Archives > Newsday Special: The Mid Terms

The Races

(1/3) > >>

16 seats in the House for a Dem majority.  Where do we stand?

--- Quote ---Retiring Representatives

Duke Cunningham (R-CA-50) — Following ethical questions about his dealings with a defense contractor, Cunningham announced on July 14, 2005 that he would not seek a ninth term in the House. This district includes the northern suburbs of San Diego and leans Republican.


Bob Beauprez (R-CO-07) — Beauprez was reelected easily in 2004, but his retirement to run for Governor of Colorado makes this seat very competitive. The 7th District is located in the Denver suburbs. State education chairman Rick O'Donnell leads early polls for the Republicans, while former State Senator Ed Perlmutter leads on the Democratic side.


Mike Bilirakis (R-FL-09) — Bilirakis plans to retire, but few expect this seat to be competitive as it is a heavily Republican district located on Florida's Gulf coast north of Tampa. Bilirakis' son, Gus, has announced that he will run for his father's seat.

Jim Davis (D-FL-11) — Davis is running for governor, and this seat is not expected to be very competitive as it contains heavily Democratic Tampa and South St. Petersburg. Florida State Senate Democratic Leader Les Miller has announced that he will run for the House seat being vacated by Davis.
Katherine Harris (R-FL-13) — Harris is planning to challenge Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, in 2006, and will vacate her Gulf Coast seat to do so. Polls show she faces an uphill battle in the Senate race, but any Republican likely has the edge to win her congressional district, which is GOP-leaning and based in Sarasota. State Representatives Donna Clark and Nancy Detert are running for the Republican nomination. Sarasota banker and businesswoman Christine Jennings is running for the Democratic nomination.


Butch Otter (R-ID-01) — Otter is running for governor, and his seat, too, is expected to be safe for any Republican. Idaho's 1st contains more or less the western half of the state and is almost 70% Republican. State Comptroller Keith Johnson is among those seeking the seat.


Henry Hyde (R-IL-06) — Hyde is retiring after 16 terms in the House. Christine Cegelis, who mustered 45% of the vote when running against him in 2004, plans to run again as a Democrat, while State Senator Peter Roskam is running as a Republican. The district contains some of the western suburbs of Chicago in DuPage and Cook counties.

Jim Nussle (R-IA-01) — Nussle is running for governor as well. His district is Democratic-leaning, and of the open seats so far is probably the most likely to change hands. It contains most of northeastern Iowa including small cities such as Dubuque. State Representative Bill Dix, businessman Mike Whalen, and former state party chairman Brian Kennedy (politician) are running as Republicans, while attorney Bruce Braley and others are running as Democrats.


Ben Cardin (D-MD-03) — Cardin is running for the open Senate seat in Maryland being vacated by Democrat Paul Sarbanes. In the last two elections, Cardin received the lowest vote for any Maryland incumbent Congressman. His House seat is within reach of a strong Republican candidate, but all the candidates to have announced so far (former Baltimore Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson, State Senator Paula Hollinger, and State Delegate Neil Quinten) are Democrats. Thus, this seat is expected to remain a Democratic seat. The district consists of parts of Baltimore City as well as parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, and Howard Counties. It includes the state capital of Annapolis.


Mark Kennedy (R-MN-06) — Kennedy is passing up re-election for his House seat to run for the open Senate seat in Minnesota being vacated by Democrat Mark Dayton. The sixth district is located in the northern suburbs of St. Paul and Minneapolis and extending northwest to St. Cloud. Republican candidates for the House seat include State Representatives Jim Knoblach and Phil Krinkie and ultra-conservative State Senator Michele Bachmann. Patty Wetterling, who mustered 46% against Kennedy as the Democratic candidate in 2004, originally stated her intent to make a second try for the House seat, but recently committed to run for the Senate instead. The current Democratic candidates for MN-6 include Elwyn Tinklenberg, a former mayor of Blaine, Minnesota and a former minister; and Scott Mortensen, an Internet auto sales manager and a former assistant minister. Tinklenberg is being supported by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which called this one of their best opportunities to pick up a House seat - although Tinklenberg, who served as Minnesota's transportation commissioner under independent Jesse Ventura, notoriously makes little if any reference to the Democratic party in his campaign. The northern Twin Cities suburbs that dominate the Sixth District are understood to have been the politically quirky heart of Ventura's success at the expense of the two major parties.


Tom Osborne (R-NE-03) — Osborne is running for governor, not for Democrat Ben Nelson's Senate seat as some expected. His district, covering western Nebraska, is heavily Republican.


Jim Gibbons (R-NV-02) — Gibbons is running for governor. His wife Dawn has expressed interest in running for his seat, as has Secretary of State Dean Heller. The district, which encompasses the vast majority of rural Nevada, is heavily Republican.

New Jersey

Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) – Pallone is running for the Senate seat made open by the 2005 gubernatorial run of Democrat Jon Corzine. The district stretches through many beach communities in northeastern New Jersey. It is heavily Democratic.

New York

Major Owens (D-NY-11) — Owens is retiring after 12 terms. His seat should remain Democratic, as it is a heavily African-American one in heavily Democratic New York City in the center of Brooklyn. His son Chris Owens is seeking the seat, but so are state Assemblyman Nick Perry, State Senator Carl Andrews, and New York City Councilmen Yvette Clarke and David Yassky.


Ted Strickland (D-OH-06) — Strickland is running for Governor of Ohio. His seat, stretching across Ohio's eastern edge, from the Kentucky border to the Pennsylvania border, is Republican-leaning and should be competitive. Democratic state Senator Charlie Wilson is planning a run.
Sherrod Brown (D-OH-13) — Brown is challenging Republican Senator Mike DeWine (he faces a primary battle with Paul Hackett). His district, in the Lorain/Akron area, has a strong Democratic tilt.


Ernest Istook (R-OK-05) — Istook is retiring to run for governor against Democrat Brad Henry. This district includes Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, and Seminole Counties in central Oklahoma.


Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN-09) — Ford is running for the open Senate seat being vacated by Republican Bill Frist. Though he may face an uphill battle in that race, whichever Democrat chooses to run for his House seat should have little trouble, as the 9th is based in the Democratic stronghold of Memphis.


Bernie Sanders (I-VT-AL) — Sanders, a self-described socialist who represents the entire state of Vermont, plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by fellow Independent Jim Jeffords. Sanders is very popular in the state, and his seat should remain in either Independent or Democratic hands, as Vermont voted for John Kerry 59-40 over George W. Bush in 2004. Vermont State Senate President Pro Tempore Peter Welsh (D-Windsor County), his predecessor, Peter Shumlin (D-Windham County), Lieutenant Governor Brian Dubie (R) and Martha Rainville (R), adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard, are vying for the seat .


Mark Green (R-WI-08) — Green is running for governor like many of his colleagues, and his seat, in rural northeastern Wisconsin, is Republican-leaning, though has elected a Democratic congressman as recently as 1996 and is centered around the cities of Green Bay and Appleton. Assembly Speaker John Gard is seeking the seat as a Republican; businessman Jamie Wall and former De Pere Mayor and Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum are seeking the seat as Democrats.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---Notable incumbent races
It is not clear which incumbents will face difficult or close races. However, based on the results of 2004, one can make a few projections.

First of all, should a Republican mid-decade redistricting effort go through in Georgia, two Democrats, Jim Marshall of the 3rd District (in middle Georgia) and John Barrow of the 12th District (in eastern Georgia), could face tough races. Marshall's district becomes much more Republican under the new redistricting map, while Barrow's becomes slightly more so.

Then, there are incumbents who may be vulnerable for non-redistricting reasons. These include:


An initiative on the November 8, 2005 ballot would result in nonpartisan redistricting in California. If it were to pass, Republicans could conceivably gain several seats in the California delegation.

Richard Pombo (R-CA-11) — Pombo, a longtime incumbent, won reelection in 2004 by a reasonably comfortable 61% to 39% margin. However, Pombo has used his chairmanship of the House Natural Resources Committee to pursue an aggressive program of anti-environmental legislation, including a draft bill that would have repealed the Endangered Species Act; the considerable amount of negative attention this has drawn from supporters of the environment may spur particular efforts to vote Pombo out of office. Pombo has also been associated with the ethical and legal scandals revolving around Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, which is seen as eroding his popular support. The Democratic candidate who garnered the 39% in 2004, Jerry McNerney, joined that race as a write-in candidate two weeks before the primary election; he launched his campaign for the 2006 election early in 2005, ensuring that his campaign will be better prepared and pose a more formidable challenge this time around. Another Democratic candidate for the seat, Steve Filson, is being supported by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.


John Salazar (D-CO-03) — Salazar was elected in 2004 by a 50-47 margin. The election was generally good to Colorado Democrats, who gained a Senate seat (won by Salazar's brother, Ken), a House seat (this one), and control of the state legislature. But Republicans vow to take back this competitive (though narrowly won by President Bush) seat nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Western Colorado.

Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO-04) — Musgrave, a very conservative Republican who was one of the leading proponents of the Federal Marriage Amendment, won a surprisingly close 51-44 reelection in 2004 despite the Republican-leaning nature of her eastern Colorado district. Her district consists of all of Eastern Colorado well east of Denver and northeastern Colorado around Fort Collins and Loveland. Musgrave's approval ratings are weak.


Chris Shays (R-CT-04) — Shays won reelection by a 52-48 margin in 2004 and represents a Democratic-leaning district encompassing southwestern Connecticut that includes Bridgeport and Westport. 2004 nominee Diane Farrell is challenging Shays again. Additionally, there is reportedly significant support, among those in his party who are dissatisfied with his moderate stance, for a more conservative Republican to challenge Shays in the Republican primary - a move that, if it succeeded, would dramatically raise the chances for a Democrat to win the general election.

Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) — Simmons won reelection with 54% of the vote in 2004, in a Democratic-leaning district encompassing eastern Connecticut, which includes Norwich and New London. 2002 nominee Joe Courtney is planning another run.


Clay Shaw (R-FL-22) Congressman Shaw has been elected to twelve terms in the house. Shaw is seeking reelection, to his seat. But many Democrats hope that this time around it will be unlucky number 13. Shaw faced a tough challenge back in 2000, from State Senator Elaine Bloom. Who came very close to knocking him off. But he was redistricted into more favorable turf, and scored a somewhat easier reelections in 2002, and 2004. But now he is once again a top target of the Democrats this time State Senator Ron Klien plans to challenge Shaw. Expect this race to be very close as Shaw is a good fundraiser, and good friend of neighboring Congressman Robert Wexler. Though Shaw won reelection to this seat in 2004, winning 63% of the vote. John Kerry still defeated George Bush by a margin of 51-49.


Melissa Bean (D-IL-08) — Bean defeated 35-year House veteran Phil Crane 52-48 in 2004, and is being targeted by Republicans who hope to regain control of the seat. Her seat is Republican-leaning and includes the northern suburbs of Chicago in and around Lake County, Illinois.

Mark Kirk (R-IL-11) — Although reliably Republican in past elections, the 11th CD, located in the northern suburbs of Chicago in coastal Cook County and Lake County, along Lake Michigan, voted for John Kerry and Barack Obama in 2004. Democratic hopes for winning here rose after Melissa Bean's win in the nearby 8th congressional district, which is more Republican. Democratic candidates may include medical malpractice attorney Zane Smith, the only declared candidate, Public advocacy attoney Clint Krislov, Jay Footlick, a former advisor on Middle Eastern affairs to President Clinton, and Schoolteacher Barry Bradford has won numerous teaching awards, is an evangelical and a moderate.


Mike Sodrel (R-IN-09) — Sodrel defeated incumbent Baron Hill by only 1,425 votes. Hill is considering an attempt to reclaim his seat.

Jim Leach (R-IA-02) — Leach is one of the most, if not the most Liberal Republican in the House of Representatives, his district is considered to be a target as it is known be Democratic leaning.
Leonard Boswell (D-IA-03) — Boswell won a close reelection in 2004 in a very competitive district containing Des Moines and its surrounding areas.

Charlie Melancon (D-LA-03) — In a December 2004 runoff, Melancon squeaked into Congress by a margin of half a percentage point. His district is a Republican-leaning one in the southeast of Louisiana, which may make him vulnerable. However, Louisiana's unique open primary voting system (where everyone runs against everyone else, regardless of party affiliation, and if no one takes 50% then the top two enter a runoff) leaves everything subject to speculation. A potential wild card is the effect of comments made by House Speaker Dennis Hastert in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, in which he publicly questioned whether the federal government should rebuild much of the city of New Orleans. The backlash from his comments, and from the general perception of less effective response by the Republican administration, could benefit Democrats in the state. Melancon is facing 2004 candidate Craig Romero (R).

Charles Boustany (R-LA-07) — Boustany won 55-45 in the December 2004 runoff, and should be a good bet for reelection in his relatively conservative Southwest Louisiana district, but if Chris John, the Democrat who represented this district from 1997 until his Senate run in 2004, runs again, Boustany may be very vulnerable. John won unopposed reelections in 1998, 2000, and 2002.


John Kline (R-MN-02) — Kline got a relatively easy win in 2004 due to the collapse of his challenger's campaign, but things will likely be very different in 2006. Former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, who accused the bureau of mishandling pre-9/11 intelligence, is running, as a Democrat, and her presence is already garnering media attention. The 2nd district, south of the Twin Cities, leans Republican but is not out of reach for a Democrat (it was held by Democrat Bill Luther from 1995 until redistricting in 2002 caused his defeat by Kline). Teresa Daly, who was the Democrat candidate against Kline in 2004, has not yet commented on whether she would run again. Daly's 2004 campaign manager responded to Rowley's announced candidacy by saying he "would not be surprised" if Daly decided to run again; however, at a post-election farewell soiree for her campaign workers in 2004, in private conversation, Daly suggested she felt disinclined to make another attempt.

New Mexico

Heather Wilson (R-NM-01) — Wilson has routinely managed narrow reelections since 1998, but in 2006 she will likely face Democrat Patricia Madrid, who is barred from seeking a third term as New Mexico's Attorney General. Madrid would undoubtedly be a stronger and more recognized candidate than previous challengers to Wilson. The district, centered in Albuquerque, is very competitive and was won by John Kerry.

North Carolina

Robin Hayes (R-NC-08) — Hayes was elected for a fourth term in 2004 by a 56% to 44% vote. However, his opponent, Beth Troutman, was a production assistant on the T.V. show The West Wing with no prior experience in office and with only a tiny fraction of the funding Hayes had. For a three-term Republican incumbent with substantial funding, in a Republican-leaning district against such an opponent, 56% to 44% is a remarkably narrow margin. His district consists of a large portion of southern North Carolina east of Charlotte. An issue might be made of Hayes' vote for CAFTA, which could severely hurt textile jobs in his district.

Charles Taylor (R-NC-11) — Taylor won with 55% of the vote in 2004. He will face much tougher competition from former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler, a Democrat, in 2006. His district consists of the panhandle of North Carolina around Asheville.


An initiative on the November 8, 2005 ballot would result in nonpartisan redistricting in Ohio, a move which would endanger the current pro-Republican gerrymander in the state and probably result in more Democratic seats from Ohio.

Jean Schmidt (R-OH-02) — Schmidt's district is traditionally Republican, and has been estimated as the 57th safest Republican seat in the country, but in a special election in 2005 she only narrowly won (by 3.5%) against a strong challenge by Democrat Paul Hackett. The surprisingly narrow margin in a race many took for granted at the outset may make her re-election tougher than normal. Support for a Democrat may continue to gain momentum in the continuing fallout from the Coingate scandal embroiling the Republican Ohio establishment.


Jim Gerlach (R-PA-06) — Gerlach won reelection by a 51-49 margin in 2004 and represents a very competitive district in suburban Philadelphia. Lois Murphy, the woman who garnered 49% against him in 2004, is running again.

Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA-08) — Fitzpatrick won in 2004, but his district is very moderate and even slightly Democratic. His views, especially on abortion, are more conservative than those of most people in the Philadelphia suburbs, and that may be an issue for him in 2006. Patrick Murphy has announced his candidacy and is already getting more support from the national Democratic Party than his 2004 counterpart, Ginny Schrader.
Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) — Murphy represents a Republican-leaning district centered around the suburbs of Pittsburgh and won handily in 2004 but, according to rumor, will likely face a strong challenge by popular former state treasurer Barbara Hafer. Hafer, a former Republican, is skipping the 2006 Senate race against Rick Santorum and is being urged to by the DCCC to run against Murphy.

South Dakota

Stephanie Herseth (D-SD-AL) — Herseth was elected to the House in a special election in 2004 and again in the 2004 general election, but owing to South Dakota's heavily conservative electorate and the defeat of fellow Democrat Tom Daschle, her seat is by no means safe. Then again, Herseth is wildly popular, with approval ratings in the 70's.


Michael McCaul (R-TX-10) — McCaul, who won easily last time due to no Democratic opposition, will face a much tougher challenger in that of 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate, Michael Badnarik. The 10th district spans a huge swath of southeast Texas from Austin, Texas to Harris County outside Houston

Chet Edwards (D-TX-17) — Edwards won reelection by a 51-48 margin in 2004 after the Texas redistricting changed his exurban Central Texas district dramatically and made it more Republican. He may be safer in 2006, though. His district includes Waco, Texas and Crawford, Texas the located of George W. Bush's ranch.

Tom DeLay (R-TX-22) — DeLay has been facing mounting ethical challenges and corruption charges in recent months, and won reelection by a surprisingly small 55-41 margin in 2004, even though George W. Bush carried the suburban Houston district with 64%. On September 28, 2005, Rep. DeLay was indicted by a grand jury in Travis County, Texas. As a result, he was forced to step down from his post as House Majority Leader. DeLay will face a strong challenge from former Rep. Nick Lampson, a Democrat whose district he dismantled during the 2003 mid-decade redistricting. Lampson's former district contained much of the area of DeLay's present district.


Jim Matheson (D-UT-02) — Though Matheson won a close reelection in 2004, his district includes much of heavily Republican southern Utah, but also heavily Democratic Salt Lake City, and he is a regular target of the GOP every election.

Dave Reichert (R-WA-08) — Reichert's district, at the eastern edge of the Seattle metropolitan area, is very competitive, and he won it only 52-48 in 2004.


Ron Kind (D-WI-03) — Kind's district, in southern and western Wisconsin, includes both the liberal bastion of Madison among otherwise conservative-leaning rural areas, for whom corn is a pivotal campaign issue. Kind won the 2004 election 56% to 44%, a relatively narrow margin for the 2004 race, against state senator and former realtor Dale Schultz, and while the state of Wisconsin favored Kerry for president. The western edge of the Third District is rapidly gaining population in the form of exurbs spilling over from the Twin Cities, Minnesota area; fast-growing exurban areas are notorious for trending Republican. On the other hand, the Madison area also continues to gain population, and tends to act as a magnet for Midwestern liberals, so the two trends may cancel each other out. So far, however, the only declared Republican candidate for Kind's spot is Paul Nelson, a realtor (like Schultz) and a proud former Marine, as he sums up in his own words: "I spent four years of my life as an Infantryman in the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS and I am still ready to invade ANY hostile beach or take ANY fortified hill on behalf of my Real-Estate customers and clients!" It is unclear whether Nelson would be able to campaign competitively enough to pose a real threat to Kind.
--- End quote ---

To the Senate:

--- Quote ---Of the seats being contested, 17 are held by Democrats, 15 are held by Republicans, and 1 by an independent who frequently votes with the Democratic caucus.

The Senate is currently composed of 55 Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2003, 44 Democrats, and 1 independent. (The independent, former Republican Jim Jeffords of Vermont, began voting with the Democratic caucus in 2001, but will not seek re-election.)

To gain a majority in the Senate, Democrats will need 51 seats, holding their 17 seats at risk and acquiring a gain of 6 or 7 seats depending on whether the open Vermont seat is won by a Republican
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---
Retiring Senators

Jon Corzine – New Jersey

Corzine, currently the most popular elected official in New Jersey, would probably be easily reelected if he ran, but is a candidate for the 2005 gubernatorial election, and is considered a favorite to win in the general election. If elected, he would likely appoint another Democrat to finish his Senate term, possibly Rep. Rob Andrews, Rep. Bob Menendez, or current acting governor and state senator Richard Codey, leaving the presumed interim Senator comparatively vulnerable in 2006, after only a year in office. Republicans are likely to field a strong candidate with a state-wide organization and name recognition, such as 2001 gubernatorial nominee and 2005 Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Bret Schundler, or 2002 Senate and 2005 gubernatorial nominee Doug Forrester, unless Forrester defeats Corzine in the 2005 race. Should Corzine lose the governor's race, he would be likely to run another major campaign to retain his current office. Republican State Senator Thomas Kean, Jr., the son of the former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean announced on March 25, 2005 that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat regardless of who wins the 2005 race for governor.

Mark Dayton – Minnesota

On February 9, 2005, Mark Dayton announced that he would not seek a second term in the Senate, leaving an open seat to be contested.

Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy, the GOP candidate, secured major GOP endorsements and will not face any serious challengers. Kennedy has benefited greatly from high-profile Republicans coming to fund raise for him, including Vice President Dick Cheney in July, 2005.

On the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) side, there are a half-dozen candidates seeking the DFL nomination and endorsement, but only four have declared. The current DFL front runner is Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar. Children's advocate Patty Wetterling, who was Kennedy's 2004 unsuccessful Congressional opponent, is also seeking the seat. Veterinarian, philanthropist, and heir to a founder of General Mills, Ford Bell has also announced his candidacy. Bell will rely only on contributions to fund his campaigns. Both Wetterling and Klobuchar have promised to abide by a DFL endorsement, and Bell has not stated yet what he'll do. Minneapolis attorney Mike Ciresi, who narrowly lost to Dayton in the 2000 DFL primary, is also considering another bid.

Klobuchar and Kennedy are the only two candidates who have been elected to office.

A poll conducted in February, 2005 for the Wetterling campaign shows Patty Wetterling defeating Mark Kennedy 47%-39%, and Amy Klobuchar defeating Kennedy 40%-38%. [1] A poll conducted in the fall of 2005 by the Wall Street Journal and Zogby Interactive shows Wetterling winning 48%-45% over Kennedy, and Klobuchar winning 49%-43% over Kennedy.

Bill Frist – Tennessee

Frist has previously promised to leave the Senate when his second term ends in 2006, and is widely considered to have presidential aspirations for the 2008 election. This will leave an open seat, contested by Democratic candidates Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. and State Senator Rosalind Kurita. Former Reps. Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, along with Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, are running in the Republican primary.

Jim Jeffords – Vermont

Jeffords left the Republican Party to become an independent soon after being re-elected as a Republican in 2000. On April 20, 2005, he declared he would not seek another term, possibly for health reasons. Rep. Bernard Sanders, an independent socialist, is expected to run with little or no challenge from Democrats for the seat. Former Republican challenger Greg Parke plans to try his hand again, and both Lt. Governor Brian Dubie and businessman Richard Tarrant are considering running. A Research 2000 poll conducted in May showed Sanders with a 40 percent lead over both Dubie and Tarrant.

Paul Sarbanes – Maryland

Sarbanes announced on March 11, 2005 that he would retire in 2006 rather than run for re-election. Sarbanes' seat was previously considered safe; Maryland is a Democratic-leaning state. Former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume and Rep. Ben Cardin have announced their candidacies for the Democratic nomination. Most other prominent Maryland Democrats have decided not to run or are not likely to enter the race. Maryland Republicans have recruited Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, who is generally seen as their best chance to capture the seat.

Possible Retiring Senators

Trent Lott – Mississippi
An article appeared on that suggested that Senator Lott (who was affected by Hurricane Katrina when his house was destroyed) might retire in order to get his life back in order. There has been no comments by Senator Lott, but should he run again it is almost certain that he will win as the Democrats have not put up a strong candidate yet. Should he retire, his Senate seat will almost definitely be contested.
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---
Notable Democratic incumbent races

Maria Cantwell – Washington

Cantwell is drawing fire from liberals in Washington for many of her votes during President Bush's first term, including her vote for the Iraq War Resolution and the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice. 2004 gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, widely considered the strongest possible GOP candidate, declined to run. Former CEO of Safeco Mike McGavick is the only announced GOP candidate.

Hillary Clinton – New York

Clinton, former First Lady and wife of former president Bill Clinton, is challenged by Westchester district attorney Jeanine Pirro. It is widely speculated and rumored that Clinton will make a bid for the Presidency in 2008. If this is true, winning the Senate race would be crucial. Clinton faces few tough challenges, since she is widely popular in New York with approval ratings over 60 [4], and New York is a mostly Democratic state that went to John Kerry in the 2004 election. According to an April poll from Marist College’s Institute for Public Opinion, Senator Clinton led Pirro 64 percent to 28 percent. In August, a W-N-B-C-Marist College poll showed that Clinton's lead slipped, but remained still strong, at 50 percent to 28 percent.

Kent Conrad – North Dakota

Conrad faces the problem of being a Democratic senator in an increasingly Republican Great Plains state, and hopes to avoid the fate of Tom Daschle. Governor John Hoeven, re-elected by a 43-point margin in 2004, was courted heavily by President Bush to challenge Conrad, and would have likely proven a formidable opponent. However, Hoeven announced on September 30, 2005 that he would not be a candidate in 2006 for the U.S. Senate. With Hoeven out of consideration, Conrad is expected to cruise to re-election as junior Senator Byron Dorgan did in 2004. Conrad currently enjoys extremely high approval ratings of over 70%.

Bill Nelson – Florida

As the only southern Democrat facing re-election, Nelson will draw major regional attention to this race. Florida also will elect a new governor in 2006, and the cost of two major campaigns in a large state could require that one of the Republican candidates have a high profile. Rep. Katherine Harris, who served as Secretary of State during the 2000 election, is the presumed favorite in a Republican primary. Though polls show Nelson with an 48% approval rating as of 8/23/05 (not at or above the crucial 50% of an incumbent), he has a lead of 9 points against Harris (47 to 38), and with polls showing her with a big lead in the primaries, Nelson has good chances of facing her. Top Republicans, including Governor Jeb Bush and those close to President Bush, are trying to find a candidate to oppose Harris in the primary as they fear she will drive up Democratic turn out due to her controversial role in the 2000 election.So far, the only ones to go against her are Afghanistan War General Tommy Franks, Lt. Governor Toni Jennings, and Congressman Mark Foley, though they are all trailing in the polls (Harris 55, Franks 20, Jennings 8, and Foley 6)
--- End quote ---

--- Quote ---
Notable Republican incumbent races

Conrad Burns – Montana

Burns faced a strong challenge from current Governor Brian Schweitzer in 2000, being re-elected by a mere 3% in a state that went for Bush twice by margins of over 20%. This, combined with the increasing strength of the state Democratic party and accusations of ethical issues related to the Jack Abramoff scandal, could make this a competitive race. Burns is also rumored to be considering retirement. State auditor John Morrison has filed papers to run for the Democratic nomination, and popular state senate president Jon Tester has announced his candidacy.

Lincoln Chafee – Rhode Island

Chafee, perhaps the most liberal Republican in the Senate, will face a challenge from Cranston mayor Steve Laffey. Currently, the candidates for the Democratic nomination are Secretary of State Matt Brown and former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse. US Reps. Jim Langevin and Patrick J. Kennedy have both chosen not to run.

Mike DeWine – Ohio

DeWine has low approval ratings and the current Coingate scandal involving the Ohio Republican Party could hurt his re-election chances. Democratic hopes have been raised by the ongoing "Coingate" scandal and the unpopularity of Governor Bob Taft. The senator's son, R. Patrick DeWine, lost the Republican nomination for the Second Congressional District, suggesting DeWine's influence may be waning. DeWine could also face a tough primary challenge from several more conservative Republicans unhappy with his relatively centrist stances including his role as one of the Gang of 14 who intervened to stop a showdown over judicial nominees. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is also a potential candidate though he is young at age 32. Lawyer and Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett, who narrowly lost to Jean Schmidt in the Second District on August 2, 2005, said in October 2005 he would seek the Democratic nomination to challenge DeWine. US Rep. Sherrod Brown will also be seeking the Democratic nomination, and is expected to make a formal announcement in November 2005.

Jon Kyl – Arizona

Wealthy real-estate developer Jim Pederson declared his intention to challenge Senator Kyl on September 14th, 2005. Pederson served as Arizona Democratic Party Chairman from 2001 to 2005 while spending millions of his own money to help Democrats modernize and to elect Janet Napolitano Governor. Although Arizona voted for Bush in the last two elections, Kyl has an undistinguished career and most Arizonans know little about him. In addition, Kyl's approval ratings in a recent poll were an anemic 49%. Pederson hopes to capitalize on this blank slate, while Kyl plans to argue that his seniority and experience will help the state.

Rick Santorum – Pennsylvania

Santorum is a very conservative member of the Senate in a state that went for John Kerry in 2004 by 2.5 percent. In his last election in the year 2000, Santorum received 7,706 more votes than Al Gore, the Democratic candidate for President, who won Pennsylvania by 4 percent.  Santorum ran against US Rep. Ron Klink, a pro-life Democrat from southeastern Pennsylvania. Democrats believe that Santorum's seat is extremely vulnerable, and are making it a priority for a pick-up in 2006. Democrat Bob Casey, Jr., Pennsylvania's state treasurer, announced his candidacy on March 5, 2005. Currently, his only primary opponents are college professor Chuck Pennacchio  and Alan Sandals. Polls pitting Casey against Santorum have generally indicated greater support for Casey. As of 9/12/05, Casey is leading Santorum 52 to 38 percent in the polls [13]. A Casey-Santorum race would feature two pro-life candidates, a rarity in major elections.

Jim Talent – Missouri

Talent, who was elected to the four remaining years of this term in a 2002 special election, might face a strong Democratic challenge for his seat. Unlike most states, Missouri will not hold an election for governor in 2006, making this the only major statewide race in a traditional battleground state. Talent was elected by a very slim margin, which suggests that he might be vulnerable, and he now has a well-known challenger in Claire McCaskill, Missouri's state auditor and 2004 Democratic gubernatorial candidate. A recent poll by Rasmussen Reports shows both candidates being supported by 46% of Missouri voters.
--- End quote ---

To the States:

36 are up.  22 are Repubs, 14 are Dems.  Very little of note, except:

Arnie, getting a nod from current polls that he may win again.  He faces down Cruz Bustamante, once again, along with two other wannabes.

Wild rumors say that Warren Beatty and Rob Reiner may well run.

In GA, Sonny Perdue is falling behind in the polls and talking retirement in those vague terms that are really just misinterpretations by the press.  He's up against Dems Cathy Cox and Mark Taylor.

In Fla.  Jeb Bush is out.  Populist Lawton Chiles returns to try and fill his father's shoes along with fellow Dem Jim Davis.  Charlie Crist races out of the Republican stronghold while Reform candidate Bruce Trask has also announced.  If Chiles can play the game, Fla will go Dem.  Easy.  But he has a strong machine to beat.  One to watch!


Thank god, Ehrlich's on the ropes.  The vicious Repub. who stole a solid Dem seat thanks to the shameful "Rose Garden" campaign run by Kathy K T.  Old standby's Doug Duncan and Martin O'Malley are already landing some solid blows.  Ehrlich is in by default as Kathy was nowhere to be seen during the campaign, Duncan and O'Malley aren't about to make that same mistake.  

Ehrlich himself has predicted defeat if O'Malley runs.  It's a done deal.  For the Dems, O'Malley is a better choice than good old Duncan.  Duncan has come to represent the wealthy elite whereas O'Malley brings with him the conservative counties and the almighty black vote.

My prediction:  O'Malley with a Duncan Lt. Gov.  A heavenly combination that will reverse the tide of conservatism in the Old Line State.

New York:

Pataki -- in or out?  He's been flip-flopping on the retirement issue.  The Dems are bypassing a primary and putting up Elior Spitzer.  ut of the gate, Spitzer wins hands down.  Pataki now must decide on a heroic political death, or a noble withdrawal to prepare for his promised 2008 prez. bid.

Summary for those too lazy to read everything:

It's look up for the Democrats. is running some good play-by-plays as the campaigns run on.


Fifteen of the 20 most unpopular senators are Republicans. Only 7 of the top 20 most popular senators are Repubs.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version