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The Friday Line: Can Democrats Get to 6?

The Fix hasn't focused on Senate races in the Friday Line for more than a month, so we're back at it with a vengeance this week.

As Dan Balz and I wrote in The Post earlier this week, the question to be answered this November is not whether Democrats gain Senate seats; rather, it's how many seats will they pick up? Democrats need a six-seat net gain to take back the majority -- a scenario well within reason given that the top five races in this week's Line are takeover opportunities for Democrats. No sixth takeover opportunity has emerged to match those first five, however. Tennessee and Arizona are the most mentioned candidates, but they haven't made the cut yet.

Republicans spent much of the end of 2005 talking about their pickup opportunities in states carried by John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race. They seem to have -- wisely -- changed their strategy in 2006 to focus mainly on races in GOP-trending states like Nebraska and West Virginia.

Remember: The no. 1 ranked race is the most likely to change party control in November. Kudos and critiques are welcome in the comments sections below.

10) Washington - Democrat Maria Cantwell: Former Safeco Insurance head honcho Mike McGavick's decision to start a media campaign 40 weeks before the election probably signals that he is willing to spend from his own personal fortune to beat Cantwell. That's a very positive development for national Republicans. So are the ads, which showcase McGavick's somewhat gruff but engaging personality. McGavick's major problem (like many of the Republican candidates mentioned in this week's Line) is that he is challenging an incumbent in a Blue State in a year that the national political environment appears to favor Democrats. Cantwell's narrow 2000 victory makes her an obvious target, but she seems to be paying attention and has surrounded herself with a solid campaign team, which may be enough. (Previous ranking: 8)

9) Tennessee -- OPEN (Republican Bill Frist is retiring): Every time we think about moving this race further up the Line, visions of the 2004 South Carolina Senate race dance in our head. In that contest, polling showed Democrat Inez Tenenbaum, who was unopposed for her party's nomination, with leads over all four of the Republican candidates. Despite a nasty (and costly) Republican primary and runoff, Tenenbaum watched her lead erode as the election neared. On Election Day, she lost the race to Jim DeMint (R). Fast forward to Tennessee in 2006. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D) has the primary field to himself, while three Republicans are headed for a combative August primary. Polls show Ford tied or ahead of any of the three GOPers in general-election matchups. But The Fix is skeptical that he can hold onto those GOP-leaning Southern voters when Republicans finally settle on a nominee. Time will tell. (Previous ranking: 10)

8) New Jersey -- Democrat Robert Menendez: Polling in this race -- of which there is plenty -- shows that roughly two-thirds of New Jersey voters don't know either Sen. Bob Menendez or state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). That tells us this race is almost entirely unformed at the moment and, given the cost of communication with voters in New Jersey (a statewide TV buy includes the costly New York City and Philadelphia media markets), it seems likely there will be a hefty amount of undecided voters up until days before the election. Menendez's largest advantages are his incumbency and his impressive $4.2 million cash-on-hand total. Kean's greatest asset is his last name, which he shares with his father -- the popular former governor of the state. In a tacit acknowledgment of the importance of the name, rumors are already swirling that Tom Kean Jr. announced will be listed on the ballot as simply "Tom Kean" in November (scroll down to the end of this Asbury Park Press article). Kean will need to flesh out his own profile and improve on his unimpressive fourth-quarter fundraising to win in this Democratic state. (Previous ranking: N/A)

7) Maryland -- OPEN (Democrat Paul Sarbanes is retiring): This race gives us the most trouble of any on the Line. Democrats have a crowded primary field -- Rep. Ben Cardin is clearly the favorite for the nomination, but former Rep. Kweisi Mfume's strength in the African American community and developer Josh Rales's deep pockets keep both in the conversation. While Democrats fight it out in the September primary, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele will continue to collect millions from national Republicans who view him as the symbol of the party's continuing outreach to African Americans. The central question in the contest is whether Steele, who is black, can cut into the traditionally large edge Democrats have among that influential bloc of voters. Republicans believe he can, arguing that he is a national star in the making. Democrats retort that history shows that black Republicans running for Senate do no better among African Americans than white candidates. (Previous ranking: 6)

6) Minnesota - OPEN (Democrat Mark Dayton is retiring): Democrats' chances of holding Dayton's seat got a major boost earlier this week when wealthy trial attorney Mike Ciresi (D) announced he would not run. Without Ciresi in the race, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar (D) is practically assured her party's nomination, allowing her to stockpile money and position herself for the November race against Rep. Mark Kennedy (R). Kennedy continues to win rave reviews from national Republican strategists, and he raised an impressive $1.6 million in the final quarter of 2005. Unfortunately for Kennedy, at the moment this race looks to be a race between a generic Democrat and a generic Republican in a state that leans toward Democrats and in a year that favors Democrats. (Previous ranking: 5)

5) Missouri -- Republican Jim Talent: We'll admit we were somewhat skeptical about this race until a recent independent (and credible) poll showed state Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) with a three-point edge over Talent. McCaskill also had higher favorable numbers (and lower unfavorable numbers) than the incumbent in the poll. As we've written in this space before, this race -- more than any of the four rated above it -- is likely to swing depending on the national environment on Election Day. If the atmosphere in November is identical to what we have today, McCaskill is well positioned to win. But if things get slightly better environmentally for Republicans, Talent should survive. (Previous ranking: 6)

4) Ohio -- Republican Mike DeWine: DeWine drops a spot in this month's Line because we still don't see that he has committed any fireable offense, and neither Democrat seeking to knock off him off has impressed. Year-end fundraising reports solidified Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) as the frontrunner for the nomination, however. While Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett was able to stay close to Brown in terms of fundraising, he came nowhere close to Brown's cash on hand total -- $2.4 million compared with Hackett's $230,000. Yes, much of Brown's bankroll came in the form of a transfer from his House account, but the money still spends the same. A race between Brown and DeWine would likely be extremely close because of the toxic political atmosphere toward Republicans in the state. (Previous ranking: 3)

3) Montana -- Republican Conrad Burns: It's never a good sign for an incumbent's reelection chances when his first campaign ad is dedicated to denying wrongdoing. Burns hit the air last month with a 60-second ad in which he insists that he had no relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The ad is a good one (produced by GOP media maestro Larry McCarthy), but it's not likely to make questions about Burns's relationship with Abramoff disappear anytime soon. Democrats believe either state Auditor John Morrison or state Sen. Jon Tester can beat Burns in the fall, but Morrison seems like the stronger of the two. In the final three months of 2005, Morrison raised more than $400,000 while Tester collected just $88,000. (Previous ranking: 3)

2) Rhode Island -- Republican Lincoln Chafee: No one can accuse Chafee of bowing to election year pressures. His vote against the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. -- the only Senate Republican to vote "no" -- further complicates his chances of winning the September 12 Republican primary against Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey. Laffey is certain to use Chafee's vote -- and his decision to wait until the last minute to announce it -- as campaign fodder. While independents are allowed to vote in the GOP primary, Chafee will need a significant bloc of Republicans on his side if he hopes to defeat Laffey. National Republicans are casting the primary as a strategic vote; only Chafee can beat former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (D) or Secretary of State Matt Brown (D), so loyal GOP voters need to line up behind him to keep the seat in the Republican column, they argue. In our experiences, voters tend not to vote strategically. (Previous ranking: 2)

1) Pennsylvania -- Republican Rick Santorum: Republicans say private polls show that Santorum has managed in recent months to shave several points off state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr.'s lead. Democrats respond that they never expected Casey to beat Santorum by 10 to 15 points, so some tightening in the ballot test is unavoidable. While The Fix is willing to accept that Santorum has made marginal inroads in polling, he still trails Casey consistently -- the only senator up in 2006 with that dubious distinction. From what we hear from Democrats and Republicans in the state, Santorum is clearly the more talented of the two men on the stump, and he'll have the money to wage a fierce reelection fight -- Santorum ended 2005 with a whopping $7.8 million in his campaign warchest. Even so, this is Casey's race to lose. (Previous ranking: 1)

The last Friday Line on Senate races is here.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 10, 2006; 8:33 AM ET
Categories:  Senate , The Line  
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Next: Pa. Senate: Santorum Rallies the Base

Comments

Thanks for the idiotic drivel Troy but I think I will stay with the party of values and conviction, not the party of liars and morons like yourself.

Very classy saying that you think Byrd is going to die, but I guess that would the only way you pigs have a chance at winning this seat.

Only those who use their power with responsibility and intelligence keep their power. Republicans may have power now, but b/c of arrogance and incompetence you will lose the House in november and possibly the senate too. Come 2008 you will lose the White house. You will have only yourselves to blame as (as you pointed out, us democrats are powerless) the condition of this country is completely the fault of the republicans.

Posted by: Ohio guy | February 23, 2006 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ohio guy
You think Robert Byrd is a formidable candidate? really? The Democrats will be lucky if he actually lives until election day. Byrd truly represents the flagging Democratic Party in many ways. He lived a long life, he reached his pinnacle about 40 years ago, and has been dying a long death like the entire Democratic party. All he does is obstruct and cannot come to terms with the fact that democrats are in the minority. Democrats hold 44 seats in the US senate, and are virtually powerless, just like you.
Republicans are in power and you better get used to it. You better get on board.

Posted by: Troy | February 21, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry I just saw that some complete idiot posted above that Democrats are going to lose the Senate race in West Virginia. LOL. Who is going to beat Robert Byrd? No one. Only a republican partisan hack-nut who has completely lost grip of reality would even dream about that.

Posted by: Ohio guy | February 17, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey Judge Crater,

To be honest, I'm tired of talking to people who don't understand the facts or the recent history of the American electorate. You're probably a nice guy, but it's like hitting my head against a brick wall. I'm now just gonna wait until November then come back to this blog and wipe the floor with all of you after everything I said materializes.

Peace out. Everything that needs saying has been said.

Posted by: Troy | February 14, 2006 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Troy: geez, could you run away from my post any faster? You've put yourself on 'ignore.' Why even bother to post if you don't believe in what you write?

Posted by: Judge Crater | February 14, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

There are so many Republican sleeper races out there that the Democrats wish they would actually gain seats. The following seats are all teetering on the brink of exactly 50/50 chances, and probably more in favor of the GOP as each day goes by:

West Virginia - Byrd will be lucky to still be alive by election day, both literally and figuratively.

Michigan - A very very weak candidate Debbie Stabenow, who has tried to hide in the Democratic leadership, is just about to get toasted by GOP candidate Bouchard. Combined with other weak Democratic election prospects in Michigan, Governor Granholm, the entire Dem ticket is shaky

Nebraska - Mr. 51% facing a Republican tidal wave across the state spells goodbye

New Jersey - Actual corruption, as opposed to "the culture of corruption", is alive and well in the Garden state, and finally going to swallow Mendez in the form of Kean Jr., a dynamite dynastic candidate.

There you have it ladies and gentlemen. There are so many weak Democratic candidates just wallowing out there with no direction and no chance.
These races haven't had the attention they deserve, just like Georgia in 2002, when the mighty Max Cleland awoke the sleeping GOP.

THE QUESTION IS NOT WHETHER REPUBLICANS WILL GAIN SEATS, BUT RATHER HOW MANY SEATS THEY WILL GAIN!

Posted by: Troy | February 14, 2006 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Good summation of Ohio House races:

http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/news/state/13730562.htm

I forgot about Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy taking on Cong. Pryce. Tough district for Dems. but Kilroy is no pushover candidate.

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

US House

Ohio 6th
Candidate - 4th Quarter Raised - Cash on Hand
Charlie Wilson (D) - $254,178.00 - $436,674.60
Chuck Blasdel (R) - $133,377.68 - $296,614.23

Ohio 18th
Candidate - 4th Quarter Raised - Cash on Hand
Bob Ney (R)* - $277,472.37 - $582,066.09
Joe Sulzer (D) - $170,696.08 - $222,418.01

These look competitive to me.

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 4:15 PM | Report abuse

The 13th is stacked with quality candidates (Sawyer, Grace and Sutton). You will have your work cut out for you in that district but Mayor Foltin is definately your best shot.

I do not really anticipate getting the Congressional delegation back to even 9-9 split but speculation of Hackett-Schmidt rematch and a Fingerhut-LaTourette rematch would certainly be interesting and cause more GOP resources to be diverted to the defense of "safe seats".

I also don't imagine that much will come of the LaTourette story. I am sure the Dems will hit him on his last minute vote flipflop and his quote about the voters more worried about snow. It was an impolitic statement that I am sure will be used in TV ads.

For the Judge-

You forgot that our national debt is being subordinated to Chinese banks, a potential threat to national security.

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Troy: continuing your projections
Budget = unbalanced
Deficit = a new record every year
Trade imbalance = ditto
Size of government = ditto
US Dollar = continued devaluation
Middle class = ditto

Did I leave anything out? Oh yes: be careful what you wish for.

Posted by: Judge Crater | February 13, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Gimme a break, Steve L wrote a letter, what a stretch.
Like I said, the indictments much less convictions of real office holders up for election are few and far between. Check with me when you get something.

Don't misunderstand me, I will not say that Taft, Noe, et.al will be meaningless. Hey, I wouldn't want to be on the ballot this year. There will be some affect but not the across the board tsunami many Dims wish for.

Also, once you get some real candidates in the 6th, 13th and 14th then you might have something to talk about. I will be working for Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin in the 13th who has the best chance to flip this seat to the GOP.

Brown is to Dewine like Kerry was to Bush. Republicans will be energized by the fear that far-left Brown can be our next senator. THAT will be a motivation to turnout.
Remember the lessons of the past, Ohio with it's high unemployment, Iraq, etc. was ripe for flipping in 2004 and it could have happened with 117,000 more votes for Kerry. Fact is, it went for Bush.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | February 13, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hi Vivabush04OH,

that's a pretty good analysis. There is so much anti-Republican hype in Ohio around national media circles that it's a joke. All the pro-Dem ballot initiatives in 2005 were soundly killed. Nearly every single factor favored Democrats in 2004 and 2005 and they still lost, so it's hard to see it getting any worse for Republicans there, but it sure can improve alot as everyone forgets about Gov. Taft.

The national senate outcome in 2006 will be as follows:

GOP GAINS - Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, New Jersey, West Virginia

Democrat gains - (zero)

Net outcome: GOP + 5

Chris Cizzilla = egg on face
Republicans = 60 senate seats
Democrats = Game over

If you're skeptical about this, then please answer this question...

Where is Tom Daschle right now??? hahahaha

Posted by: Troy | February 13, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Link to story I alluded to earlier, about Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette (14th) and his possible involvement with Abramoff.

http://www.cleveland.com/open/story.ssf?/open/more/W26LOBBY.html

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I think he may. He would be a much more formidable candidate in the 2nd.

PS- State Sen. Eric Fingerhut is announcing he is withdrawing from the Governor's race, clearing the field for Strickland. I wouldn't be surprised if Eric runs against LaTourette in the 14th.

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Easy Viva. I see I have gotten your partisan dander up.

Suburb and exurb growth is definately a factor. My mistake for not including in my post, so thanks.

However, your subjective opinion with regards to "better" candidates does not substantiate proof of 2006 results, even though I will concur with your general overview of the field of candidates forwarded by ODP since 1990.

I believe that I have stated in earlier posts (probably in other threads) that the money issue will not be a problem this year. Strickland leads all contenders in money raised and Brown will easily be competitive in this instance. Also a major reason why I gave a down-ticket nod to Cordray over Bradley (although money is not a complete factor for winning either).

Again, your opinion of the basic nature of the electorate is just as subjective. If we are to be truly honest, most Ohioians and most Americans are disintersted, disengaged and/or apathetic.

Taft was convicted and yes he is not running but don't think it has no effect. We teeter between giving scandal too much or not enough impact.

For the record: Chief of Staff Brian Hicks was also convicted. And Tom Noe has been indicted (twice). Jack Abramoff has been indicted. Scooter Libby has been indicted. Two more former staffers of Taft have been indicted (Talbot and Moorman). This does not include the Bob Ney indictment-in-waiting. It all adds to a pervasive malaise of distrust which I believe will play a part in November both nationally and in Ohio. And ultimately, will condemn the party in control (GOP) more so than the faithful opposition.

I will give you that losses will mount if you cannot turn out your Bush voters. The real question is- what reason is the GOP giving Ohioians to turn out for and for whom?

So don't say Brown CANNOT win. Even Mike DeWine knows he is in for a real battle. Be realistic enough and do not let partisan loyalties overshadow your objectivity. Otherwise, it becomes a completely different kind of dialogue that we share.

"I have thought it my duty to exhibit things as they are, not as they ought to be." -Alexander Hamilton (1782)

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

RMill: do you really think that Hackett will pull back? He doesn't seem to be made of the right stuff at the moment for the larger office. Too unpolished.

DeWine doesn't seem particularly popular/loved in Ohio. Conditions are ripe for the low Republican turnout that VB plainly fears. As you suggested, 'purple' is a stronger possibility for Ohio this fall than it has been for many years.

Posted by: lpdrjk | February 13, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Wrong again RMill
One has to ask how is Ohio so red since 1990? Here are a few reasons:
1. Republicans have had better candidates than Dims
2. Republicans have had more $$ than Dims.
3. Ohioans are basiclly conservative as are most Americans and Republicans have done a better job of appealing to Ohioans, guns, God and guts work here.
4. Dims were the force in Ohio politics from the late 1950's to 1990 mostly because of union membership and union voters. With the demise of the manufacturing sector in steel and autos went a lot of union votes. The largest unions are Afscme and SEIU and these are left, SEIU, hard-left. Many of these former union members vote GOP because of national defense, gun rights, etc.

There is nothing cyclical here as the union vote is not coming back and Governor Blackwell will do well to reduce government union jobs.

Conversely, we have seen the growth of the suburb and exurb voter in many areas of the state, even Dim bastion NEOH. These are the voters who carried Ohio for Bush, not some consipiracy. Plain and simple, these conservative/moderate voters outnumber Dim voters and are even growing. Turnout in these areas in 2004 was 75%+ versus 60% in the urban areas. On paper there may be more DIM registrations but when it comes to turnout, we have proven that we can do a better job.

What loses it for us, the GOP is whether or not we can turnout the 2004 Bush voter? Prsently the polls show a frustration with conservative voters which is why Dewine and Blackwell's numbers are only in the mid 40's. In 2004 even well into October, BUsh's numbers were about the same and yet he prevailed with 51%, enough to win.

AS much as you talk about Taft, Taft is not running and would lose big if he was. Ney may or may not be indicted but he hasn't even been indicted. NOBODY ELSE HAS BEEN INDICTED OR CONVICTED.

Sherrod Brown CANNOT beat Mike Dewine. Brown is too far left for Red Ohio. If Ohio was purple, well, maybe he'd have a chance. Brown can roll up huge numbers in a Democrat district where he has union votes and no significant opposition.That is not the race he is in now.

We will lose only if our faithful fails to turnout. Strickland indeed has me worried but nobody else thus far.

End result, Possible Dim governor, Dewine reelected, Ohio House and Senate stay Republican, SUpreme Court is total Republican, and all state offices stay Republican with Betty Montgomery returning as Attorney General.

Some upset.

Posted by: Vivabush04OH | February 13, 2006 1:57 PM | Report abuse

My predictions:

Senate

Dems keep Washington, New Jersey and Minnesota.

Dems pick up Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Ohio.

Reps keep Tennessee, Missouri and Montana and pick up Maryland.

Net shift: 2 seats to Dems

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Vivabush and Larry-

This debate over Ohio being Red and/or Blue deserves an historical overreview.

Ohio is very cyclical. Dems dominated for so long in the 1970's through the early 1990's that the House Banking scandal and Auditor Tom Ferguson's personal problems touched off a revolt both nationally and in Ohio.

I do not think that the Abramoff scandal will completely change the national makeup of Congress in just one election cycle. However, there is a lot of time and all the facts are not yet out. I believe that the environment is ripe, especially in Ohio, for another watershed election.

Currently, Ohio is red. This is reflected, not just in the presidential results of 2000 and 2004 (which obviously are being contested as to their veracity) but in the overwhelming pluralities racked up in a majority of congressional districts.

As I stated in an earlier post, the totality of Republican control and the length of time with which it has persisted in Ohio can only be matched by the most conservative states in the Union (Idaho, Texas, Utah).

I have, however, made a living (modest though it is) in sensing the political shifts in Ohio and all the right signals are out there. Governor Taft is the most unpopular Governor in America. Tom Noe has been indicted in federal court and in Lucas County for pay-to-play and financial mismanagement. Abramoff pervades the national press and local ties are popping up (Cong. Bob Ney and now LaTourette).

There was, in my opinion, also a general discontent building in Ohio. Voter anger about poor job performance (which has still mired Ohio- especially in manufacturing sector), federal response to Katrina, handling of Iraq contributes to a general malaise and reckoning for "those in charge". Like it or not, republicans are in charge and have been in charge for some time, both nationally and especially in Ohio.

My feeling of why Brown beats DeWine is not based in any specific facts but in knowing the nature of the beast. If the current effort to redirect Paul Hackett into a rematch with Cong. Schmidt is successful, Brown can focus his sizeable war chest fully on DeWine and puts yet another "republican safe seat" from the Ohio delegation into serious jeopardy.

Strickland's coattails will be long enough to help defend the 6th as will Brown's in the 13th. Should the 2nd, 14th (We may expect a last minute entry here by a formidible D candidate) and 18th fall into Democratic hands, and Strickland and Brown (and Rich Cordray in the Treasurer's race- though more a symbolic rather than a tactical victory, at least for 2006) triumph in November, the Blue state that Larry has been advocating vociferously for will be much closer to reality.

That said, November is a long way off and much can happen. The snapshot, as it looks today in Ohio, leads me to believe that Ohio at the very least, is turning purple in 2006.

Posted by: RMill | February 13, 2006 12:59 PM | Report abuse

probably sleeping with your mother, Troy.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2006 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey "O",
I know you would have made exactly the same predictions before 2002 and 2004, so you should get used to the fact that Republicans do MUCH MUCH better than predictions 9 months out from election day.

This is a note to all Democrats and their supporters: How and why do you have faith in Democrats actually winning elections in 2006 after they have failed so miserably everytime for the past three cycles? How many times have we heard "take back the house", "take back the senate". You guys have used those mantras so often they have lost all meaning and credibility. Plus, weigh in the fact that Democrats have not won a single news cycle in many months, and cannot wage an effective legislative campaign based on anything, except of course social security, where you guys obstruct with no ideas at all, prepared to let the system go bankrupt just so you can gain political mileage. It's so pathetic and reprehensible, you guys deserve to be in the minority for the next 40+ years. Governing is a tough job, and you guys could never handle it.

Where is Tom Daschle right now??? hahahaha

Posted by: Troy | February 11, 2006 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so much anger. The fact of the matter is that the Democrats will pick up seats, it's just a matter of how many. With 5 Dem retirements in South, the GOP was guarenteed to pick up seats, especially if Bush won the election. Rick Santorum is this year's Tom Daschle. If you are ideologically out of step with your state and a strong candidate comes along, they'll beat you if they're willing to spend enough money, no matter what you do. Steele and Ford are both good candidates who'd probably win if they could somehow trade states, but since they can't, the strong partisan leanings of their states will lead them to defeat. And the fact of the matter is for all the Bushies here, Bush has not polled over 50 percent in practically a year. Now you can say the polls are biased, because plenty on the left were saying the polls were biased because they couldn't believe Bush was winning. But polls are usually pretty accurate, so don't try to bash polls just because your guy is doing poorly. Based on the climate this year and history, the Republicans will lose seats.

Posted by: Q | February 11, 2006 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: RPR | February 11, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey YoudontspeakformeCindy,
That is a very insightful analysis, I think you are right in nearly everything you say. Chris Cizzilla's analysis is so biased and twisted in favor of the Democrats that this whole blog is a joke. Trust the Washingtonpost to give a tried and true Democrat a prime slot on their website blog.
Just a couple of things I would like to note. Pennsylvania is not going to be nearly as bad for Santorum as people think. He has a fantastic GOP candidate for governor by his side, Swann, who is a real shot at taking down the Rendell. This will tie up Rendell and force him to butt out of the senate race. Plus, Santorum is the best campaigner in the entire senate, and if their is one person who can go the distance and find the way to win it is him.
Conrad Burns will also come good, and Talent will probably win comfortably. Talent actually defeated an "incumbent" last time, so running as one this time with a much less well financed opponent will see him do well. He is a star to watch in the senate and I hope he rises into the leadership soon.

My advice to all Democrats is go and read a bible!

Posted by: Troy | February 11, 2006 1:16 PM | Report abuse

>>>Here is an unbiased analysis of these races, instead of this leftist crackpot drivel

hahaha. yeah, SOOO unbiased!

btw, I stand corrected abt Steele, I dont know why i thought he was running for ltgov. doesn't matter, he just blew it by insulting the Jewish population to their faces. or maybe thats the leftist "crackpot" in me. :):):)

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 11, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Hey Troy,
I said hypothetically for a reason. We all know that the GOP wouldn't have those seats. That is the point. All the Democratic senators from the South that retired were elected when Democrats could still get elected in the South (Zell Miller being an exception as hey was appointed by former Gov. Roy Barnes as well as John Edwards). To have them all retire in the same year was impossible to defend, when the GOP is clearly now the party of choice in the South. All I was saying is that it wasn't a masterful GOP strategy to win. They had a little luck.

Posted by: TLH/FL | February 11, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Here is an unbiased analysis of these races, instead of this leftist crackpot drivel:

10. While Cantwell is the favorite, of course she can be beaten. Just because lunatic Kerry won the state doesn't mean automatic re-election for this lady, who almost went bankrupt buying the Senate seat.

9. It is a shame to say it, but there is no way TN will elected Harold Ford, Jr., statewide, which is really too bad, because Ford is one of the few sane people in the Democratic Party. He has good ideas and is actually a genuine moderate. The Republicans running are pretty much just the typical career politicians who would say anything to get elected.

8. Kean is a liberal Republican who is worshipped by the leftist media. Since Menendez and his crooked friends will steal the election and because the Republican Party in New Jersey ceased to exist many years ago, this seat will remain in Democratic hands, as will the other one, which is held by the cranky old white guy who missed Washington so much and all of the people telling him they loved him because he just couldn't get enough of the adulation that he came back to run again to replace that other crook.

7. Steele actually has a shot despite his stupid comment the other day. Cardin is one of the most boring candidates ever to seek public office. He is just a useless career politician with nothing to say. Even liberals who hate Steele's politics admit that he is a charismatic candidate.

6. All this stuff about "MN is a blue state, so this and that is going to happen..." is ridiculous. People there are very independent. Kennedy is actually a slight favorite. He is a good campaigner, and the Democratic Party has trashed him mercilessly in several elections and yet he manages to survive.

5. McCaskill should have won the governorship last time, but she is a flawed candidate. She loses again. Talent is conservative but has not angered people in this culturally conservative state. Carnahan was a pathetic senator.

4. Just because of a "toxic political atmosphere" doesn't mean that people will elect an insane candidate to the Senate. Hackett actually had a chance to win this seat, but he is bent on self-destruction with all of his off-the-wall, foaming-at-the-mouth comments about people who disagree with him. He used to come across as a straight-talking independent but now comes across as a raving lunatic who makes Howard Dean look sane. He threw this one away. And Sherrod Brown is just another useless career politician. DeWine is no genius but he almost wins by default. But there are a lot of weird things going on in his office, that is true.

3. Conrad Burns is toast as long as the Democrat doesn't implode.

2. Chafee's vote against Alito was very stupid for someone with a comeptitive primary. The very few Republicans that vote in a Republican primary in RI are all very conservative. Goodbye. But the Democrats will likely pick up this seat in the fall as long as Sheldon Whitehouse doesn't bore people to death, which is always possible.

1. Santorum is finished but I love it that the Democrats had to run an "anti-choice extremist" in order to defeat him. Maybe Schumer should have hearings and start screaming at Casey for being "anti-choice." What is wrong with the Democratic Party that they have to constantly attack people who oppose abortion. The Democratic Party should just rename themselves "The Abortion Party" because that is all they talk about. People are sick of their decadent behavior and their arrogant attitude. It's too bad, because many in the Republican leadership are completely corrupt, but people will always vote for crooks over a party that mocks their values.

Posted by: YoudontspeakformeCindy | February 11, 2006 4:17 AM | Report abuse

I would like someone to ask "family values" Mike DeWine why his staff was pimping out 23 year old staff assistant Jessica Cutler to various men on Capitol Hill.

Maybe Bob Barr, the man who licked whipped cream off 2 women's chests, can come defend him.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | February 11, 2006 3:04 AM | Report abuse

I would knock MD down the list a notch or two following Steele's remark on stem cell research showing his true colours.

Note that Republican Reps. Steve LaTourette (OH), Don Young (AK), and Shelley Moore Capito (WV) have been newly linked to Jack Abramhoff. I continue to think LaTourette is more vulnerable than he appears. Like Mark Twain who came in with Halley's Comet in 1835 and went out with it in 1910, LaTourette is a class of 1994 member who I think is ripe to be swept out in the Democratic wave of 2006.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | February 11, 2006 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey Marve,
Your over simplify so much it's a joke. You said this:
"Every Democrat knew then in 04 that there would be trouble electing Democrats to in Senate from the South. That's understood"

Are you serious? Where were you before the election? Democrats might have finally realized they had a problem on election night when the votes were being counted, but come on, months leading up to this they acted and said otherwise. Where were you during this time??? Methinks you were probably in jail. Don't even run this line that they thought they didn't have much chance, cause how do you explain the fact that Republicans had NEVER EVER won a senate seat in Lousisiana? For the first time since reconstruction it happened, and now are caught out completely lying.
As far as the talking points go, I don't need talking points to realize that Democrats never come up with anything, oppose just for the sake of it, and filibuster and obstruct because they are powerless and pathetic.

Hey Marve, go get a life.

Posted by: Troy | February 11, 2006 2:39 AM | Report abuse

vivabush does not get it. Ohio is a BLUE state and will stay blue for a long time because of Rep coruption statewide and nationaly. CASE CLOSED! Just because the traitorous GOP cheated in Ohio to have Bush win does not make Ohio Red All the north parts of Ohio are Blue as are all the big cities. Dems also out number Reps in registration statewide.

Posted by: Larry | February 10, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Rmill:
Stating that Brown will beat Dewine is an opinion based on what? Remember, Ohio IS A RED state.
Brown has a 14 year LIBERAL-LEFT voting record. He is anti-war, anti-business, anti-military,avoided the draft during Vietnam era, the kinda crap that is used on Bush even though Bush was in the Air National Guard. I know Sherod Brown and he is no Paul Hackett. Brown is backed by every fringe, kook commie left org out there. He is just the candidate we want.

Dewine got a lot of face time with the Alito hearings and was very supportive of this mainstream, qualified justice. Watch Dewine's numbers start to climb while Brown and HAckett slug it out in an ugly primary.

As for the 6th and the 13th Districts. The GOP has made these target-priority races with the best candidates possible, State Rep Chuck Blasdel has the edge in the 6th while popular Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin is the odds-on favorite in Brown's seat.

Brown will have done us a great favor by giving up his safe seat and losing the senate race.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | February 10, 2006 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Troy:

Every Democrat knew then in 04 that there would be trouble electing Democrats to in Senate from the South. That's understood. We stay positive on the campaign trail. There is nothing hypocritical of wanting to win, hoping to win and saying that you are going to win. Who wants to vote for someone who isn't confident about their propects? Again, nothing hypocrital about that. However, I am concerned that you Republicans aren't aware of the ideas that Democrats have. I know it's safe for you to not see those ideas sitting in your ivory towers and think that all we do is obstruct. Come November let's see whose ideas are heard and who will win based on those ideas. And by the way, why don't you get another talking point of the Republicans to use when you don't have anything else substantive to say?

Posted by: Marve | February 10, 2006 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Hey TLH/FL DEM,
Your argument is so stupid that it's funny. You said the following:
"Let's say hypothetically that in 2008, that the GOP had Senate seat retirements in ME, OR, MN, RI, and MA. How many of those do you think the GOP would retain?"

My response is this. Firstly, To think a Republican would hold a senate seat in Massachusetts in the year 2006 proves how stupid you are. They would never drop a seat there because they could never get one in the first place. Secondly, if states like Minnesota and Oregon were in play, there's a good chance they would split evenly, not with Democrats dominating like the GOP did in 2004. You imply Republicans would have no hope, and that is bullony. The GOP has a senator in Oregon and will likely pick up Minnesota later this year.

Secondly, you said this:

"The Democrats lost 4 seats in 04 because they were defending 5 southern senate seats"

My response is this. In the year 2004, before the election, the DSCC was officially claiming they were going to win in South Carolina with Tenebaum, Bowles in North Carolina, Johns in Louisiana, and Castor in Florida. Pundits like Chris Cillizza took them seriously and would not shut up all year about it! Any person with half a brain knew at least South Carolina was a hilarious joke, but now those same pundits pretend as though they never disputed contests like South Carolina in the first place. What hypocrits they are.

The main issue in 2006 will be national security, and a Republican tide will develop, like 2002 and 2004. Republicans will get the 60 votes in the senate and they are going to nuke the Democrats! Democrats have no ideas, and just obstruct.

Posted by: Troy Delmege | February 10, 2006 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Worried Dem, I hear what you are saying about not meaning offense and your apology is accepted graciously.

With that said, I have some comments to say in response:

1) I have nothing against the fact that he is black and in the GOP (altho I do find it odd that he supports GOP policies that clearly adversely affect his own race), and I, in fact, did not even mention his race in my post.

2) Coming from a jewish heritage, with entire branches of my family killed in the Holocaust, I find Steele's statement: insulting, ignorant, and highly dangerous especially given the undercurrent of religious extremism in this country and around the world. And I bet that jewish voters in MD (including many relatives of mine) would never vote for someone who makes such an assinine comment, "clumsy" or not.

3) He clearly identifies with the extremist anti-science GOP, and that puts him in the same category as George Deutsch and the many other ideological hacks who interject their Christian-fundamentalist policy in every way possible (gay marriage, climate science, stem cell research, abortion, etc), and as someone with a background in science, I find that offensive and also dangerous. Freedom OF and FROM religion, and separation of church and state are two of the central founding principals of this country, and to see them under attack makes me extremely extremely worried.

4) It is a technicality, but Steele is running for LtGov of MD, and not the Senate. He is obviously not qualified for either.

5) Re: "We don't have ideas, we just ankle-bite." That is the biggest joke in the book and one perpetuated by Karl Rove. Dont get suckered. PLEASE! I could comment on positive aspects of the candidates in this "top 10" whom I support (Cantwell especially), but of all the candidates listed or topics discussed in this blog entry, I felt it important and timely (given the WaPo piece I posted) to address Mr. Steele.

If you want to talk ideas, I'm game, I've got plenty, but they start with the Democrats taking back the Government in '06/'08 to turn ideas on paper into reality via legislation.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 10, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

FairandBalanced, I didn't mean to characterize your entire position as being represented by the one comment about Steele's remark. Please take it as applying to the comment itself, not to what I'm sure are your far broader and more comprehensive general views. I apologize for any inadvertent (but admittedly careless) offense.

Posted by: Worried Dem | February 10, 2006 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Fairandbalanced, your comment represents exactly what's wrong with our party now. We don't have ideas, we just ankle-bite. The Republicans, the party that is supposed to be opposed to all those issues that we tell ourselves are of particular concern to blacks (as if black voters are a monolith) puts up a black candidate for US Senator, and the best we can do is to distort a clumsy but likely innocent comment he's made? Then we act like we're surprised when people see through it. We Democrats are going to look really bad to a constituency that has historically been very loyal to our party if it appears that we're not acting in good faith where Steele's candidacy is concerned.

Posted by: Worried Dem | February 10, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

sorry neocons but Ohio is blue as blue can be .Cheating is not winning. Kerry won Ohio by at least 500,000 votes. Republicans are finished in Ohio for many years to come.

Posted by: Larry | February 10, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

lpdrjk,

Here's the '04 Senate (Southern and switched seats) results:
FL: Martinez (R)-50% Castor (D)-48%
GA: Isakson (R)-58% Majette (D)-41%
NC: Burr (R)-52% Bowles (D)-47%
SC: DeMint (R)-54% Tenenbaum (D)-44%
LA: Vitter (R)-51% John (D)-29%
AR: Lincoln (D)-56% Holt (R)-44%
SD: Thune (R)-51% Daschle (D)-49%
CO: Salazar (D)-51% Coors (R)-47%
IL: Obama (D)-70% Keyes (R)-27%

Now compare that with who the state voted for and by what percent for President:

FL: Bush-52% Kerry-47%
GA: Bush-58% Kerry-41%
NC: Bush-56% Kerry-44%
SC: Bush-58% Kerry-41%
LA: Bush-57% Kerry-42%
AR: Bush-54% Kerry-45%
SD: Bush-60% Kerry-39%
CO: Bush-52% Kerry-47%
IL: Kerry-55% Bush-44%

So as we can see the Senate seat went to the candidate of the same party as the president with two exceptions: AR and CO which both went for the Dem candidate.

As I wrote earlier to Troy, this wasn't some masterful GOP strategy that year. It was a good campaign and the GOP had a good bit of luck with 5 Southern Democratic senators retiring. Think if the GOP had to defend 5 retirements in say the Northeast during one election. The Republicans did a nice job in most of the Southern states as they were able to link each Democratic candidate to "Giving control of the Senate to the John Kerry's and Ted Kennedy's". This is what also hurt Brad Carson in Oklahoma, who most observers said was a better candidate and campaigner than Tom Coburn. The GOP will not have that advantage during this election.

Posted by: TLH/FL DEM | February 10, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Agree RMill, Strickland is the man to beat and he is our worst nightmare. Once again, your posts show knowledge of reality. Pretty amazing how Red Ohio is. Everyway you slice it, it is a Red state through and through. Still, Strickland can win and this may be the year for some other breakthroughs for the Dims from top to bottom.

Homophobic? No. The Marriage Amendment simply reaffirmed that marriage was between a man and a woman, didn't say anything about gays. 63% approved while only 51% voted for Bush so a lot of DIMS did indeed vote for it.

In Ohio the Republican Party IS the party that best supports People of Color. RMill cites Blackwell and Bradley as statewide office holders while the DIMs have never had anyone elected state wide. Same goes for Hispanics. Meanwhile, the GOP has the possibility of electing the first Hispanic to the state senate if Lorain GOP Chairman David Arredondo runs for the open seat. That's right, a hispanic is the GOP chair of the 10th largest city in Ohio.

Developing...

Posted by: vivabush04OH | February 10, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Vivabush, I think it is important to be realistic and factual. It helps no one to delude ones self in approaching a very complicated and uphill battle.

That said, I think the dominance of the GOP in Ohio is about to come to a crashing halt. Major Ohio cities are governed by Democratic mayors. I believe that Dems hang on to US House 6 and 13 and take 18. I further believe that Strickland and Cordray take their statewide seats and Brown beats DeWine. Considering the considerable attention that elections have garnered in Ohio in 2000 and 2004, there will be no shortage of funding both in-state (Strickland had over 80% of his donations from in-state and beat all candidates for governor in fund raising) as well as money from national party and donors across America.

That will bring crucial races in 2010 for Secretary of State and State Auditor to complete the re-assumption of control of the apportionment board, to redraw state legislative districts and regain control of at least one house before 2020.

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Strickland is exactly the candidate the Ohio GOP fears. Rural base, pro-gun, not afraid to talk about faith. This is the kind of candidate that can draw off southern Ohio GOP base voters, as he has in his congressional district. Whether this helps boost Brown is a different story.

Brown will be formidable and DeWine is fully aware. His recent votes against the party line on budget cuts is a sure sign.

Fingerhut is smart and knowledgable but without a large enough base, even though he has been on the state ballot before. NE Ohio Dems will vote for the Dem nominee pretty much down the line. I think the wild card will be minority turnout. Jones would definately have benefited the Strickland ticket, especially in a showdown with Blackwell.

And Ohioians have elected black candidates statewide before- Blackwell (R), Jeanette Bradley(R) after she was appointed twice, once as Lt. Gov. and on Taft coattails. And now appointed as treasurer, she is on her own, so to speak. I believe she will have a tough time with Rich Cordray (assuming he makes it out of his primary with Hugh Quill of Toledo) of Columbus (same political base- Central Ohio).

By the way Ipdrjk, in Ohio, at this point, homophobia is winning.

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Larry, only Ohio Dems are Blue right now. While that may change in 2006 and for a considerable stretch in the future, Ohio is one of a handful of states in the Union with no statewide elected Democrats, without a majority of Democratic Congressional members and without control of either State Legislative body (and for a full decade). Thus Ohio ranks red like only Alaska, Idaho, Texas and Utah.

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Rmill:
I have to compliment you on your knowledgeable posts about Ohio, posts that are analytical and supported by fact. Larry on the other hand is symptomatic of the reason that DIMS are a minority party in Ohio and nationwide; they chase windmills,address the wrong issues and invent slogans that do nothing, "Bush lied..." etc.

Thanks for admitting that our boots on the ground won it for Bush in Ohio in '04, I'm really proud of all our volunteers, ordinary volunteers, not paid workers from out of state.

Talk facts like money, who has it, who doesn't, polls, what do they say,issues, is the "so-called corruption" hurting or not? Is Fingurehut a better Ltgov candidate than Lawson Jones.

Here's an opinion, Strickland may very well win governor but that will not carry Brown over Dewine. Those two races may end that way, though I see Blackwell winning nonetheless.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | February 10, 2006 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Worried Dem: you're very perceptive. Then again, Ohio voted to allow unlimited hunting of mourning doves on the basis that poor white trash might need them as a food supply.

RMill: I see your point but which is stronger amongst the voters, homophobia or racism?

Ohio voters have seen black candidates before; heck, I'll bet have even been elected. I don't see race motivating black voters either way. It's more likely to motivate Republican bigots (seems like a redundant phrase, doesn't it?) in a negative way, however.

I doubt the African-American evangelicals will turn out like they did in 2004. They never had the opportunity to express their homophobia before 2004.

Posted by: lpdrjk | February 10, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Worried Dem,

How do you feel about Steele's comments in which he compared stem cell research to Nazi "experimentation" on Jews during the Holocaust to the Baltimore Jewish Council?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2006020902540.html

I would be worried too, if I were you.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 10, 2006 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Here is what I feel should be the focus of 06. "Shove it down Roves throat." There is a cucial issue that people seem to overlook regarding terrorism. They say that there has not been a foreign terrorist attack in the US since 9/11 b/c w is so strong. Well after the first attempt on the WTC in '93 there was not another act of foreign terrorism in the US until 9/11, so I guess Clinton was stronger, don't even try to bring up the embassy bombings right wingers.
National Security. It should be a matter of priority to find a way to craft a message against the repubs for national security. The very people who attack the dems for ease on national security are violating it themselves. Cheney and Rove should be highlighted as enemies of the state in their vindictive use of national security to get back at dissidents.
I feel that there is something up the sleeve of this administration and it has war written all over it. Iraq was started to keep w in office and I feel with the recent two huge increases in defense spending that we will see something develop in late 2007 that will try and bring another repub into office. The democrats must win the debate, further reinforced by todays revelation of a former CIA offical, that what they are doing is not protecting the US.
An arristocracy is trying to be created by this administration and I feel that it is up to the democrats to expose this. The administration is handing the dems the reigns and no matter what puny Ken Melman or the trash radio hosts say, it is the democrats if they want it. But, they are going to have to want it. I feel they can do it and are poised to do it.
I would also like to say good job to the Democrats as well.

Posted by: BigB | February 10, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I left Maryland for the mid-west a few years ago, but it doesn't surprise me Steele is going ahead with a Senate bid. And Ben Cardin--an Ocean City Hermit Crab has more personality!

I think Maryland will eventually have at least one Republican Senator. This looks like as good a time as any, and as good a candidate as any.

Look for the Senate race in Maryland to break down similarly to the '02 Governor's race.

Posted by: independentwoman | February 10, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry. I love, LOVE Harold Ford, Jr. He is one of the Democratic Party's best faces. He always puts forth a moderate, bipartisan tenor to his approach in public situations. However, I just don't see him getting elected in Tennessee. Tennessee has fewer African American voters (by percentage) than South Carolina. And Tennessee has grown more Republican lately. He may get some help by running on the same ticket as Governor Bredesen - but he also may be a drag on Governor Bredesen, allowing the GOP to nationalize all of Tennessee's elections - and potentially swing them all to the GOP.

I hate to say it, but I really think most states in the South are not ready for an African American to be elected statewide, Tennessee included.

Posted by: Chris | February 10, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

By the way Ohio is a BLUE state. Bush cheated to win here and cheating is not winning. Ohio will be a blue state for years to come due to Rep corruption

Posted by: Larry | February 10, 2006 2:47 PM | Report abuse

While controversies surround portions of the 2004 Ohio election (namely use of new electronic voting machines in Franklin County being
"irregularly" distributed to favor R leaning precincts according to an independent analysis http://www.electionscience.org/government/ohio1) vivabush is essentially correct that Dems got beat at our own game (not just Ohio but across the nation) on the ground. GOP grassroots organizing and GOTV efforts beat Dems badly, even though we drew even on money.

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Rhode Island will be interesting to watch unfold this year. One may call Mayor Laffey a "crackpot" (not my personal assertion not being intimately familiar with Rhode Island's local political figures) but a "crackpot" with $1 M dollars is still a dangerous opponent.

Democratic primary is revealing itself to be a battle as well.

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

vivabush04 we who live in Ohio know Bush cheated it has been proven. Bush is hated in Ohio. DeWine will suffer a massive defeat as will most Reps here and you know it Neocon fantasy land is coming to a quick end

Posted by: Larry | February 10, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

This discussion would be best place in the Governors listing but Worried Dem has a right to be worried. In part, this was shown to be true in 2004 on the Gay Marriage Ban statewide ballot issue.

The number of crossover, evagenlical african-american voters was huge. If those numbers translate to votes for Blackwell, it is an uphill battle for Strickland, the likely candidate to face Blackwell in the fall, should he get past Petro in May. It would also cast some doubt on Strickland's selection of Lee Fisher as his Lt. Governor instead of Cuyahoga County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones (an african-american, Harvard educated lawyer) or Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin.

Another factor would be the TEL amendment that Blackwell is supporting and preparing to place on the November 2006 ballot. It remains to be seen whether this helps or hurts but the cross-campaigning should benefit Blackwell to some extent. It may also become a wedge with the black evangelicals, who are also committed to servicing the poor.

If the case can be made (and properly so in my estimation, looking at what TEL did to Colorado) that TEL hurts the african-american community, it could ultimately backfire on Blackwell.

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse


>>we still don't see that he (DeWine) has committed any fireable offense<<

Nor has he pursued any hirable distinction.

DeWine also does not hold a tremendous lead (relatively) in cash on hand in this race (about $1M).

Democrats in Ohio, used to running several millions behind every year, have a real opportunity with this seat. And once the primaries conclude, I have a feeling there will be no dearth of campaign funds for democratic candidates, especially Governor, US Senate and targeted US House districts (6,18).

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Senator Cantwell targeted herself (saving the RNC) when she voted against both John Roberts and Samuel Alito (not to mention being in camp with Senator Clinton). McGavick will turn the U.S. senator "shade" of Washington state from blue to purple with his election on issues and values that truly reflect a majority (too long silent) of Washington state residents.

Posted by: ABC | February 10, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Maybe that isn't something you really believe, lpdrjk, but if so, pinch yourself and wake up. It's not gonna be that easy. The days when Republicans anywhere in the country would prefer a white Democrat to a black Republican just because of skin color, or would stay home rather than vote for a black Republican, are long gone. For one thing, even racist white Republicans hate Democrats far more than they hate blacks.

I'll tell you one other thing -- Democrat part leaders believe what you wrote. Maybe it's because they think that Democrats, black Democrats particularly, prefer any white Democrat to any black republican, and they naturally assume the same thing must be true of white republicans (who get about the same amount of regards and consideration from Democrat leadership as black Democrats). Or maybe it's because Democrat leaders have been selling the Republicans-are-all-racists snake oil so long, they've become addicted to their own product.

Posted by: Worried Dem | February 10, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

It even worse than that:

Of 295 M people
about 75% are of voting age

about 92% of voting age are eligible citizens

about 70% of eligible voting age citizens are registered to vote

in a healthy presidential election, 85% of registered, eligible voting age citizens vote

if you only need 51% to win

75% x 92% x 70% x 85% x 51%= about 21% of the total population of the United States

That is outpaced by the number of unenfranchised who don't bother to register (27.6%) and the disinterested who register and dodn't bother to vote (9.7%) for a total of 37.3%. None of the above wins again!

Posted by: RMill | February 10, 2006 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if Ipdrjk is a DIM or a desperate Petro supporter resorting to predictions of doom and gloom if Blackwell is elected.
My prediction is that Dewine wins regardless whether Petro or Blackwell heads the ticket. Far-left Sherrod Brown cannot beat Mike Dewine in Red State Ohio.

May will be here before you know it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2006 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Talent would NEVER have done this if he wasn't in such a tight re-election bid. He panders too much to the right wing of his party.

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/13840357.htm

Posted by: jenniferm | February 10, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Maryland Democratic machine still thinks that white suburban voters will never vote for a black candidate in sufficient numbers to win a statewide election. Their short-sightedness is compounded by the absurd but nevertheless prevailing assumption among the state party leadership that black voters will vote for a Democrat candidate more or less unconditionally, even while the party pays only lip service to black candidates. It's as if state party leaders think they're honorary blacks just like our first black president (Bill Clinton) as a consequence of Democrat party affiliation, so it shouldn't matter that the candidates supported for statewide office are all lily-white (would't want to drive suburbanites into the arms of the Repubs, now would we). That's closely related to the same sort of stupidity that led the state party to support KKT in 2002 and she was possibly the worst gubernatorial candidate in the history of the state.

Well, now, instead of just putting a token black on the ticket (and, by the way, it doesn't help the Democrat cause when Democrat mouthpieces like the Baltimore Sun adopt racist arguments for their own, borrowing form affirmative action opponents, saying that Steele's only qualification is his skin color), the Repubs are calling the Democrats' bluff. Steele is going to be the Republican candidate for Senator, and it's not going to be lost on Maryland's black voters that a black candidate not only has the full and enthusiastic support of Maryland's Repub party, but the national Repub party as well. There are lots of real black Democrats who were not at all happy that the KKT ticket included only what we might derisively refer to as symbolic blacks (like Clinton), and for some of the ones who really do have some melanin to boast of, one more snub will be one too many. Just wait until Ben Cardin, and not Kwiese Mfume, gets the Democrats' nomination. You think Steele won't get more than 10% or so of the state's black vote? If so, I want some of whatever you're smoking. And pass it around. We're all going to need it when Maryland elects its first Republican Senator since liberal Republican Mac Mathias.

Posted by: Worried Dem | February 10, 2006 1:55 PM | Report abuse

TLH/FL DEM: how close was the '04 race? The way Chris described it left me yearning for the final vote tallies.

An interesting wrinkle in the OH race: if Blackwell is chosen as the GOP gubernatorial nominee many GOP voters will stay home. Dewine may lose his Senate seat if Blackwell wins the primary.

Posted by: lpdrjk | February 10, 2006 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I'll vote for ya dad, if you take my pickled corpse outta the jar on your desk!

Posted by: Junior Santorum in a Jar | February 10, 2006 1:30 PM | Report abuse

>>>We were in this same situation in 2002

GOP Party Line Talking Points = Divorced From Reality

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 10, 2006 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Please vote for me.


Twice, if possible.

Posted by: Sen. Rick Santorum (R, PA) | February 10, 2006 1:14 PM | Report abuse

For the Maryland race... I've said it before, the only thing electable about Michael Steele is his impeccible dressing. The guy knows a good suit. Unfortunately for Republicans, the guy filling those suits isn't very polished and will continue to put his foot in his mouth as he did yesterday... when he compared stem cell research to Nazi experiments on Jews during WWII.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/09/AR2006020902540.html

Posted by: corbett | February 10, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Troy,
Use your brain a little bit. The Democrats lost 4 seats in 04 because they were defending 5 southern senate seats, 4 of which were open (the 4 GOP pickups, while Blanche Lincoln won by 12 pts in AR). They lost Daschle because of Bush's popularity in South Dakota and they picked up GOP seats in CO and IL. Let's say hypothetically that in 2008, that the GOP had Senate seat retirements in ME, OR, MN, RI, and MA. How many of those do you think the GOP would retain?

Posted by: TLH/FL DEM | February 10, 2006 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I think one of the biggest upsets this year will be here in Arizona when Democrat Jim Pederson and the fantastic grasroots organization he helped rebuild go against the lobby-friendly, student aid cutting, "no John McCain" Republican Sen. Jon Kyl. It may not be in your top 10 Chris, but keep it on your radar.

Posted by: David | February 10, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't understand how people can think Republicans have done a better job of governing. The way I see it, Bush increased the national debt $2 trillion. 60 million voted for him in 2004. That comes out to $33,000 each. After all, don't you think you should pay for the policies you voted for?

How many screw ups does it take before the 60 million realize that the current Republican leadership governs on faith and ideology, rather than on facts and results? Do they really think oversimplification is an effective strategy?

Posted by: cynical ex-hippie | February 10, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris. To be honest, I'm really sick and tired of people making predications many months out from election day about how bad it will be for Republicans. The question is, can Democrats get a single net pickup at all. We were in this same situation in 2002, people saying the economy would kill Republicans, but what happened, oh wow, they took back the senate. Then in 2004, Republicans were going to lose the majority to Democrats because of Iraq, and then what happened, Republicans picked up 4 seats, which should have silenced every commentator for ever.
Let me make one prediction right here, and if I'm correct, you'll come back and tell me how good I am after election day... My prediction is this. Troops will be pulled out of Iraq, and some other country like Iran will be a huge issue by November, and the main theme of the election will be national security. Republicans will gain a seat or two, and people like you will pretend that you never said anything back in February different to that.
Sorry for my skepticism, but this is deja vu all over again. I know you have to look at individual races, but I know by November, there will be a tide in favor or Republicans.
Ok, I hope you enjoyed that.
Later Chris.

Posted by: Troy Delmege | February 10, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Karen,

I respect your political ideology, however, I am simply aghast at your "silly Constitution" line. You should be ashamed to say and believe such a thing.

Posted by: Political Junkie | February 10, 2006 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the TN 06 comparison to SC 04 Senate race. For one SC is a much redder state than TN. DeMint capitalized on combining Tenenbaum with Kerry in the election and that hurt her big time. Ford does not have that issue and will be on the ticket with a Democrat governor set to win re-election (Gov. Phil Bredesen). Tennessee twice went to Bill Clinton and in the old days when the South was block voting Democrats, it went for the GOP (Twice for Ike, for Nixon in '60 as well, the last time the state didn't vote for the winner).

I would also have to say that if (and only if) Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman jumps into the Senate race vs. Sen. John Ensign, that race would become part of the top 10. With Goodman's popularity in Clark County, which is where the majority of the state's population is, he could really cause difficulty for Ensign.

I also think Steele needs to be moved down. With Gov. Ehrlich not doing well in the race for re-election, the Dems should be able to combine Steele with many of the Ehrlich unpopularity.

Posted by: TLH/FL DEM | February 10, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Andy,

Virginia can't be considered top-tier yet because we haven't seen what Webb's campaign is really made of. Everything is aligned as neatly as possible for a very close race between Webb and Allen, but we've got to call this a second tier race until Webb shows his chops and there's been some polling matching the 2 against each other.

Karen,

Remember that both of those Democratic governors of Virginia have been elected since George Allen ran his last race and won that seat in 2000. So the election of Democrats to state-wide office in Virginia actually *is* a trend that has emerged since Allen was last on the ballot. The political landscape in Virginia is very different today from what it was 6 years ago. Democrats have picked up new seats in the state House and Senate in every election since 2000. The big population growth in VA since 2000 has been in Northern Virginia, most notably Fairfax and Loudoun counties. Note that both counties went Republican reliably right through Allen's win. Since then, Kaine won big in those areas and a Democrat won a Senate seat with 61% in a Loudoun county blowout last month, capturing what had long been a GOP 'safe' seat.

I will say that Cantwell and Allen are in similar spots. They are both one-termers who won their seats by a thin margin and have no great accomplishments in the Senate to point to. Both of these candidates could be blown either way depending on whether the current mood of anger against the ruling party continues through November.

It's not just liberals who are predicting trouble for the GOP this year. Republican leadership has lowered the bar such that their goal is now merely retaining the majority in Washington and accepting that seats will be lost. Journalists are just following along with Republicans strategists' outline of '06. The question - even according to the RCCC - is whether GOP losses can be kept within the margin of majority. Nobody professionally involved in politics right now is expecting anything else.

Bear in mind that in 2004, the GOP only gained seats in the House of Representatives by redistricting Texas. Taking 2004 as a whole (including special elections), the GOP actually had a net loss of seats outside of the TX gambit. So your trend of actual support for Congressional GOP candidates is growth in 2000, growth in '02 and stagnation or slight decline in '04. What does that suggest to you about 2006, especially considering a number of big corruption scandals not likely to be resolved by November?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2006 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't have any complaints about Bush winning the presidency Karen but the point is that when you win 51% of the voters in a country where about 60% of the eligible population actually votes that makes 30%. That does not give anyone (Republican and Democrat included) the moral authority that the republican party seems to think it is owed. And in that respect I think that this election will be a backlash on that assumption. On a whole basically the americans who voted for Kerry will continue to vote Democrat and 10% of the folks that voted for Bush will change parties and vote Democrat. Now all this depends on the ability of the Democratic party to make this a national election. But in that respect I think they are getting assistance from folks like Rove and Vice-President Cheney who keep talking about how this election is going to be about security and terrorism and big national issues, while the RNC is preaching that the election should be about local issues.
Also there is plenty of advice to GOPers even on this blog on how republicans should win. Its simple, change Parties.

Posted by: Andy R | February 10, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

And I sleep just fine, thank you.

Posted by: Rob | February 10, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that was a mistake Rob. I was directly my comment to you, and missed the line.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that was a mistake Rob. I was directly my comment to you, and missed the line.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Paul Hackett called anyone in Ohio who voted for the Defense of Marriage Amendment a bigot. Since that is almost 70% of those willing to vote, his polls have sunk. The old Ohio cheating thing is a good campaign strategy. Gets lots of laughs, and will help those in Ohio who know that it is a lie. The Missouri race is useful to remind everyone that democratic operatives send goons to slash tires on republican cars and vandalize property. Nothing like using your base to stop the other side from getting votes.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

For the record, I am neither liberal, nor Democrat, nor conservative, nor Republican. I am, as I believe most Americans are, an independent thinker. I don't need media or pundits or Fox to tell me how or what to think.

And I didn't post the 11:12 a.m. entry. That must have been Karen.

Posted by: Rob | February 10, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Chris:
I'm not sure I buy the comparison of Tennessee '06 and South Carolina '04. Tennessee has shown a much greater willingness than other southern states to continue electing Democrats to federal office--see the election of Lincoln Davis and Jim Cooper in 2002 and the surprising fact that Dems hold 5 of 9 congressional seats.

Posted by: Andrew | February 10, 2006 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Intrepid Liberal you ar so full of it.
Republicans cheated in Ohio, yeh right. And aliens inhabit the White House. Plain and simple, we Republicans did a better job of GOTV than the DIMS--we beat you at your own game. I was a BC Campaign leader in the trenches in NEOH and I know what it took. Hard to accept but that is the facts, not cheating.
Keep looking to the past and you will have no future.

Hackett is an excellent candidate but he cannot beat Sherrod Brown. Brown is one of the best politicians I know. Still, Brown did lose his Sec'y of State seat to the great Bob Taft in 1990. In May Brown will roll up a huge NEOH vote to make up for downstate.

Brown will win the DIM primary but lose to Dewine. Keep your eye on the polls as we go. Dewine's numbers are going up inching closer to 50% which it will exceed by November.

Next week, news about Dewine on the campaign trail.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | February 10, 2006 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I was being sarcastic about Andy's comment regarding Bush not getting elected by the majority. I don't think the Constitution is silly, I think his reasoning was, and I reminding him. But if it helps you sleep better, misread what I write. This is the same stuff we hear every election cycle, watch the liberal media give advice to dems for ways to win. Did you ever see a media story advicing the republicans on ways to keep the majority? Just remember, these "journalists" are as bias as a mother judging her child in the cutest baby contest.

Posted by: Rob | February 10, 2006 11:12 AM | Report abuse

No one knows what Bob Casey's voice sounds like. IF you think he will do well in a debate against Santorum, save your money. Rendell is increasingly unpopular. And those ethics problems raised in PA will only bring up the problems democrats have had with ethical problems. Chris and Dan do have their donkey pom-poms out, but have they always have. Remember, Spector will campaign for Santorum and that will help him big time. Swann is going to make big waves. If I remember correctly, the WaPo said dems were going to win senate seats in Texas, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina. IF you can't remember, just picture Carville with a trashcan over his head. He read it in the WaPo, so he was sure the dems were going to be up seats, just a matter of how many. Sounds so familiar.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Did I read correctly? "That silly constitution"?

Is that a personal belief or the official GOP line these days, Karen?

Posted by: Rob | February 10, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

the perfect storm for change

Chris Cillizza from The Fix at washingtonpost.com is right on target with placing the pennsylvania senate race as the number 1 most likely to change party hands in the 2006 election. link

this is the year and pennsylvania is the place. rick santorum is widely viewed as so far out of the mainstream (even in the red state middle of pa) that he is not part of our fine commonwealth. It is sort of a perfect storm for this race with bush poll numbers down, republicans facing ethics questions, santorum on point for the k street project and most importantly a solid opponent in Bobby Casey with genuine ideas and positions that appeal to many in the state.

as "the fix" puts it: this is Casey's race to lose.

thenextdirection.com

Posted by: next | February 10, 2006 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Washington State is more conservative than the Seattle Times wants to admit. The Democratic Governor won the last election on the 3rd vote count. The local democrats in Seattle have provided a bevy of lampoonable issues.

The Dem's might want to use the wiretaps issue, which is a legal argument.

The Republicans will use the fact that Democrat controlled Seattle has in reality "Warrantless Garbage Police" that search peoples garbage for Planet Threatening "recylables"

Posted by: EastSider | February 10, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Karen,
Maybe you are forgetting this but the Democrats had to defend five open seats in the South in 2004 - FL, GA, SC, NC and LA. The only incumbent Dem to lose was Daschle in bright red SD. The Dems did pick up true blue IL and purple CO. Even though the national picture was very close in 2004, the location of open seats hurt the Dems. Interestingly, 2006 also offers numeric problems for Dems. Not because of where the seats are but the number of Dems up for election vs. Republicans up for election. However, given where those states are (many swing states like OH and MO angry at Bush) the chances of a massive Dem pickup are high. All of which sets up 2008 when a much higher number of Republicans comes up for election than Democrats. In 1998, the Dems made gains in Year Six because of the backlash against the impeachment proceedings. Dems picked up seats in 2000, bringing the Senate to 50-50. They fell back in 2002 and 2004 under the weight of a popular President, a war, and tough geography (see above point about Southern seats). None of that is around in 2006.

Posted by: Elrod | February 10, 2006 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Andy. Did Clinton ever win a "majority" of the vote? No. But I considered him my president because that silly constitution said that is how the system works.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Karen is forgetting that many of those 60 million are regretting their votes for Bush nowadays. That's why his approval ratings are plummeting.

And Kaine beat Kilgore by 5.73 percentage points, whereas Warner beat Earley by only 5.13 in 2001, so the statement that "Kaine won by less than Warner did" is typical Republican lying.

Posted by: KCinDC | February 10, 2006 10:26 AM | Report abuse

It's interesting you overlook the Nevada Senate race. It's NOT going to be a piece of cake for John Ensign, and his people know it.

Posted by: Susan Nunes | February 10, 2006 10:23 AM | Report abuse

One, Andy R is correct in his rebuttal to "THE MAJORITY." "THE MAJORITY" also cites '98 and '00. What a short memory he has. The Democrats did prevail in the '98 mideterms overcoming historical trends for midterm elections. And we all know who really won in 2000. '02 was a fluke following 9/11. In '04 the Republicans cheated again in Ohio and probably elsewhere. Overall the majority of Americans believe both parties are full of it and that nobody speaks for them.

Two - The power of Paul Hackett's message and what he symbolizes is being underestimated in Ohio. More veterans are running on the Democratic line than as Republicans. This is not by accident. If Hackett is the nominee Mike DeVine will be on the defensive for Iraq. He'll have no where to hide.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 10, 2006 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Chris, do you realize that for the Dems to take back the Senate they would have to win all 10 of the elections on the board if all the other races stayed the same?

Posted by: David | February 10, 2006 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I hate that Representative Harold Ford is running for Senate. He's an asset to the party, to be sure, which is why I want him to remain in the House. Unfortunately, as much progress has occurred in the South recently, Tennessee is by no means progressive, and the thought of a Southern state electing an African American Democrat to the U.S. Senate boggles my mind...very similar to the thought of South Carolina electing a female Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

The South is still the South.

Posted by: Chris | February 10, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Karen there are 295 million people in the country 60 million is about 20%. I'll even give you 30% if we take out kids. Neither party can say they represent what the "THE MAJORITY" as you put it beleives becuase the true Majority of americans don't vote.

Posted by: Andy R | February 10, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Dino Rossi won Washington state (according to a poll of Washington voters) and resent the democratic machine "finding" votes. Payback is due. What has Cantwell done? Virginia elected a democrat as governor to take the place of a democrat as governor. How is that a trend? Kaine won by less than Warner did. Weird how WaPo loses those stats. Kennedy leads in Minnesota, and Kean is ahead by double digits in New Jersey, but the Balz cannot fathom that the people he "knows" in those places will allow a republican to win. Maybe the nice Italian population and all those voting Catholics were offended by the hostility to Judge Alito.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris,
How does the Cantwell race still qualify. I don't care what Republicans think Washington is as Blue as it gets, and Cantwell hasn't done anything to seriously upset anyone. Why not put Virginia in at 10? The State has trended (as you pointed out yesterday) more towards democrats in the past few elections, and now that the Democrats have a legitimate candidate in Webb then whats not making this race competitive. Also as many people pointed out on the last entry, Allen will now have to answer the "will you finish out your term" question.

Posted by: Andy R | February 10, 2006 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Every year, we hear the liberals at the Washington Post talk about all the seats the republicans will lose. To be so bias to write "no if, but how many seats the democrats will gain" is a rallying cry for Americans to once again tell the left-wing nuts in the big city newsrooms to get out of their cocoon. You have been wrong everytime. As your cute partners at ABC News said before the 2004 election -- " We don't know anyone who is going to vote for Bush". Imagine, admitting you are clueless about what 60 million American voters, THE MAJORITY, are thinking. Please google past WaPo columns about the great Democrat prospects in 1998, 2000,2002 and 2004. It is why your readership slumps, internet news has become more dependable, and why you remain unconnected to the American public.

Posted by: Karen | February 10, 2006 9:34 AM | Report abuse

McCaskill in Missouri needs to not listen to any Washington consultants being brought into her campaign. They will surely cause her to lose this race. She needs to fight back on the expected slime campaign that Talent will put out there. He will run mostly negative ads on her and virtually nothing on why the people of Missouri should send him back to Washington.

This contest will be negative--mostly fueled by Talent's campaign since that's his MO in winning any election.

Posted by: jenniferm | February 10, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

From my understanding, Chafee has little to worry about. Laffey will be exposed as a crackpot and clearly out of the mainstream with R.I. voters, while Chafee with the backing of the Republican senatorial committee should be able to win the primary. The election boils down to whether the voters feel that Chafee is representing them effectively. I think a lot of people would argue that he is.

Posted by: Glenn Gervasio | February 10, 2006 9:18 AM | Report abuse

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