October 23, 2002
ROTISSERIE POLITICS:Seesaw Races Grip the Senate Of 34 seats on ballots this fall, the GOP is defending 20; the Democrats, 14. A handful may decide control of the chamber. (Ronald Brownstein, October 21 2002, LA Times)
In the seven races considered the most competitive, five remain too close to call: Republican-held seats in Colorado and New Hampshire, and Democrat-held seats in Missouri, Minnesota and South Dakota. Democrats are slightly favored to hold on to a seat in New Jersey and capture a GOP seat in Arkansas.
Republicans need a net gain of only one seat to win control of the Senate. With so many races so tight, small changes in the national environment could loom large. Over the last six weeks, Republicans benefited from an increased focus on national security issues generated by the debate over a possible war with Iraq. But that advantage may have peaked too soon.
Even some GOP strategists worry that the campaign focus over the final two weeks may revert toward the economy -- and trigger the traditional
voter inclination to punish the party holding the White House for hard times. "It would be better if the election was this Tuesday," one top GOP strategist said.
Here are the seats that seem at least mildly competitive:
Republican Seats (*denotes incumbent)
NH: Shaheen (D) vs. Sununu (R)
CO: Strickland (D) vs. *Allard (R)
TX: Kirk (D) vs. Cornyn (R)
NC: Bowles (D) vs. Dole (R)
SC: Sanders (D) vs. Graham (R)
AR: Pryor (D) vs. *Hutchinson (R)
NJ: Lautenberg (D) vs. Forrester (R)
GA: *Cleland (D) vs. Chambliss (R)
IA: *Harkin (D) vs. Ganske (R)
MO: *Carnahan (D) vs. Talent (R)
LA: *Landrieu (D) vs. the field (R)
MN: *Wellstone (D) vs. Coleman (R)
SD: *Johnson (D) vs. Thune (R)
Here are my predictions:
Posted by Orrin Judd at October 23, 2002 11:59 AM