Saturday, October 30, 2010

The GOP tide in Colorado

Early voting in Colorado shows a large GOP turnout and a large enthusiasm gap between the Republicans and the Democrats. Nationwide, 2010 was the first year since 1930 that the GOP had more primary voters than the Democrats. Simply put, there are generally more Democratic voters than Republicans and it almost always shows in primary elections-but not this year. 2010 has seen Democratic affliation drop somewhat and Republicans gain. With that, the average GOP voter is very fired up to vote in the midterms and that will decide a number of races on the state and local level.

In Colorado there is an odd race for Governor, a close race for Senator and three contested House seats. Along with that, control of the State Assembly and Senate is being contested by the GOP. For years there were more Republicans than Democrats in the state but there are also a ton of Independents who decide close elections. In 2000 and 2004 George Bush carried that state but in the second battle the GOP couldn't hold a Senate seat (Ken Salazar won 51-46 and I think that will be the margin of victory this year for Republican Ken Buck) and lost the state legislature. 2004 showed the strength of unions and their GOTV efforts and even though that didn't help John Kerry it did have a huge effect down the ballot.

This year should be very different. Ken Buck will win the Senate seat (that gives the GOP 49) and Tom Tancredo may win the Governorship (its still hard to say-it will be very close). There are three House seats that are contested; CDs 2, 4 and 7. Early returns point to GOP wins in 2 and 4 and 7 is going to be very close. 7 is an interesting case as it has Ryan Frazier, one of the three African-Americans running as a Republican nationwide. The GOP may well flip control of the state legislature as well but we probably won't know until Wednesday morning.

Nationwide the trends continue to favor the GOP. I've said for two weeks that the Republicans would gain 64 seats in the House and 8 in the Senate. Now it is quite possible that it will be higher. For those few undecided voters who are still left on the weekend before the election 2/3 generally vote for the challenger. With the GOP already way ahead in the generic ballot we're looking for an election wave we haven't seen for two generations. To me it looks like the Republicans will carry at least 8 Senate seats with 3 (Washington, West Virginia and California) too close to call. If the GOP carries the 8 that they're ahead in and two more they'll seize control of the Upper Chamber. That's a tall order but I give the Republicans about a 35% chance of pulling it off.

On Monday I'll have my last picks for all the House and Senate seats.


The Snitch

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big GOP wins in the Badger State

Wisconsin has been trending Democratic in the last few election cycles. Once fairly purple, the state has gone blue lately. Currently, five of the eight House members, both Senators, the Governor are Democrats. By 2008, both chambers were controlled by the Democrats as well. George Bush lost narrowly in 2000 (about 5,000 votes) and came close in 2004 (about 12,000). In 2008, Republicans statewide were hammered and John McCain got beat by thirteen points. The Badger State hasn't voted for a Republican president since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Accordingly, it was no surprise that many people thought three-term Democratic Senator Russ Feingold would be nearly impossible to beat. Somehow through eighteen years of service this arch-liberal has promoted and shaped an image that he's some kind of maverick politician who isn't swayed by special interests. That, along with a big war chest suggested to most that he would win his fourth term. However, in this anti-Washington, anti-establishment year he's about to be beaten by businessman Ron Johnson of Oshkosh. A neophyte politician, Johnson decided to run after the popular former GOP Governor Tommy Thompson decided to pass on the race. He's run a solid campaign and should be the first Republican to win a Senate race in the state since Bob Kasten squeaked through with a win in 1986. The final percentage should be: 53.5% to 46.5%. I think Scott Walker, the GOP candidate for Governor should get about the same percentage in his race to replace the Democrat Jim Doyle. The GOP will also pick up House seats in districts 7 (Wausau) and 8 (Green Bay) giving the Republicans a 5-3 edge in the delegation. Moreover, I expect both houses of the state legislature to flip back to the Republicans. This doesn't mean the state will stay red; far from it. However, if economic conditions don't improve this state will be in play for the GOP in the 2012 Presidential elections and will once again be as contested as it was in 2000 and 2004.


The Snitch

I'm calling Mark Kirk the winner in Illinois

Mark Kirk has pulled a bit ahead in the race to fill the open Senate seat in Illinois. Most polls have him up about four percentage points over Alexi Giannoulias and that should be enough to put him over the top. There is a Green Party candidate on the ballot and that should siphon between one to three percent away from Giannoulias and that will cost him the election. The final result should be something like: Kirk 48.4%, Giannoulias 46.2%. This gives the GOP 48 seats (North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada) with four to be decided (Colorado, West Virginia, California and Washington). Ken Buck looks like he's slightly ahead in Colorado and the GOP should prevail there but its a much harder climb after that. Democrats lead in West Virginia, Washington and California. West Virginia and Washington are still in the margin of error but Barbara Boxer is about five points ahead in the Golden State. Ultimately, 49 seats looks fairly reasonable for the GOP but anything above that will be hard to get.


The Snitch

Indiana CD 2 holds the key

Joe Donnelly is a two-term Democratic legislator from Indiana's 2nd Congressional District in northwestern Indiana. In 2006 he won his first term with 54% of the vote and, in 2008, with the help of an enormous turnout effort by the Obama campaign, received 67%. This year he's facing Republican state legislator Jackie Walorski in what should be a very tight race. Donnelly voted for the stimulus bill as well as the health care bill and became a primary target of the GOP in this slightly red district. Indiana's polls close very early on Election Night and we should be able to tell how things are going for both parties based on early returns. If Donnelly wins easily it won't be as bad for the Democrats as we think. However, if Walorski wins; especially if she is way ahead it should be a huge night for the Republicans. Keep an eye on Indiana CD 2, an early indicator of electoral fortunes for both parties.


The Snitch

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The race for control of the House

Right now I see a net gain of 53 seats in the House (56 GOP pickups minus 3 Democratic pickups) with 32 races too close to call and another 22 races probably out of the reach of the Republicans.

I'm calling MO CD 4 (Skelton) a GOP pickup along with TN CD 4 (Davis). I've moved AZ CD 8 (Giffords), MA CD 10 (Open) and NH CD 2 (Bass) down from lean GOP to Tossup. I've moved GA CD 8 (Marshall), ID CD 2 (Minnick), VA CD 9 (Boucher), MS 4 (Taylor), RI 1 (Open) and IA CD 1 (Braley) from solid Dem to Tossup.


The Snitch

I'm calling Sharron Angle the winner in Nevada

We've seen a small swing in Angle's favor in the last few days and that should be enough to put her over the top in one of the nation's closest and most watched elections. With early voting looking solid for the GOP throughout the state and Harry Reid topping out at about 44-45% I think she should win the race by between two and three percent. It should end up something like this: Angle: 49.7% Reid 46.9%. With Angle flipping Reid's seat that gives the GOP a +6 in the Senate (47 total seats) with Illinois, Colorado, Washington, California and West Virginia still to be decided. To gain control the GOP has to win four out of the last five races which will be very difficult. If the election was today I'd say the GOP would pick up 9 seats with victories in West Virginia, Illinois, and Colorado. Washington and California still look like Democratic states with six days to go so a 50-50 split in the Upper Chamber seems more realistic each day.


The Snitch

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Old Bulls in trouble

Gene Taylor, probably the most conservative Democrat in the House of Representatives, is running about even with his GOP opponent in the race for his souhern Mississippi district. In the House for 21 years, Taylor has easily won all of his elections. The problem is his district is very deeply red and his challenger can point to the fact that Taylor voted for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. He may not have voted with the Democratic caucus much but he did vote for the speaker and that is absolutely toxic this year.

I wouldn't have thought Lincoln Davis of Tennessee would have much trouble this year but he could easily get beaten in his district that runs north and south in the eastern part of the state. Traditionally very Republican since the Civil War, the voters of this district has sent Davis to Washington four times. However, the mood in the Volunteer State is vile and I suspect strongly that Tennessee will have a repeat of the 1994 election where the Democrats were all but wiped out.

Ike Skelton of Missouri is in very deep trouble in his rural west-central district. Elected in 1976, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee could get swept under if the Republican tide is big enough. My gut says that his election will be decided by less than 1%.

I'm sticking to my prediction that the GOP will gain 64 seats in the House and 9 in the Senate. Next week I'll go seat by seat to project who will prevail November 2.


The Snitch

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Early votes solid for GOP

Early voting has started in many states and the early returns (also from collected absentee votes) have been very good for the GOP. Especially in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa and Nevada we've seen significant Republican turnout when compared with 2006 and 2008. Many are estimating that at least one quarter of the total votes will be cast by Election Day so we'll have a very accurate picture of who will be in a solid position to win. In 2008 in Florida John McCain got about as many votes on Election Day as Barack Obama but the Democrat had such a large lead from early votes that he easily carried the Sunshine State.

To me Nevada is looking better and better for Sharron Angle. The GOP has narrowed the Democratic voter registration advantage from 100,000 to 60,000. While that's still significant it is clear that Republicans are coming out in better numbers than Democrats. That, combined with Angle winning among Independents puts her in good shape.

Even though a couple of polls this week have shown the Senate race in Pennsylvania getting closer I think Pat Toomey should still win by a comfortable margin. Again early voting has been strong for the GOP and they are aiming to contest at least seven House seats. In the end I think they should get four or five in the Keystone State.

Ohio continues to be a nightmare for Democrats. Unless there is a major change in the next few days there will be losses up and down the ballot.

I've already predicted that in Iowa Leonard Boswell will lose but it looks as if CDs 1 and 2 are in a bit of trouble as well. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if Bruce Braley (CD 1) gets sent home November 2.

I'm predicting that the Republicans will now pick up four seats in Florida. Along with Boyd (CD 2), Grayson (CD 8), and the hapless Suzanne Kosmas (CD 24) I believe Ron Klein (CD 22) will lose to Allen West.

In Arizona I'm now predicting that the Republicans will take CDs 1, 5 and 8. Some pundits are saying that CD 7 (Grijaiva) is vulnerable (and I do think he's a bit scared) but it will take a lot of heavy lifting for his GOP opponent to flip this blue seat.

Are old bulls like Peter DeFazio (Oregon CD 4) and Dennis Kucinich (Ohio CD 10) really all that vulnerable? DeFazio hasn't had a serious election since he first won in 1986 but his district is very light blue and he's got a quality opponent. Kucinich. one of the goofiest members of Congress represents a deeply blue district but he's got a very good GOP challenger and northern Ohio is in the grip of a deep recession. These two, along with old bulls like Jim Oberstar and Barney Frank are fighting for their political lives. It wouldn't shock me if one lost (most likely Oberstar) but if two or more lose it will be a part of a political tsunami that we haven't seen in decades.


The Snitch

Monday, October 18, 2010

Small movements in the main Senate races

The top five Senate races for the GOP still look very strong:

42)North Dakota
45)Pennsylvania-Pat Toomey's numbers are getting even better and should win the race by ten points.
46)Wisconsin-Unless Ron Johnson steals a car in the next two weeks he should win by about seven points.

And there are three races where the GOP is still ahead marginally:

47)West Virginia-It looks like John Raese has survived an onslaught of TV ads and a campaign visit from Democratic star Bill Clinton and should be in good shape to get over the finish line. Joe Manchin still has a strong shot to pull it out but he'll have to overcome a huge anti-Administration vote.
48)Nevada-Sharonn Angle has pulled a bit ahead after Harry Reid's disastrous debate last week. It is still very close but if things stay the same I think she wins by a little over two points.
49)Colorado-Ken Buck has lost a bit of his lead but is still ahead. With the numbers of political Independents in the state he still has a built in advantage.
50)Washington-Dino Rossi's people say they are ahead and the polls have had both candidates with small leads. We probably won't know the outcome of this race until early Wednesday, November 3.
51)Illinois-This is as close a race as there is in the country.
52)California-Barbara Boxer is still marginally ahead and is in a good position to win considering the great Democratic registration edge.

It won't be hard for the GOP to get to 48 seats but to get to 51 they'll have to run the table. That's not out of the question but it will be hard to do.
However, the races in the House of Representatives continues to deteriorate for Democrats. At the low end the GOP should pick up 55 of the 105 seriously contested seats. The Republicans should lose at least two and as many as four but all of the rest will be Democratic losses. 70 seats isn't out of the question but we'll know more next week as we get final polls. Many races like PA CD 17 just don't have much data so there isn't a good way to predict the outcome. In the next few days the data will come fast and furious and we'll be able to make some accurate predictions.


The Snitch

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The path to 50 for the GOP in the Senate

Here's the current state of the races. I've ranked them from the most likely GOP pickup to the least likely.

42 North Dakota-This race isn't close; it is possible that it will be a 40 point win. The At-Large Congressman, Democrat Earl Pomeroy, should lose as well but by a much closer margin.

43 Arkansas-Blanche Lincoln is in danger of losing by a huge margin (more than 20%) and the 3 Democratic House seats are all in danger of flipping as well. The Republicans are going to win a ton of offices down the ballot in the Natural State.

44 Indiana-Dan Coats will win this race by more than 12%. In addition, the GOP is poised to win at least two if not three House seats.

45 Pennsylvania-Pat Toomey is cruising. He should win this race by at least 8 points. The GOP is poised to easily take the governorship as well.

46 Wisconsin-Ron Johnson did well in his 2nd debate with Russ Feingold and I wouldn't to surprised if he wins by 8 points. The GOP will pick up he governorship and two to three House seats.

47 Colorado-Ken Buck has stumbled a bit against a very weak incumbent but he should still win along with 2 or 3 House seats flipping to the GOP. However, the Democrats will capture the governorship.

48 West Virginia-Polls have the race close but I still think John Raese wins by a a few points. The President's approval rating is only 29% in West Virginia.

49 Washington-I think Dino Rossi is slightly ahead. He has high unfavorables but Patty Murray is in great danger.

50 Nevada-In perhaps the most watched race in years, Sharron Angle is a bit ahead even with high negatives. Nobody knows how this one will turn out.

51 Illinois-Mark Kirk should be farther ahead than he is but he doesn't fire up the base and has stumbled from time to time. His Democratic opponent is one of the worst, most scandal-prone candidate in a long time and he still has a legitimate shot at winning.

52 California-Barbara Boxer is ahead but just got caught lying about her relationship to the disgraced lender, Countrywide. If Fiorina can capitalize on this she'll have a real chance but she'll need every break because of the large Democratic registration edge.

53 Connecticut-The GOP has a bit of a chance but I think it is fading fast.

New York and Oregon look like wins for the Democrats.

There's been a lot of talk about old Democratic bulls John Dingell, Barney Frank and Jim Oberstar being in trouble in their districts. I can't see Dingell losing but it is certainly in the realm of possibility that Frank and Oberstar can lose. Both haven't had a serious race in years and both face strong cahllengers who are working hard on the ground with their volunteers. The problem with being in a relatively safe district is that you don't develop a good campaign team when you don't really need one. It is like winning a boxing match in the first round-you don't know what to do when a challenger finally takes you deep into the tenth-you may get punched out.


The Snitch

Friday, October 8, 2010

House races-who is in trouble

Here's a list of the 49 Democrats that I think will almost certainly lose in November.

-AL 2 Bright
-AZ 1 Kirkpatrick
-AR 1 Open
-AR 2 Open
-CA 11 McNerney
-CO 4 Markey
-FL 2 Boyd
-FL 8 Grayson
-FL 24 Kosmas
-IL 11 Halvorson
-IL 14 Foster
-IL 17 Hare
-IN 8 Open
-IN 9 Hill
-IA 3 Boswell
-KS 3 Open
-LA 3 Open
-MA 10 Open
-MI 7 Schauer
-MI 9 Peters
-MS 1 Childers
-NV 3 Titus
-NH 1 Shea-Porter
-NH 2 Open
-NM 2 Teague
-NY 1 Bishop
-NY 19 Hall
-NY 23 Owens
-NY 29 Open
-NC 2 Etheridge
-NC 7 McIntyre
-NC 8 Kissell
-ND AL Pomeroy
-OH 1 Driehaus
-OH 15 Kilroy
-OH 16 Boccieri
-PA 3 Dahlkemper
-PA 7 Open
-PA 8 Murphy
-PA 11 Kanjorski
-TN 6 Open
-TN 8 Open
-TX 17 Edwards
-VA 2 Nye
-VA 5 Perriello
-VA 11 Connolly
-WA 3 Open
-WI 7 Open
-WI 8 Kagan

If you subtract the four vulnerable seats of the GOP (DE At Large, HI 1, IL 10 and LA 2) I believe the minimum number of Republican pickups should be 45.

Here's a list of 58 Democrats who are in danger. I've left a few off this list that you may think are in some danger and I've added a couple that may seem strange. These are simply my best guesses:

-AR 5 Mitchell (In very deep trouble)
-AR 8 Giffords
-AR 4 Ross (Arkansas may see the GOP wipe out the Dems this year)
-CA 20 Costa
-CA 47 Sanchez
-CO 3 Salazar (He has a 40% chance to win)
-CO 7 Perlmutter (In deep trouble-Independents in CO breaking to the GOP)
-CT 2 Courtney
-CT 4 Himes
-CT 5 Murphy (Among Connecticut Dems his seat is the most likely to fall)
-FL 23 Klein
-GA 2 Bishop
-GA 8 Marshall
-GA 12 Barrow
-IL 8 Bean
-IL 12 Costello
-IN 2 Donnelly (Likely to lose)
-KY 3 Yarmuth
-KY 6 Chandler (In deep trouble in red Kentucky)
-ME 2 Michaud
-MD 1 Kratovil (Will probably lose in this red district)
-MA 5 Tsongas
-MI 1 Open (This seat should pass to the GOP)
-MI 15 Dingell (If he loses it will be the final sign of the Apocalypse)
-MN 8 Oberstar (Another real surprise)
-MO 3 Carnahan
-MO 4 Skelton (Chair of Armed Services and running for his life)
-NJ 3 Adler
-NM 1 Heinrich
-NY 2 Israel
-NY 13 McMahon (A 40% chance to retain his seat)
-NY 20 Murphy (Won by only a few hundred votes in 2009 special election)
-NY 24 Arcuri
-NY 25 Maffei
-NC 4 Price
-NC 11 Shuler
-NC 13 Miller
-OH 6 Wilson (In very deep trouble)
-OH 13 Sutton (Very weak but the GOP candidate has had problems too)
-OH 18 Space
-OR 5 Schrader (Likely to lose)
-PA 4 Altmire
-PA 10 Carney
-PA 12 Critz
-PA 17 Holden
-SC 5 Spratt (A Blue Dog defense hawk in the race for his life)
-SD AL Herseth-Sandlin (A 50/50 chance to lose)
-TN 4 Davis
-TN 5 Cooper
-TX 23 Rodriguez (A poor campaigner with a huge temper-I think he'll lose)
-TX 27 Ortiz
-TX 28 Cuellar
-UT 2 Matheson (In a deeply red district, he's in real trouble)
-VA 9 Boucher (A Blue Dog who is looking like a strong bet to win)
-WA 2 Larsen
-WA 9 Smith
-WV 1 Open (The President has a 29% approval rating in the state)
-WI 3 Kind

A little over 100 seats are at stake. Certainly the GOP won't pick them all up but it is possible that they could get between 60-70 by the end of Election Night.


The Snitch

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Latest on Senate and House races

It seems clearer to me each day that John Raese is probably going to win his race in West Virginia. Again, if he wins the seat he'll be able to go to Washington for the rump session and claim the seat in mid-November as soon as the Secretary of State in West Virginia certifies him the winner. Also, Rasmussen Reports released their latest poll today in Nevada which has Sharron Angle up 50-46 on Harry Reid. It seems hard to believe that Reid, who will probably spend more than 30 million (between his own war chest and other interests who spend on his behalf) may well come up short but I think he probably will. The percentage of Nevadans who will not vote for him under any circumstance (48%) is just outrageously high. The unemployment rate is approaching 15% and Independents are moving heavily in the GOP column. As long as Angle does relatively well in the debate I do expect her to prevail. Below I've outlined the Senate races from North Dakota (best chance of GOP pickup) to Connecticut (least chance). As you'll be able to see the path to 51 will be hard for the GOP; they'll have to win Nevada, Illinois and Washington which are three of the closest races in the land.

42)North Dakota
48)West Virginia
53)New York

Numerous polls are coming out each day. After information favorable to Matt Doheny, the GOP challenger to Democratic incumbent Bill Owens in CD 23 I believe that seat will flip to the Republicans. As of now I would say the Republicans will pick up New York CDs 1, 19, 20, 23, 24 and 29. The GOP will have good shots at NY CDs 2, 13 and 25.

In Connecticut the GOP is challenging CDs 2, 3 and 5. I don't expect the Republicans to take all three but it is very reasonable that they'll pick off at least one-most likely CD 5.

In North Carolina the GOP is really working hard to flip CDs 2, 7, 8 and 11. I don't think they'll take them all but they'll probably get at least two out of this group.

Right now I don't think it is out of the realm of possiblity for the GOP to win around 60 seats. They'll lose a seat in Delaware and Louisiana and possibly one in Illinois and Hawaii.

The Snitch

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

West Virginia reminds me of Pennsylvania in 1991

In 1991 Pennsylvania had a special election to replace John Heinz, the respectable moderate Republican senator who died tragically in a plane crash. Almost everyone thought Richard Thornburgh, the popular former GOP governor and Attorney General in the Bush (41) Administration would easily win against the little known Democrat Harris Wofford. The first polling info showed Thornburgh up by more than thirty points but Wofford ended up pulling out a fairly easy ten point victory. His win seemed due in large part to voter dissatisfaction with the lack of economic growth and the apparent inadequacy of the Bush Administration's response to it. I think this year's special election in West Virginia might end up the same way. Joe Manchin, the popular Democratic governor should win the election easily. However, John Raese, the little known GOP candidate, may end up the beneficiary of an anti-Obama protest vote. The President's approval ratings in the Mountaineer State are floundering in the mid-30's. I'm now giving Raese a 50% chance of winning on November 2.

Unless there's a real change in Colorado, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania I believe those senate races are over. That makes 47 for the GOP (when you add Indiana, Arkansas and North Dakota) with several races yet to be decided.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that there are two conservative candidates in New York CD 23. Today, the Conservative Party candidate, Doug Hoffman, dropped out which leaves the GOP nominee Matt Doheny to face Democrat Bill Owens in November. This gives the GOP beter than a 50% shot at winning the seat.

Long time Democratic congressmen Jim Oberstar of Minnesota and Barney Frank of Massachusetts are in very tough contests and are having to actively campaign for the first time in years. Oberstar is in deep danger and may lose but Frank should emerge victorious simply because his voters are so very liberal but it is possible that they could both be sent home. If they do, then 100 seats would be in jeopardy for the Democrats.


The Snitch

Monday, October 4, 2010

New York a little less blue?

New York has been a Democratic state for three generations but until recently has elected quite a number of Republicans to Congressional seats as well as statewide offices. However, in the last few election cycles, the Empire State has turned deep blue. There are only two GOP members of the US House that are from New York, the other twenty-seven are Democrats. This year, however, the GOP should have at least some success turning districts red that have been held by Republicans in the recent past.

In CD 1, Tim Bishop represents the eastern tip of Long Island. This is a rare disrict that is almost perfectly purple. He was first elected in 2002 by one percent and has cruised to reelection every time since then. This year, however, he's facing a stiff challenge and I expect him to lose.

CD 2 is most of the middle half of Long Island and is represented by Steve Israel who first won election in 2000. This is a light blue district that in the 1990's was represented by Rick Lazio, a moderate Republican who opposed Hillary Clinton for Senate in 2000. Like Bishop, Israel is facing a tough challenge but he's in a better position to win in this majority-Democratic district.

Mike McMahon represents Staten Island and a part of Brooklyn in CD 13. This district was represented by Vito Fosella, a popular GOP Congressman until his downfall in 2008 due to a number of personal lapses. His late exit from the 2008 race enabled McMahon to prevail. As a first-term Democrat he's very vulnerable and I wouldn't be surprised if this district returns to GOP control in November.

John Hall represents a large part of the Hudson Valley in CD 19, a light red section of New York State. He was able to capitalize on formerly GOP strongholds like Westchester County to deliver enough Democratic votes to barely win in 2006. His problem is one that will be faced by Democrats who run statewide in 2008; counties like Westchester that have been blue are turning red again in a big hurry and its here that New York's elections for Governor and Senator are won or lost. Hall has been trailing in early polls and his GOP challenger is a strong bet to win in November.

Scott Murphy represents rural eastern New York in a slightly red district. First elected in 2009 in a special election by only about 700 votes, he's high on the GOP's hit list.

Bill Owens represents northern New York in CD 23 and should be very vulnerable in a district that has voted Republican in almost every election since the Civil War. He was first elected in a strange three-way race in 2009. Luckily for Owens, the GOP is running a candidate and the New York Conservative Party is as well and that will probably split the vote allowing Owens to return for his first full term.

Mike Arcuri represents central New York in CD 24 and is in a very tough fight in a light-red district. He won by four percentage points in a heavily Democratic year in 2008 so he's going to be in the fight for his political life next month.

CD 29 is a fairly red district in southwest New York and is currently vacant. Eric Massa, first elected in 2008 resigned abruptly last March after lurid details about his personal life were revealed. This district will almost certainly return to he GOP in November.

Of course the big prize is the Senate seat held by Kirsten Gillibrand. She is ahead in her race to win the remaining two years of Hillary Clinton's Senate term but Joe GioDuardi is running a fairly strong campaign. A virtual unknown a couple of months ago, he's got a small shot at toppling Gillibrand. If he wins he could claim the seat immediately for the lame-duck session in November but it would take a perfect storm for him to ride the wave to Washingon. Indeed, New York is in a chaotic situation; high unemployment, a state government that can't seem to get much done and a very angry (some would say scared) electorate. It is not out of the realm of possibility that the GOP could win all kinds of offices in the Empire State after years of defeat after defeat in races up and down the ballot.


The Snitch

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How the Senate is shaping up

The GOP is poised to make substantial gains in the Senate but control is still up in the air. Usually when the House turns to the minority party the Senate does as well (1946, 1954, 1994, 2006) but this year may be an exception. It is very easy to see a scenario where the Republicans control the House (this is almost a certainty) and the Democrats still have control of the Senate.

Unless there's a serious hiccup here's the six seats the GOP will certainly pick up in the Senate:
North Dakota

Here are the four seats that are true tossups:
West Virginia

Here are the three seats that still leans Dem:
New York

I'm assuming that Florida, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Missouri and Ohio and Alaska all stay in the GOP column. As you can see, the GOP would need to pick of four of the seven seats in the "tossup" or "lean Dem" group to take control. What's even more interesting is that Illinois, West Virginia and New York are all seats that can be claimed immediately in November because they are "vacancy" seats appointed by their respective governors after they were vacated by their Democratic officeholder. If the GOP were to win these they would have between 42-44 for the "rump" session of the Congress that will meet after the November elections.

Tomorrow I'll tackle the complex and chaotic situation in New York.

The Snitch