More on Minnesota
According to the Minnesota secretary of state, Democrat Al Franken
has taken the lead in the Senate recount race against incumbent
Norm Coleman (R-MN) by
with 95.3% of the precincts recounted.
However, this lead should be taken with a grain of salt as the remaining
counties are heavily Republican and Coleman could easily catch up
as their tallies come in. There are also about 6000 challenges to
votes and a fight over the absentee ballots is looming as well.
Chambliss Defeats Martin in Georgia
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Democrat Jim Martin in their
runoff yesterday so Chambliss will retain his seat in the Senate.
He got 57% of the vote to Martin's 43%.
The only way for the Democrats to get to 60 seats in the Senate now
is for Franken to win and for Obama to appoint to his cabinet
a Republican senator from a state with a Democratic governor, such
as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). However, if Franken wins, the Democrats
will have 59 seats, so every single Republican senator will be
able to threaten Mitch McConnell with defecting on cloture votes
unless McConnell does the senator's bidding.
If Coleman wins, McConnell will have a bit more breathing room.
Nevertheless, cloture votes rarely go entirely along party lines and majority leader
Harry Reid will be able to offer Republican senators various goodies to defect
whereas McConnell has little to offer.
Mel Martinez Will Not Seek Reelection in 2010
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) has
that he will not seek reelection in 2010. He is the second Republican
senator to announce his retirement already.
The Martinez announcement is very significant and instantly puts the
seat in play. There will certainly be primaries for both parties as
Florida is a swing state and both parties have a shot at winning the seat.
Former governor Jeb Bush (R) is probably the strongest candidate for
the Republicans, but it is not known if he wants the job.
The state's chief financial officer, Alex Sink, is a potentially strong
Democratic candidate, but there are also a large number of members of
Congress who could run.
The other senator who is retiring is Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS).
Kansas is a sufficiently Republican state and the Democratic bench is so shallow
that the GOP will probably be able to hold this seat.
However, there are
in other states.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), who will be 80 in 2010 and who has cancer,
is likely to face a ferocious primary challenge from the right, which will soften him up
for the expected Democratic onslaught in this blue state. Hardball host Chris Matthews
is mulling a run as is Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA). While Matthews has never held elective office,
Rendell has been elected governor twice, most recently (2006) by 20 points. He is an
experienced politician, having also served as mayor of Philadelphia for 8 years and would be
a formiddable opponent.
Pennsylvania isn't the GOP's only problem. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) is seen as very vulnerable,
especially if DSCC chairman Bob Menendez can talk Gov. John Lynch (D-NH) into challenging Gregg.
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) will be 79 in 2010, has health issues and no money in the bank.
He might retire. Another possible retirement is Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who will be 76
The Democrats are in much better shape. One potential problem is California, where Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) might challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). But Boxer is popular
in the state and a prodigious fund raiser. California is a very blue state and Schwarzenegger
has never faced a top-tier opponent before. Taking out Boxer won't be easy.
In Connecticut, if Gov. Jodi Rell (R-CT) takes on Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Dodd might have to
sweat a bit, but he is a five-term incumbent in a blue state and he will be only 66 in 2010.
He will be a tough nut(meg) to crack.
VA-05 Recount Date Set
The recount in VA-05, where Democrat Tom Perriello defeated Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)
by 745 votes is
It is hoped that it can be completed in one day.
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