Monday, February 21, 2011

Open seats in the Senate point to large GOP gains in 2012

The Democratic exodus continues: Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico is retiring in 2012. He probably would have won reelection easily but his departure gives the GOP a real chance to win the seat. I wouldn't doubt if you see more Democratic defections from the Upper Chamber in the next couple of months. I have a sneaking suspicion that Herb Kohl will not run again and Diane Feinstein will also call it quits. Here's the list of vulnerable Democratic seats in 2012:
6)North Dakota-Open
10)New Mexico-Open
12)West Virginia-Manchin

The GOP could pick up all 14 of these seats (unlikely yes but they did pick up 12 in 1946 and 1980 so it is possible in a wave election)-providing that the GOP is able to defend its seats (especially in Massachusetts) it could end up with around 60. At the very least they will pick up 7 and, with a GOP President, would roll back ObamaCare using the reconciliation process for most of its provisions. Time will tell.


The Snitch

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What is Joe Manchin's future in West Virginia?

Joe Manchin, the very popular former governor, now newly-elected Senator from West Virginia has turned his back on the main issue of his campaign. Finding himself behind his GOP challenger, he decided to put together a commercial literally shooting a rifle round through the new health care law and vowing to repeal it-making it the signature issue of the campaign. He immediately recovered in the polls and ended up with a nine point victory over his Republican opponent.

Last week the GOP minority in the Senate forced a vote on repeal and Manchin voted to sustain the health care legislation. There's simply no other way to spin it-he went back on his signature issue. ObamaCare is almost universally despised in the Mountaineer State and the GOP will probably carry the state in the 2012 Presidential election by twenty points or more. It should be a serious problem for Manchin who will have to run for the full term that fall. The trouncing the Democrats get at the top of the ticket should affect the down-ballot races (including Manchin's). The problem for the GOP is that there simply isn't a deep bench in the state. There aren't many Republicans who have name recognition and a positive approval rating to take on Manchin. In the age of New Media an unknown insurgent could win a campaign (like Ron Johnson in Wisconsin in 2010) but we'll have to simply wait and see.

Again here are the seats that will certainly or probably flip from the Dems to the GOP in 2012:
North Dakota

Right now the GOP should pick up at least 8 seats (with several more possible: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, New York and New Jersey) either very possible or at least somewhat possible). As I've mentioned before I suspect strongly that a lot of Democratic bulls will announce their retirement in the next few months.


The Snitch

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nebraska and Montana both losses for Dems in 2012

Ben Nelson used to be the most popular Democrat in Nebraska. Considered a moderate until 2009, he's almost universally despised in the Cornhusker State after voting for the Administration's health care bill. He's already trailing prominent Republicans and his negative ratings are sky high. Quite simply, Nelson will end up like Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas-losing by 15 points or more. Nebraska will probably give a 60/40 advantage to the GOP Presidential candidate which will only help all the down-ballot Republicans. If I were Ben Nelson, I would retire and save myself the time and embarrasment of such a momumental defeat.

In Montana, the GOP's dream candidate, Dennis Rehberg, has decided to run against Jon Tester. Rehberg is the very popular at-large Congressman from the state and routinely wins elections by huge margins. Much like Nebraska, Montana will turn out liberal Democrats who pose as moderates in 2012. While the Rehberg/Tester race will be closer than the Nebraska contest, Rehberg will win by at least 10 percentage points.


The Snitch