Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On to 2010!

The rapidly shrinking band of Republican survivors in the U.S. Senate have tapped Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to lead their GOP’s senatorial campaign efforts for 2010. As the new head of the NRSC, Cornyn will be in charge of recruiting challengers, protecting incumbents, and coordinating the various campaigns’ strategies and messaging.

The 2010 map looks absolutely awful Republicans. Just miserable. I almost feel sorry for them. Cornyn is sure to find himself fighting to limit the damage rather than make any gains.

Here’s a quick look at seats Democrats have a good shot at stealing in 2010:

1. Sen. Mel Martinez, Florida – who won with just 49% of the vote in 2004 and is already polling behind several Democratic competitors.

2. Sen. George Voinovich, Ohio – who has a pitiful 42% approval rating and is already polling behind a handful of potential Democratic challengers.

3. Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana – who really, really likes prostitutes. Will he seek reelection? Can he win the GOP primary? (If Vitter is not the candidate, this race may fall off the radar.)

4. Sen. Kit Bond, Missouri – who is already polling well under 50% against several big-name Democratic competitors.

5. Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania – who is planning to seek reelection at age 80 despite his state being seriously in the blue column at this point.

6. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska – who won with just 49% of the vote in 2004.

7. Sen. John McCain, Arizona – who could face insanely popular Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano if he decides to seek reelection.

8. Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky – who won with just 51% of the vote in 2004 and vows to seek reelection despite signs of severe age-related mental impairment. (I don’t expect him to be the candidate, so this race is likely to drop off the radar.)

9. Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire – who saw fellow NH Senator John Sununu booted from his seat earlier this month.

10. Sen. Richard Burr, North Carolina – who saw fellow NC Senator Elizabeth Dole booted from her seat earlier this month. (Former UT QB and current Congressman Health Shuler may be the Democratic candidate.)

11. Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa – who Democrats hope will retire at age 77 (otherwise he’s a sure bet for reelection).

12. Sen. John Thune, South Dakota – who beat Tom Daschle with just 51% of the vote in 2004. (But SD is a red state and Thune is now the incumbent, so my hopes are not high.)

And those are just the competitive races. The Democrats will shocked if they only hold 60 seats in the next Senate.

UPDATE: If Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D) gets in the race for Senate seat currently held by the retiring Sam Brownback, you can add a 13th race to this list.

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