The Senate after the 2006 elections

For the political junkies among us…

It’s never to early to think about 2006. Right now the Republicans have a 55-45 majority. At this point, Jim Jeffords of Vermont (I), Paul Sarbanes of Maryland (D), and Mark Dayton of Minnesota (D) have announced retirement. Bill Frist of Tennessee ® is also expected to retire.

Here’s who is up.

Most of the people up for reelection are safe, of course. Kennedy and Byrd are in for life. Hatch and Kyl have nothing to worry about. So who is vulnerable and what will happen to the open seats in Minnesota and Tennessee?

For the GOP, I think Chaffee is vulberable in Rhode Island, a fairly blue state. Harold Ford has a decent chance at Frists seat.

For the Democrats, Ben Nelson is a blue guy in a red state. Maria Cantwell barely won in 2000. Minnesota and Washington proved to be very close in 2004 between Republicans and Democrats. Florida is fairly even as well.

So how will it all shake out? I think when the smoke clears, the Republicans will control the Senate with a 56-44 margin.

Rick Santorumn (R, PA) is supposed to have a contested race on his hands, with a popular challanger (Casey) leading him in several polls. Can’t say that I’d miss him.

The VT seat will almost certainly go to Bernie Sanders (I) who will caucus with the Dems, as Vermonters are becoming increasingly loath to vote Repub in national races and Bernie has been a popular congressmen for many years. Repubs only chance is if a Dem candidate runs and splits the left vote, but I doubt the Dems are willing to risk it.

Bill Nelson is extremely vulnerable in my old home state of FL. If Harris runs he’ll be lucky as she’s fairly well disliked out side of her district. Another, more popular Repub and he’s in hot water though.

Those are all the races I have any knowledge of. Interested to hear what people think.

ben nelson from nebraska has the edge. even though he is a democrat from the reddest of states, he is a former governor, and a very well respected man by both the democrats and republicans in nebraska. so far, there are no effective challengers.

his last campaign was challenged by don stenberg, the former state attourney general, who’s best shot was to badger senator nelson by calling him a liberal. stenberg sounds like he is planning another run much (imho) to the embarrasment of the state g.o.p.

This thread, Wager on Dean’s effectiveness, is a few months old, but you might want to take a look as it addresses the exact same issue.

Thanks for pointing me to the thread, John.

My intent was to see what people thought of the Senate races next year while we are still 16 months away. There are too many races in the house to discuss individually, although anyone that wishes to go down that road is welcome, obviously. Since the idea of the Republicans losing control of either chamber is laughable, I thought the political insight of other dopers regarding the Senate would be interesting.

Rossi won’t be running for Senate in WA, and I don’t see any other viable Pubbie contenders here.

Overall, I don’t see the balance changing by more than a seat or two. SSDD.

Ford has been talking about running for the Senate in Tennesee. Who knows if his uncle’s criminality will keep him out, though.