November 29, 2004

NOT THAT THE BLUE SENATORS WILL HAVE A MUCH EASIER TIME:

For Democrats in red states, 2006 daunting (Amy Fagan, November 29, 2004, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Democratic senators in the states that President Bush won will face a tough road to re-election in 2006, Republicans say, with their sights set most eagerly on two Democrats named Nelson -- Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Bill Nelson of Florida. [...]

In Nebraska, Gov. Mike Johanns, a Republican, looks like Mr. Nelson's probable challenger for 2006, and Mr. Bush is expected to campaign on his behalf. In Florida, Republicans will be gunning for Mr. Nelson and hope to recruit a big name such as term-limited Gov. Jeb Bush to challenge him. [...]

Political analysts say Sens. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Kent Conrad of North Dakota could have problems too, depending on whom Republicans find to challenge them. [...]

Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia -- also a red-state Democrat up for re-election in 2006 -- will be re-elected if he chooses to run for a ninth term at age 88, analysts say. But if he retires, Democrats will have a headache trying to keep the seat in a state that gave Mr. Bush a 13-percentage-point triumph.


Karl Rove and Liddy Dole just need to recruit some good candidates and the GOP can get up over 60.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 29, 2004 11:43 AM
Comments

Yes, Rove and Dole have the winds on their backs, but I think the sailing will be tough:

Incumbency means a lot in small states, especially long-term incumbency. (Sure, it means less in the minority, but this is the Senate where every swing vote matters and is pampered. Byrd has to be the best example here.)

Many of the vulnerables are chameleons (the Dakotans, the remaining Southerners, e.g.) who can play liberal in DC and moderate at home, all in relative anonimity. (Sure, Daschle was defeated, but a lot of the national effort was focused there, and he was high visibility. Beating one per cycle may be all you can hope for?)

Recruiting the absolute best in each state can help, but this seems to happen only in the minority of states the GOP contests.

Posted by: Moe from NC at November 29, 2004 12:50 PM

Cleland, Carnahan, Toricelli, Wellstone...

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2004 12:59 PM

I am not counting on deaths or resignations in disgrace among Dem incumbents for 2006 (I would welcome the second, though). Cleland was the Daschle of 2002. Carnahan hardly qualified (in my book) as an incumbent. I give seniority (or lack-thereof) some weight. I would liken a Rossi (sadly, after the Dems steal the governorship from him in about four weeks) vs Cantwell, as more winnable than some of the Red State pick-ups being speculated.

But I hope you are right.

Posted by: Moe from NC at November 29, 2004 2:21 PM

I don't know anything about Mike Johanns, but Tom Osborne would beat Ben Nelson by 50 points. It'd be like an old Nebraska vs. Podunk State game.

Posted by: brian at November 29, 2004 2:30 PM

Brian:

Native Cornhuskers like me are keeping our fingers crossed...

Posted by: Matt Murphy at November 29, 2004 2:38 PM

Osborne sounds like he wants to be gov. instead.

Posted by: AML at November 30, 2004 11:47 AM
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