Skip to comments.With Kerrey coming and Snowe going, Senate Dems confident (It's ALL about power)
Posted on 03/03/2012 12:42:50 PM PST by Libloather
With Kerrey coming and Snowe going, Senate Dems confident
By Alexander Bolton - 03/03/12 01:15 PM ET
Senate Democrats are buoyantly optimistic about keeping control of the upper chamber after developments this past week increased their chances of winning races in Maine and Nebraska.
They sought to capitalize on the new wave of optimism by blasting out a fundraising email Friday touting the seismic shift of the Senate electoral map.
This weeks entry of Democrat Bob Kerrey into the Nebraska race and surprise retirement of Republican Senator Olympia Snowe in Maine have completely changed the face of the 2012 map in favor of Democrats, Senate Democratic fundraisers wrote in their pitch.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) surprised her colleagues by announcing she would retire at the end of the year, opening up a seat in a Democratic-leaning state that Senate strategists did not view as in play.
Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) sent another gush of excitement though the Democratic caucus by declaring he would run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
Its very big, said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).
Conrad and his colleagues see their chances of keeping the majority next year as much improved now that they have a good shot at picking up Snowes seat and will force Republicans to pour money into a competitive race in Nebraska.
Its pretty different. Two seats were made competitive in one week, said Conrad.
No one had Maine on the radar screen and Nebraska would have been a tough seat to hold. It clearly has improved our chances of not only keeping the Senate but perhaps keeping it with a margin, said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
Brian Walsh, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Republicans still have a credible opportunity to flip the Senate.
No one on our side has ever said that winning back the majority would be easy, nor have we ever taken anything for granted, he said. But Senate Republicans are well positioned in a range of key races across the country and we still have a long way to go until November.
Walsh noted that Democrats were caught by surprise in 2010 when former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) lost to Tea Party-backed insurgent Ron Johnson.
Chuck Todd, the political director at NBC News, and his analytical team predict Democrats now have a better than 50/50 shot of keeping the Senate.
Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report, a non-partisan publication that handicaps congressional races, estimated the Democratic odds of success slightly lower.
She said Democrats have an even chance of keeping their majority. But she thinks their position has improved significantly from a week ago, when she gave Republicans a 60-percent chance of winning the majority.
J.B. Poersch, a senior strategist for Majority PAC, a super-PAC dedicated to helping Democrats retain Senate control, said Democrats would try to take advantage of shifting conventional wisdom to raise more money for competitive races.
It further increases their chances, Poersch said of Democratic efforts to beat back a GOP push to capture the upper chamber. I believed it before what happened last week but this only strengthened the argument.
Poersch said the Democratic base voters are now as enthusiastic as the GOP base, a parity that did not exist in November of 2010 when Republicans captured the House and picked up six Senate seats.
Republicans must pick up four seats to regain the majority if President Obama wins re-election because the vice-president casts the tie-breaking vote in the Senate and determines control in the event of a 50-50 split.
Republican strategists see their best opportunities to pick up seats in Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and Nebraska, despite Kerreys entry into the race. Each of those states leans Republican in presidential and congressional races.
Republican strategists argue that Nebraska has grown more conservative since Kerrey represented it in Congress in the 1990s.
As Nebraskans reacquaint themselves with Kerrey they will quickly recognize that living in Greenwich Village for so many years tends to change a person, Walsh said earlier in the week.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning (R), who is running in the Senate GOP primary, unveiled a statewide television ad on Friday criticizing Kerrey as a New York liberal who supports big government.
Kerrey served for a decade as president of The New School in New York City after leaving the Senate in 2001.
Republicans will argue that Kerrey, who recently moved back to Nebraska, is a carpetbagger but Democrats say the argument will have limited effect, pointing to Sen. Dan Coatss (R-Ind.) successful bid in 2010 after working for years as a lobbyist following his first Senate stint.
Democrats, however, view the recruitment of Kerrey as a big plus, even if he does not hold Nelsons seat, because it will force Republicans to spend more than they would have otherwise in the red state.
Democrats believe that forcing Republicans and GOP-allied third party groups to spend heavily in Pennsylvania and Missouri in 2010 races won by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) helped them keep the majority by diluting the Republican funding advantage.
Republicans acknowledge Kerrey, who ran for president in 1992, will be able to raise millions of dollars easily.
GOP strategists say the next tier of possible GOP pickups includes New Mexico, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin had been a reliably Democratic state in federal elections until Johnson shocked Feingold. Republicans think their chances are helped by the Democratic candidate, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D), one of the most liberal members of the Wisconsin delegation in the House.
The NRSC has hit Baldwin for supporting the 2010 healthcare reform law and highlighted a video a clip of her telling a crowd that she supported a government takeover of healthcare.
She is very liberal for the state, said a GOP aide, adding that centrist Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) would have been a more formidable general-election opponent.
Florida, Hawaii and Ohio form the third tier of possible GOP pickups, say GOP strategists.
Senate Democratic officials argue the possibility of a Senate GOP majority in 2013 has slipped significantly because they are now well-positioned to capture the seats belonging to Snowe and Sen. Scott Brown (R), who represents liberal Massachusetts.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee argues it can also beat Sen. Dean Heller (R) in Nevada and win the seats held by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.), who may lose in the GOP primary.
Democrats now have five strong opportunities to win Republican-held Senate seats, said DSCC communications director Matt Canter. From a political perspective, the Republican decision to focus on divisive social issues, like blocking access to contraception, only makes matters worse for them.
One Democratic strategist judged the chances of a Democratic pickup in Maine, a state trending more Democratic, at 70 percent.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), however, says that prediction is skewed and non-partisan experts are rating it a toss-up for now.
Its certainly no longer a sure bet for Republicans but I dont think its an easy pickup, Collins told reporters this week.
Snowe has once again screwed the right.
At lease I hope we won’t be hearing that name anymore.
She’ll probably be given a place in 0’ behind, if she doesn’t already.
I say Obama wins in November and Democrat power in Congress increases.
Dems defend 23 seats
Rs defend 10?
So I don’t think dems have any hope at keeping it.
By pure chance alone, Rs pick up 6 [rounding in Dem’s favor.] And the electorate is going to err toward throwing the bums out.
They talk a good game, and of course the media will hype that to high heaven.
They talked a good game in 2010 too.
Kerrey coming and Snowe going looks like an even deal for the Repub's IMO.
Good riddance to the socialist hag!
Is it so certain that Bob Kerrey will win if he runs again in Nebraska? I am not so certain.
Isn’t the GOP candidate a popular politician? And, Kerrey is now quite old and very liberal. Nebraska is NOT liberal and it is not likely to vote for Obama either.
I think the Democrats think they have come up with a “Hail Mary” pass here. With Democrats in a literal war against the RC church (which holds the Mother of Jesus in very high regard) I think using a “Hail Mary” pass is quite cynical and sacreligious. But what do I know?
And there we have it. Tea Party II - the resurgence? (I, fer sher, haven't moved towards the rookie Hussein.)
Dunno. Need updates about the socialists from the once proud state of Nebraska.
Why concede pre-emptively? You can’t win by talking down our prospects. In fact, doing so screams “loser” to the opposition.
I have no doubt that Republicans will win the Nebraska Senate seat. I don’t care what these establishment talking heads think. They are out of touch. McCaskill will lose in MO too. Obamacare will kill the Rat campaigns in MO and NE. Of course, I could be wrong if the GOP is dumb enough to put Romney at the top of the ticket.
Kerrey is damn near seventy years old. This is the best they can do?
Snowes leaving, who cares, she was a dem in GOP clothing. Yesterday she was jabbering about how there is no middle ground in the Senate these days. No one had the gonads to ask her who controls the senate so who should be moving to the center. Of course, not the the agenda.
Maine is a sub colony of Massachusettes and from my perspective in the South, if they both, along with New York, Conn, NJ, MD, Vermont and RI were given back to the king, I’d be for it 100%.
WHEW! I was about to give up on the breadbasket.
I think the rats are smoking loco weed.
Like you said, the dims need to defend 23 seats to the GOP’s 10, and in their view, this makes a rat Senate more likely? Must be the new math.
I live in Maine, and the handful of Republicans who want Snowe’s seat are not very well known. The rats have our previous two-term dim governor, John Baldacci, who will be the likely victor in November. First Congressional district
congress critter Chellie Pingree (D) may have a good shot, for no other reason than her husband is a billionaire Wall Street guy who could funnel massive amounts of cash into her campaign. As irritating as Snowe was on many votes, Chellie Pingree is a leftie’s leftie.
A conservative at the top of the ticket can sweep republicans into the senate: 1980 - 12 seats.
A moderate at the top of the ticket means close elections which means stolen elections: 2000 - 50/50 tie after Ashcroft’s loss, 2008, Merkely beating Smith in Oregon and Franken “beating” Coleman in MN.
Find me ONE T-Partier who's moved to the dark side. One. Then get back to me.
In fact, don’t we think our side is likely larger than ‘10...a landslide year of epic proportions ?
Nebraska has always been Republican and conservative, but the growth of Omaha has created a red-blue divide between the two cities of any size and the rest of the state. Nelson is reviled and Kerrey will not have much of a chance.
However, he played the entire state for fools with this head-fake announcement. The one potential candidate who could walk away with the seat is the popular Rep. Gov. Dave Heineman but he’s declined to run so far. The deadline for filing by incumbents passed in the interval from when Kerrey said no to when he reversed himself, so now the only choice Heineman has if he decides to run is to resign immediately as Gov. so that he can meet the non-incumbent filing deadline.
He was played like a fiddle by Mr. Kerrey, who belongs to a party where flip-flops are considered a resume enhancer.
Uh, thank-you very much, but I have no desire to be given back to the “king.” We’re already stuck living under one king, Barack Obama.
Southern Maine is more liberal than the northern half of the state. Also, it may surprise you to know that Maine, a mostly rural state, is Second Amendment country. Most Mainers have plenty of firearms in their homes, and gun ownership and respect for the Second Amendment is as strong here as it is in the rural parts of the southern states.
This state also has a great many veterans, and the number of National Guard per capita deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003 is one of the highest numbers of any state. Lots of flag wavers in this state.
Maine elected a TEA party conservative as governor in 2010, Paul LePage. Maine has one of the most conservative governors in America.
Also in 2010, the GOP won both the Maine Senate and the Maine House, a feat which hasn’t happened since the early 1960’s.
And we love NASCAR!
The reason Snowe and Collins keep getting re-elected is because of name recognition, and because the democrats run the most ultra-left moonbats against them. Snowe and Collins end up looking good in comparison to these lefties, even though their voting patterns in the Senate leave alot to be desired.
Granted, Maine has a long way to go, but except for the southern-most part of the state, we’re no Massachusetts.
I should add that Kerrey screwed-over a fellow Democrat — Chuck Hassebrook stepped into the race after Kerrey bowed out, giving up a University of Nebraska regent seat he’s held for nearly 18 years. Nice guy, Kerrey...
TB broke out in Atlanta, Rape tents went up everywhere. And the freeloader occupy 'movement' gets museums. Very strange.
Kerrey is anything but a shoo-in in Nebraska. He doesn’t have the support he once had. Bruning isn’t strong, but if the GOP gets behind him, it will be a close race. I’d call it even money at this point.
Rolling the dice. Very nice.
Who is running in Nebraska on the Republican side?
Thanks for the info. Any of them any good?
I’d be happy with any of them.
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