Senate Analysis (Mid-January)

For my update from early-January, click here.

I’ll do my regular full State-by-State analysis toward the end of January/beginning of February, but I just wanted to post quickly and say that I think Sen. Brown’s resounding victory in Massachusetts heavily affects the 2010 elections and beyond.

I continue to say that Republicans will probably keep all of the seats they are defending, including MO, OH, NH, KY, NC, and LA (NC and LA were never seriously on the table), and Tuesday’s results on confirm this.

Before Tuesday’s results, Republicans were favored to take seats away from Democrats in ND, NV, and CO, and stand reasonable chances in AR, DE, and PA. My last update saw me down-grade IL, NY, and CT.

Tuesday’s election proves that no Democratic seat is really safe, as no Republican seat was safe in 2006 or 2010. Of course Republicans must now only pick up 10 seats instead of 11 to re-take control of the Senate. This is now actually possible.

Sen. Brown gives Republicans hope in states like California, Indiana, and even Wisconsin and Washington and possibly as far out as Oregon or Maryland.

I’m not going to lie: beating an incumbant is always more difficult than winning in a special election as Sen. Brown has done. For that reason, I do see CA, IN, WI, and WA as only outside possibilities. But it gives us a glimmer of hope that wasn’t there last Monday.

Our path to reclaiming the Majority now includes: ND, NV, CO, AR, DE, PA, NY (Special), IN, and CA. The tenth seat may be claimed in WI, WA, or even OR. Alternatively, 3 November 2010 could see any number of Democrats applying to switch parties: Ben Nelson (NE), Bill Nelson (FL), Jon Tester (MT), Jim Webb (VA), Joseph Liberman (CT), and Robert Casey (PA) could all decide they have better chances of reelection in 2012 with an “R” after their name.

Regardless of whether Republicans actually reclaim the Majority or simply become a powerful Minority, 2012 offers to expand Republican gains made in 2010. I’ll explore these in more depth next time, but at a glance, MT, VA, MO, OH, FL, WV, NE, WI, HI (think Sen. Lingle), CA, VT, CT (think Sen. Jodi Rell), and PA area all possible pick-up opportunities for Republicans. And that’s without any surprise developments such as Scott Brown in solidly blue States! Realistically, Republicans will also have to fight tough re-election bids in MA and NV with possible retirements in AZ or ME making these seats vulnerable as well.

I know this is rediculous, but Republicans could go into 2013 with a strong majority in the House, the White House, and 60+ Senate seats. With that type of control, let us hope we’ve learned our lesson from 2006 and 2008 and can actually govern.

And while we no longer have anyone as liberal as Sen. Chaffee was in 2004, we will still have the Maine twins and Sen. Brown in MA with whom we’ll have to expect some liberal votes. Can such a caucus actually govern conservatively? I have my doubts, but only time will tell!

For now, let us enjoy our victory.