Saturday, August 18, 2007

2008 Senate Races- GOP First Glance


Alabama- As soon as State Agriculture Ron Sparks passed on the race, Jeff Sessions was set. Solid Republican

Alaska- Under an ethics cloud, Ted Stevens, a Senator for 40 years, once third in line to the Presidency and the man Alaska's largest airport was named after may retire at the end of his term to avoid defeat. Although even then it may take a powerful Democrat to knock this guy out. They named the damn airport after him. Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich would be the strongest nominee, but he may be interested in running for his father's old seat; Alaska's at-large Congressional seat. State Representative Eric Croft and former State House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz are also possibilities. Republicans would have an easier time defending an open seat, but with Begich as the nominee, this may become much like Colorado. Slight Lean Republican

Colorado- Wayne Allard or not, Republicans would've had a hard time either way keeping this seat. Colorado has quickly become a swing state; a strong liberal base around Denver and Boulder evening out the ultra conservatives in Colorado Springs. Democrats won the other Senate seat in 2004 and the Governor's race in a mini-landslide in 2006. More impressive, John Kerry received 47% of the vote in Colorado, the highest margin for a Democrat here since 1964. Congressman Mark Udall is the Democratic nominee, Republican Bob Schaffer, the GOP's third choice, is probably going to be the Republican nominee. Udall is a slight favorite, but this state hasn't trended fully blue yet. Tossup

Georgia- Saxby Chambliss shouldn't be a shoo-in, but he is. Max Cleland should run again, but he won't. Georgia is one of the few states trending Republican right now. Democratic Congressman Sanford Bishop or Jim Marshall, both moderate enough to appeal to Georgia voters, can make this a race. Solid Republican

Idaho- I'd say Larry Craig would be safe, but Jerry Brady's shocking 44% against Idaho's most popular Republican in last year's governor's race intrigues me. I don't think it's too long until Idaho becomes more competitive for the Democrats. It probably won't be next year, but Democrat Larry LaRocco's entry into the race is enough to make some Republicans sweat a little. Favors Republican

Kansas- Governor Kathleen Sebelius is not running…yet, and until she does, whatever Republican running is safe. Pat Roberts is 2008's shoo-in. A Democrat hasn't won a Senate race in Kansas since the 1930's. Solid Republican

Kentucky- Democratic Attorney General Greg Stumbo can make this a race, and he'll likely run against the Republican floor leader. Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler would turn this race into a tossup. Democrats will probably look to avenge Tom Daschle's 2004 defeat and if the Democrats won the governor's race in November, they're going to pour a massive amount of money into this race. Lean Republican

Maine- It's hard for me to accept that Susan Collins is vulnerable, but then I remember Collins is not Olympia Snowe. Tom Allen is the only Democrat who can make it a race and he's in. If Collins wins, she wins with under 55%, and I think she will. Slight Lean Republican

Minnesota- Amy Klobuchar's unexpected landslide win put the brakes on Minnesota's GOP trend. Coleman may be helped by the RNC being held in his state, but Minnesota is not exactly welcoming territory for the GOP right now. It's hard to imagine a Senator Al Franken, but this is the same state that elected Jesse Ventura governor. Slight Lean Republican

Mississippi- The only safe Republicans are those in the deep south. Unless Thad Cochran retires, there is no race here and retirement looks unlikely. The GOP standard-bearer is Congressman Chip Pickering, who is also retiring. Solid Republican

Nebraska- The Cornhusker State is all over the place next year. Chuck Hagel's anti-war stance has brought great annoyance to the pro-war Nebraska Republican Party and he is being challenged in the GOP primary by Attorney General Jon Bruning. No Democrat has entered the race yet, but Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and former Senator Bob Kerrey are contemplating a race. Either one would make this a tough race for Bruning, who will likely beat Hagel if he runs again. Slight Lean Republican

New Hampshire- John Sununu is the Rick Santorum of 2008. Santorum would've been defeated by any Democrat last year, but Bob Casey was the one who made it a sure thing for the Democrats. Jeanne Shaheen is this year's Bob Casey. Sununu is going to lose either way, Katrina Swett or Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand will win, narrowly, but Shaheen make this Lean Democrat. Tossup

New Mexico- See Alaska. Could there be too Senator Udalls in the 111th Congress? Lean Republican

North Carolina- Democrats needed Governor Mike Easley, they didn't get him. They needed Congressman Brad Miller, they didn't get him. Still, Dole is vulnerable to almost any viable challenger. Democratic State Representative Grier Martin is their next top choice. He's not running yet. Lean Republican

Oklahoma- Inhofe should be safe, but Democratic State Senator Andrew Rice excited progressives when he announced he's run against Mr. "Global warming is a hoax and I'm proud my family has no gays." I don't think Inhofe will lose, unfortunately, but Rice will show that even progressives are competitive in Oklahoma. Favors Republican

Oregon- State House Speaker Jeff Merkley is an excellent candidate for the Democrats. Still, Smith was one of the first Republicans to break with Bush on Iraq, and Oregon isn't as Democratic as you might think. Smith may win, but if he does, it will be narrowly. Lean Republican

South Carolina- Lindsey Graham's only race may be in the GOP primary. Like Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, the Bible Belt will prove to be the last GOP stronghold. Solid Republican

Tennessee- Lamar Alexander should be vulnerable, but like the states that surround it to the south, Tennessee's Senior Republican Senator will easily win reelection. Solid Republican

Texas- John Cornyn is very unpopular, but he's still a Republican in a Republican state. Progressive Democrats favor State Rep. Rick Noriega of Houston, while national Democrats seem to be leaning toward the more conservative Mikal Watts. Either way, Cornyn isn't going to win the landslide Kay Bailey Hutchison did in 2006. Hells, he may not win at all. Likely Republican.

Virginia- If John Warner retires, which is likely, this may move all the way to Tossup. Do not underestimate the statewide appeal of Congressman Tom Davis. He's a moderate from very important Northern Virginia. However, if former Governor Jim Gilmore decides to run a primary against Davis and former Governor Mark Warner jumps in on the Democratic side, Virginia may send two Democrats to the Senate in 2009 for the first time since the early 1960's. Lean Republican

Wyoming (Enzi)- Enzi is probably unbeatable minus a challenge from Governor Freudenthal, and even then it may be easier to go for the Junior Senator Solid Republican

Wyoming (Barasso)- Whoever the Democrats get will likely face Barasso. The Democrats' best hope is that Freudenthal runs for one seat, while Gary Trauner runs for the other. Likely Republican


Gavin Brown said...

Don't count out Jay Buckey in New Hampshire, who's new on the scene but has a killer resume and is getting great response from county and town democratic leaders.

DallasDemocrat said...

Rick Noriega wouldn't win in Texas (he's more liberal than Texas voters on immigration which is a big issue with Bubba), but he'd make for an interesting race (open-border-guy versus build-a-wall / no-don't-build-it / yeah-build-it-guy). Noriega would lose that fight, but it would be a fight worth losing.

Watts is an interesting candidate. He's a blank slate with a huge gripe against Cornyn and a virtually unlimited number of big-money supporters. Who knows what may happen.