The Battle for the Senate

With  just over one month until election day,  we can safely say that Republicans will take back the House, barring some unfortunate strain of plague that only attacks Republicans running for office.  But what about the Senate?

After Christine O’Donnell’s upset primary victory in Delaware, some pundits, including this one, wrote off the chance of a GOP-controlled Senate.

That declaration may have been a bit premature.  While it is still an unlikely outcome, the GOP does have a chance to take back the upper house of America’s bicameral legislature.

Let’s take a look at the individual Senate races to get a better idea of the GOP’s chances in November:

  • Ohio:  Republican Rob Portman versus Dem Lee Fisher.  RCP average:  Portman up 11.8% with 50.6% to Fisher’s 38.8%.  Another GOP win, but not a pickup since Republicans already control that seat.
  • Washington:  Republican Dino Rossi versus Dem Patty Murray.  Ann Coulter called Murray a moron, in part because she has praised Osama bin LadenRCP average:  Murray up 4.7% with 50% of the vote to Rossi’s 45.3.  This is still a toss up but I think Rossi might be able to pull off an upset win.
  • Arkansas:  Republican John Boozman versus incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln.  Boozman has a 24 point advantage according to RealClearPolitics.  This is an easy pickup for the GOP.
  • North Dakota:  Republican Gov.  John Hoeven  versus Dem Tracy Potter.  Current Senator Byron Dorgan (D) decided to retire rather than face a difficult race.  Hoeven’s up by 43 according to the latest Rasmussen Reports surveyPickup for Republicans.
  • Colorado:  Ken Buck versus incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet.  Latest RCP average has Buck up by 3.4 points, 46.7% to Bennet’s 43.3%.  RCP calls it a toss up, but looking at Colorado’s history of swinging its Senate delegation back and forth from D to R, I rate this as a GOP pickup.
  • West Virginia:  Republican John Raese versus Governor Joe Manchin.  WV is an odd state, politically and otherwise.  The electorate tends to favor Democrats in Senate and Governors races, yet has recently been favoring Republicans for President.  Bush won the state in 2000 and 2004 and McCain won the state in 2008.  Despite Manchin’s high approval as Governor, they don’t want him in the Senate as a rubber stamp vote for the Obama agenda.  The RCP average has Raese up by 2.5 (47 to 44.5).  The race is a toss-up, but I think it’s a possible GOP pickup.
  • Connecticut:  Incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd and his shady mortgages decided to retire.  Thus, we get State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal versus businesswoman Linda McMahon.  Blumenthal, who exaggerated his Vietnam service, has a 4 point lead according to RCP.  But they call this one a toss up, especially since McMahon has shrunk Blumenthal’s lead from double digits to low single digits.  I rate this a toss up.  If McMahon can pull this one off, it would be a major coup for the GOP.
  • Wisconsin: Incumbent Senator Russ Feingold, one of the most liberal members of the Senate, was thought to be immune from defeat.  Then came Republican Ron Johnson, who turned a point-deficit for the Republicans into a surplus.  Johnson now leads by 8.4 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average.  This race leans GOP, which leads me to call this a likely Republican pick up.
  • Florida: The race in the Sunshine State has been interesting, to say the least.  Governor Christ, former Republican, is so pathetic that, to try and hold onto his small sliver of political relevance, he became an independent to avoid the primary challenge from Marco Rubio, who would have easily trounced the tan and white-haired Gov.  Now we have a three-way race between Crist, Rubio, and Kendrick Meek,  the unfortunate Democrat who no one is paying attention to.  RCP has Rubio up by 12.2, leading me to put this in the GOP column.  But since Republicans already control that seat it isn’t a pickup.  At least we’ll get to see Crist lose.
  • Alaska:  RINO Lisa Murkowski lost in the GOP primary.  Being that she comes from a family of sore losers, Ms. Murkowski has decided to mount a write-in campaign.  It will fail.  Alaskans are tired of her corrupt family.  Republican Joe Miller, leading in a Rasmussen Reports poll by 15 points, will easily defeat Murkowski and the Democrat who no one’s ever heard of.  Republicans will keep the seat.
  • California: Unfortunately Carly Fiorina will lose to incumbent Barbara Boxer.  That’s because over half of California voters are brain dead from all the medical marijuana.  Boxer leads by nearly 7 point in the RCP average.
  • Indiana:  Moderate Democrat Evan Bayh decided to not seek reelection.  He didn’t want to suffer the embarrassment of defeat.  Republican Dan Coats has a 16 point lead according to Rasmussen.  It’s a GOP pickup.
  • Illinois: Could Republicans get Obama’s seat?  Yes, since the Democrat in the race is a crook.  The RCP average has Republican Mark Kirk up by 1.6%.  Can Kirk pull off the win?  I say why the hell not?  GOP Pickup.
  • New York:  Kirsten Gillibrand, the hottest member of the Senate, is facing a challenge from the father of American Idol’s Kara DioGuardi.  Joe DioGuardi, a former Congressman,  trails Gillibrand by 10.8.  Like California, New York is 55% braindead.  It’s like the blind leading the blind (that’s a Governor Paterson joke).  All joking aside, the Dems will hold onto this seat.
  • Delaware: After the upset primary victory of Christine O’Donnell, many on the right (and left) said  the Dems would keep Joe Biden’s Senate seat.  Chris Coons, the Dem, is a pretty incompetent candidate, yet the media have been having a field day with video of O’Donnell saying silly things on a late night talk show.  The Democrat will win, since he’s currently up by 15.7 in the RCP average.
  • Nevada:  Oh, Harry Reid.  What a sad, sad, man.  Why not retire while you still have some dignity?  The race in Nevada is a toss up, with Reid leading by just one point in the most recent Rasmussen poll.  I think Sharron Angle, the Republican, can pull this one off.  But it will be difficult, especially since Harry Reid has eeked out a narrow victory before.  As much as I want to call this a GOP pickup, it is too close to call.

Other races that will remain in GOP hands include Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Louisiana, and North Carolina.  Democrats will keep Oregon.  The only interesting race in that bunch is in Kentucky, with Ron Paul’s ophthalmologist son, Rand, leading the Democrat, Jack Conway, by 11 points according to Rasmussen.

So can the GOP take back the Senate?  While it is still unlikely, my own analysis shows that Republicans should pick up at least five seats, with the possibility of getting ten or more.  To win back the Senate, they need to turn their 41 seat minority into a 51 seat majority.  Not an easy thing to do, even with the gross incompetence of the Democrats in Congress and the White House.

Even before the Delaware primary, it seemed unlikely that Republicans would win back the Senate.  Even if they don’t, the Senate will be dramatically transformed by the infusion of new GOP blood, some from tea-party backed candidates.  With Republicans in control of the House, President Obama and the Senate Majority Leader (most likely NY’s Chuck Schumer if Reid loses) will have to cooperate with Republicans.

And at least Nancy Pelosi won’t get to bang her stupid gavel anymore.

For more insightful commentary from Josh Kaib, visit his blog at or listen to his internet talk radio show at

About Josh Kaib

Josh Kaib, a junior at American University, is President of AU College Republicans.
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