This is a very bad year to be a Democrat in the Senate whose term is expiring. We have seen polls showing all but 3 of the Democrats in the Senate polling under 50%, (MD, VT, and HI).
1. Dodd won in CT in 2004 with 66.4% of the vote. His poll numbers were so low his own party forced him out 9 months before the election as he was unsalvageable this year.
2. Of course, the easiest election of the year should have been MA. Scott Brown took Kennedy’s the people’s seat back for the GOP.
3. Blanche Lincoln, elected by a comfortable 56-44 margin in 04 is now having trouble cracking 40 in any poll against unknown candidates. Her own party wants her to retire (which, along with 2 of the state’s 3 House reps would make a majority of the state’s Congressional delegation).
4. Barbara Boxer, elected by a 57.7-37.8 margin last time, is within 5 points of 3 different challengers, polling well below 50.
5. In Colorado, Ken Salazar won a tight election, stealing a GOP seat by a narrow margin, only to move on to take a post in the Obama administration, with an appointed putz unlikely to win reelection replacing him.
6. In Illinois, Obama won against a dubious candidate in Alan Keyes by a 70-27 margin, replacing the disgraced ex-Sen. Fitzgerald. This year, Giannoulis trails the Republican Mark Kirk in his bid for reelection. And, this was after the state’s appointed Senator was forced into retirement due to his dubious connections with disgraced ex. Gov Rod Blagovich. (Connection, anyone?)
7. In Indiana, Evan Bayh won handily by a 62-37 margin. He had a warchest exceeding the entire amount left in the DSCC coffers for all the other Democrats combined. And he’s retiring. And, the GOP’s candidates each slaughter each of the Democratic potential candidates, and that’s if the Democrats can even convince one of their House reps to give up their seat (which would mean also a GOP pick up in the House). The Democrats are so desperate they are turning perhaps to a singer guitarist for a celebrity candidacy.
8. In Hawaii, the Democrats have one of three Senators on whom I have not seen any polls, who is generally considered safe for reelection – Sen Inouye. While I respect the war hero and Medal of Honor recipient for his service, he would be 92 by the end of this term, should he be reelected. Given the wave of retirements, he might have trouble mounting much of a campaign effort at all should a conservative get in the race. What if we could get a Laura Lingle to run for the seat?
9. Barbara Mikulski – elected in 04 with 64.8% of the vote would be 80 years old at the end of the term should she be reelected. And, she was a big supporter of the NASA program that Obama just axed. Its gotta sting if your pet program is the only program cut in the midst of the largest spending binge in history by your own party’s President. Though I cannot find any credible sources substantiating rumors she is considering retirement, it may not be so far fetched to see her pull an Evan Bayh. And, while 64.8% is good, and it is MD, 64.8% is not untouchable, especially in a year like this.
10. NV – Harry Reid was elected with 61.1% in 04 and now is trailing by double digits against two strong conservatives. He is not breaking 40 in polls, even though he is the Senate Majority leader. His best hope at this point looks to be hoping a Tea Party candidate may split the conservative vote. Fairly shaky ground.
11. NY – Chuck Schumer, elected by a 71-24 margin last time is now polling under 50% and may draw an excellent opposition candidate in Larry Kudlow.
12. Also in NY, the appointed Gillibrand runs for reelection first in what promises to be a bruising primary with Harold Ford and then against a yet unknown GOP candidate, with several promising options. She too is polling below 50%.
13. In ND, Byron Dorgan was reelected with a whopping 68% of the vote, and was polling so badly he refused to run for reelection. Even Democrats concede that Gov. Hoeven has a cakewalk to the seat.
14. In OR, Ron Wyden was reelected with 63.4% of the vote, but is now polling under 50% and looks potentially vulnerable.
15. Turncoat Arlen Specter, after a bruising primary with Joe Sestak, looks poised to get slaughtered by Pat Toomey.
16. In Washington, Patty Murray looks like she would lose if Dino Rossi runs against her, and she is polling below 50% anyways.
17. In Wisconsin, Russ Feingold is polling below 50% and looks particularly vulnerable to a Tommy Thompson candidacy, should it materialize.
18. Last, in VT, Patrick Leahy won with 70.6% of the vote. He appears safe at the moment, but he borders the state where Scott Brown just won. His electorate in VT seem an awful lot like Scott Brown’s base. He’s not running against Scott Brown, but whose to say a similar candidate supported by Brown there would not succeed? Brown might feel a bit more secure not being the only individual in the region with a (R) next to his name.