Monday, October 13, 2008

It is October 2010... (The road to a filibuster proof majority: Part II) 2010

It is October 13, 2010, three weeks before President Obama's first major electoral strength in the midterm elections. The economy is coming back, 2 years after a series of clever Gordon Brown-inspired equity purchases of banks. Working off the de facto McCain/Obama Iraq policy consensus, the US has drawn down to 80,000 troops in Iraq. And the Adminstration scored marked success on the Hill with it's ambitious Hundred Days offensive on healthcare, energy and climate change.

These policy successes have met with DNC CEO David Plouffe's sharp politics as the GOTV machines of '08 have been fine tuned and indeed expanded to allow Democrats to play offence across the electoral board once again. The bitter civil war in the GOP between the Huckabee, Palin and Romney factions has only added to the Democrats ardour.

Emerging from 2008 with a 58-42 Senate majority (after the January '09 defection of Joe Lieberman), Democrats look set to achieve their long held dream of a filibuster-proof majority, playing offence in 11 seats and defence in just 3...

State by state

Predicated on the belief that a popular Obama presidency and the nearness of Dems to the magic 60 will force a wave of GOP retirements, let's look at just how good the 2010 cycle could be for Democrats:
  • Arkansas: Blanche Lincoln is a AR Democratic institution. She romped home in the difficult 2004 Senate cycle, she''ll be fine in 2010.
  • Colorado: Ken Salazar will enjoy an easy re-election campaign against a shattered GOP state party with ever improving demographics for the Democrats in the West
  • Nevada: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be riding high (he made it through the bad times in NV, he can survive the good times too)
  • Arizona: An Open Seat contest if McCain retires (and I bet he will). Look for popular Dem Gov Janet Napolitano to run for Senate (unless she's named Obama Homeland Security Secretary first).
  • Kansas: With Sam Brownback abiding by his 2 term limit, this will be another Open Seat Dem pick up choice that will break for the Democrats should Superstar Sebelius choose to ascend to the national stage. If she takes an Obama Adminstration (Health & Human Services? Education?) job though Dems won't have a chance.
  • Iowa: GOP incumbant Chuck Grassley greatly enjoyed his power whilst in the majority. I can't see him wanting to stick around for a sixth term in a 60+ seat Democratic world. His retirement, plus GOP weakness in the Hawkeye state bodes well for Dem chances here.
  • Ohio: Much like Grassley, I think Voinovich will see the writing on the wall and step down.
  • Pennsylvania: In a state thats changed from purple to blue, look for moderate Republican (and by then) 80 year old Arlen Specter to retire.
  • Missouri: Republican Kit Bond may call it quits at the prospect of a fifth Senate term spent in a filibuster-proof Senate in which case a MO Toss-up race will be in the offing.
  • North Carolina: Republican Richard Burr was vulnerable in 2004, with demographic changes and a good candidate, Dems could make a run at the second NC seat.
  • Florida: Poor Mel Martinez is actually quite a decent chap who's had a rough time in DC. A surprise retirement perhaps? Even if not, FL will be a great battlelground.
  • Kentucky: GOP Senator Jim Bunning may yet retire in which case Democratic Governor Steve Beshear will be well placed to replace him.
  • New Hampshire: Will Judd Gregg stay for a 4th term? If so, he'll win. If not, a Dem pick-up beckons.
  • Louisiana: Will GOPer David Vitter jump or be pushed after his prostitution scandal?
Depending on retirements, Democrats could therefore be in with a real chance in as many as 11 states come 2010. Now all the Democratic Party has to do is defy it's own history and not screw this up both this election - and the next one...

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