First Senate Projection of 2010
The 2010 cycle is gearing up, and now is the time to usher in my first projection for how the upcoming Senate elections will go. I’ll be updating my projection system as we get financial data and polling that measures the strengths of the challengers to each incumbent. For now, here it goes:
Safe Democrat (13)
Inoyue (D-HI), Leahy (D-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Mikulski (D-MD), Wyden (D-OR), Reid (D-NV), Dorgan (D-ND), Boxer (D-CA), Bayh (D-IN), Specter (D-PA), Murray (D-WA), Feingold (D-WI)
The formula focuses on the political leaning of the state and the incumbent’s last electoral performance. Of these 13, 3 will most certainly fade as the formula is tweaked to include fundraising and polling – Dodd, Reid, and Specter. In fact, I’d consider Dodd a tossup and Reid and Specter as “lean” at the moment, but this is what the formula shows.
Lean Democrat (5)
Gillibrand (D-NY), Burris (D-IL), Open seat (D-DE), Lincoln (D-AR), Bennet (D-CO)
Lincoln under-performs in the current formula because of Arkansas’s otherwise Republican lean. I’d expect her to rise in a revised formula. The other states will depend on who runs against the appointed senators and whether Castle pulls the trigger in Delaware.
Open seats – R-NH, R-OH, R-FL, R-MO
Governor Crist will likely take Florida off the board for Democrats, while the seats targeted by Missouri’s Carnahan and New Hampshire’s Hodes seem to be drifting in their direction.
Lean Republican (6)
Open seat (R-TX), Open seat (R-KS), Burr (R-NC), Thune (R-SD), Bunning (R-KY), DeMint (R-SC)
I’d expect Thune to take South Dakota off the table for Democrats, while Burr and Bunning could face competitive races.
Safe Republican (9)
Murkowski (R-AK), Isakson (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Vitter (R-LA), Grassley (R-IA), Shelby (R-AL), Bennett (R-UT), McCain (R-AZ), Crapo (R-ID)
Primary challenges seem to be the biggest threat for this group, especially Bennett. Of the nine, only Vitter seems to have a chance at a serious race – only in a red state like his could a Republican survive a sex scandal and still claim to be pro-family.
NET RESULT – DEM +1
If the election was held today, based on my formula, the only seat to change hands would be New Hampshire, although Ohio and Missouri could add to the pile up in the next 18 months.