Will the GOP Take the Senate?
By: Craig Chamberlain
Everyone is focused on the Presidential race and that’s to be expected. That’s the national race, that’s the big prize that will take up all the headlines on November the 7th. But conservatives need to remember that this election has two goals. Win the Presidency and get a majority in the Senate. Unless all of the federal government is under Republican control the Obama agenda will become permanently entrenched. If Obama wins reelection he’ll simply veto anything that lands on his desk. If the Democrats lose the Presidency but retain their majority in the Senate then they’ll simply kill any reform bills coming out of the House of Representatives. Polls show the Presidential race to be close, with Romney having a slight lead for now, but what about the Senate? Does the GOP have a chance there?
In North Dakota Democratic Senator Kent Conrad is retiring. GOP Congressman Rick Berg is challenging Heidi Heitkamp a former state Attorney General. Berg is not the most exciting candidate but North Dakota is a conservative state that Romney will win easily and the Democratic party isn’t too strong. Advantage GOP.
In Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson is running for his life after his “cornhusker kickback” blew up in his face. The Democrats, desperate to hold onto this seat, have called former Senator and Governor Bob Kerrey out of New York to get his old job back. The GOP nominated state legislator Debbie Fischer. The polls have Fischer with a wide lead over Kerrey. This looks like a pick up for the Republicans.
Montana’s Senate race features Senator John Tester running for his second term. His GOP opponent is Denny Rehberg the states at large Representative. Polls have consistently given Rehberg a 3-4 point lead. The race will be close but it looks like the GOP will pick up a seat here.
Missouri features Senator Clair McCaskill running fro reelection. Her opponent? Congressman Todd Akin, who has run such a stupid campaign one almost wonders whether he was a Democratic plant. His idiotic comments about “legitimate rape” his arrogant refusal to leave to race for an electable candidate have turned what would have been an easy win into certain defeat. McCaskill might not win by much, but she will win.
Wisconsin has been a political battleground for two years now. Scott Walker victory, the state Supreme Court races, the state Senate recall races, the Walker recall it’s been a bloody mess. Now through the US Senate race into the mix. Senator Herb Kohl is retiring which puts this seat into play for both parties. The GOP has called upon former Governor, and HHS secretary, Tommy Thompson to run for the Senate. His Democratic opponent is Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin. The Polls have shown a back and forth battle, but Baldwin might be too left wing for a state wide race especially against Thompson who is well known and well liked. The Democrats won’t be able to paint him as an extremist. The Republicans should win this one.
In Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is running for a second term and is facing state treasurer Josh Mandel. The polls have Mandel a few points down, but Brown is consistently under 50% so it’s going to come down to turnout and what the undecided voters do. This race is a toss up.
In what might be the closest Senate race in the country Virginia features former Governor Tim Kaine taking on former Governor and Senator George Allen to take the seat being vacated by Senator Jim Webb. The polls have this race as a dead heat. It’s going to come down to whether Romney or Obama carries Virginia and who is abler to get their voters to the polls. We might not know the winner of this race on election night. This one is a toss up.
Florida features Senator Bill Nelson, who is running for his third term, facing off against Congressman Connie Mack IV. Nelson has had good luck as a Senator. He’s never run in a bad year for Democrats and never really had to take on a strong opponent, until now. Nelson holds a small lead in the polls but is well below 50% it’s possible that he sneaks in for a third term, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him voted out. I give a slight edge to the GOP.
In Maine Senator Olympia Snowe is retiring after 3 terms in office. Independent Angus King, a former Governor, immediately announced his candidacy he is facing Charlie Summers the GOP Secretary of State, and Cynthia Hill a Democratic State Senator. King has a good lead in the polls and will win this race. He will caucus with the Democrats giving them a win here.
In any normal state Scott Brown would be cruising to reelection. But Massachusetts is not a normal state. A candidate so colorless, incompetent and dishonest as Elizabeth Warren shouldn’t have a chance, but in the Bay State having the “D” after your name is all that matters. The polls show this to be a close race, and Brown still could pull it off, but with Obama on the ticket it’s very likely that his coattails will drag her across the finish line. This one will most likely be a Democratic pickup.
A race that almost no one is talking about is the Connecticut Senate Race where Linda McMahon is taking on Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy. McMahon could win this one. She has learned a lot from her defeat in 2010, and this time she is facing a candidate that isn’t as well known. This race is a tossup, but could be a surprise GOP pickup.
In Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey is running for reelection against Tom Smith. Smith, a wealthy businessman, has narrowed the gap in the polls but is still trailing. Signs point to Casey getting reelected.
In Michigan Senator Debbie Stabbenow is running for a third term against former Congressman Pete Hoekstra. This will be Stabbenow’s first real challenge since she first won office in 2000. If Romney does well in Michigan there could be an upset, but as it stands now this race leans Democrat.
In New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman is retiring. The Democrats have nominated Congressman Martin Heinrich, and the GOP has turned to former Congresswoman Heather Wilson. Heinrich is way ahead in the polls. The Democrats are going to hold onto this seat.
Right now it looks like the GOP will have a net gain of 3 seats, which would put the Senate at a 50-50 split. So it all comes down to the toss up races in Ohio, Virginia, and Connecticut. If Romney has a very good night a few upsets like Pennsylvania and Michigan are not out of the question. So right now there are good odds that the GOP wins control of the Senate.