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Preview 2010: Senate

Handicapping the 2010 Senate Elections

Thought I’d handicap the upcoming 2010 elections for US Senate, which will probably be starting in the next 6-8 months.

Safe Democrat:Barbara Boxer (CA)Evan Bayh (IN)Chris Dodd (CT)Barbara Mikulski (MD)Harry Reid (NV)Chuck Schumer (NY)Byron Dorgan (ND)Ron Wyden (OR)Patrick Leahy (VT)DelawareRuss Feingold (WI)Florida (pickup)

Safe Republican:Richard Shelby (AL)Johnny Isakson (GA)Mike Crapo (ID)Chuck Grassley (IA)Kit Bond (MO)Judd Gregg (NH)Bob Bennett (UT)John Thune (ND)Arlen Spector(PA)Jim DeMint (SC)Tom Coburn (OK)Lisa Murkowski (AK)

That leaves the following races and potential outcomes:

  1. Kansas – With Sam Brownback running for Governor in 2010, this seat will be prime target for the Democrats. Republican Rep. Jerry Moran looks to be the likely nominee, with Governor Kathleen Sebelius being the prime Democratic nominee. If the Republicans aren’t careful, they could lose this seat. For now, I’ll list it as REP HOLD

  2. Arkansas – Blanche Lincoln is probably the Democrat’s most vulnerable member. Lincoln is popular, but Mike Huckabee is more popular. If he runs, I’m prepared to call this TOSSUP

  3. Colorado – Ken Salazar narrowly defeated Pete Coors in 2004. This will be the Republicans prime target in 2010. John Elway is onsidered a possible candidate, but I would suggest former Governor Bill Owens. He was probably the state’s most popular Governor and would give Salazar a good run. Currently, this race is TOSSUP

  4. Hawaii – I predict that Daniel Inouye, who will be 86 come 2010, will retire. Even if he doesn’t, Governor Linda Lingle looks to be the most likely Republican candidate. I think Lingle, regardless of who she faces, will win and is the only Republican who could win the seat. I rate this race LIKELY REP PICKUP

  5. Illinois – With Barack Obama’s resignation, Governor Rod Blagojevich will appoint someone who will serve until a special election in 2010. The most likely replacement at the moment seems to be either Jesse Jackson Jr. or Tammy Duckworth. If the Republicans can recruit former Governor Jim Edgar, then they should easily pick this seat up, with the massive disapproval of Democrats in the state thinks to the current Governor. My rating: LIKELY REP PICKUP

  6. Washington – Patty Murray has never seemed to be able to set the Washington state electorate on fire. The largest % she has ever gotten has been 55% in 2004. Republicans need to seriously recruit Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to run against her. She has strong Conservative credentials and could give Patty a good fight. For now: LIKELY DEM HOLD

  7. Arizona – Governor Janet Napolitano is most likely going to run for this seat, regardless of whether or not she gets a Cabinet post. If John McCain is smart, he won’t run in an election he is likely to lose. To me, the best Republican candidates are John Shadegg and Lisa Graham Keegan. If McCain doesn’t run, which I don’t think he will, this race will be LIKELY REP HOLD

  8. Kentucky – If Jim Bunning is smart, he will spare Kentucky the shame of what will he a humiliating loss to his likely Democratic challenger. Republicans need to persuade him to not seek re-election, then get Elaine Chao to run. That is the only way I see this seat remaining in Republican hands. Currently, this seat is LIKELY DEM PICKUP

  9. Louisiana – David Vitter’s race is a tough one to gauge. Kennedy’s performance against Landrieu should be a good omen for him, so I’ll call this LIKELY REP HOLD

  10. North Carolina – Richard Burr has been a lackluster Senator at best, and if he isn’t careful, he will go the way of Elizabeth Dole. Right now, this race is a TOSSUP

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