June 2, 2005


Math Doesn't Add Up for a Democrat-Run Senate: The party needs to win seats in Bush territory for any realistic chance to retake the chamber. (Ronald Brownstein, May 31, 2005, LA Times)

Growing Republican dominance of Senate seats in states where George W. Bush has run best looms as the principal obstacle for Democrats hoping to retake the chamber in 2006 or beyond.

With the recent struggle over judicial nominations underscoring the stakes, the battle for Senate control could attract unprecedented levels of money and energy next year.

Democrats are optimistic about their chances of ousting GOP senators in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, states that voted for Democratic presidential candidates John F. Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000. But the Democrats are unlikely to regain a Senate majority — in 2006 or soon thereafter — unless they can reverse the GOP consolidation of Senate seats in states that have supported Bush. [...]

Twenty-nine states voted for Bush in 2000 and in 2004. Republicans now hold 44 of the 58 Senate seats in those so-called red states. That's a much higher percentage of in-party Senate seats than Presidents Reagan and Clinton were able to claim in states they carried twice.

More important, on the strength of those states alone, the GOP is on the brink of a majority in the 100-member Senate.

Democrats are just as strong in the states that voted for Kerry and Gore. But there are only 18 of those so-called blue states; Democrats hold 28 of those 36 Senate seats.

Republicans also hold four of the Senate seats in the three states that switched parties from 2000 to 2004 — New Mexico, New Hampshire and Iowa.

This distribution makes it virtually impossible for Democrats to regain a majority simply by defeating GOP senators from blue states, such as their two top targets for 2006 — Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania and Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.

The brutal reality for Democrats is that the natural breakdown of the Senate is roughly 60-40.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 2, 2005 2:00 PM

And they can have Rhode Island, especially if it means "Patches" Kennedy will be there. Then, at least, the Upper Left Washington can finally lose its honor of having provided the stupidest Senator.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at June 2, 2005 5:46 PM

Chaffee's a functional Democrat anyway.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 2, 2005 6:43 PM

chaffee is going to cost the nrsc quite a lot of dough, me thinks. he's a democrat's democrat.

Posted by: cjm at June 2, 2005 7:24 PM

CJM - let's hope the NRSC is smart enough to put the $ behind more conservative candidates before behind Chafee. And make Chafee come back onto the reservation a bit if he wants nrsc support.

Posted by: AWW at June 2, 2005 10:51 PM

chaffee is radioactive. he will have to go before anyone starts donating again. better to give directly to decent candidates. i know oj poo poos this issue, but i really believe that all the squishy senators will face real conservative candidates, or at least loyal republican candidates, in the primaries.

Posted by: cjm at June 3, 2005 7:11 PM

Specter dealt with it.

Posted by: oj at June 3, 2005 7:24 PM

how ?

Posted by: cjm at June 3, 2005 9:51 PM


Posted by: oj at June 3, 2005 9:54 PM