Panel on the Democrats' Senate Prospects

Panel on the Democrats' Senate Prospects

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume - October 31, 2008


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're coming. Ghoulish liberals threaten complete control of Washington. No checks. No balances.

All they need are 60 senators to eliminate the workers' secret ballot, to slash our military, to raise taxes in a recession, and take our country sharply to the left--a liberal agenda so scary its effects will be felt for a generation.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: I think this is one of those rare, tectonic plate elections where the deep plates beneath our politics move. I think it is changing things not just for an election cycle but perhaps for a generation.


BAIER: There you see a new ad out by the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee out today on Halloween about the prospect of 60 Democratic seats in the Senate. That would be a filibuster-proof Senate, essentially complete control of the body.

And you heard Chuck Schumer, the Democrat, saying he sees a big shift.

We're back with the panel. First of all, let's go down some of the key races that could get them, Democrats, to 60. Mort, let's start with you.

KONDRAKE: Well, the one that I would point to is North Carolina. Elizabeth Dole is behind by a few points. Kay Hagan is the state senator there.

And Elizabeth Dole at the end of the game here is playing probably the year's skuzziest ad. Basically it is an ad--Kay Hagan seems to have attended a fundraiser at the home of someone who is affiliated with an atheist group.

So now she is trying to make Kay Hagan out, who is a Presbyterian church elder and Sunday school teacher, to be an atheist, and it ends up with a line that sounds like Kay Hagan's voice saying there is no god.

Now, it is really the bottom. That is really hitting bottom. And Alex Castianos(ph), who is a pretty tough Republican ad writer said that this is the kind of ad you run when you haven't got a prayer.

BAIER: You think Dole's down?

KONDRAKE: I think she's is finished.

BAIER: Charles?

KRAUTHAMMER: I'm interested in Minnesota. It's not quite as scuzzy a campaign as Mort's, but it's very interesting. It's got Norm Coleman running for his second term. He is a moderate conservative who used to be a Democrat long ago. He is running against Al Franken, the acerbic comedian.

But there is a wildcard. You have an independent, Dean Barkley, who was a lieutenant to Jesse Ventura when he was the governor. Barclay is about 16 percent, and the other two major party candidates are hovering around 40, changing in the lead.

Coleman had been behind. He is gaining now. He had a good debate. And, interestingly, the two main papers from the state endorsed him, including the "Minneapolis Star-Tribune" which hadn't endorse a Republican in the Senate since 1988. One debate on Sunday could decide it.

BAIER: But right now?

KRAUTHAMMER: Coleman is ahead by two. I would go with him because he is a good debater and he's likely to win on Sunday, and that would carry him into Election Day.

BAIER: Fred?

BARNES: New Hampshire, which is a replay of 2002 when John Sununu, the Republican, beat the sitting governor Jean Shaheen. They're running again. Shaheen has been ahead, and she's still ahead. She's been ahead pretty much throughout the race, although Sununu was up, and then he was down. Obviously the financial meltdown hurt him.

What he needs John McCain to do better in New Hampshire. McCain is down, depending on the poll, eight, 10, 12. If McCain does--he doesn't have to win to help get Sununu over the top, but he has to do better than he's doing.

I think it's an important race because Sununu is one of the smartest young Republican senators. The party needs him in Washington.

BAIER: Another race people are watching, the senator minority leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky running against Democrat Bruce Lunsford. It is a lot closer than anyone thought it would be in Kentucky. And we talked about Alaska, where Senator Stevens is trying to hold on to that seat.

So let's go down the road. Do you think they make it to 60?

KRAUTHAMMER: No. I think they will get about 58. And Lieberman will probably not be included in with the Democratic majority.

KONDRAKE: Yes. I think 58, 59, probably. That would include Lieberman, though, and Bernie Sanders from Vermont.

BAIER: Both listed as independents who caucus with the Democrats.

KONDRAKE: But, look, they organized the Senate with 51. They can break a filibuster--they need 60. Usually you can get--Susan Collins, the Republican from Maine, is going to survive this time. Olympia Snowe, the other Republican from Maine, is also pretty liberal. So you can break filibusters if you have to.

BARNES: Watch Louisiana, the one hope for Republicans. John Kennedy has really been storming up the polls, which will mean the Republicans would have only lost a net of about five or six.

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