November 3, 2004

60 IN '06:

Well, election 2004 was nothing but fun, but we can't dwell in the past--it's time to look at the 2006 Senate races. Here are the seats that seem most likely to experience turnover, of one kind or another, between now and the end of Election Day 2006 (ranked by order of likelihood that the person holding the seat will not sit in the next Congress, for reasons of retirement at the end of this coming term, party switching, resignation to take another job, or for illness or death, or losing outright in the next election):

First the Democrats:

Robert Byrd West Virginia (born November 20, 1917)
Jon Corzine New Jersey
Ted Kennedy Massachusetts (born February 22, 1932)

Paul Sarbanes Maryland (born February 3, 1933)

Daniel Akaka Hawaii (born September 11, 1924)

Ben Nelson Nebraska
Maria Cantwell Washington
Joe Lieberman Connecticut

Mark Dayton Minnesota
Bill Nelson Florida
Debbie Stabenow Michigan
Hillary Clinton New York

Kent Conrad North Dakota
Tom Carper Delaware
Diane Feinstein California
Herbert Kohl Wisconsin
Jeff Bingaman New Mexico

Then the oddball:

Jim Jeffords Vermont

Then Republicans

Bill Frist Tennessee
Richard Lugar Indiana (born April 4, 1932)
Kay Bailey Hutchison Texas
Lincoln Chafee Rhode Island

Trent Lott Mississippi
Orrin Hatch Utah
Mike DeWine Ohio
George Allen Virginia
Olympia Snowe Maine
Jim Talent Missouri
Rick Santorum Santorum
Conrad Burns Montana
Jon Kyl Arizona
John Ensign Nevada
Craig Thomas Wyoming

The only Republican seat that's in any danger is Lincoln Chafee possibly switching parties or just deciding to get out of a job he seems not to like. Bill Frist has said he won't run, but the GOP is likely to hold the seat. Kay Bailey Hutchinson may run for Governor, but the GOP would definitely hold her seat. Richard Lugar wants to be Secretary of State, but they'd hold that seat too.

Jim Jeffords said he'd resign after this term, though he's also asked back into the GOP at least once before.

The Democrats though have a number of older men who may see no good reason to serve in the minority in the Senate for the rest of their lives. John Corzine will run for governor if McGreevey actually resigns, though it seems unwise to count on him to do the decent thing. Ben Nelson has been aggressively courted by Republicans and would seem a more comfortable fit there. And a number of the others are in Red states, not least Bill Nelson who could have Jeb Bush gunning for him.

All in all the prospects for the Republicans to push their total to 60 seem not inconsiderable.

Anybody got thoughts on the races--who might do what and who would run against them?

2000 Results

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2004 1:14 AM

You are evil to bring this up now. Couldn't you at least wait 12 hours?

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 3, 2004 1:25 AM

Lincoln Chafee is a RINO. Who needs him?

Posted by: Vince at November 3, 2004 1:25 AM

It looks as though Mel Martinez and Ken Salazar will win their Senate seats. Two hispanics in the Senate would be very significant.

Posted by: Vince at November 3, 2004 1:48 AM

Rick Santorum has to be at least at risk. I mean, maybe he keeps winning, a la Sen. Helms, but I just can't see him coasting to victory.

Posted by: John Thacker at November 3, 2004 1:48 AM

Dayton is toast. I hope he's not institutionalized before he can be defeated.

Posted by: JAB at November 3, 2004 1:48 AM

Richard Lugar will never be Secy. of State. He doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 3, 2004 1:54 AM

"The only Republican seat that's in any danger is Lincoln Chafee possibly switching parties or just deciding to get out of a job he seems not to like."

Why on Earth would a Republican switch parties in this situation? It's not like the Democrats could offer him anything, the way they could to Jeffords. Retiring, on the other hand, I can see.

Posted by: Bill Woods at November 3, 2004 3:50 AM


Because he's a flake.

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2004 7:25 AM

"Well, election 2004 was nothing but fun, but we can't dwell in the past."

Orrin, you are most definitely sui generis. I realize, of course, there is a civilization to be saved, but don't we even get time off for a champagne breakfast?

Posted by: Peter B at November 3, 2004 7:26 AM


Thinking like that got us Barbara Boxer back for 6 more years....

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2004 8:20 AM


Mmmm, and no doubt you already have the whole Red Sox strategy for 2005 mapped out. By the way, hearty congratulations!

Posted by: Peter B at November 3, 2004 8:27 AM


The year Darwin fell, the Red Sox won and W Stands for Whoopass can hardy get much better.

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2004 8:34 AM

I'm with OJ!

No rest, right back into the breach.

All joking aside, this is what Soros, the NEA, CBS & the DNC are working on at this moment.

It is their relentlessness that keeps them in the game.

RE: 2006, OJ...

What about the "off year election" problem, combined with a governing majority? Doesn't this favor the Dems, at least mechanically.

Posted by: BB at November 3, 2004 9:45 AM


theoretically the '02 midterm favored Democrats and no President since L:BJ added to both congressional majorities during his re-election.

The nation is being transformed back to a GOP permanent majority after the 70 year FDR interlude. There are many seats left for Republicans to add.

Posted by: oj at November 3, 2004 9:51 AM

FWIW, Sen. Carper of Delaware is pretty safe if he chooses to stay. He'll be 59 in 2006, he's won 11 statewide elections (including two for governor) and there are no Republicans with the statewide stature to take him down, except for (maybe) our lone Congressman, the RINO Mike Castle. Castle could, but almost certainly won't.

With the exception of Castle (also a former two-term governor), who won reelection with 69% over a token (nutball) challenger, the Democrats ran the table in Delaware last night. Kerry won handily. They reelected the Dem. governor (the GOP challenger ran 4000 votes behind Pres. Bush) and lieutenant governor and won the insurance commissioner spot vacated by a retiring Republican. They gained three seats in the state house (one of them by less than 30 votes out of 10,000 cast) and won every county office and county council seat in New Castle County.

In '06, we need to find credible candidates for attorney general (currently R, but won narrowly last time, will probably retire rather than run again, and widely regarded as a dim bulb), state auditor (currently R, probably will win reelection) and state treasurer (currently D and quite a party-builder). The state senate has some good prospects -- when they redistricted after the 2002 elections, they arranged it so that all GOP senators plus some safe Dems would be up for reelection in '04. No seats changed hands yesterday and all the incumbents in '06 are Dems.

It's going to be very, very uphill for the GOP in Delaware. But hey, at least the rest of the country did all right, right?

Posted by: Random Lawyer at November 3, 2004 10:22 AM

Following up Random Lawyer, I'll also answer the question asked. Sarbanes is old, and virtually a nonentity--he pokes his head up every six years, and maybe twice in between, Sarbanes-Oxley being one of the few times. In fact, he may be one of the few who can rival Kerry for lack of effectiveness in the Senate, not even holding hearings on outrages perpetrated by right-wingers across the world (don't know his record on introducing dolphin-appreciation resolutions, however).

In any case, much of the scuttlebutt has been that Democrats Doug Duncan, 3 or 4 term executive of Montgomery County (very competent, generally mainstream--read "sane"--Democrat), and Martin O'Malley, whining pretty-boy (liberal) mayor of Baltimore, would reach a consensus and a "ticket" of sorts--one, probably Duncan--running for Senate, and one--O'Malley, obviously--running for Governor. Recent polls show O'Malley has the advantage statewide, over both Duncan (16 pts) and Governor Ehrlich (9 pts.). That could be pretty compelling for an awful lot of people.

As an aside, I think Ehrlich is in big trouble. Results last night across the state, in Mikulski's race as well as the presidential race, aren't remotely encouraging for him--the last numbers I saw had Bush losing Baltimore County, which was the better part of Ehrlich's old congressional district.

I'd think two wild cards are Ike Leggett, former chair of the Montgomery County Council and recently resigned as head of the MD Democratic party, and Wayne Curry, former County Exec of Prince George's County, the wealthiest majority-black county in the country. Both are black, both, I think, would like to get back into the game, and I don't think either has a shot at the gubernatorial race. Both will likely be touted as running mates for O'Malley; Leggett would probably take it. Curry probably wouldn't, and could well end up running for the seat. I think he would make a formidable candidate--he's one of the most impressive politicos I've met, of any race.

On the R side, well, there's only State Senator EJ Pipkin, who ousted a long-term Eastern Shore committee chairman two years ago, but who just lost two to one against Sen. Mikulski. I have no doubt that was fully expected, and that he was running just to boost statewide name recognition. But he'd have to give up his seat to run, I believe, and he has little chance of winning against any of the above-mentioned guys. Other than Pipkin, there's no one else--hard to see Rep. Gilchrest giving up his seat to run, but he's getting older so maybe he would take the risk.

The Republican bench is extraordinarily thin. There's Pipkin, Lt. Gov. Steele, and...well, there's Pipkin and Steele. Ehrlich was very lucky--the electorate was ready for a change after the awful Glendening years and Townsend was absolutely atrocious as a candidate and as everything else. I fear Ehrlich was a one every thirty-year chance (after Agnew), and things in Maryland will revert to normal in 2006, including Democratic sweeps of everything but two of the eight congressional districts.

Posted by: jsmith at November 3, 2004 11:35 PM

Frist can honor his pledge to run in 06 and line up for 08. Chenny steps down on 1/4/07 (Doctors orders) Frist is made VP and takkes over the Rove machinery and has about a year running head start.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 4, 2004 1:36 AM


Excellent, thanks.

Bush & Rove could nearly run Steele's campaign for him, they're so close to MD

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 8:28 AM