continue to filibuster judges, and block the President on a few issues, but consider this.... if the Republicans manage to maintain their majority of 55 and even pick up one or two more Senate seats, it will be a definite VOICE from the people to get the Dems to knock off their game playing. That is the REALITY of the 2006 election cycle.

Posted by: Reality Rita | July 7, 2006 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Re: NJ and taxes, I, as always, agree with RMill. Property taxes are the most despised and important issue for voters in NJ and PA, and it will really temper passions after this whole budget debacle.

Plus, Florio/Whitman was an entirely different time. Dems have managed to hold Jersey despite massive screw-ups in the form of Jim McGreevey and Bob Toricelli.

Add in the fact that Kean is really the most incompetent candidate for the US Senate (and possibly all of Congress), and this doesn't look like much of an opportunity for the R's.

Posted by: Greg-G | July 7, 2006 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Jim Webb on paper is far more impressive than the Jim Webb in reality.

While Democrats across the country have been running aggressively and raising money, the Webb campaign has been spinning in circles, relying on bloggers and press releases to get their message out - a message, incidentally, which doesn't seem to be anything but "I'm a war hero, this war is bad, you can't attack me without impugning my patriotism."

Meanwhile, whenever George Allen wants, he can start airing ads that define Jim Webb before Webb can define himself.

Not good.

Posted by: webbmirage | July 7, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

J Crozier

4. Addendum- Actually declared "Mission Accomplished"


It probably means that the Ohio Senate Race is going to be very close. Divergence of polling on this scale means people really haven't made up their minds yet. What is clear is that DeWine does not have the approval of a majority of Ohioians which makes him vulnerable.

The general sentiment is that New Jersians are backing the trade off of sales tax for property tax (generally seen as one of the most despised of all taxes).

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Hell, I don't know in which state J. Crozier lives, but as soon as I find out I'm moving there and voting for her/him for whatever office s/he runs for, and pouring cash into the campaign!

Posted by: Joe Voter | July 7, 2006 1:44 PM | Report abuse

An intriguing question about the N.J. Senate race now is how voters will react to the new sales tax hike. Remember how, a year after the Florio tax hikes in 1989, Sen. Bill Bradley almost lost to (a then unknown) Christie Whitman, largely because he was the only candidate people could take it out on? New Jerseyites like to view themselves as overtaxed, and Menendez could face some of the ire that Bradley found, even though the tax was not his doing.

Posted by: ConH | July 7, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Anybody have an explanation for the divergent polls in Ohio?

Posted by: Merry | July 7, 2006 1:17 PM | Report abuse

No, I'm afraid I didn't. I forgot that former KGB strongman Vladimir Putin has slowly started to turn Russia into a dictatorship since he was able to convince Bush he had a "good soul" by wearing a little Christian cross during one of their meetings.

We also can't say much, because we need to go to him hat in hand to beg his help in dealing with the North Korea situation...and also get him to stop sending nuclear research for "energy purposes only" to Iran, one of the most oil rich regions in the world. (why do they need nuclear power plants again if they have so much oil?)

We also can't say much because torture has become official U.S. policy, something that the entire civilized world will throw in our faces the next time we try to claim that we have "moral authority and leadership."

Posted by: J. Crozier | July 7, 2006 12:45 PM | Report abuse


You can have your "MUSCULAR AND POTENT" foreign policy. I'd settle for "Reasonable and Intelligent". Heck, even "Sane and Competent" or "Realistic and Smart-As-Your-Average-Kindergartner" would be an upgrade.

Let's review shall we?

In response to the 9-11 attacks, that perhaps could have been prevented if Bush wasn't vacationing during the entire month of August, the Bush Administration:

1. Invaded Afghanistan (Good!) and overthrew the Taliban (Better!) then proceeded to allow Osama to escape capture because, as Wolfawitz said, "there are no good targets in Afghanistan" (Ooops.) because the country doesn't have a lot to blow up that would look good on T.V. So we...

2. Invaded Iraq (Bad) based on already discredited and forged intelligence (Worse) ignored and failed to secure key weapons storage dumps on the way to Bahgdad (Horrifying) and thereby letting anyone who decided to follow them at a reasonable distance loot them at will behind them (Disasterous).

3. After the fall of Saddam (Good!) the Bush Administration failed to anticipate either the widespread looting and rioting (Ouch), or the vicious insurgency (Ugh!) that sprouted because we failed to bring in enough troops to secure the country (Incompetence) despite the repeated warnings of top ranking generals (Running out of adjectives here...) because we were going to be greeted as liberators in the middle of a region where we're about as popular as the guy who always leaves his wallet in the car to avoid paying his portion of the bar tab and expects his buddies not to notice the habit(Delusionary).

4. Since then, we've had at last count at least three or four "turning points" or "last throes" moments of the insurgency (Delusionary) while the number and lethality of attacks on U.S. forces has continued to go up.

5. And while our military is stuck in a country that we don't want to be, and THEY don't want us to be (Damnit!) because we invaded the country and would lose all credibility if we left without getting it back on its feet after turning it into a failed, leaderless state (Perhaps better than life under Saddam...maybe not. We'll see.) Iran and North Korea proceed to do whatever the hell they want (Disasterous) because we can't convincingly threaten them with military action because A) our military is tied up in Iraq and B) nobody in the international community gives us any credit for anything because we lost all our credibility in Iraq.

6. Meanwhile, the Taliban has regrouped in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan because we didn't finish what we started and didn't leave enough troops behind to truly stabilize the country (sound familiar?), Bush can't fire the idiots responsible for these debacles because then they'll write a tell-all book and it will be disasterous for the Republicans politically.

7. The Republican controlled Congress looks the other way because they know that if Bush goes down it will also be disasterous for Republicans politically, so no investigations take place. Fortunately, the Democrats still can't do anything because they were stuck with either opposing a very, very popular President in 2002 and appearing weak on National Security right before Midterm elections and many of them voted FOR invading Iraq. So if they change their minds now, they are listed as flip-floppers who want to cut and run and not really protect America.

8. Which all amounts to our country being stuck hemmoraging dollars and lives and hoping a miracle happens and the situation in Iraq improves enough in time for us to pull our military out and therefore maybe deal effectively with the two rogue nations (Iran and North Korea) who are far bigger threats and have taken the lesson of Iraq to heart (Have nukes or be invaded.)

Did I cover everything?

Posted by: J. Crozier | July 7, 2006 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, I actually sent a long email (ok, half a printed page) to one of Maria's campaign people last night, trying to wake them up.

The thing is, noone respects her sitting on the fence about Iraq. If she comes down pro-War, she won't get any votes, she'll lose tons of them. She'd better wise up soon and get with the mainstream of America in asking for our troops to be sent home soonest.

Time to swallow your pride, Maria. Nobody cares about principles, it won't win you the election.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | July 7, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse


Lots of wishful thinking or do you suppose a "November surprise" is in the works? Killing Zarqawi did little for Bush approval.

The Middle East is de-stablizing further.

Did you notice that Isreal invaded Gaza? Hamas-led Palenstinian government is calling for all Palestinian security forces, not just Hamas jihadists, to attack Isreal forces.

Iran is still defying western efforts to halt nuclear testing program.

Terror attacks by insurgents are continuing to rise in Iraq. Oil prices hit new highs this week. These prices indicate what the market sees down the road 3-6 months. Not encouraging. There is no timetable for turning over any territory to Iraqi military control. In fact, US forces are now expanding their efforts to establish security zones in other parts of Iraq.

North Korea is calling for more missle tests. China and Russia will not back western efforts for sanctions. N. Korea still refusing to return to six-party talks.

Problems that have been decades in the making (millenia in some cases) are going to be wrapped up by November mid-terms. Sorry, by this is well beyond optimism or wishful thinking.

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 12:08 PM | Report abuse


Yuppers. Kyl will be tough to beat. While also of my republican friends will be voting for Janet (who had done a good job and is not a religious nut) and Terry Goddard (Ditto). They do not seem to connnect Kyl with anything significant -- strong on defense, that's about it.

Pederson's signs are terrible, if out there to be seen. "Our Senator," what does that mean?

If Kyl is to be beaten he has to be pulverised on every issue from his kooky support of a desire to amend the US constitution, the incompetance of the War on terror, and it has to be done with satire.

Direct attacks will only strenghten his base.

Also blame the drought on him. How come Lake mead is slowly drying up? And Kyl had DONE nothing about it.

Ross Perot lost, but in every poll, his ads were shown to be vastly effective. Pederson should flood the Airwaves NOW with that rolling script over patrotic pics.

Remember Kyl stands for Consersative Christian intolerance. Higher gas prices, and more of the same in Washington.

Vote Democrat for a change

Posted by: Kurt | July 7, 2006 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Chris: Put Rhode Island "in suspense" until September. Why should I even think about politics when I'm going to the beach, and then coming home and relaxing and listening to the baseball game.

To paraphrase Peter Griffin, this is the time in Rhode Island when life is "freakin' sweet!" Politics can wait until the cooler breezes start coming down from Canada.

Greg G: Tina is already at the State Department. That's just "Weezie" Rice posting under the name Tina.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | July 7, 2006 11:56 AM | Report abuse

My Top 10

1) PA
2) MT
3) RI
4) MO
5) OH
6) MN
7) WA
8) NJ
9) TN

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Safe Dem seats (12):


Note: Hawaii Sen. Akaka is being challenged in the Primary by Cong. Case. Winner of primary will likely retain seat with weak Rep opposition.

DEM Primary
Honolulu Advertiser
July 2
Akaka* 51%
Case 40%

Safe Ind seat (1):
VT (Sanders will likely caucus with Dems)

Safe Rep seats (6):

CT has been discussed all week on The Fix. Depending on the results of the Dem primary, if Leiberman loses and runs as an I and wins, who he caucuses with depends on how hard the Dem leadership comes down on him and how much they support his Dem rival Ned Lamont. It is unlikely that this seat flips to Reps in any case.

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I definitely think the GOP has a pickup opportunity in Washington, what with Cantwell's base pissed off at her, Eastern Washington conservatives furious at the outcome of Dino Rossi's gubernatorial bid, and McGavick's strong ties to Slade Gorton to say nothing of his ability to get the word out in the state. 44%-40% is only likely to get better from a GOP perspective.

Posted by: MLPOLITICO | July 7, 2006 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Wow, Tina, you're the most extremely optimistic person I've heard on international affairs...the administration should appoint you to the State or Defense Depts.

Posted by: Greg-G | July 7, 2006 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Survey USA June Approval
Kyl (R)* 45% (up from 44% in June; same as Feb)

Survey USA
May 9
Pederson (D) 37%
Kyl (R)* 52%

Pederson (D) 35%
Kyl (R)* 52%

Pederson (D) 41.7%
Kyl (R)* 48.4%

June 15-18
Pederson (D) 29%
Kyl (R)* 43%

Survey USA June Approval
Allen (R)* 52% (down from 53% in May; up from 51% in Feb)

Survey USA
June 28
Webb (D) 37%
Allen (R)* 56%

June 14
Webb (D) 41%
Allen (R)* 51%

Webb (D) 43.5%
Allen (R)* 48.8%

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Muscular and potent?

Keep your teen crushes to yourself Tina. They're clouding your judgment.

Posted by: Zathras | July 7, 2006 11:38 AM | Report abuse

In the next 4 months, the playing field will have changed to help Republicans on issues which seem to be on the minds of people:

The conditions on the grounds of Iraq will be more stablized, handovers of territory to Iraq military will be completed, and domestic oil production, (now at 2.5 million day) will be increased without being sabotaged by terrorists/criminals.

North Korea will be stabilized, thanks to the UN and Japan, China, Russia, and S Korea getting involved in the neighborhood dispute.

Gas prices will be stablized, and reduced, which again will be based on stabilized Middle East relations.

If all of this is accomplished, the House and Senate will remain in Republican hands, to help our President remain MUSCULAR AND POTENT.

Look back at FDR and Truman, strong leaders on foreign policy. So my question is why have the DEMS lost their hawkish leadership? Complaining is easy, solving problems for our nation will make or break the remaining years of the Bush Administration. Keeping the Senate in GOP Hands will be part of finishing the job.

Posted by: Tina | July 7, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

10) Washington
Survey USA June Approval
Cantwell (D)* 48% (down from 52% in May; down from 50% in Feb)

June 13
Cantwell (D)* 44%
McGavick (R) 40%

Cantwell (D)* 48.1%
McGavick (R) 43%

Strategic Vision
June 30
Cantwell (D)* 47%
McGavick (R) 43%

9)New Jersey
Survey USA June Approval
Menendez (D)* 41% (up from 39% in May; up from 36% in Feb)

June 21
Menendez (D)* 46%
Kean Jr. (R) 40%

June 7-13
Menendez (D)* 43%
Kean Jr. (R) 36%

Menendez (D)* 41%
Kean Jr. (R) 40.2%

Strategic Vision
June 16-18
Menendez (D)* 38%
Kean Jr. (R) 36%

June 23
Menendez (D)* 42%
Kean Jr. (R) 38%

8) Maryland

Dem Primary
June 25
Cardin 25%
Mfume 31%

Head to Head
Cardin (D)51.3%
Steele (R)40.3%

Mfume (D) 50.5%
Steele (R) 42.4%

June 25
Cardin (D) 49%
Steele (R) 39%

Mfume (D) 46%
Steele (R) 43%

7) Tennessee

Rep Primary
Survey USA
May 23
Bryant 23%
Corker 38%
Hilleary 28%

Head to Head
Ford (D) 41.4%
Bryant (R) 45.7%

Ford (D) 41.4%
Corker (R) 42.4%

Ford (D) 43%
Hilleary (R) 43.2%

6) Minnesota
June 26
Klobuchar (D) 47%
Kennedy (R) 44%

Bell (D) 43.2%
Kennedy (R) 43.4%

Klobuchar (D) 48.6%
Kennedy (R) 41.2%

5) Ohio
Survey USA June Approval
DeWine (R)* 41% (down from 46% in May; down from 43% in Feb)

Survey USA
June 13
Brown (D) 48%
DeWine (R)* 37%

June 10
Brown (D) 39%
DeWine (R)* 46%

Brown (D) 46.7%
DeWine (R)* 34%

U of Cincy
May 25
Brown (D) 42%
DeWine (R)* 52%

4) Missouri
Survey USA June Approval
Talent (R)* 48% (up from 43% in May; same as Feb)

July 2
McCaskill (D) 46%
Talent (R)* 47%

McCaskill (D) 44.2%
Talent (R)* 49.3%

Research 2000
June 24
McCaskill (D) 49%
Talent (R)* 43%

3) Rhode Island
Survey USA June Approval
Chafee (R)* 49% (down from 52% in May; same as Feb)

Rep Primary
Rhode Island College
Chafee 39%
Laffey 38%

Club for Growth
June 2
Chafee 45%
Laffey 44%

June 5
Whitehouse(D) 42%
Chafee(R)* 44%

Whitehouse (D) 60%
Laffey (R) 25%

Brown University
June 26
Whitehouse(D) 38%
Chafee(R)* 37%

Whitehouse(D) 55%
Laffey(R) 25%

2) Montana
Survey USA June Approval
Burns (R)* 36% (down from 40% in May; down from 42% in Feb)
May 11
Tester (D) 48%
Burns (R)* 44%
prior to primary

Mason Dixon
May 28
Tester (D) 45%
Burns (R)* 42%
prior to primary

1) Pennsylvania
Survey USA June Approval
Santorum (R)* 36% (same as May; down from 43% in Feb)

June 19
Casey Jr. (D) 52%
Santorum (R)* 37%

June 16-19
Casey Jr. (D) 52%
Santorum (R)* 34%

Casey Jr. (D) 47.9%
Santorum (R)* 41.3%

Strategic Vision
June 15
Casey Jr. (D) 49%
Santorum (R)* 40%

Posted by: RMill | July 7, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Steele has no chance. He has no charisma and every time he talks he puts his foot in his mouth. The idea that he is going to gain in the community is crazy. Maryland and New Jersey should be off the board and replaced by Virginia and Connecticut.

After watching the debate yesterday, Joe-mentum is in real trouble. His loss in Octobers and free fall after that will show the democrats have real strength in numbers this fall.

Posted by: Greg in LA | July 7, 2006 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Yes this is Ohio where Dem voters are the majority the state of Celeste Metzenbaum and Glenn and where the Republicans will lose due to corruption and incompetence. Brown and Strickland win easy. The many big Dem cities in Ohio may have lost population but they still out number the racist fake phoney christians in other parts of Ohio. The many racist rural Republicans will never vote for a black man for Gov of Ohio.

Posted by: Larry | July 7, 2006 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Funny, I've seen a bunch of links here before to polls showing Strickland 16 points ahead of Blackwell. I've never seen a link to a poll showing Blackwell within 10 points of Strickland. Unsubstantiated wishful thinking.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad our resident smuggler has provided such unassailable facts and evidence to support his argument that a populist mainstream Congressman can't win the Ohio Senate race. Perhaps the Wall Street Journal is too liberal for him. I wonder how he thinks Paul Wellstone won 2 statewide elections--his was exactly the type who said he could never win either.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

In case you haven't noticed, recent Ohio polls show Strickland's lead shrinking and Blackwell closing the gab to 5-6 points.

June 6 marked a turningpoint in the November elections.

Blackwell is picking up steam esp in the Black community. Conservatives who have been down on DeWine, Bush, etc. are enthused about turningout for Blackwell.

Like the poster above, some may hold their nose and vote for Senator DeWine knowing the stakes for the Senate this year and 2 years down the road.

Posted by: VivaCalderon06 | July 7, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Texas remains not on the list- and rightfully so - so why do in the Beltway Dems continue to try and raise pennies and nickels for their Girl?

Lieberman - whether you like him or not puts into play the question whether or not the Dems can tolerate a diversity of opinion in their party.

I have no use for the Republican Party, although I am a major fan of Olympia Snow and Susan Collins - but the Dems are dead in Texas for a reason - intolerance for a diversity of opinion and corrupt as the day is long.

I think it is way too early to predict any races - The Lieberman factor could send the Dems into a tail spin nationwide.

Bill Bennett this morning raised the question of an independent ticket of McCain/Lieberman - interesting ticket which could win.

In Texas Kinky Friedman is outpolling the Dem Chris Bell - mainstream Dems are being pushed out of the party again - hence the Reagan Democrats -

I guess my point is, the Lieberman fight could end up hurting the Dems in all of the Senate races as moderate Dems begin to feel like they have no place in the Party.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | July 7, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Here are some of my unsolicited thoughts on the top 10:

10. WA--Cantwell is a fool for not coming out more strongly against the war in such an anti-war state; still, I doubt that in such an anti-Rep environment, she will lose this race. I think she'll be able to hang on.

9. NJ--I saw the first debate between these two on C-Span the other week, and all I can say Kean Jr. is even more incompetent and lacking in political skills than Casey Jr., except Kean won't have a hated incumbent and a national wind at his back. Mark my words, Menendez will win this race handily.

8. MD--I agree that this race will be closer if Mfume wins, but I don't put much credence in the poll that Chris sites. Mfume had a couple points of a lead with about a third of voters undecided. I think that they will mostly break for Cardin, and he'll hold the seat.

7. TN--Corker is definitely the toughest challenger for Ford, and it does look like he is doing well in the battle for the nomination. Ford already has an uphill battle. If Corker wins, I think that pretty much seals Ford's fate, barring a VERY strong national wind for Dems in Nov.

6. MN--From what I've read about this race, I think the Dems will hold on to this seat. Kennedy is being painted as fairly conservative given his voting record, and Klobuchar is a proficient fund-raiser. I think she wins by 3-5%.

5. OH--I agree that this race seems less competitive than a few months ago. I think DeWine may be able to hold on, unless Blackwell and the gov's race is a real drag on the ticket, which is still possible.

4. MO--I agree that McCaskill is doing well, in fact, better than I expected. Talent is an excellent politican, and I expected him to win this race, but I think the national mood combined with goodwill for McCaskill from the last gov's race has made the Senate race very tight. If the election were held today, I think she'd win.

3. RI--I think Chafee will win the Republican primary at this point, but am shocked to see that his numbers thus far aren't better in the general against Whitehouse (they are essentially tied). Add in the poor polling numbers of the Rep governor and things look pretty tough for Chafee. As of now, I still think he'll be able to hang on.

2. MT--Also saw the MT debate the other week, and I was really impressed with Tester, and Burns was slightly incoherent at parts of the debate. Tester is a rising star, in my opinion, and he'll win this race.

1. PA--I am from PA and met Casey a few times when he was running against Rendell for gov 4 years ago. If anyone can blow this race, it is Bob Casey Jr., but I think the ppl of PA have finally woken up and realized that Santorum is far out of the mainstream, especially for this state. I don't know if there is anything that Santorum (or even Casey) can do at this point to keep this seat in the (R) column.

At this point, I'd predict a net three seat pick up for the Dems. I'd also take NJ off the top 10 list, and put VA on there. Don't know if Webb can raise the money, but he's the type of candidate that can win this race, and the changing demographics in Va favor him.

Ok, that's my unsolicited opinion.

Posted by: Greg-G | July 7, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

If the Democrats were smart, they would be doing everything they can to make sure that Bob Corker does not win the GOP primary. If he does not, I think Ford has an excellent shot of picking up the seat. The politics of this are good for the Dems: Replace the Seante Majority Leader's seat with a Democrat and elect an African-American Senator in the South of all places.

Tester has been very impressive in Montana. Watching the debate between he and Burns, I thought Tester really did well. However, Burns does do a good job of mixing some humor in the debate and I don't think he gave any ground.

On another note, while watching the Lieberman/Lamont debate, I thought Lieberman performed very poorly. It is generally not good when the incumbent has to relentlessly go after the challenger like Lieberman did last night. Lamont actually looked someone polished for a political novice. I think Lieberman better be working hard to collecting those independent signatures.

Posted by: H.L. | July 7, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

There is no way that Sherrod "Che" Brown beats Mike DeWine. This is Ohio, not California or New York.

Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi's poll numbers are nothing to brag about.

Posted by: VivaCalderon06 | July 7, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Brown 47, DeWine 34:

The question isn't who conservatives will vote for in November, it's whether they'll turn out to vote or stay home. Brown's supporters are more motivated to get out and vote.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

There was also a Zogby poll recently showing Brown with a 12 point lead over DeWine.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm not certain that I agree with the analysis handing over the Ohio seat to Brown. A Rasmussen poll on June 27 now shows DeWine with a 6% lead over Brown. Yes, some of us conservatives are very disappointed with some of his recent actions (and call his office to let him know it), but there are plenty who do look at the big picture situation and, while we voted against DeWine in the primary to show our dissatisfaction, we will support him come November.

Posted by: Ohio watcher | July 7, 2006 9:07 AM | Report abuse

New Jersey only #9? I would think that after the grotesque bungling of the state budget this week by the Democratic governor and legislature, there would be some disgust out there . . . Kean should be capitalizing on this.

Posted by: Mike | July 7, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

I take it your flirtation with ranking the AZ race in the top 10 is over?

Cantwell is certainly in trouble, deservedly so. Why is it that a more liberal Patty Murray consistently has higher approval ratings in polls than the more centrist Cantwell? Murray wins her races by 14 and 18 points. I don't understand why Cantwell doesn't take a lesson from her. I watched some of McGavick's ads yesterday. Most shocking to me was that he's on the air with several before Cantwell has started running any. What's going on, Maria?? Out too late partying with Courtney Love again? McGavick looks and sounds funny, but his arguments and positions were mostly pretty well positioned for the state (except slamming Cantwell for opposing the Mexican border fence--that would only fly east of the Cascades and will backfire against him in populous western WA).

My sense of Ohio is that Sherrod Brown is a solid, aggressive campaigner, who comes off as the authentic populist he is. I don't think DeWine has the same talent and luster. If the race is merely a fight of surrogates at this point, then the current analysis makes sense. But I think when the focus starts shifting to Brown and DeWine, Brown will start gaining. The tactics being used against him remind me of what Republicans used to throw at Paul Wellstone. You can call him "far out" or whatever, but when he talks about specific positions on the issues, and Ohioans realize that they agree with them because their interests are better served by them, the generalizations lose their credibility. Also, DeWine still has real problems with his base, while Brown's is more energized than it's been in 16 years. You rightly noted the effect of the stem cell and minimum wage ballot initiatives on the MO race--Ohio votes on a minimum wage hike this fall too, which is polling somewhere between 65% and 80% support. Add the Democratic national climate and Strickland's commanding lead in the Governor's race, and I don't think it's hard to see Brown winning.

The more I learn about Jon Tester, the more excited I get about him. He's a great candidate and a perfect fit for Montana. Burns has never won with many votes to spare, and he's more or less toxic this year. As odd as it may seem, I think MT is about to have a Democratic Governor, 2 Democratic senators, and a Democratic state House and Senate. Denny Rehberg is going to be a bit lonely. This state may be trending away from the Republicans a bit like Colorado is.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | July 7, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Virginia belongs on the board now that James Webb is the Democrats nominee. George Allen is in real trouble.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | July 7, 2006 8:15 AM | Report abuse

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