Friday, October 20, 2006

Senate prognosticating

With a little under three weeks until the midterm election, I thought I'd have a little fun and gaze into my crystal ball to see what's going to happen in the Senate races. Feel free to venture your own guesses, as it could make for an interesting thread.

Disclaimer: In a drunken stupor, Ted Kennedy grabbed my crystal ball and, mistaking it for a bowling ball, managed to stumble through seven frames of bowling before I found him and seized it back from him...all while he mumbled something about me and a convertible on a bridge. At any rate, as a result, my crystal ball may be slightly cracked and hazy, so if my predictions don't materialize, it's Kennedrunk's fault.

Predicted outcome: 50-50, with Cheney's vote keeping it in GOP hands.

Defeated incumbent GOP
Conrad Burns, MT. His opponent, Jon Tester, may be a Kos kook (he's met extensively with the Kos kiddies), but Burns is an old fart who was deeply tied to Jack Abramoff. Plus, Burns has been like Gore and Daschle in that he forgot his roots after being in DC too long. Tester has run a great campaign and has been ahead in the polls for quite some time, though the latest Rasmussen poll has Tester ahead by 3%, within the margin of error. Still, I see this as a loss.

Rick Santorum, PA. Face it, friends, PA is just not a GOP state. His opponent, Bob Casey (gravytraining off of his old man's popularity as former governor) has looked like an idiot and a lightweight in the debates. No matter. Casey's been ahead by double-digits for quite some time.

Lincoln Chafee, RI. I almost put this in the "Defeated Dem" column until I remembered that Chafee is a Republican. You'd never know by his voting record. Anyway, R.I. is a deep blue state, and a RINO Senate candidate would keep the Senate in GOP hands. R.I. isn't going to allow that to happen, and with polls showing Chafee trailing by nearly 10%, R.I. will finally have a Dem to go with a seat that was already liberal to begin with.

Mike DeWine, OH. DeWine's "Gang of 14" stunt didn't win him any fans in OH, but that's only the tip of the iceberg. The Ohio GOP has been horribly bumbling and incompetent, and their embattled governor Bob Taft has approval ratings in the single digits! GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is running for governor, and he's getting creamed. Basically, the whole state has soured on the OH GOP, and as a result, DeWine has been trailing certified moonbat Sherrod Brown. Polls show a range from 6% - 14% lead for Brown, whose demonstrably crazy leftist voting record would normally scare off Ohioans. However, they appear to be so ready for a change in OH that they'll hold their noses and vote for Brown.

Jim Talent, MO. This one is currently a toss-up, and a recent Zogby poll (which you people know I take with a truckload of salt) shows Talent has overcome a deficit and pulled into a slight lead within the margin of error. His opponent, state auditor Claire McCaskill, has been a real ditz in the debates, and she even said that "Clinton was a great prez...but I wouldn't want him around my daughter." (I thought Kerry was MA, not MO?) Talent eked out a 20,000-vote victory over Jean Carnahan in 2002 (which was a special election, thus his need to face the voters four years later), and he's not been all that popular (nor unpopular) since then. If conservatives in MO stay home, Talent will be there with them come January. This is a gut pick for me, but I think Talent loses in a squeaker.

Defeated challenger GOP
Michael Steele, MD. See my prior post, including the comments section, of everything that Steele (a black Republican) has had to endure. Don't forget that Chuck the Schmuck Schumer had his staffers illegally check Steele's credit report, too. At any rate, though one recent poll has Steele and his Dem opponent Cardin tied, MD is a hopelessly blue state, and this Senate seat being vacated by the business-killing Paul Sarbanes will remain in the business-killing column.

Tom Kean, Jr., NJ. His father, the popular former governor and chairman of the 9/11 Commission, should be proud of him for having run a respectable race for a Republican in NJ. Truth be told, many Jersey folks who aren't political junkies think that Tom Sr. is the one running, which helps Jr. here. Incumbent Bob Menendez has not been popular, especially due to his association with unpopular former NJ Senator and current governor Jon Corzine, as well as an ethical cloud hanging over his head. Kean has had an uphill battle trying to win in a heavily blue state, and yet he's made it a dogfight for Menendez. Zogby may have Kean in a 3% lead, but everyone else has Menendez in a slight lead. Unless an "October surprise" investigation happens to Menendez, I don't think that NJ can bring themselves to vote Republican.

Defeated incumbent Dems
Sorry to say, but I don't see any. Cantwell in WA, Stabenow in MI, and Nelson in FL were all vulnerable...provided that the GOP could find formidable competition for them. They didn't, and as a result, all three will cruise to re-election.

Defeated challenger Dems
Harold Ford, Jr., TN. This is for Frist's seat, since he's leaving the Senate (presumably for a White House run, God help us). Ford has run a great campaign, masking his pro-tax record by pretending to be a conservative. With the assistance of national donors and the MSM, he's made cherry-red TN into a real horse race. His opponent, the Frist-picked Bob Corker, hasn't run a great campaign and has less charisma than Ford. Recent polls have shown Corker coming from behind into a lead, though with the exception of Zogby (Corker by 7%), the lead has been within the margin of error. Ford can still definitely win this, but my cracked crystal ball says that Tennesseans will wake up and realize that Ford just brings the Senate one step closer to "Majority Leader Harry 'Land Deal' Reid", and they won't allow it.

Jim Webb, VA. Incumbent George Allen has done everything possible to give this election away: some of it by his own hand (the now famous/infamous "macaca" incident, being more DC than VA, etc.), much of it exacerbated by a willing MSM ("George! George! Are you a bigoted Jew?"). Allen has cared more about presidential ambitions than senatorial ones, and his opponent has been able to exploit that resentment among Virginians. VA is more a "pink" state than a red one, having elected supposedly "moderate" Democrats as their last two governors. Be that as it may, Webb will not win this seat. Webb has never had the lead in any poll, though he's been within the margin of error since the "macaca" flap. Like Ford, Webb can win this...but he won't.

So there you have it. Again, with nearly three weeks to go, much can change. Three weeks is a political eternity. However, in order for the Dems to take the Senate, they need six seats currently held by Republicans. Four of them appear to be theirs for the taking (Burns, Chafee, Santorum, DeWine), but they need two of three toss-ups (TN, MO, VA) plus hold serve in NJ & MD in order to do it.

What do you guys think?