Thoughts on the 2006 senate races
It's been, what, almost a month? I figure I'd better post something or the legions of Vertebratiacs will lose all hope. So hmmm...what's in the news. I don't know if I've mentioned this on the ol' blog, but the wife and I are expecting our first child in December. His name will be M.V. Jr. (and yes, he is a boy). He's just now starting to kick. When not thinking about or talking about my future son, I've been busy updating various parts of modernvertebrate.com -- not the least of which is my most popular page, the one on the 2006 senate elections. I try to keep the page dry and free from too much opinion, but I need a place to vent. So here is my opinionated analysis: Best opportunities for GOP pick-ups 1. Minnesota 2. Maryland 3. Florida Tied for 4th: Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, Wisconsin The GOP reportedly had made Michigan, Washington and Nebraska its top targets for 2006, but I don't think those races will even be on the radar because the party hasn't been able to recruit top-tier candidates in any of those states. In MN, Kennedy is a relatively polished candidate. The DFL's best chance of holding the seat seems to be in Amy Klobuchar -- it will be very close. In Maryland, I don't really get why there aren't more Democratic candidates clamoring for this seat. This should be a three-ring circus, for goodness sake. Instead, the field is basically narrowed down to two candidates -- Mfume and Cardin -- who will have an equally tough time against Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. In Florida, Harris' name will attract attention and $$$, two things any challenger needs to be in serious contention. There is still the possibility big names could enter the races in Nebraska, Washington and Wisconsin, making them more competitive; In Michigan, Keith Butler's grassroots campaign could catch fire, but it's still a long shot. Best opportunities for Dem pick-ups 1. Ohio 2. Tennessee 3. Montana 4. Pennsylvania Tied for 5th: Missouri/Rhode Island/Virginia Given its long history of Republican domination and the recent eruption of related scandals, Ohio very much resembles the Illinois of 2002. Toss in a really good Democratic candidate like Rep. Tim Ryan or Paul Hackett, and DeWine is pretty much screwed. In TN, Ford may appear to be a longshot at this point, but then, so do all of the Republicans vying for the nomination. Of the candidates on both sides, Ford has the most star power, which like Harris in Florida, will bring media attention and cash to his campaign. Montana is probably the state the Democrats should focus on the most. Sen. Burns is beatable, but with the right candidate -- whether that's Tester, Morrison or someone else I don't know. A Democratic win here will make Montana a battleground state in 2008. In PA, Santorum is a polarizing figure in a very moderate state. However, he is a high-ranking member of the senate and national name -- and will be very difficult to beat. I think it was a big mistake for Casey to run for senator so soon after taking office as treasurer. Makes him look like a bit of a bounder, it does. Missouri, RI and Virginia are potentially competitive if big names enter the race -- but at this points, they are all pretty much long shots. Anyway, that's my two cents. Please, feel free to disagree in the comments.