Sunday, June 13, 2010

What do the 2012 Senate races look like?

What will happen in 2012? I know it is early but I'd like to do a little forecasting. Certainly after this election the GOP will have between 48-52 seats and I suspect in 2012 they will do much better. The Democrats will have to defend a lot of seats and many of those will be very vulnerable. Let's look at some of them:
Feinstein-California. Probably safe. Unless things really go south for the Democrats she'll win again. The only way the GOP picks up this seat is if she retires.
Carper-Delaware. Safe. There's nobody in the Delaware GOP who can beat him.
Nelson-Florida. In big trouble. If Rubio loses this year I'm sure he'll run against Nelson in 2012. Rubio would trounce Nelson and I bet if this scenario plays out he will retire instead of face a loss.
Akaka-Hawaii. Safe. He's getting pretty old. Perhaps he will retire.
Cardin-Maryland. Vulnerable. He's got a solid edge because of a heavy Democratic registration edge but he could be beaten by Mike Steele or Bob Ehrlich.
Stabenow-Michigan. Very vulnerable. She's a weak candidate and Michigan is in absolute turmoil. There will be plenty of possible GOP challengers.
Klobuchar-Minnesota. Very vulnerable. The obvious GOP challenger is Norm Coleman who graciously conceded last year after the controversial election against Al Franken.
McCaskill-Missouri. Very vulnerable. She will lose in 2012-no question.
Tester-Montana. Very vulnerable. Elected by a hair in 2006 he'll face a stiff challenge. If the At-Large GOP House member Dennis Rehberg runs he'll crush Tester.
Nelson-Nebraska. Politically dead. He has no chance to be reelected and will almost certainly retire.
Menendez-New Jersey. Vulnerable. He faced a stiff challenge in 2006 from Tom Kean Jr. and I'm sure he'll get a challenger again. Especially after the success of Chris Christie there is a template for Republicans to win in blue states.
Bingaman-New Mexico. Probably safe. He's been in since 1982 so perhaps he'll look at retirement.
Conrad-North Dakota. Very vulnerable. As the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee he's presided over the largest deficits in American history-a fact that doesn't go over well in North Dakota. He's been able to pretend he's a moderate for many years but he supported the health care bill which is universally hated in that state.
Brown-Ohio. Very vulnerable. Arguably the most liberal senator in the country he'll face a stiff challenge from any number of GOP varsity players.
Casey-Pennsylvania. Very vulnerable. A complete moron, Bob Casey will get a challenger in 2012 and may well lose. He is a terrible debater with the classic deer-in-the-headlights look about him that will probably cost him his seat.
Whitehouse-Rhode Island. Safe.
Webb-Virginia. Vulnerable. He won by around 10,000 votes in 2006 and he'll have to face a deep GOP bench.
Byrd-West Virginia. Safe. When will this guy retire? He was elected in 1958.
Cantwell-Virginia. Somewhat vulnerable. She beat Slate Gorton in 2000 by a little over 2,000 votes. If Patty Murray gets beat this year (a distinct possiblity) then the GOP will send out someone tough to try to take her out.
Kohl-Wisconsin. Safe. An absolute nonentity in the Senate, I think he'll retire after four terms.
Lieberman-Conn. Unknown? Who knows what this guy does?
Sanders-Vermont. Safe.
Kyl-Arizona. Safe
Lugar-Indiana. Safe.
Snowe-Maine. Safe.
Brown-Massachusetts. Vulnerable. Any number of Democrats will aim to knock him off. I think he'll survive.
Wicker-Miss. Safe.
Ensign-Nevada. Vulnerable. He'll probably have to retire after his sex scandal.
Corker-Tennessee. Safe.
Hutchinson-Texas. Safe but probably retiring to run for governor in 2014.
Hatch-Utah. Safe.
Barasso-Wyoming. Safe.

I think it very likely that the GOP will pick up at least seven seats in 2012 but, if they ran the table, could get twelve. As crazy at it may seem that would give them around sixty. You heard it here first.


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  2. I agree with your assessment of the 2012 Senate races. I think the Presidential election will have long coat tails in favor of the Republican Senate Candidates; therefore, I predict the Republican count will be 60+. In 2012 we will see the Republicans in control of both houses, and the White House!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. After the election results I am inclined to think it will be more difficult than that. Obama will likely run a decent re-election campagn, and their wont be a wave. I do think some dnamics changed. Castle will run in Deleware and could win, but the Nevada Republican party is in trouble and probably will lose that seat. I agree on Brown in Ohio,, shoudl be in trouble, and there are five or six others vulnerable (Montana, Michigan, Nebraska, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, ND) but as we saw yesterday, you probably only get 50% of them, if you have good candidates. So its going to be close, maybe take 4-5 seats but lose 1-2, so a net gain of 3. Than makes the Senate 50-50

  4. The idea of Castle running in 2012 is definitely possible, and if he does, he could very well win, although at best, I would say that there isn't a huge chance that he would run, considering his age, but its certainly possible.

    My guess is that the GOP will pick up Missouri, not only because of McCaskill's low approval ratings, but also because of the light red nature of Missouri in presidential elections, further helping her GOP challenger.

    Montana will also probably go Republican because it is a red state and during a presidential year, states tend to vote close to or near party line by CPVI.

    A sure pickup for the GOP is Nebraska with Ben Nelsons approval ratings in the gutter in the wake of his yes vote for Obamacare.

    North Dakota, with the retirement of Kent Conrad, would be a sure GOP pickup (unless Earl Pomeroy were to run for the seat). That being said, millions could be dumped in on Democrats' behalf in the small seat, giving them an advantage in the election. This seat will probably go to the GOP in 2012, but its hard to get a good reading as to what will happen.

    Massachusetts is a pure tossup at this point. Scott Brown is extremely popular in the state, but then again, Massachusetts is the bluest of blue states and anything can happen. This race will be hard to predict.

    If Snowe loses in a tea party primary challenge, the seat will surely go to Democrats. If she survives her primary, however, the GOP will retain this seat due to her high popularity.

    Depending on how Joe Manchin votes, the fate of West Virginia is up in the air. If he keeps his promises of voting against environmental regulations and moderate, to even slightly conservative proposals, he will definitely win reelection in a landslide. Conversely, if he becomes a 'rubber stamp' to the Obama agenda, he will certainly go down in defeat to a second challenge by John Raese or either of the two GOP representatives in West Virginia.

    Nevada is a seat that the Democrats could certainly pickup with Ensign being extremely unpopular because of his scandalous actions.

    Connecticut could certainly turn into an interesting race going three ways. Lieberman will certainly not win reelection, that is unless he somehow becomes very popular with either party or his constituents, so the question is, who will take the seat. If GOP Gov. Jodi Rell were to win, she could possible eek out a victory in a three way race in which would feature a democratic split between Lieberman and the presumed Democrat, although Lieberman would certainly siphon GOP votes as well, similar to 2006.

    Virginia could certainly be a GOP pickup, but again, it is hard to predict, solely depending on voter turnout. Therefore, the fate of Democrats remains up in the air.

    I've run through a bunch of races and will add more later.

  5. I don't agree with your assessment of the 2012 Senate election because Dems have learnt their lesson on running weak candidates in Mass. Coakley virtually handed the GOP a win there in 2010. In Delaware I think Mike Castle may run, but then again his credibility is in question with his stunning lose to Cristine O'Donnell in the Republican primary. Also, Jim Webb is known in Virginia (My home state) as a moderate. Dems are loyal to their candidates in Virginia. Its a state were a huge margin of voters dont identify themselves with a single political party. Obama carried Virginia (53%-47%), which means that the state has shifted left since 2006 when Webb was first elected. It remains a "purple" state at the time, but with fundraising like Sen. Warner (D-VA) in 2008 he is sure to pull that one out. As for Florida? Alex Sink could be a possible contender because she took derect aim at the White House after loosing her Gov. race in 2010. She may run as a moderate Democrat ready to take on the Obama agenda. Nevada will go Democrat because as we saw in 2010, even in a weak year for the Dems they still have a huge voter advantage there. Casey of Pennsylvania will win because of his 58% approval among Independents in Penn. In Michigan, Obama remains popular with a 53% approval, if the Dems run on their record of saving the auto industry then re-election for Sen. Stabenow is easy to pull off. My projections as of now Dems:55+ Reps:45+ Dem pickups Mass. and Nev.