News from the Votemaster
The bad news for Senate Republicans doesn't seem to stop. Friday, former governor Jeanne Shaheen (D) of New Hampshire announced she is running for the Senate against incumbent Sen. John Sununu (R-NH), who at 43 is the youngest member of the Senate. Shaheen was elected governor three times and then ran against Sununu for the Senate in 2002 and lost by 4%. However, a political tsunami hit New Hampshire in 2006, with Gov. John Lynch (D) being reelected by the largest margin in state history, two unknown Democrats knocking off incumbent Republicans for both of the state's House seats, and the Democrats capturing both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1874. In short, the influx of Boston yuppies into the southern part of the state is changing the prototypical New Hampshire voter from a crusty Yankee farmer to a young banker glued to his Blackberry. With this Demographic change, New Hampshire is starting to vote like the rest of New England and is becoming a blue state. Early polling shows Shaheen leading Sununu by 15-20%, hardly a good sign for an incumbent. At this point, the seat leans Democratic.
As if that weren't enough bad news for Republicans, on Friday, Bill Allen, former CEO of the oil services company VECO, testified in court that he spent $400,000 to bribe Alaska state legislators and did construction work on the home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the longest serving Republican senator in history. VECO is not in the construction business. Stevens maintains that he paid for the renovation work himself. The FBI spent a day in the house earlier this year looking for evidence for a possible criminal prosecution. Despite his age (he would be 92 at the end of another term) and the ethical issues swirling around him, Stevens is running for reelection, but if the Democrats can come up with a good candidate, this seat will definitely be in play. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), chairman of the DSCC, is trying to convince Anchorage mayor Mark Begich to run against Stevens. Schumer's main problem is Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chairman of the DCCC, who wants Begich to run against Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who also has serious ethical issues. Begich is probably the only person in the country actively being courted to run for both the House and the Senate, but of course, he can't do both. The deeper Stevens sinks into the ethical muck, the more likely Begich will heed Schumer and run for the Senate.
With the announcement of former governor Mark Warner (D) earlier this week that he is going to run for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. John Warner (R-VA), another solid Republican seat suddenly is leaning Democratic. When former senator Bob Kerrey (D) announces for the open seat being vacated by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Nebraska suddenly goes from solid Republican to highly contested (the other Nebraska senator, Ben Nelson, is a Democrat). With polls showing voters preferring a generic Democrat to a generic Republican by 50% to 32% it will take something of a miracle for the Republicans to retake the Senate in 2008.
Democrats also have excellent chances to pick up the open Senate seat in Colorado being vacated by retiring senator Wayne Allard (R-CO). The Republican nominee will probably be Bob Schaffer, who lost the 2004 Republican Senate primary, and Rep. Mark Udall (D).
Also in play are the following Republican Senate seats:
Maine where Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) will face Rep. Tom Allen and have to defend an unpopular war
Minnesota where Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) will face the winner of the Democratic primary
New Mexico where Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) is deeply involved in the U.S. attorneys scandal
Oregon where Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) will face off with popular state house speaker Jeff Merkley (D)
and maybe a few other states.
Democrats face serious challenges in only two states: Louisiana (where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) may face state treasurer John Kennedy who recently switched to the GOP) and South Dakota (where Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) is recovering from a stroke). If South Dakota governor Mike Rounds (R) declines to challenge Johnson, Johnson will probably hold the seat, meaning that the only Democratic seat surely in play is Landrieu's. Insiders are already talking about a Democratic pickup of 4-8 seats in the Senate and if the wind is blowing the right way, 60 Democratic seats is imaginable.
This page is the prototype for 2008. The data and map will refer to previous elections until serious polls begin in 2008. The blog will be updated when there is interesting news about the 2008 races.Preview of the 2008 races: President Senate House
This map shows the current governors. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
This map shows the current Senate. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
This map shows the current House. Put your mouse on a state for more information.
-- The Votemaster