Thursday, January 29, 2009

Democratic Senate 65

There's been a lot of bogus chatter about the Republicans making gains if the economy doesn't pick up by the 2010 elections.

But it's far more likely that the Democrats will be nudging toward 65 votes.

Think I'm kidding.

Here's the run-down.

There are currently 59 Democrats and 41 Republicans in the Senate if we include Al Franken from Minnesota. And yes, Minnesota has elected a comedian over their incumbent Republican.

But Republican Senators from Florida, Missouri, and Kansas have already declared that they're not running for re-election. Of those three states, Democrats are good bets in Florida and Missouri. The situation for Republicans in Florida is dire because none of the prominent Republicans want to run. A Democratic takeover would also be a good bet in Kansas if Gov. Kathleen Sebelius decided to run.

That gets up to 61 with a decent shot at 62.

There's also two Republicans who are thinking of following Trent Lott's example and quitting mid-term. There's noise about Judd Gregg of New Hampshire joining the Obama administration as Secretary of Commerce and being replaced by a Democratic governor. Likewise, Kay Bailey Hutchinson is thinking about running for governor of Texas and Democrats would have a decent chance of winning an election to replace her.

That makes it 62 with a shot at 64.

Finally, Jim Bunning of Kentucky is the Republican who's in most trouble for re-election in 2010. In fact, he has so little chance of being re-elected that Republican leader Mitch McConnell shouts "dead man walking" every time he sees Bunning in the hall.

The Democrats would need everything to go right to reach 65. But that's a lot more likely right now than any kind of Republican renaissance.

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