Are We Really Screwed with the Senate? II

Following Eric’s post, I would like to offer some more commentary on Senate races in 2010.

I would like to start by stating that 2010 is shaping up to be a year with modest to substantial Democratic losses. The number one rason as to why is not news to anyone: The Economy. What is news is that the Republicans are running on the fiscal responsibility platform, a mere seventeen months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and twelve months after the inauguration of President Obama. Republican resopnsibility for the weakened economy and legislative obstructionism to prevent Democrats from accomplishing any of their big goals aside, Democrats are playing defense in 2010. I would like, for a moment, to perhaps recap on some of the offense that is being played below.

Florida

President Obama won Florida in 2008 with 51% of the vote. Nevertheless, Florida is more of a Republican state than Democrats care to admit. With her vast swaths of undeveloped swamps, Republican ideology has been quick to spread across Florida since our last political realignment. The Democrats have Rep. Kendrick Meek from Cook PVI D +34 17th District slated to run against either Republican Governor Charlie Crist or former Republican Speaker Marco Rubio.  Rep. Meek compared to the Crist powerhouse or Rubio shooting star is toast. There is simply no demand for an establishment, overwhelmingly liberal minority Democrat to win this seat in Florida in 2010. That said, even if Meek were an interesting person – which he is not – the political environment in Florida is against him. Florida,  like and if not more than the rest of the country, is angry about their falling housing prices, high unemployment, and their governor’s explicit support for the Stimulus Bill twelve months ago — Kendrick Meek is not the answer. Safe Republican.

Ohio

Eric did a great post on Ohio below. I would add one thing: Portman ran the OMB under President George W. Bush. If this is about deficits, debt, and proper fiscal management, does Ohio want the architect of the Bush budget to possibly sit on the Budget Committee in the US Senate? If I were a Buckeye and I had some semblance of a brain, then I would under no circumstances vote for the guy who played budget quarterback for the losing team. Portman is running four points above Fisher and Bruner…according to Rasmussen with 5% other and 15% undecided. The “Other” number seems a bit high and let’s assume it breaks 50/50. Fisher or Brunner playing the populist card against an established and rather boring Republican like Portman can win this race. Because the polling has been weak at best with only a slight break towards Portman, I am going to classify this as Tossup.

Louisiana

Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA, 3rd) down by 20% according to the latest Rasmussen poll against incumbent Republican Sen. David Vitter is beyond me. Vitter was engaged in a moderately covered scandal with prostitutes in DC and Louisiana (namely their Sin City, New Orleans). Louisiana Republicans are, as a whole, much more conservative than their national counterparts, as are, nowadays, Louisiana Democrats. How a conservative state sees an established and adulterous incumbent as their best option for a Senator baffles political logic. The simplest answer would be that Melancon is a Democrat, Vitter is a Republican, and that’s that. This is a winnable race in every other cycle, but this cycle seems to be a bit too anti-Democrat. Lean Republican simply on the merits that Vitter has huge exposed flaws that Democrats could take advantage of if they campaign like, well, Republicans.

Kentucky

The best hope for Democrats here is if Rand Paul gets the nomination and runs on a libertarian ticket in a populist, conservative state like Kentucky. Otherwise, Safe Republican.

Missouri

The name Carnahan ought to be enough to win this or keep it close against an entrenched Republican like Blunt. Not much analysis needed here. Lean Democrat.

New Hampshire

See Eric’s post. Lean Democrat.

North Carolina

We all remember how much time Obama put in North Carolina in 2008, which flipped blue for the first time since 1976 during a presidential election. North Carolina much to luck of Democrats is looking more and more like Virginia in terms of it being a Mid-Atlantic state rather than a Southern state like her counterpart in South Carolina. A large African-American population, college students, professionals, and young migrants ought to keep a rather unpopular incumbent like Burr fighting to keep his seat. This is, again, an anti-incumbent cycle and if Democrats were smart, their likely candidate, Elaine Marshall, should run as a Democrat from North Carolina “who gets it” against a Republican from Washington, DC “who has lost touch”. I am going to put this as a Tossup.

**UPDATE** A PPP Poll brings some excellent news to North Carolina Democrats. Race still stands as Tossup as posted yesterday.

These are preliminary analyses on some of the races. Please keep following our coverage on “Are We Really Screwed with the Senate?”.

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