Predicting The Unpredictable
Not gonna share my actual ballot with you untill later, but here’s how I see it falling tomorrow – along with my thoughts and how this changes the face of the Senate.
As for the House, the ruling party ALWAYS loses seats in a mid year election. How many is unclear. No matter what happens, expect the media to proclaim it a clear mandate for the Democrats. In truth, anything short of a 50 seat pickup is far from a clear mandate and, based on historic trends going back to the days of FDR, more closer to a Republican victory (even if they ultimatly lose control of the House).
I don't think the Democrats pick up 20 seats, though I wouldn't be surprised to see them re-take the house. Had a good conversation today with one of my outside consultants - a former Clinton Administration official and former senior staffer for
a member of the Democrats Seante leadership. He thinks a Democrat pickup of the Senate is either very good for the country or very bad for the country, as he said, depending on whether Nancy Pelosi can hold off the base. He thought she could, for a couple of years, but didn't know if she would then survive a Kosack Nutroots primary attack on her in 2008.
As for the Senate - here's an individual breakdown. Make of it what you will.
Sen. Jon Kyl (R) will win reelection over Jim Pederson (D).
Sadly, Diane Feinstein will win reelection over Dick Mountjoy (R)
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I/D) will win reelection over Ned Lamont (D)
This bodes well for the Republic. Joe’s certainly not a Republican – but I expect to see him breaking much more often from the Dems in the future. He’s not going to care one way or another what the party hierarchy wants. He will truly be free to be independent.
I’d give the R’s ½ a seat worth of a pickup out of this.
Tom Carper (D) will win reelection over Jan Ting(R)
Carper is one of the few good Democrats around.
Bill Nelson (D) will win reelection over Katherine Harris (R)
This is sad. Bill Nelson was especially vulnerable this year, but Harris has proven to be amongst the worst, least capable, candidates ever put up for election. That’s sad too, cause at her heart she is a party girl – not as in an R or a D but as in a Let’s Party Till The Break Of Dawn sort of way. I’ve always enjoyed my time with her (and some friends have enjoyed it even more) and I am honestly gonna say it will be sad to see her leave town.
Daniel Akaka will win reelection over Cynthia Thielen (R)
Dick Lugar will win reelection over Steve Osborn, a nearly non existent third party challenger
Ted Kennedy will win reelection over Kenneth Chase (R)
Maryland (OPEN SEAT)
Michael Steele (R) will pull out a shocking victory over his anemic opponent Ben Cardin (D).
Steele’s victory will be close, but African American voters will turn out for Steele – brother in law to boxer Mike Tyson and current Lieutenant Governor of the State to send a message to a Democrat Party that has long taken their vote for granted. Steele will join Barack Obama as the only African American in the U.S. Senate, and will quickly surpass Obama as a legitimate future presidential candidate (Imagine a Rice-Steele ticket for the Republicans in 2008 – don’t think it can’t happen)
Republicans pick up 1 to go 1 ½ up
Olympia Snowe (R)will win reelection over Jean Hay Bright (D)
Mike Brouchard (R) will defeat incumbent gun banning bigot and all around nut case Debbie Stabenow (D)
This is my wild card long shot prediction – but the Michigan economy is amongst the worst in the nation and Stabenow is going to be on the wrong side of all the throw the bums out rhetoric the Democrats tried to generate this election cycle.
Republicans pick up 1 to go 2 ½ up
Minnesota (OPEN SEAT)
Amy Klobuchar (D) will defeat Mark Kennedy (R).
Kennedy should have had an easy time winning this campaign to replace super liberal Mark Dayton, but has had an especially difficult time getting his campaign together.
Jim Talen (R) will win reelection over Clare McCaskill (D)
All statewide races in Missouri are always close but I think Talent pulls this one out on the strength of his support for agriculture and the stem cell ballot initiative (the Michael J Fox led attacks on which have backfired for Democrats, at least in Missouri).
Trent Lott (R) will win reelection over Erik Fleming (D)
Jon Tester (D) will unseat Sen. Conrad Burns (R)
This will be close, and Burns could very well pull it out – his numbers are really shifting in the campaigns final days – but I think he has had too much trouble for too long and allowed the popular Tester to build too much of a lead to overcome it in the waning days.
Democrats pick up one and bring the Republican gains down to 1 ½
Kent Conrad (D) wins reelection over Dwight Grotberg (R)
Ben Nelson (D) wins reelection over Peter Rickets (R)
Tom Keane Jr (R) will unseat Sen. Bob Menendez (D)
This is going to be another nail biter, but try as they might I think the latest scandals with Bob Menenedez prove too much for the New Jersey electorate to handle after all they’ve been through the last few years.
Republicans pick up 1 and go up 2 ½
Jeff Bingaman wins reelection over Allen McCuloch (R)
John Ensign (R) wins reelection over Jack Carter (D)
While the liberal looney wing of the party and their “Nutroots” activists wish this race were competitive, John Ensign will do to Jack Carter what Ronald Reagan did to his liberal twerp father Jimmy.
The She Bitch wins reelection over John Spencer (R)
Sherrod Brown (D) will unseat Sen. Mike DeWine (R)
No Surprises, DeWine is feckless and a worthless member of the Party of 14 Supreme Court Compromise crowd. Some good selling out the base does him. He won’t be missed.
Democrats pick up 1 and bring the Republican gains back down to 1 ½
Bob Casey, Jr. will unseat Sen. Rick Santorum (R)
Hate to see ya go, Rick. Not!!!
Democrats pick up 1 and bring the Republicans gains back down to ½
Lincoln Chafee (R) will win reelection over Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Another nail biter that can really go either way, as they always are in Rhode Island for the Chafee’s. I think Lincoln pulls this one out as he simply relates better to most folks in Rhode Island than Whitehouse.
Tennessee (OPEN SEAT)
Bob Corker (R) defeats Harold Ford (D)
This is going to be easier for Corker than the National Media has predicted, but he nevertheless managed to run an awful campaign against the masterful job of Harold Ford.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson wins reelection over Barbara Radnofsky (D)
Orin Hatch wins reelection over Pete Ashdown (D)
Jim Webb (D) will unseat Sen. George Allen (R)
This one is also really too close to call. The National Media will read all sorts of things into this one, but ultimately I think its about George Allen – like Jerry Kilgore last year – running a pathetic campaign and stumbling at every step. Of course, Jim Webb will cause all sorts of fits for Democrats once they find out he is far more liberal than even their worst nightmares could produce. Might this be the first actual victory for a Nutroots candidate? Perhaps, but then I expect the Nutroots to rebel early and often against Jim Webb over the next six years. Of course, we could also be seeing George Allen pull this out, though in the last few days its trending again towards Webb.
Since Webb is going to turn out being much more conservative than they think, I’m only giving the Dems a ½ seat credit here.
Democrats pick up ½ to even things back up.
Vermont (OPEN SEAT)
Socialist Communist Bernie Sanders (I) holds onto the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Jeffords (I)
Maria Cantwell (D) will win reelection over Mike McGavik (R)
Herb Kohl (D) will win reelection over Robert Lodge (R)
No Surprises. Like soon to be former Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, the scion of the Target dynasty, Kohl’s a hoplophobic bigot, and I for one refuse to shop at the chain of cheap-Chinese-knock-off-goods stores he owns.
Robert Byrd (D) will win reelection over John Raese (R)
Craig Thomas (R) will win reelection over Dale Groutage (D)
Overall, under my analysis, the Republicans lose only the equivalent of ½ a seat, though either party could easily turn swing this 2-3 seats in either direction.