Looking Ahead - The New Senate Caucuses

The new Senate will obviously be more conservative than the old. I began with the idea that, while the Republican (Rep) caucus would be more conservative, the Democrat (Dem) caucus would be more liberal. But I found I could not justify that idea. What are the likely changes and what does it mean for the ideology of the Senate?

(Other Redstaters are far better qualified than I to opine as to the ideological purity [for want of a better phrase] of the Senators and candidates mentioned here. For my own interest and edification, I would welcome any corrections or amendments).

a. Democrats

Outgoing Replacement
Bayh, Evan (D-IN) Dan Coats
Bennet, Michael F. (D-CO) Ken Buck
Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT) Blumenthal [or McMahon]
Biden, Joe (D-DE) Coons [or O’Donnell]
Burris, Roland W. (D-IL) Mark Kirk
Dorgan, Byron L. (D-ND) John Hoeven
Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI) Ron Johnson
Lincoln, Blanche L. (D-AR) John Boozman
Murray, Patty (D-WA) Dino Rossi
Reid, Harry (D-NV) Sharon Angle
Specter, Arlen (D-PA) Pat Toomey
Harry Byrd (D-WV) John Raese
Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) Carly Fiorino
Kirsten Gillibrand [Joe DioGuardi]

    Safe: Inouye, Leahy, Mikulski, Schumer, Wyden.

There should not be much change in the ideological slant of the Dem caucus: Bayh and Lincoln are to the right of the Dem center, Burris (Obama), Feingold, Murray and Reid to the left, but not by as much. The rest of the outgoing Dems (or in 2 cases their likely Dem replacements) seem pretty much in the Dem center. (And so much the worse for the Dem center).

Of course, the Reps replacing Dems will be more conservative, in most cases much more conservative. My guess is that except for Buck, Angle and Toomey, the new Reps replacing Dems are near the current Rep center. But that’s a big “except”: three new solid conservative allies for Jim DeMint (and some others).

b. Republicans

Outgoing Replacement
Bennett, Robert F. (R-UT) Mike Lee
Bond, Christopher S. (R-MO) Roy Blunt
Bunning, Jim (R-KY) Rand Paul
Gregg, Judd (R-NH) Kelly Ayotte
LeMieux, George S. (R-FL) Marco Rubio
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) Joe Miller
Voinovich, George V. (R-OH) Rob Portman

Lee, Rubio, Portman, and Miller (if he hangs on) are much more conservative than the Reps they will replace. Paul is right of Bunning, but not by as much, and I don’t have an opinion as to Blunt vs. Bond or Ayotte vs. Judd.

There are eleven current Senators who receive an ACU rating of 99 or 100%. All will be returning. I would expect the 2010 elections to add six or seven to that number. If so, that’s a huge rightward shift.