Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Whether John Kerry wins in November or not, a Democratic senate is crucial--to give him some support or to block Bush's extreme agenda. So what are the chances of that? The July 12 issue of The Nation analyzes them. Here's the math.
--Five Southern Democrats are retiring. One Republican said that situation "would put Democrats in a 'Custer's Last Stand' position in the Deep South. But Democrats have come up with strong contenders in four of those five states. Only Georgia looks undoable.
--Democrats stand a good chance to pick up four seats outside the South. Three Republicans are retiring, and another is vulnerable. Barack Obama is sitting pretty in Illinois. Salazar in Colorado and Knowles in Alaska are leading in the polls. Carson in Oklahoma is running even.
--A few other Republicans are somewhat vulnerable. Democrats may yet threaten three incumbents. Nancy Farmer in Missouri, Dan Mongiardo in Kentucky, and Joe Hoeffel against Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania can point to poll numbers that indicate they might have a shot. Oh, and in New Hampshire, Doris "Granny D" Haddock, just entered the race and "can be expected to mount a colorful challenge to Judd Gregg, the GOP incumbent.
If the Democrats re-elect their incumbents, hold three of the five Southern seats and win the four GOP-held seats outside the South,...they're at 51. It's doable, but [nobody's] popping champagne corks [yet].


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