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The Washington Post's 'The Fix' on 10 Senate races to watch……..

10. Pennsylvania (Democratic-controlled): Democrats barely talk about this race, believing that no matter what happens in the May primary fight — and we do mean fight — between party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter and Rep. Joe Sestak they will hold the seat in November. And yet, polls continue to show former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) running very competitively against either Democrat, not to mention the fact that Toomey’s citizen legislator profile — he left Congress after three terms due to a self imposed term limit — could play very nicely in this sort of outsider environment. Toomey’s voting record, however, will be mined by Democrats to cast him as more conservative than the state’s average voter. (Previous ranking: 10)

9. Illinois (D): The two parties will pick their nominees to replace retiring Sen. Roland Burris (D) on Tuesday. Rep. Mark Kirk is the strong favorite on the Republican side while state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is favored to claim the Democratic nod although his family’s bank remains in the news (and not in a good way) and could hand some momentum to his opponents — particularly former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman — in the final days of the race. Republicans are salivating about the prospect of Giannoulias in a general election but he will benefit from the Democratic lean of the state. (Previous ranking: 9)

8. Ohio (Republican-controlled): Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher’s (D) campaign has been something short of impressive. The latest disappointment? Fisher collected just $780,000 in the final three months of 2009, a sum almost half that of former Rep. Rob Portman’s (R) $1.4 million raised over the same time period. Fisher’s campaign did not release his cash-on-hand number — never a good sign — but at the end of September he had $1.6 million in the bank; Portman showed a whopping $6 million in his campaign warchest at the end of the year. Portman’s ties to the Bush Administration — particularly his stint as U.S. Trade Representative — will not play well in Ohio but the political climate in the state has turned against Democrats of late as evidenced by the erosion of Gov. Ted Strickland’s (D) numbers. (Previous ranking: 6)

7. Missouri (R): Neither Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) nor Rep. Roy Blunt (R) has the right resume for this sort of election. While Carnahan has never worked held office in Washington — a major plus — she is part of the first family of Missouri politics, a fact that voters wary of dynastic politics may not like. Blunt, for his part, spent years in House Republican leadership during the Bush years, which won’t play well at all with voters looking to shake up the status quo. Polling suggests the race is close and everything we hear anecdotally agrees with that sentiment. Carnahan is the better natural candidate but Blunt looks likely to benefit from a wind at his back. (Previous ranking: 4)

6. Colorado (D): Of the five appointed Senators on the Democratic side, Michael Bennet (D) clearly has the best profile to win in this sort of anti-incumbent election. Prior to being picked for the office by retiring Gov. Bill Ritter (D), Bennet had never held elected office before and was an unknown statewide. Since his selection, Bennet has done an admirable job of moving around the state and, as importantly, raising money. He raised nearly $1.2 million in the final three months of last year, more than doubling the total of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, the Republican favorite. But, Bennet still has a tough path to victory in November. Former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff looks like he is staying in the primary against Bennet and a recent poll showed Norton and Bennet in a dead heat. (Previous ranking: Eight)

5. New Hampshire (R): It’s now clear that former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has a real fight on her hands for the Republican nomination. Businessman Bill Binnie has already given himself more than $1 million for the campaign and 1996 gubernatorial nominee Ovide Lamontagne is lining up endorsements from national conservatives like Steve Forbes. Ayotte, meanwhile, posted a less-than-overwhelming fourth quarter of fundraising even as her campaign released a survey showing her far ahead in the primary. Rep. Paul Hodes (D) continues to collect cash — $1.4 million on hand at the end of the year — and enjoy his lack of a primary. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Arkansas (D): While the rumors that Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) would step aside this week weren’t true, the very fact that they weren’t dismissed out of hand by the political smart set suggests the dire straits facing the Arkansas Democrat. Recent polling shows her losing to two little known state Senators — Gilbert Baker and Jim Holt — and it seem almost certain that 3rd district Rep. John Boozman, sensing opportunity, is going to get into the race as well. Lincoln insiders insist she is ready for a fight but her best hope is that the Republican field stays crowded and forces the eventual nominee to take his eye off of Lincoln. (Previous ranking: 7)

3. Nevada (D): Another month and another set of polls that suggest that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in deep trouble in his re-election bid. While the Republican field against Reid is no great shakes — Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki (R) is now considering a bid — it probably won’t matter given that voters appear to have decided they want anyone other than the Nevada Democrat representing them. Reid, who ended 2009 with nearly $9 million in the bank, will have near-limitless resources to make his case to the state’s voters but what case can he make? His early ads have attempted to reinforce his position of power in Washington but haven’t moved numbers — perhaps because the state’s voters know he is powerful but still don’t want to vote for him. (Previous ranking: 2)

2. Delaware (D): Beau Biden’s surprising decision not to run makes this a very hard hold for Democrats. Castle has been in statewide elected office in the First State since 1980(!) and has long had a reputation as the sort of moderate that the Democratic-leaning state is comfortable voting for. While Democrats plan to use Castle’s long tenure and voting record against him — a smart strategy in this environment — there is likely going to be a significant stature gap between Castle and Newcastle County Executive Chris Coons, the likely Democratic nominee. (Previous ranking: 3)

1. North Dakota (D): Dorgan’s retirement coupled with Gov. John Hoeven’s (R) decision to run makes this seat as close to a sure-thing pickup for Republicans as you will see at the Senate level. Democrats seem to like former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp and, if she runs, she will give them a credible alternative to Hoeven. But, make no mistake: This is Hoeven’s race to lose. (Previous ranking: N/A)

How would you rank the top 10 Senate races on the Fix’s Line?
10. Pennsylvania (Democratic-controlled)
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9. Illinois (D)
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8. Ohio (Republican-controlled)
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7. Missouri (R)
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6. Colorado (D)
Move Down Move Up
5. New Hampshire (R)
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4. Arkansas (D)
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3. Nevada (D)
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2. Delaware (D)
Move Down Move Up
1. North Dakota (D)
Move Up
This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

January 29, 2010 - Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Media, Men, Politics, Polls, Updates, Women | , ,


  1. Fantastic James,

    Thank You very much.

    Comment by Merlin | January 29, 2010 | Reply

    • no problem…please get back to me on the back channel…..

      Comment by jamesb101 | January 29, 2010 | Reply

  2. NV-SEN,

    Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki (R-NV) strongly hinting at a run against Reid.


    Comment by Merlin | January 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. Merlin, my Senate predictions:

    GOP picks-up
    1. Delaware (open)-with US Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE).
    2. North Dakota (open)-with Governor John Hoeven (R).
    3. Nevada-with Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki (R) if he runs.

    Democrats pick-up:
    1. Missouri-with MO Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D).
    2. Ohio-with LG Lee Fisher (D) or OH Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D).
    3. New Hampshire-with US Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH).

    Likely Senate outlook in 2011:
    58 Democrats
    42 Republicans

    Comment by Conservative Democrat | January 29, 2010 | Reply

    • We’ll get Arkansas & Colorado as well.

      No one can beat Boozman. Democrats in AR must hope that Halter runs or Lincoln retires and Clark or Beebe runs otherwise this Seat is gone

      In Colorado Hickenlooper will not safe Bennet.

      Comment by Merlin | January 29, 2010 | Reply

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