The Senate Races 2012 - Part IV
So that leaves us with 11 seats remaining, After the 5 Safe Republican, and 17 Safe Democratic seats are tallied, the senate will have 42 Republicans and 47 Democrats and Independents. The good news for Republicans, their fillabuster is safe. The bad news for Republicans, to have a chance of taking the Senate, they’ll need to win 8 or 9 of the 11 tossup and leaners (8 if Romney wins the Election, 9 if Obama wins or there is an Electoral College tie, which would likely lead to the odd paring of Romney as President and Joe Biden as vice President).
So, here we go.
Missouri - Maybe this should be a Democrat Lock. Claire McCaskill enjoyed the good forture of the Tea Party pick Todd Akin suffering from an inability to shut up until after the election, then to her Delight, Akin decided to give a big F you to the entire Republican Party and stay in the race. As it stands, this was a sure fire pick up for the Republicans, and is now a near sure fire safe Seat for the Democrats.
Connecticut - If it’s one thing the Democrats have this election cycle, is the good fortune of running against Republican candidates with a lot of money, but very poor campaign skills. The Chris Murphy against Linda McMahon race is a prime example of this. Despite having a monster financial advantage, McMahon couldn’t seem to generate any sort of positive sentiment. In fact, things became so dire for McMahon, she began running ads asking Democrats to split their ticket and vote for her. It didn’t work, and she’s now trailing by 6 points.
Massachusetts - This is the first of the true leaners, Elizabeth Warren seems to have put enough of a gap that Scott Brown just can’t seem to overcome the sentiment among Massachusetts voters that, in case Romney wins, they want a Democrat controlled Senate. This despite Scott Brown gaining some high profile endorsements from Democrats as well as running ads asking voters to split their ticket and support Obama, but support him as well. With that being said and with the polls showing Warren’s lead around 3 percent, there’s enough doubt that the seat isn’t a surefire lock.
Wisconsin - Ah, The Tammy Baldwin versus Tommy Thompson race. For the longest time it looked like Tommy Thompson would win the race handily, and represented one of the most likely pick ups for the Republican Party. Then sometime in September, the race shifted and Tammy Baldwin moved into a lead. As it stands, Tammy Baldwin still appears to be up, but the race has narrowed over the last couple of weeks, so victory for Tammy Baldwin looks likely, but not assured.
Virginia Another opportunity that appears to be lost for the Republicans, with Jim Webb opting not to run for another term after beating the Incumbent George Allen. Well, George Allen decided to run again, and It seemed to be another likely pick up for the Republicans, Tim Kaine is the Democrat and has run a smart campaign. Despite the name recognition enjoyed by Allen, Kaine has opened up a 3 point lead going into the election. Again this isn’t a sure fire Democrat Hold, but at the same time, a 3 point lead is significant one when there has been this much polling.
Indiana - A prime exhibit along with Missouri of the Imploding Republican Syndrome. Richard Mourdock, the Republican Nominee, made several statements that have come back to haunt him, and Joe Donnelly has run a very smart campaign that kept him close into October. At this point Mourdock is bleeding support to the Libertarian candidate, an while Joe donnelly doesn’t break 50% in he polls, he’s up by 6+ percent, and unless the disaffected Republicans all come back to Mourdock en masse, The Republicans will be losing a seat they’ve held for 36 years.
Montana - For a Deeply Republican state, Montana sure seems to like Jon Tester. Somehow he is running about 1 point aheaad of Denny Rehberg who is the Republican Representative for Montana. This is the first of the true tossups, With Tester having the slimmest of advantages. I’d say Tester will eke this one out, but I wouldn’t be confident enough to put money on it.
North Dakota - After Kent Conrad retired, the Republicans have been licking their chops at the potential to pick this seat up. Rick Berg, the Republican representative for Norht Dakota. (seems to be a theme on Republicans, win the single state wide Representative seat, then move to the senate if possible). By some Happenstance Heidi Heikamp has managed to run a fantastic race and moved into a virtual tie with Berg. I still think the Republicans will pick up the seat, but it’s a close one.
Arizona - Now we’re getting into the Republican leaners. Though how Arizona isn’t a sure fire lock for the Republicans is a testament to the weakness of the Candidate. As it stands the Republican Jeff Flake is has watched his advantage narrow to about 3 points against Richard Carmona. It still looked likely to remaind Republican, but if turnout gets strange and there is a larger Hispanic turnout, things could be interesting.
Nevada - After the debacle that was Jon Ensign, Dean Heller was appointed to the seat and has the advantage of incumbency against Shelley Berkeley. While the race looks pretty safe for Dean Heller, this is Nevada, and this is Harry Reid territory. Given a massive turnout, there could be a real upset here.
Nebraska - Probably should be safe Republican, with Deb Fischer leading Bob Kerry solidly after a narrowing in late October.
so what does it all mean? well, with the assumption that there isn’t some sort of systemic issue with the polling, I expect the Democrats (and independents) to and up with 54 Senators to the Republican 46. I can’t see the Democrats losing control of the Senate, and i certainly can’t see the Republicans losing their Fillabuster. But if someone would have told you this summer that the Democrats would likely gain senate seats, you would have thought them insane.