*Washington- Patty Murray-
Murray received 55% in her last re-election in 2004, compared to Republican George Nethercutt who recieved 43%.
The best candidate would be SoS Sam Reed. He is popular in the state, and was re-elected in 2008 with over 58% of the vote. If he is not interested ( I have heard nothing to make me believe he is) we could go with 5th district Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. There are two advantages with her. She is a woman, helping take an important constituency from Murray and her district, R+7, is relatively safe.
Orgeon- Ron Wyden-
This could be a tough one, but, you gotta be in it to win it. In 2004, he was re-elected with 63% of the vote. That is his highest percentage in any of his senate elections. We need a scapegoat just to make him spend money. Congressman Greg Walden seems like he could atleast make this guy break a sweat, and his R+10 district shouldn't be a hard hold. If we can't ( which we likely wouldn't ) get him, there is always some random term-limited legislator who may be willing to do it for statewide name recognition.
Here, we have a chance to pick of SENATOR Barbara Boxer. The NRSC is in talks with former HP CEO, Carly Fiorina. She seems like she is likely to run. We have two benefits here: Female votes and self-funder. Self funders allow the NRSC to spend more money is closer races. Early polls have shown Fiorina close to Boxer. In the event she doesn't get in, Assemblyman Chuck Devore has already announced.
Again, another small window in a traditionally blue state. We have a relatively popular two-term female governor, Linda Lingle. A new poll shows her trailing, but she is a good campaigner. Sadly, she is unlikely to get in. If not, we could always try to get AG Mark Bennet in the race. Doubt we get a high-profile here though. Looks like me will be lucky to get a state legislator in.
What a difference a few months makes. Just a few months ago, this was a very good pick-up opportunity for us. My, how things change. We have scandal plagued Republicans in the governors and lieitinent governor's office. Lt. Gov Brian Kolicki is still planning on running, despite his indictment. Our top recruit, former SoS and Congressman Dean Heller seems more focused on running for governor or re-election. If he wants the job, he's got the nod. He has statewide electability as two term SoS. If he doesn't run, former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle has formed an exploratory commitee. If he does run, she would likely run for his House seat, and become the early front-runner. State Senator Mark Amodei has also said he would consider it if Heller declined a run. He was also recently spotted in Washington.
*Colorado- Michael Bennett-
Appointed Senator Michael Bennett may face a tough election in 2010. He remains virtually unknown in his state. Aurora city councilman Ryan Frazier has been camapigning hard and travelling the state, forming an exporatory committee. He seems like a good, and likely candidate. He is young ( 31 ) and African-American. We could have a chance here.
*North Dakota-Byron Dorgan-
A Republican leaning state, but yet we don't have a candidate. But somehow, they have 2 democratic senators and the AL Rep is a Democrat. The state is rated R+10. Should be simple. We control the governor and Lt. Gov offices. Governor John Hoeven would become the favorite should he run. He was re-elected with an over-wheliming 74% in 2008, to a third term. He is said to be considering the race. Should he not run, Lt. Gov Jack Dalrymple could get in. He was elected Lt. three times, including in 2008. He ran once for senate in 1992. We shouldn't have a problem hooking a popular state-wide elected Republican here.
In a state that voted for McCain with over 60%, this should be easy. Not so. Arkansas is only Republican for Presidential elections. Realistically, our best hope is food company Executive Curtis Coleman, a friend of Mike Huckabee. In a dream land, Huckabee would run. As a popular former governor and Presidential candidate, this would become a very competitive race. If neither run, State Senator Gilbert Baker is preparing for a run. State Senator Kim Hendren announced, but may withdraw after calling NY Sen Chuck Schumer "that Jew"
Things kinda look good in this traditionally blue state. Democrats have been plagued with scandal. Incumbent Roland Burris is likely to get eaten up in the Dem primary. We have a good chance with whoever emerges from that primary, unless AG Lisa Madigan, who has been wanting the Governor's mansion switches races. Obama has asked her to run. But, she has two demands. A clear primary and and endorsement from Obama. Well, the main primary threat, Alexi Giannoulias has said he will not be bullied out the race. Obama has said he will remain neutral through the primary. We all know how good he is at keeping promises. However, if Madigan stays in the governor's race, moderate GOP Rep Mark Kirk will likely get in. He would have a clear primary. He has been strong in polls, tieing with Alexi. Now, we just need Madigan to run for Governor and put Kirk in the Senate race. If he doesn't run, another Rep, Peter Roskam , is also considering.
Rising star GOP Rep. Paul Ryan is considering this race. He would be our strongest candidate, although he faces an uphill battle. If not, we could try to get AG J.B. Van Hollen in the race. He has statewide electability, and is well known. We can win this one with the right candidate.
Fun, fun. We have a deep bench here. We have a hugely popular Republican governor, but he seems more likely to run for the White House than for Senate. We also have a female Lt. Gov, who with some persuading, may run. GOP rising star, Rep. Mike Pence could put together a viable campaign, and even win. If none of those three jump in, we have three other Republican reps who should have no problem with a good candidacy. I have no idea why the NRSC doesn't have a candidate yet.
Why bother. Does anyone really think we have a shot, since the only viable candidate, Michael Stelle is out because of his RNC chairmanship? Regardless, lets look. Maybe former Governor, Rob Ehrlich? He would have the best chance, but is more likely to run for Governor in 2010. State Senator Nancy Jacobs, who also serves as minority whip, could help take some of the female vote.
Sen. Ted Kaufman was appointed to fill VP Biden's term until a 2010 special election. Republican At-large Rep. Mike Castle is considering a run. He has been elected state wide as Governor and the AL Rep, serving nine terms in the House. He would be the front-runner, against likely Dem Candidate, AG Beau Biden, Biden's son. Another potential take over in a Dem state!
*Pensylvania-Benedict Arlen Specter-
Since Specter switched partys to save his political career, his popularity has tanked. The citizens of PA must have realized that if the Republican Party can't trust him, neither can they. Republican former Congressman Pat Toomey faces weak primary opposition, and Specter has a tough challenge from Liberal Congressman Joe Sestak. Toomey has also raised over $1m and is gaining in polls.And they call him un-electable...
New York-Chuck Schumer-
Former Rep. Rick Lazio, who ran against Hillary Clinton in 2000, could possibly enter this race. I wouldn't expect a win, as most Republicans are focused on the Kirsten Gillibrand special election. He is planning a run for governor, too. But, if former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani runs for Governor, he could be persuaded to switch races. Chances of a Republican take-over= very-low, unless a BIG scandal emerges.
*New York-Kirsten Gillibrand-
Appointed Sen.Gillibrand will have a strong...and expensive primary challenge from downstate Rep.Carolyn Maloney. After a weakened Gillibrand or Maloney emerges from the primary, they will face the likely primary-less Republican nominee. Who this will be is in question. Former three term Governor George Pataki is being urged to run by Republicans from across the nation. Polls show him tied with Gillibrand. If he does not run, Long Island Rep. Peter King likely will. He would face a tough...but not impossible race.
Chris Dodd has been hit with scandal after scandal. Republicans have already landed quality candidates. Former Rep.Rob Simmons, the Republican frontrunner, State Senator Sam Caligiuri, and Former Ireland Ambassador Tom Foley are all anounced candidates. Simmons is the likely nominee. Polls show him crushing Dodd. If we don't screw up, this is a very possible take over.
Leahy is a pretty safe Democrat, unless we get the right candidate. Four term incumbent Republican Governor Jim Douglas is up for re-election in 2010. He would put up a strong challenge to Leahy, as he remains popular and was re-elected in 2008 with 53% of the vote. Should he choose not to run, we still have LG Brian Dubie. He too, has served four terms and is up for re-election in 2010. He won re-election in 2008 with 55%. If we can get one of these two in the race, we have another chance in a blue state.
The map for 2010 is great for us, if we field the right candidates. If the NRSC does this, we can gain the majority back in 2010. To do so, we need to gain 11 seats ( Unless Coleman wins in MN, then only 10 seats to gain majority). I figure that, if we can strongly compete in 14 states, giving us room for loses, we can do this. The races marked with a * are ones I feel we should compete in, should we get than candidates I have suggested. I have actually marked 15 with a * though. So, John Cornyn, get on it!