2004 Senate Potential Retirements Graham,

2004 Senate

Potential Retirements
Graham, Bob – (D – FL)
Grassley, Chuck – (R – IA)
Hollings, Ernest – (D – SC)
Inouye, Daniel – (D – HI)
Miller, Zell – (D – GA)
McCain, John – (R – AZ)

Long story short, next cycle is going to be tough in the Senate. 3 potential retirees in the South–all of which would be hard to keep-though Florida is certainly possible. Regardless of what the Democrats do if any of those three stick around those move to safe. If Grassley retires that is a competitive seat with potentially Ganske or Vilsack in the forefront to take it. Grassley stay and it is safe. He beat a very nice guy, but horrible candidate in David Osterberg with 68% of the vote. Arizone is also competitive if McCain steps down, but safe if he stays (assuming he isn’t primaried).

Sure Things:
Bayh, Evan – (D – IN)
Bennett, Robert – (R – UT)
Breaux, John – (D – LA)
Bunning, Jim – (R – KY)
Campbell, Ben – (R – CO)
Crapo, Michael – (R – ID)
Daschle, Thomas – (D – SD)
Dodd, Christopher – (D – CT)
Dorgan, Byron – (D – ND)
Gregg, Judd – (R – NH)
Leahy, Patrick – (D – VT)
Mikulski, Barbara – (D – MD)
Nickles, Don – (R – OK)
Reid, Harry – (D – NV)
Shelby, Richard – (R – AL)
Specter, Arlen – (R – PA)
Voinovich, George – (R – OH)

Of the seats that should be more and more vulnerable the North East only has two Republicans up and both should be safe. Gregg in conservative NH and Specter.

Not Sure, but probable
Bond, Christopher – (R – MO)
Brownback, Sam – (R – KS)
Edwards, John – (D – NC)
Murray, Patty – (D – WA)
Schumer, Charles – (D – NY)
Wyden, Ron – (D – OR)

If black support could be mobilized Bond could potentially be vulnerable, but I seriously doubt it. He is the more moderate of the Missouri Republicans and pretty safe with St. Louis County voters. Brownback I list as challengeable because of the great civil war going on in the Kansas Republican party. If he pisses off the moderates he might yet create a functioning Democratic Party in that state. Edwards seems pretty strong, but North Carolina is a tough state. There will be a challenge if he isn’t on the ticket.

Murray and Wyden are pretty well established in their states, but those states can always provide a challenge to Democrats. Strong candidates in either state could create a problem for either of them.

Schumer will be challenged, but save Pataki or Guiliani, he’ll win. He is already in the money race and doing well. Did I mention he is a street fighter? I think even Pataki would have a tough time with him in an increasingly liberal state. Schumer would have to break out the commercials that ask why a Senator from New York votes like a Senator from Mississippi. Guiliani throws it into a toss up.

Potentially Tight Fights
Boxer, Barbara – (D – CA)
Feingold, Russell – (D – WI)
Fitzgerald, Peter – (R – IL)
Lincoln, Blanche – (D – AR)

Alaska?Probable Republican, but possible fight with Ulmer

Feingold will face a tough race almost guaranteed. Of couse, if he wasn’t such an asshole this might be avoided. Then again, if he wasn’t an arrogant asshole, he wouldn’t be Russ Feingold. Arkansas is always tough and who knows, maybe Timmy wants another crack. I wish. She’ll face a challenger who may or may not be tough. Given the Arkansas GOP bent to the hard right she might escape a serious challenge.

Peter has trouble in his own party and may be primaried if he holds up O’Hare. Seriously. The great business leaders of Illinois will dump his ass if possible. If they don’t pursue a primary challenge (which he’ll probably win anyway), the great business interests will snuggle up to their new best friends in the Democratic Party, hide Carol Mosely Braun under a rock and pick a viable candidate in Chico, Hull, Obama, or Hynes. Unless she runs for Mayor of Chicago and then Daley will have her plowed under a big pile of snow. My sense is all, but Obama are slam dunks and even he’d have a good shot. Fitzgerald is moderate on some issues like the environment, but a true social conservative in a state trending moderate. He has pissed off the business interests in Illinois on a matter they don’t find funny–transportation. Good shot for a pick-up.

Oh where, oh where have you gone Paul Vallas? A damn shame. He could dismantle Peter.

Finally, Boxer in California. She is about as dumb as a post, but she fits California. The California GOP will try and field a strong candidate, but given their aversion to moderates, my guess is she won’t get that strong of an opponent. Put up Rod Dreier–yeah that is the ticket. Or maybe a Bill Simon redux? A Bill Riordan or other moderate Republican would have a good shot. The genius of California redistricting is that it pretty much culled the Republicans of moderates thus making a jump to state wide office really tough. Homogenous districts produce ideological incumbents and they don’t do well outside their districts. ]

Overall, it will be tough for Democrats to even keep the seats they now have. Between the potential retirements and those potentially vulnerable, Democrats have more exposure in the next cycle.

The Democratic Party needs to focus on the House. With growing support in the suburbs their best shot is to win there. The Senate is going to become tougher with a number of smaller population states out west and in the south trending Republican. Eventually South Dakota and North Dakota will go Republican as will single seats n Nebraska and Montana. Democrats will pick-up Midwestern and Northeastern seats eventually, but in the short run not many are available. Democrats should try for the Senate, but keep in mind where it is best supported.