Electoral Vote Predictor 2004:
||New polls: CO
News from the Votemaster
Another poll (Rasmussen) in Colorado says the the race there is
tied. Could this possibly be true? Most experts thought Colorado was in
the bag for Bush. Let's wait for another poll before debagging it.
Although there is a new cartoon-of-the-week, that
is more for dessert than meat and potatoes, so in the absence of much news about the
presidential race, let's take a
look at the Senate. Currently 51 Senators are Republicans, 48 are Democrats,
and one (Sen. Jeffords of VT) is an independent who usually votes with the Democrats.
If the Democrats pick up one seat, the Senate will be effectively tied when Congress
convenes on Jan. 4, 2005. Under those circumstances, when the votes are taken
for organizing the Senate, Dick Cheney will cast the deciding vote and the
Republicans will take control.
However, if Kerry is elected president, he will (presumably?) have to resign
his Senate seat before noon on Jan. 20, in which case the Republicans will temporarily have
a 50 to 49 majority. Under a brand-new law that the Democrats
in the Massachusetts state legislature rammed through over the Republican
governor's veto, Kerry's successor will be chosen in a special election in
the Spring of 2005. That election will then determine control of the Senate.
Of course if Bush wins, the Democrats need a net gain of two seats to get control.
In this year's election, 19 seats currently held by Democrats and 15
seats currently held by Republicans are up for grabs. Not only do the
Democrats have to defend more seats, but five popular Southern Democratic Senators
are retiring. The Democrats face an uphill fight in all these states, which are
Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
South Dakota is also a battleground for the Senate.
In contrast, the Republicans face major battles in only three
states, Alaska, Colorado, and Illinois, but there might be upsets in
Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, or Missouri. The rest of the states look fairly safe for the incumbent.
The table below points out some of the more interesting races. Incumbents are marked
with asterisks. More information about the Senate races is given in
You might also want to look at the official propaganda from the
Democratic Senatorial committee and the
Republican Senatorial committee.
Information on House races is much harder to come by.
www.pollingreport.com has good coverage, including polls,
but only for paid subscribers.
The best freebie is
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball.
| When Sen. Frank Murkowski was elected governor in the middle
of his Senate term, he searched
far and wide over this vast state to find the best possible
successor. Turns out it was his daughter, Lisa. Not everyone
in normally Republican Alaska was thrilled by this, and when
former governor Tony Knowles got the Democratic nomination,
it became a real horse race.
| Republican Ben Nighthorse Campbell could have easily won a
third term but decided to retire from the Senate.
After a bruising primary battle, beer heir Pete Coors won
the Republican nomination over right-wing former
Congressman, Bob Schaffer. Colorado attorney general Ken
Salazar won an easy primary victory over a left-wing
teacher, Mike Miles. With each party fielding a moderate
nominee, it could go either way, although with 17% of the
electorate being Latino, Salazar's Latino heritage may help.
On the other hand, many Coloradans like beer.
Colorado is one of the
best chances the Democrats have to pick up one of the one or two
seats they need to recapture the Senate. And everybody knows
it. All the big guns will show up to help.
|| Not yet
| Not yet
|| Democratic Senator Bob Graham could have easily made an
entry in one of those little notebooks he carries around all day:
"Tuesday, 1:42 p.m.: Decided to get re-elected to Senate." But he didn't.
The primaries are Aug. 31. Former HUD secretary Mel Martinez and
former Congressman Bill McCollum are the leading Republicans.
Rep. Peter Deutch, Miami mayor Alex Penelas and education
commissioner Betty Castor are the leading Democrats.
| Democratic Senator Zell Miller decided to give up a safe seat and in
return the Republicans decided to let him nominate George Bush at the
RNC. Miller had previously said he should have switched to the
Republican party long ago since he usually votes with them, but he
was too old. It looks like the GOP is going to get an official
seat to replace the de facto one it had.
|With the retirement of Republican Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, JFK-clone
Jack Ryan, ex-husband of alien hottie Jeri Ryan, should have been a
shoo-in against a "skinny black kid with a funny name."
When Jeri told the press that Jack kept bugging her to do in public
what Bill Clinton caught hell for doing in private, the Republicans
dumped Ryan. After a desperate search, the best they could find was
a former right-wing radio host who lives in Maryland and has lost badly
the four times he has run for public office. He's never even lived in
Illinois. At least Hillary Clinton had the decency to buy a house in
New York before becoming a carpetbagger. Then the skinny black kid
became the star of the DNC. It's all over in Illinois and the
fat lady hasn't even put on her costume yet. The Dems pick up a GOP
seat here and some of them are dreaming of Edwards/Obama '12.
|| Veteran Democratic Senator John Breaux, a powerhouse behind the
scenes, decided to retire. Louisiana normally votes Republican
for the presidency, but currently both Senators and the governor
are Democrats, so they may hold this one. The race is complicated by Louisiana's
quaint view that politics should be kept out of politics, so the Senate election is
nonpartisan. Rep. Chris John, Rep. David Vitter, state treasurer John Kennedy, and
some minor candidates are all running without party affiliation in the Nov. 2 election. If
no candidate gets 50%, there will be a runoff election a few weeks later. Insiders
think it will be Chris John vs. David Vitter in a runoff, but anything can happen.
| Three-term Senator Christopher (Kit) Bond is the favorite, but
if Kerry has long coattails, state treasurer Nancy Farmer has a chance because
Bond has never gotten more than 53% in a Senate race.
| North Carolina
| Erskine Bowles ran against Liddy Dole in 2002 and lost, but he is
back again running for the seat Democrat John Edwards is retiring
from. The seat is cursed however. Since the legendary Sam Ervin retired in 1974,
no occupant has been elected to a second term. The Democrats have a good chance of
holding the seat, at least until the curse kicks in in 2010.
| Incumbent Harry Reid, the Democratic whip, won his race in 1998,
by 428 votes, less than Bush's margin in Florida. By all rights
he should be vulnerable, but the Republicans failed to field a
strong candidate, so Reid will probably get re-elected.
| Survey USA
| Republican Don Nickles retired from his safe seat.
Democratic Congressman Brad Carson is facing former
Republican Congressman Tom Coburn who won a bitter primary fight full of nasty allegations
about questionable land deals. This is a heavily Republican state, but Coburn has a
track record of saying reckless things he later tries to unsay. It could go either way.
| In theory, a four-term moderate Republican with the full support of
the President should have crushed his right-wing opponent, Pat
Toomey in the primary, but Spector barely squeaked by. If Kerry wins
Pennsylvania by a large enough margin, he may pull in Hoeffel on
his coattails. But without Kerry's help, Spector gets re-elected.
| South Carolina
| With Democrat Fritz Hollings retiring, the Republicans have their best
chance to pick up a Democratic seat in this conservative state.
Congressman Jim DeMint is favored to beat school superintendent
| South Dakota
| In the clubby Senate, having one party go after the jugular of
the other party's leader was Not Done. Until this year. The
Republicans have launched an all out effort to defeat Minority
Leader Tom Daschle in this heavily Republican state. However
it is worth noting that South Dakotans just elected an inexperienced
young Democratic woman, Stephanie Herseth, to Congress in a special
election on June 1. It could go either way.
So what's the bottom line?
Probably the Democrats will pick up Illinois but lose Georgia and South Carolina.
Assuming they hold South Dakota and Nevada and the Republicans hold Missouri and
Pennsylvania, the Senate will be 45 Democrats (including Jeffords) and 49 Republicans,
with tossups in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.
To take unambiguous control of the Senate, the Democrats have to win them all.
If they win five of the six and Kerry wins and the Democrats win the special
election in Massachusetts, they also take control of the Senate and John Edwards
gets a real job--breaking ties in the Senate. A tall order,
but not impossible. The Republicans have it much easier. They merely have to
win two of the six tossups. But November is a long way away. Anything can happen.
If you live in a state that is dark red or dark blue and feel disenfranchised,
take a second look. There might be an interesting Senate (or House) race near you.
Call the campaign of your choice and get involved.
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See the Welcome page for more details.
-- The votemaster