November 9, 2002
THE BIG 6-0:GOP Appears to Have Big Mo' for 2004 (Chris Cillizza and Josh Kurtz, November 07, 2002, Roll Call)
As Democrats sifted through the rubble of Tuesday night's historic vote, strategists on both sides of the aisle warned of the potentially dire implications for the minority party in election cycles to come.
Aside from the likely momentum for the Bush agenda, the Democrats' defeat could also demoralize their Senators and House Members, especially those contemplating retirement in 2004.
Leading that list is Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.), who will lose the chairmanship of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee when the Senate reconvenes. Hollings, who will be 82 years old on Election Day 2004, is likely to be challenged by Rep. Joe Wilson (R) in the event he runs for re-election.
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who will be 80 in November 2004, may also be more inclined to retire from the minority than he would have been had Democrats held the majority.
Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.), who seems likely to bear the brunt of the blame for the loss of Senate control, is also now being mentioned as a possible retiree. If Daschle steps down, expect Rep. John Thune (R), who appears to have lost his race to Sen.Tim Johnson (D) on Tuesday, and attorney Stephanie Herseth( D), who was defeated narrowly by Gov. Bill Janklow (R) for the state's at-large House seat, to emerge as the nominees for Daschle's seat in 2004.
Republicans appear to have an advantage on the Senate playing field at the start of the '04 cycle. Democrats must defend 19 seats, compared to 15 for the Republicans. At this early stage, only Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) is thought to be particularly vulnerable on the GOP side.
It is entirely feasible that--if Saddam is gone from power and the economy is revived in '04--George W. Bush could carry in a filibuster-proof majority of 60+ GOP senators. Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2002 8:24 AM