Tuesday, 5. October 2010 15:00
OK, I’m going to run through the big Senate and Governor’s races as well as make a ball-park estimate as to the number of seats the Republicans will pick up in the House (preview: alot). I’ll start with the Senate. My pre-election prediction is a net 11 seat pickup for the Republicans and a takeover of the majority from the Democrats. They will also knock off a memeber of the Democratic leadership in Senate Majority leader Harry Reid. Good night for the Elephants.
NEVADA: Harry Reid (D) vs. Sharron Angle (R)
RCP AVG: Reid + .06%
Reid was considered a dead duck in January, but the unexpected win of the Tea Partier, Sharron Angle, seemed to resurrect Reid from the dead. He has consistently polled slightly ahead of her, but has never approached 50%. Given his near complete name-recognition, this isn’t a good sign for the Senate majority leader. Most recent poll has Angle up by 3.
PREDICTION: Angle – Republican Pickup
ARKANSAS: Blanche Lincoln (D) vs. John Boozeman (R)
RCP AVG: Boozeman +19
This race was set in stone last year when Lincoln chose to help spearhead Obama’s health care proposal despite strong opposition to it in her state. Lincoln has never earned strong support from Arkansans and she has looked vulnerable before. But this seat is as much a sure thing as there is in politics. The DNC pulled advertising months ago, which says it all.
PREDICTION: Boozeman – Republican Pickup
COLORADO: Michael Bennett (D) vs. Ken Buck (R)
RCP AVG: Buck +4.4
Colorado has become quite the swing state with its influx of immigrants to compliment the blue strongholds of Denver vs. the red bastion of Colorado Springs. If 2010 is a wave election, then Colorado should be swinging Republican and it is. Buck, despite some concerns over his Tea Party background, has held a steady and consistent lead over the Democratic Incumbent.
PREDICTION: Buck – Republican Pickup
ILLINOIS: Alexi Giannoulias (D) vs. Mark Kirk (R)
RCP AVG: Kirk +1.2
In a state that has prosecuted its last three governors and is famous for its political corruption, it is hardly surprising that both senate candidates in Illinois have been damaged by political scandal. If the scandals cancel each other out then Kirk may win on turnout. Still, this has been a steadily trending blue state for several decades.
PREDICTION: Kirk – Republican Pickup
WASHINGTON: Patty Murray (D) vs. Dino Rossi (R)
RCP AVG: Murray + 3.3
Dino Rossi is quite familiar with the old saw: “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Rossi has been in several close contests in statewide elections in Washington for governor, and lost them all (well, he *may* have lost them all…some controversy over one of those). Is third time the charm for Rossi? Murray has never been a particularly popular senator in Washington…but you don’t have to be when you have a D after your name in this solidly blue state. Wave versus party ID? I’ll go wave for this one.
PREDICTION: Rossi – Republican Pickup
WEST VIRGINIA: Joe Manchin (D) vs. John Raese(R)
RCP AVG: Raese +4.0
The Byrd seat, this was supposed to be a shoe-in for the Democrats, with uber-popular sitting governor Manchin on the ballot and a tradition of going Democratic well ensconced in West Virginians. But apparently West Virginians like him in the job he currently is…or more likely are so disillusioned with Obama that they are voting R for a vote against the Obama agenda.
PREDICTION: Raese – Republican Pickup
KENTUCKY: Jack Conway (D) vs. Rand Paul (R)
RCP AVG: Raese +6.7
Sharron Angle is probably the perfect issues candidate for Kentucky and Rand Paul the same for Nevada. Unfortunately for both of them, they are running in the other’s best state. Paul lacks the social conservative bonafides of a normal Kentucky Republican and his libertarianism is out of step with the Kentucky electorate. That said, Paul is a Republican running in a Republican year and he has anti-incumbent bonafides (Tea Party) in a very anti-establishment year. Paul has polled consistently ahead of Conway.
PREDICTION: Paul – Republican Hold
MISSOURI: Robin Carnahan (D) vs. Roy Blunt (R)
RCP AVG: Blunt +5.5
Missouri has been a swing state for a decade now, going for Bush in 2000 & 2004, and McCain (just barely) in 2008. Statewide races, however, have seen a more bipartsan result and have also been hotly contested. This race has two dynastical political families in Missouri squaring off, and thus the Tea Party furor has been muted. That said, the fact that Blunt has polled consistently ahead indicates this is undoubtedly a Republican year.
PREDICTION: Blunt – Republican Hold
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Paul Hodes (D) vs. Kelly Ayotte (R)
RCP AVG: Ayotte + 10.
What makes you a Tea Partier? Ayotte is more of an establishment figure, but she received the Palin nod despite a claimed-Tea Party opponent in the race. Unlike Delaware, the Republicans got their best general election candidate in a narrow primary victory. That basically sowed up this race.
PREDUCTION: Ayotte – Republican Hold
PENNSYLVANIA: Joe Sestak (D) vs. Pat Toomey (R)
RCP AVG: Toomey 6.9+
To show how far the tides have turned, one need look no further than Pennsylvania. Toomey was considered unelectable 6 years ago, with Republican establishment figures backing Spector, the nominal Republican in the primary. Toomey lost that battle but seems to have won the war. Unable to poll close to Toomey, Spector switched parties. That didn’t save him, as he was ousted in the primaries in favor of Joe Sestak. Sestak’s deal on Obamacare is probably not sitting well with Pennsylvania voters.
PREDICTION: Toomey – Republican Pickup
WISCONSIN: Russ Feingold (D) vs. Ron Johnson (R)
RCP AVG: Johnson 9.0+
Feingold has always been a little too far Left for even progressive Wisconsin, but just a few months ago he was considered a shoe-in for re-election. Those days are long gone. Feingold has trailed Johnson for 6 weeks and the leads across most polls are well beyond the margin of error.
PREDICTION: Johnson – Republican Pickup
CALIFORNIA: Barbara Boxer (D) vs. Carly Fiorina(R)
RCP AVG: Boxer 6.1+
If the Republican wave is a tidal wave, this race will tell the tale. While Boxer has outpolled Fiorina well outside the margin of error the past few weeks, she still can’t get close to 50%. No senator leading by 6 in the polls a month out has ever lost…so mark this one up as my big upset call. Fiorina by a nose.
PREDICTION: Fiorina – Republican Pickup
DELAWARE: Chris Coons (D) vs. Christine O’Donnell (R)
RCP AVG: Coons 15.7+
The Tea Party has mostly been a positive force within the Republican Party’s coalition, but there are exceptions to every rule. The polls told the tale on this race long ago – O’Donnell was a 15 point loser while Castle was a 15 point winner over the Democratic candidate (who was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb to Castle). Despite this, Republican primary voters chose O’Donnell. With several mini scandals surrounding her candidacy she hasn’t made any progress since winning the primary. Count this one as an own-goal for the Republicans.
PREDICTION: Coons – Democratic Hold
CONNECTICUT: Richard Blumenthal (D) vs. Linda McMahon (R)
RCP AVG: Blumenthal +8.0
Blumenthal was considered a shoe-in to replace the scandal-ridden Chris Dodd, but he stumbled out of the blocks with a “Stolen Honor” scandal related to his Veitnam era (as opposed to proper) service. While Linda McMahon has gobs of money…she is still the wife of Vince McMahon and likely more associated with the WWE than the Republican party. Blumenthal seems to have weathered the storm, though a few polls have this race within the margin.
PREDICTION: Blumenthal – Democratic Hold
FLORIDA: Charlie Crist (I) vs. Kendrick Meek (D) vs. Marco Rubio (R)
RCP AVG: Rubio 10+
No race better exemplifies this election cycle than the Florida senate race. Marco Rubio was counted out before he even started when Charlie Crist, the moderate incumbent Republican governor, announced for the race. Rubio turned a 20 point deficit into a 10 point lead, causing Crist to drop out of the Republican Party to run as an independent. While Crist initially polled well in the 3-man race (before the Democratic primary), Rubio has since taken a commanding lead. In the battle between Downs and Durverger, the Frenchman takes this round.
PREDICTION: Rubio – Republican Hold
ALASKA: Lisa Murkowski (I) vs. Scott McAdams (D) vs. Jim Miller (R)
RCP AVG: Miller +5
Charlie Crist seemed like the hands-down winner of “this-is-all-about-me” politics when he ditched the Republicans and tacked Left in his independent bid in Florida. But Lisa Murkowski takes the prize. No animating purpose behind her baffling decision to run as a write-in (hint: write-ins don’t win in most places…particularly not Alaska) exists and she is unlikely to defeat Miller in a general election campaign in a red state and without her name even appearing on the ballot. Republicans decided not to strip her of her seniority in the Senate, but that likely had nothing to do with her chances. While Murkowski may get a few Democrat protest votes she isn’t going to win.
PREDICTION: Miller – Republican Hold
OHIO: Lee Fisher (D) vs. Rob Portman (R)
RCP AVG: Portman 13.8+
A series of scandals tarnished the Republican Party in this traditional Republican stronghold but definitely modern swing state. Several state-wide races went to Democrats in 2006 and 2008. But the scandal-ridden Democratic governor proved that corruption is bipartisan and it’s a Republican year. This state would seem to be quite open to the Tea Party message, and they got a Tea-Party backed Republican candidate in Rob Portman.
PREDICTION: Portman – Republican Hold
NEW YORK: Kristen Gillibrand (D) vs. Joe DioGuardi (R)
RCP AVG: Gillibrand 10.8+
Gillibrand is a weak candidate and some polls have had this race close in recent days. But Republican Tsunami or no, New York is still New York. DioGuardi has been behind by double digits in most polls and it is hard to see an upset coming here.
PREDICTION: Gillibrand – Democratic Hold
Louisiana is a Republican Hold, Oregon is a Democratic Hold, and North Dakota and Indiana are Republican Pickups with Hoven taking the Dorgan seat in ND and Coats taking the Evan Bayh seat back.