March 30, 2002


Pro-bush states viewed as key to control of Congress : Democrats target South, West races (Ronald Brownstein, Los Angeles Times, 3/30/2002)
The three Republican incumbents that Democrats consider most vulnerable all are running in states Bush won: Senators Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas, Bob Smith of New Hampshire, and Wayne Allard of Colorado. So are two of the three incumbent Democrats viewed as targets for defeat: Senators Jean Carnahan of Missouri and Tim Johnson of South Dakota. The one exception is Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, a state Gore narrowly carried.

Retirements are forcing the GOP to defend four open Senate seats, which could lead to Democratic gains. But all those seats are in Southern states Bush won handily: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

In all, of the 20 Senate seats Republicans must defend this year, 17 are in states Bush carried (the exceptions are Maine, New Mexico, and Oregon.) Democrats are defending only 14 seats, but half of those are in pro-Bush states.

The trend isn't as pronounced in the House. But the largest concentration of Democratic opportunities may be in states that supported Bush.

You'd think the GOP would have learned the lesson of the Contract with America : put together about five popular issues that they haven't won on yet (private Social Security accounts, etc.) and turn it into a national election with, in effect, a popular wartime President leading the ticket. Not only might they keep the House and maybe (though not likely) take back the Senate but they'd have their agenda all laid out for next year. Posted by Orrin Judd at March 30, 2002 7:49 PM
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