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Race by Race Senate Analysis – Part 2 of 3

July 6, 2010

I know that everyone has been waiting for the second installment of this article, and not wanting to disappoint, here it is.  Again, I have no toss-ups in this, I call them all.

ArkansasBlanche Lincoln – D Likely Republican takeover

How I could forget the takeover in Arkansas for the first installment is beyond me, but Senator Blanche Lincoln is pretty much toast.  I hate to call any incumbent a “Definite takeover”, but in her case, it could be warranted.  Senator Lincoln faces a well-funded and well-known Republican in John Boozman.  Lincoln has angered left and right in this state with her posturing in the health care debate by holding up legislation and then voting to pass it with reservations.  After a hard fight in the primary runoff that she won, barely, she faces a conservative Arkansas electorate that is very unhappy with the direction of the country.  Lincoln is a goner.  Likely Republican takeover.

Iowa – Chuck Grassley – R      Definite Republican hold

Senator Grassley is running for his sixth term and there is no reason to think the EMILY’s Choice candidate Roxanne Conlin has any shot in this election.  Long time moderate conservative Grassley will be Senator for another six years.  GOP hold.

Kansas – Sam Brownback – R (open) Definite Republican hold

Senator Brownback is running for governor and leaving this seat open for a replacement Republican.  Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt are the two facing off in the primary.  Tiahrt is endorsed by the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, but starts behind in polling.  Their voting records are very similar in the House, so the differences are minimal.  The Democrat in the race has no chance of winning.  Definite GOP hold.

Kentucky – Jim Bunning – R (open)                                        Likely Republican hold

This is definitely one of the more interesting races in the country with Rand Paul for the GOP and Jack Conway for the Dems.  All polling has shown Paul with a lead, although that lead has diminished since Paul spoke intellectually and philosophically about the 1964 Civil Rights Act (remember, Democrats and Free Speech and Free Thought do not mix).  But knowing the electorate now, if he is smart, Paul will not make that kind of mistake again.  The race is about Barack Obama and Rand Paul.  Jack Conway doesn’t matter.  This is Kentucky, so Rand Paul should win.  Likely GOP hold.

Louisiana – David Vitter – R                                                   Likely Republican hold

Conservative Senator Vitter’s prostitution scandal from a few years back is mostly forgotten, although I’m certain Democrat Charlie Melancon will somehow allow them to resurface.  Personally, this offers me a bit of a moral dilemma because I generally have trouble supporting someone whose family and spouse can’t trust him.  Those people are capable of turning on you anytime.  It’s one of those times I wish there he had a primary challenger.  However, he didn’t, and Vitter is simply needed to help stop the race to socialism.  If you are in favor of limited government, Vitter is a reliable vote, while the conservative Melancon still gives us a Democratic majority with all of the Obama policies included.  I think Louisiana voters will see it the same way, hold their collective noses, and return David Vitter to the Senate.  Likely GOP hold.

Maryland – Barbara Mikulski – D                                           Definite Democrat hold

The Obama agenda rubber stamp Mikulski should be a shoe-in for re-election in left wing Maryland, although there was a recent poll showing Republican Eric Wargotz up by three points in Baltimore County.  That is probably an anomaly and until there is more similar polling, definite Democrat hold.

Missouri – Kit Bond – R (open)                                              Leans Republican hold

The open seats are usually more fun to watch.  Most political observers will call this one a pure toss up given the high family name recognition of the candidates, Democrat Robin Carnahan and Republican Roy Blunt.  Carnahan’s father was governor, mother was a senator, and her brother is a US Representative.  Blunt is a high ranking Republican House member, and his son was a governor.  Most polling shows Blunt up by a small margin and I’m quite sure they are well known, so Blunt should win regardless of what the average pundit says.  Additionally, Missouri went for John McCain in a hope and change year.  Leans Republican hold.

Nevada – Harry Reid – D                                                        Lean Republican Takeover

Of course, this could be the most fun to watch for those of us who enjoy weird things like freedom.  Senator Reid is the Majority Leader in the Senate and in staying with the Obama agenda, he has possibly hurt his standing at home in this moderately conservative state so much, that he loses re-election.  I have not seen a poll in a long time that shows Reid polling above 42% against any opponent.  That is unemployment line territory for a politician (ask Rick Santorum).  Harry Reid has been the master of the close race and has the resources befitting the Majority Leader of the United States, so he has the potential to close this race before November.  The opponent is Sharon Angle, a Tea Party favorite.  I think this race, like many of them this year is about the economy, unemployment, and the Obama agenda over-reach.  In 2010 Nevada, things are no different.  If Sharon Angle takes a page from Senator Casey of PA’s playbook from 2006 and says nothing controversial (although, I don’t think Casey said anything at all), then she should cruise.  Leans GOP takeover.

New Hampshire – Judd Gregg – R (open)                              Leans Republican hold

Long-time Senator Gregg has decided to retire this year, leading to a race in suddenly reliable Democratic territory.  But again, 2010 is not like other years.  Kelly Ayotte is the favorite to hold this seat for the Republicans, although she faces primary challengers in Bill Binnie and Ovide Lamontagne on September 14th.  Lamontagne is the conservative choice, while Binnie is sort of a moderate – not a standard squishy, finger-in-the-wind moderate, but someone who has carved out positions all over the ideological map.  Ayotte is the establishment pick.  Ayotte should win the primary and then face Congressman Paul Hodes in the general.  Hodes is a rather left of center and in this middle of the road state, and that probably won’t play well.  But, I would not be shocked in the Democrats took this seat.  Leans GOP hold

New York 1 – Charles Schumer – D                                        Definite Democrat hold

Another easy incumbent win here.  Schumer faces weak opposition.  He will likely end up with less than the 70% he won last time, but neither Gary Berntsen or Jay Townsend will probably break 40%.  Definite Democrat hold.

New York 2 – Kirsten Gillibrand – D                           Definite Democrat hold

Senator Gillibrand was appointed to the Hillary Clinton seat and after a rocky start in her Senate career, she has established herself well enough to fend off any attempts by high profile Republicans (Rudy Giuliani or George Pataki) to enter the race.  One of three no name Republicans is set to win a primary on September 14th to become fodder.  For those that want to know, they are Joe DioGuardi, David Malpass, and Bruce Blakeman.  Regardless, definite Democratic hold.

North Carolina – Richard Burr – R                                         Likely Republican hold

Senator Burr is the latest Senator in the seat that never wins re-election-at least since 1968.  Burr seems poised to change that this year as he is fortunate enough to be running in a big Republican year.  Burr is not much of a self-promoter and many in his state don’t have a strong opinion about him.  His Democratic opponent is Secretary of State Elaine Marshall who should make this somewhat competitive, but in a bad year for Democrats and in a race that Senator has never trailed in any poll, this one is a likely Republican hold.

The second 12 US Senate races start the cycle with a 7 to 5 edge for the Republicans.  If all goes according to my prognostication, these seats will start the New Year with a 9 to 3 Republican edge, including the takeover of the Majority Leader’s seat. Overall, a +2 for the GOP and +1 for Tea Party types (Rand Paul is a Tea Partyer, but is not counted as an addition because he would replace Jim Bunning who has always been a reliable Tea Party Senator (pre TP, of course).

A little note:  I am discussing the Tea Party type or backed candidates for a few reasons.  One is that I sympathize with them (if you’ve read the “About Us” section, this is not new).  Second, and more important, the Tea Party movement is quite fascinating and has been a focus of most political pundits this election cycle.  I am interested to see how those that are affiliated fare in the general election and honestly, beyond that.  I think that the movement will live or die with their election results and if those TP winners are true believers or just really wanted elected.  Time will tell, but we Wildcitizens are keeping an eye on them!

Sorry everyone, but part 3 probably won’t be out tomorrow.  Hopefully in 2 days …

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