Every two years a third of the Senate comes up for re-election. This inoculates the Senate from the kind of dramatic shifts that sometimes occur in the House, where all seats are up for grabs every two years. However, the Republicans are in danger of subjecting a second third of their ranks to extinction in ’08. And if things do not substantially change after ’08, they may wind up taking a third smackdown in 2010. Below the fold I will explain how the Democrats, come 2011, could find themselves with a 75-25 majority. And, no, I’m not kidding.
I am just going to do this in alphabetical order. I have selected Democrats as challengers for all these seats. Some of them are already announced as running in ’08. For the others, I just threw out a name based on…well, not much…just a feeling that they might challenge for the seat.
52. ALASKA (2008)
Current Senator: Ted Stevens
Future Senator: Mark Begich
Why it might happen: Ted Stevens is under federal investigation, as is his son. He may retire, he may be arrested. Mark Begich is the mayor of Anchorage and the son of a former Alaska representative. Begich could beat Stevens and would stand a decent chance of beating a replacement for Stevens.
53. ALASKA (2010)
Current Senator: Lisa Murkowski
Future Senator: Ethan Berkowitz
Why it might happen: Murkowski is struggling under her own ethical cloud. Her father appointed her to the Senate, which was a very unpopular decision. And the GOP brand is wearing quite thin in Alaska. Berkowitz ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2006 and lost. The DCCC is currently recruiting him to run for another corrupt Republican’s seat: Don Young’s at-large seat.
54. ARIZONA (2010)
Current Senator: John McCain
Future Senator: Janet Napolitano
Why it might happen: McCain’s presidential bid is in the toilet and he barely shows up to vote in the Senate anymore. I wonder whether he will even fill out his term and I’ll be shocked if he runs again. In 2010, this should be an open seat and who better to take it over than the popular governor of Arizona?
55. COLORADO (2008)
Current Senator: Wayne Allard
Future Senator: Mark Udall
Why it might happen: Allard is retiring. Udall is the favorite to win this seat. His opponent, Bob Schaffer, is running one of most disorganized campaigns I’ve ever seen.
56. IOWA (2010)
Current Senator: Chuck Grassley
Future Senator: Tom Vilsack
Why it might happen: Grassley will be 77 years old on election day in 2010. He may run again. If he does he will be favored to win. But, if Tom Vilsack is not Hillary Clinton’s vice-president, he would bring a strong challenge to Grassley.
57. KANSAS (2010)
Current Senator: Sam Brownback
Future Senator: Kathleen Sebelius
Why it might happen: Brownback has promised to retire. Sebelius is a very popular governor who will be looking for a new job in ’10. She passed up a chance to take on Pat Roberts in ’08, but she may leap at this open seat.
58. KENTUCKY (2008)
Current Senator: Mitch McConnell
Future Senator: Greg Stumbo
Why it might happen: As Minority Leader McConnell is tied like a stone to Bush’s policies. He also picked a fight with Kentucky’s indicted GOP Governor, splitting the state party. McConnell’s approval numbers are dropping fast. And Stumbo is a no-nonsense Attorney General that has a solid record to run on. This will be an interesting race, and McConnell could lose.
59. KENTUCKY (2010)
Current Senator: Jim Bunning
Future Senator: Ben Chandler
Why it might happen: Bunning is already showing signs of senility or dementia. No matter what, I cannot see him winning re-election. Either this seat will be open, or the Dems are going to win it. Rep. Chandler seems like a likely person to take over this seat.
60. LOUISIANA (2010)
Current Senator: David Vitter
Future Senator: Someone besides Vitter
Why it might happen: Whores.
61. MAINE (2008)
Current Senator: Susan Collins
Future Senator: Tom Allen
Why it might happen: Allen already represents half the state of Maine in the House. His positions on the issues are a better fit for the state than Collins’. This will be a race to watch.
62. MINNESOTA (2008)
Current Senator: Norm Coleman
Future Senator: Al Franken
Coleman is in real trouble trying to retain this seat in a presidential election year. Whether the Dems pick Franken or attorney Mike Ciresi, this seat is a definite pick-up opportunity.
63. MISSOURI (2010)
Current Senator: Kit Bond
Future Senator: Russ Carnahan
Why it might happen: Bond only got 56% of the vote in 2004. With a seat on Appropriations, he should be invulnerable…but…The Carnahan name is strong in Missouri and Claire McCaskill just proved that a popular Republican senator can be unseated in this state.
64. NEBRASKA (2008)
Current Senator: Chuck Hagel
Future Senator: Bob Kerrey
Why it might happen: Hagel is going to retire. Kerrey is going to run for this seat. Kerrey is probably going to win this seat. Overall, this will not be much of an improvement…but it is what it is…another seat.
65. NEW HAMPSHIRE (2008)
Current Senator: John Sununu
Future Senator: Jeanne Shaheen
Why it might happen: Polls show Shaheen beating Sununu like a drum. Say goodbye, Sununu. Shaheen will announce whether she’s running later this month.
66. NEW HAMPSHIRE (2010)
Current Senator: Judd Gregg
Future Senator: Steve Marchand
Why it might happen: If Shaheen decides not to run for Sununu’s seat then Marchand will probably become a senator in ’08. But if Shaheen gets in Marchand will have to wait two years.
67. NEW MEXICO (2008)
Current Senator: Pete Domenici
Future Senator: Don Wiviott
Why it might happen: Domemici’s ties to the AttorneyGate scandal have been very damaging. He’s definitely vulnerable. And Wiviott has the money to compete.
68. NORTH CAROLINA (2010)
Current Senator: Richard Burr
Future Senator: Brad Miller
Why it might happen: Miller passed up an opportunity to run against Liddy Dole in ’08. He may find the little known Burr a more attractive target. North Carolina is drifting blue and Miller can win this race…as can several other Democrats from the Tarheel state.
69. OHIO (2010)
Current Senator: George Voinovich
Future Senator: Tim Ryun
Why it might happen: Voinovich will be 74 years old in 2010. He’s extremely vulnerable. I really just picked Ryun’s name out of a hat. A good recruit can beat Voinovich or his replacement.
70. OKLAHOMA (2008)
Current Senator: James Inhofe
Future Senator: Andrew Rice
Why it might happen: Inhofe is old and crazy and Rice is young, smart, attractive, and energetic.
71. OREGON (2008)
Current Senator: Gordon Smith
Future Senator: Jeff Merkley
Why it might happen: It’s a presidential year, Merkley is a popular Speaker of the State House. Smith has been too much of a rubber stamp for Bush.
72. PENNSYLVANIA (2010)
Current Senator: Arlen Specter
Future Senator: Patrick Murphy
Why it might happen: Specter’s age and health may force him to retire (he says he’s running again). If this seat comes open, it will be a Lean Blue seat. Murphy should be ready, having served two terms in the House by then.
73. SOUTH DAKOTA (2010)
Current Senator: John Thune
Future Senator: Tom Daschle
Why it might happen: Well…who else are we going to recruit? And Daschle would probably like some revenge for his loss in ’04.
74. TEXAS (2008)
Current Senator: John Cornyn
Future Senator: Rick Noriega
Why it might happen: Simple…Cornyn in the least popular senator in the Senate. Why wouldn’t he be vulnerable. Noriega or Mikal Watts will give him a run for his corporate money.
75. VIRGINIA (2008)
Current Senator: John Warner
Future Senator: Mark Warner
Why it might happen: John Warner is retiring. Mark Warner is very popular.
Now, we are not going to win all these seats. But there are other seats that could open up that I didn’t list. In ’08, we can still compete in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Kansas if we find good recruits. And Idaho might fall in our laps. If you think things are bad for the Republicans now, wait until a couple more election cycles.