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2006 Senate Races - 48 hours to go

Alexander McClure and Ed Torres have elaborated on their views of the Senate races below; here's my take:


First of all, the late surge by Republicans nationwide could not come at a better time. Combined with our first-rate GOTV efforts, this could be enough to carry our candidates in toss-up races to victory, and to bring those within striking distance to "toss-up" range. With only a couple exceptions, the Senate races are shaping up very well for us.

State by state, starting in the northeast:

Connecticut - Lieberman's convincing defeat of Lamont isn't a Senate gain for the GOP, but it does wonders for the prospects of our vulnerable House candidates there.


Rhode Island - I am very surprised at Chaffee's comeback. I think his family name and history of service saves his seat now. There is virtually no policy difference between him and Democratic nominee Sheldon Whitehouse. The ONLY case against Chaffee has been his party and Bush's unpopularity. He holds in a close race.


Pennsylvania - I have always thought Rick Santorum would pull it out in the end. He had momentum going strong, but it was derailed by the Foley scandal and a controversial TV ad he put on attacking Casey contributors from old campaigns. He's on the move again, but I fear he has run out of time. Maybe Pennsylvanians will wake up and realize they don't want to send an embarrassment like Bob Casey, Jr. to DC, or perhaps Rendell's huge lead for reelection as Governor will make Democrats complacent about turning out. It's still possible for Santorum to win, but it would be the comeback story of the last half-century if he does. As of now, he is losing - closer than the polls predict, but losing.


New Jersey - Tom Kean, Jr. ran a great campaign, and in almost any other state, Menendez' ethical problems would have sunk him long ago. In Soprano-land, though, it seems they've grown accustomed to having crooked politicians. Democrats hold.


Ohio - DeWine was one of the seats - along with Chaffee - I've always thought we could lose. His lackluster style, RINO voting record, and the state GOP scandals all weigh his campaign down. However, his opponent is one of the most liberal members of Congress, and clearly out of sync with Ohio's mainstream. DeWine has closed it up lately, and now has a chance. A key sign of this is that Rudy Guiliani has been spending time and taping commercials for DeWine and Ken Blackwell in Ohio instead of running to help Kean in New Jersey. This tells me the party believes DeWine has a chance to pull it out. I rate this one a toss-up now, and the momentum is with DeWine and the GOP.


Michigan - Mike Bouchard is closing hard on Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow. A Stabenow-Granholm rally in Detroit the other day featured Bill Clinton - but only drew at most 500 people, the fewest at any Clinton campaign event in any state this year. I had this as safely Democratic a month ago, now it is a "toss-up."


Minnesota - This one hurts, because Rep. Mark Kennedy is so much more qualified than Klueless Klobuchar. Are Minnesotans insane? No wonder Al Franken is considering a Senate race there next cycle. Oh well, Klobuchar isn't any dumber than the moron she's replacing, Sen. Mark "Run for your lives!" Dayton.


Montana - Conrad Burns, with a little help from his friends, has stormed back to even in this race. The momentum, the GOTV machine, and the fact that his Democratic opponent Jon Tester is far to the left of the Montana mainstream all add up to him holding his seat. In the final analysis, he is prone to gaffes and has questionable judgment, but his votes are cast correctly.


Maryland - The biggest surprise of the year. I wouldn't have given you a book of Lee's comments for Michael Steele's chances six weeks ago, but he has made a race of it. The weakness of the Democratic machine candidate, Rep. Ben Cardin, helps a lot. The recent breakthrough in getting Prince George County black Democrats to endorse Steele will make the difference. Steele in a squeaker.


Virginia - Sen. George Allen has run a pathetic campaign, ruining his prospects for the 2008 Presidential nomination. Webb has benefited from Allen's gaffes without paying any price for his own, so it will be close, but Allen holds on.


Tennessee - Bob Corker had a big problem. After a rancorous primary, he needed to reunite the party, and was having convincing conservative Bryant supporters to get on board. In the end, he got help from an unexpected quarter: Harold Ford, Jr., who narrowly beats out Allen and Ned Lamont for the worst-run Senate campaign of the year. Corker will fit well with the building tradition of sensible, moderate-conservative Republican Senators from Tennessee which includes Howard Baker, Fred Thompson, Bill Frist, and Lamar Alexander.


Missouri - It is a travesty that this race is even close. But, Missouri elected a dead guy a few years back, so it wouldn't be unprecedented if they elected the brain-dead Claire McCaskill. They won't, though. Talent holds with one of the best GOTV operations in the country (say thanks to the President, whose campaign built it), especially since all the fake voters ACORN tried to register were caught.


Arizona - Are you kidding me? This was never competitive except in the twisted mind of pollsters with bad samples. Kyl wins easily.


Washington - Another disappointment, as a dynamic and well-qualified Republican, businessman Mike McGavick, is losing to a weak and feckless Democratic incumbent. McGavick could have made it a close race if he had been recruited and got started about nine months before he did. Cantwell holds.


Since the hapless Liddy Dole failed to recruit a viable candidate in Florida, those are the only competitive Senate races. Sum up: one GOP seat goes down, one Democratic seat picked up. One each remains a toss-up. GOP result is therefore from 54-56 seats.

Remember that you heard it here first. I'll be here all night Election Day to either take my lumps or do my Eric Cartman victory dance.

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Comments (4)

Good analysis, but I have t... (Below threshold)

Good analysis, but I have to disagree on Rhode Island. Chafee is only ahead in that one poll.

As a resident of this state, I can tell you that Whitehouse is doing very well. Chafee is liked, but the state has four times as many Democrats. Whitehouse has made inroads in showing people that they need to vote with their party this time.

Unfortunately you are drink... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately you are drinking the kool aid. While I have been working hard for Steele he can not make up the 800,000 excess democrat voters in Maryland. Think about that! Ben Cardin could lose 799,999 democrats and STILL win the election! So you are wrong on Maryland. You are also wrong about RI, and Ohio. We are losing at least 4 seats, and I would not be surprised if Allen goes down and we lose 5 seats. How Allen could believe he is presidential material is beyond me.

Your math isn't very good.<... (Below threshold)

Your math isn't very good.

If r = the Republican voters, and d = the Democrats, and if d = r + 800,000, and 799,999 voters defect from d to r, then d = r + 1, while r is now r + 799,999.

That's a freakin' landslide for Republicans.

I said it would be a squeaker.


We could certainly still lose RI, although incumbents with no personal baggage who pull even at the end almost always win. The myth that undecideds break for the challenger is just that.

I only said Ohio is a toss-up now.

<a href="http://uselectiona... (Below threshold)
CTindy:

http://uselectionatlas.org/POLLS/SENATE/2006/polls.php?fips=39
The last 15 polls all have Brown up by atleast 6 so I think Brown will win.




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