2010 is drawing ever closer, and candidacies are being announced with each new day. Seats in the U.S. Senate are perhaps the biggest prize in the midterm years, and this is especially the case in 2010 as the Democrats push for a filibuster-proof supermajority. The defection of Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter came as a surprise to many, as well as making that golden 60th seat that much more tangible even before the midterm elections. Indeed, all that stands between the Democratic Party and the unopposed fulfillment of their agenda is Republican Norm Coleman’s increasingly slim chance of prevailing in the legal battle for Minnesota’s still-vacant Senate seat.
While the Democrats clearly have the advantage at this point, they hold some of these seats by a fingernail at best and will be seeking to consolidate their grip next November. Similarly, it is imperative for the GOP to regain some of those seats lest they entirely cease to be legislatively relevant.
Strategically speaking, the best targets for the Democrats would appear to be the open seats in New Hampshire and Missouri. In the Granite State, the impending retirement of Sen. Judd Gregg (R) represents a very likely pickup for the Democrats short of the emergence of an extremely convincing Republican candidate. Similarly, Missouri’s Kit Bond is retiring at the end of the current term, and Democratic candidate Robin Carnahan is blazing an impressive trail in fundraising.
The Republicans’ best shot would appear to be unseating the embattled Chris Dodd of Connecticut, whose ties to AIG have made him increasingly vulnerable. Challenger Rob Simmons may very well take this seat unless the furore over AIG fades out in time for Dodd to regain some standing, or a primary challenger receives the Dem nomination instead.
If the GOP can convince former Gov. Tom Ridge to enter the race for Specter’s PA seat, there is hope there also. Current challenger Pat Toomey is probably too far to the right to be able to prevail.
From here on in, I’ll occasionally post my analysis of how the various races – not just Senate, but also House and gubernatorial – are shaping up, and I’ll also keep predictions and other info in a new tab at the top of this page called 2010 Elections.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged 2010, al franken, arlen specter, democrats, election, moderates, norm coleman, pennsylvania, politics, republicans, senate, senator, specter on April 28, 2009|
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Oh, sure. I put up a politics-related post, and some misfit senator has to go and make a party switch. Way to go, Arlen Specter. Thanks for ensuring that you’re the only political thing anyone wants to read about on a day when I posted about something entirely else.
Aw, who am I kidding? It’s pretty sweet. The Senate has another Democrat. Admittedly, it’s a guy who was the Dems’ easiest target when they needed to win a vote from across the aisle, but it serves to send the message that the Republican Party is increasingly becoming a minority party simply due to their incessant attempts to play to the hysterical far-right base.
This switch doesn’t mean that much in terms of the actual votes. Sure, the Republicans don’t really have the option to threaten a filibuster any more (especially if/when Coleman runs out of options and Franken finally gets seated), but Specter and the other more moderate Senators on both sides will still be voting their consciences rather than sticking to the party line. Otherwise, nobody would actually give a flying fuck about Senator Nelson other than his Nebraska constituents.
What this means, perhaps crucially, is that in 2010, when Specter is up for re-election, he will probably get the Democratic party nomination and beat Pat Toomey handily. Had he stayed Republican, Toomey would probably have beaten him out in the primary and the Senate would have lost a longtime voice of reason. (NB: by ‘reason’, I mean an intelligent, level-headed moderate. I don’t always agree with Specter, but I don’t hold with extreme ideologues on either side.)
Despite the general inclination to vote his conscience, though… in order to consolidate his position as a Democrat, Specter may throw his backing behind some of the more crucial reforms of the Obama agenda which he otherwise might not have; this would make it all the more likely that he gets the nod in ’10.
So welcome to the party of Yes, Arlen Specter. Good to have you.
Now if we could just get Norm Coleman to FREAKING QUIT ALREADY. YOU LOST. GET OVER IT.
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No, not the Super Bowl. Props to the Steelers for what sounds like an epic victory, but I didn’t even know they were in it until a few days ago, because American “football” just doesn’t do it for me.
However, I have been eagerly awaiting the news out of Punxsutawney.
So, bring on Phil!
Yep, that’s a shadow. Six more weeks of winter.
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