Thursday, November 11 2004
IT'S NEVER TOO SOON: I know we're all still recouping from last week, but for political junkies it's never too soon to sneak a peek at the next fix. Before we get to the races in 2006, remember that we will have Governor's races in New Jersey and Virginia on deck in 2005.

In 2006 there will be 36 Gubernatorial and 33 Senate races on the ballot. Here are the lists:

Gubernatorial Races (36)
State
Republicans (22)
State
Democrats (14)
AL
Riley
AZ
Napolitano
AK
Murkowski
IL
Blagojevich
AR
Trm Ltd/Open
IA
Vilsack
CA
Schwarzenegger
KS
Sebelius
CO
Trm Ltd/Open
ME
Baldacci
CT
Rell
MI
Granholm
FL
Trm Ltd/Open
NH*
Lynch
GA
Perdue
NM
Richardson
HI
Lingle
OK
Henry
ID
Trm Ltd/Open
OR
Kulongowski
MD
Ehrlich
PA
Rendell
MA
Romney
TN
Bredesen
MN
Pawlenty
WI
Doyle
NE
Trm Ltd/Open
WY
Freudenthal
NV
Trm Ltd/Open
   
NY
Pataki
   
OH
Trm Ltd/Open
   
RI
Carcieri
   
SC
Sanford
   
SD
Rounds
   
TX
Perry
   
VT*
Douglas
   
*Vermont & New Hampshire have two-year terms

Senate Races (33)
State
Republicans (15)
State
Democrats (17)
AZ
Kyl
CA
Feinstein
IN
Lugar
CT
Lieberman
ME
Snow
DE
Carper
MO
Talent
FL
Nelson
MS
Lott
HI
Akaka
MT
Burns
MD
Sarbanes
NV
Ensign
MA
Kennedy
OH
DeWine
MI
Stabenow
PA
Santorum
MN
Dayton
RI
Chafee
NE
Nelson
TN
Frist
NJ
Corzine
TX
Hutchinson
NM
Bingaman
UT
Hatch
NY
Clinton
VA
Allen
ND
Conrad
WY
Thomas
WA
Cantwell
   
WV
Byrd
   
WI
Kohl
   
State
Independents (1)
   
VT
Jeffords

Quick first impressions are that Republicans will have their work cut out for them defending Governor's mansions and will face strong challenges particularly in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland and Hawaii, and in open seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Nevada and Ohio, to name a few. The Dems will have to defend in places like Arizona, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

On the Senate side, the playing field of competitive races looks a bit smaller, but the names that pop out are more problematic for the Dems. The GOP will likely target first-termers Mark Dayton in Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, as well as Maria Cantwell in Washington and Bill Nelson in Florida.

Other potential problems for Democrats include Robert Byrd of West Virginia who will be 89 years old in 2006. Aside from the possibility that age (and health) could become an issue, should Byrd choose not to run Democrats would face defending an open seat in a Republican-trending state.

Also, the latest word is that Jon Corzine is "inclined" to run for Governor of New Jersey in 2005 which would leave another open seat for the Democrats, though they probably have an edge in keeping it in the Democratic-leaning Garden State.

Finally, keep your eye on Ben Nelson in Nebraska and Kent Conrad in North Dakota. Both are relatively popular Democratic Senators in deep-red states, which is exactly what Tom Daschle was - and we know how that turned out.

As for the Democrats, the pickings look pretty slim. They probably feel their best chance is knocking off Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania. As a member of the Republican leadership and a conservative in a state that tilts slightly to the Democrats, unseating Santorum will be high on the list of the Dem priorities.

Another possibility is first-termer Jim Talent in Missouri. Talent beat Jean Carnahan by just over 20,000 votes in the 2002 special election for this seat, but he is in a much better position to win reelection in a state that leans Republican.

Beyond that Dems have to look to score an upset in a place like Montana or hope for some unforeseen event - like a retirement - to put more seats into play. Anything is possible, but given where things stand today their prospects don't look too promising.

All in all it should be a very entertaining midterm, especially given what happened last Tuesday and knowing that, at least for those incumbents in the Senate, this will be their first time standing for election after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. - T. Bevan 3:30 pm Link | Email | Send to a Friend

 

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