2012 Already Looking Grim For Senate Dems

2012 Already Looking Grim For Senate Dems


If you thought 2010 looked nightmarish for Dems, take a peek at two years from now. No less than 16 23 Dem Senators will be up for reelection. Many A lot are from purple or red states.

Here’s the list of the most vulnerable…

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (PA)

    • Thumped Rick Santorum in 2006 by 16%, but Santorum was a joke by that point and wasn’t even really trying. Also, Pennsylvanians elected Pat Toomey on Tuesday, who has some incredibly radical fiscal views.
  • Claire McCaskill (MO)

    • Beat the anemic Jim Talent in 2006 by only 2%, and only because she was able to make gains in the rural areas. That’s unlikely this time around with Obama pulling her approval down in those outlying areas. So unless she can GOTV in the cities, this one is going to be tough.
  • Jon Tester (MT)

    • Won by less than 3,000 votes. This is one of the likeliest to turn, but Montana does have a very popular Democratic Governor in Brian Schweitzer. Look for Tester to distance himself from Obama or demand consensus building when it comes to deficit reduction and taxation.
  • Sherrod Brown (OH)

    • Won his race by 12% over a two-term incumbent, and seems to be a strong advocate for Ohio in the Senate. Plus, John Kasich barely won against Strickland on Tuesday for Governor, so it doesn’t look like Ohio is making a dramatic swing to the right in the manner that other states are.
  • Jim Webb (VA)

    • Webb won by less than one half of 1% against George Allen, who suffered from foot-in-mouth-disease throughout the 2006 campaign. Most notably, his “macaca” incident really turned Virginians stomach. No doubt Allen will be running again, but Webb has maintained a fairly independent streak in the Senate and he can point to bipartisan legislation that he spearheaded as proof. Still, Obama could pull Webb down.
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

    • Beat the very popular moderate Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee by 7%. If Chafee runs again on a “return to moderate politics” campaign, it’s possible Whitehouse could have an uphill battle. (UPDATE: Chafee is the new Governor of Rhode Island so he won’t be challenging Whitehouse. My apologies for any confusion. which makes it less likely for him to challenge Whitehouse, but not out of the realm of possibilities.)
  • Joe Manchin (WV)

    • He’s a very popular former Governor turned Senator last Tuesday by 10% over his opponent thanks to a last minute surge fueled by a pledge to kill cap and trade and revise the health care law. But since this was a special election, he’s up again in 2 years. Given his independent rhetoric so far, this one will probably stay blue. Let’s remember, Robert Byrd held this seat FOREVER. West Virginia may not turn blue when it comes to Presidential races, but they have a long history of supporting Dems in the Senate.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)

    • Gillibrand destroyed her opponent by 24%. The only person who could potentially challenge her is a Giuliani-type. Hmmm
  • The Hill has more from the left and the right:

    The other Democratic incumbents up next cycle are Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Tom Carper (Del.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Robert Menendez (N.J.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).

    The 10 GOP senators facing reelection are John Barrasso (Wyo.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), John Ensign (Nev.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

    So yeah, it could get tough and the Dems’ majority is definitely in question at this point.

    More as it develops…

    • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

      It is actually 23 Democratic (or Democratic caucus) Senators of the 33 total up for re-election. If it was only 16, they’d be in good shape. The complete list:

      * Democratic incumbent elections
      o Dianne Feinstein of California
      o Tom Carper of Delaware
      o Bill Nelson of Florida
      o Daniel Akaka of Hawaii
      o Ben Cardin of Maryland
      o Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
      o Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
      o Claire McCaskill of Missouri
      o Jon Tester of Montana
      o Ben Nelson of Nebraska
      o Bob Menendez of New Jersey
      o Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico
      o Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
      o Kent Conrad of North Dakota
      o Sherrod Brown of Ohio
      o Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania
      o Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
      o Jim Webb of Virginia
      o Maria Cantwell of Washington
      o Joe Manchin of West Virginia
      o Herb Kohl of Wisconsin
      o Joe Lieberman of Connecticut
      o Bernie Sanders of Vermont

      * Republican incumbent elections
      o Jon Kyl of Arizona
      o Richard Lugar of Indiana
      o Olympia Snowe of Maine
      o Scott Brown of Massachusetts
      o Roger Wicker of Mississippi
      o John Ensign of Nevada
      o Bob Corker of Tennessee
      o Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
      o Orrin Hatch of Utah
      o John Barrasso of Wyoming

      Certainly it is an open question whether Scott Brown can hold his seat in Ma. And it is also a realistic possibility the GOP/Tea Party will help out again by running more clowns against some of the Dem incumbents.

      But – the numbers are against the Dems.

    • http://stubbornfacts.us Simon

      Not to mention the possibility that Casey will be primaried. I don’t know what his standing with the nutsroots is, but it has to be a thorn in their paw that he’s putatively pro-life.

    • TBogg

      “Beat the very popular moderate Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee by 7%. If Chafee runs again on a “return to moderate politics” campaign, it’s possible Whitehouse could have an uphill battle.”

      Chafee just became RI’s new governor. Please quit pretending that you know what you are talking about.

    • bubbaquimby

      Don’t forget that McCaskill won’t have stem cell research on the ballet again. Michael J. Fox vs Rush battle over stem cell research certainly helped propel her over the hump.

    • Alistair

      You forgot to put Bill Nelson of Florida on the list but what could end up saving the Democrats in the Senate is if they pass the Bush Tax Cut extension. Also look for Olympia Snowe switch to become an Independent in the spring time.

    • Chris

      So when the republicans win and becoming fiscally responsible they’re not going to fund tax cuts by borrowing from china?

    • kranky kritter

      TBogg beat me to it about Chaffee,

      Another thing worth noting about Chaffee is that he ran and won as an independent. So we have a t least oine Independent governor in Chaffee. Are there others?

      If Murkowski holds on, we are up to 3 independent senators. Snowe would make 4.

      I am encouraged to see any moderate from either party get excommunicated and then find a comfortable spot outside the confines of party. Imagine what might happen if conservatives try to strongarm moderates and those moderates decide to walk? This seems to me to be a pretty attractive option especially if you are an older established senator and are tired of the partisan games and being marginalized by the unrealistic kooks in your party’s fringe. Notice that anyone who gets “primaried” might decided to join the independent club.

      And I can see some older former congresscritters who bailed on politics because of how nasty and pointless it got deciding to jump back in as independents because there were enough independents to build a foothold between the parties.

      I would LOVE to see a group or 5, 10, or 15 senators that have rejected both parties. Even if the number reached 5 or 6, I think we’d be looking at a potential wild card.

    • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

      mw, thanks for the update. Made.

      TBogg, everybody makes mistakes. The post has been amended to include that info. Thanks for the heads up.

      kranky, don’t think Murkowski will ID as anything but a Repub. However, I really wish we could have more independent governors. That could signal other indys at the state and national level.

    • Tully

      Murkowski’s campaign has now said that if she prevails in the count she will caucus GOP … as long as she can keep her seat as ranking member on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Which would mightily please the Alaskan Oil Mafia, I’m sure. (It was the AOM and coal companies that bankrolled here write-in bid. Big surprise, no?) Of course the campaign spokesperson didn’t explicitly link the two items, but it doesn’t take a UN interpreter to catch the subtext there.

    • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

      Personally, I don’t think there was ever a serious threat that Murkowski wouldn’t caucus with the GOP. Of course we didn’t know, but still…

      By the way, I amended my post again. Just because Chafee became Governor doesn’t mean he won’t challenge Whitehouse. It does make it less likely, and I’ll freely admit I didn’t know Chafee had been elected Governor, but it’s not out the realm of possibilities. In fact, it may put Chafee in a stronger position to do so. Regardless, thanks for keeping me on my toes…even if you were a dismissive jerk while doing it.