Monday, August 15, 2005

Who Wants Democrats?

As usual in American legislative politics, most incumbents don't have too much too worry about...yet.

According to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committeee, the Democrats have identified about 7 currently Republican seats as vulnerable to Democratic challengers in 2006. These include the seats now held by Senate GOP Leader Bill Frist (TN), Rick Santorum (PA), Lincoln Chafee (RI), George Allen (VA), Mike DeWine (OH), James Talent (MO), and John Ensign (NV).

Only several of the above seats are definitely going to provide heated races. Rick Santorum who, according to all nine polls displayed at the Hedgehog Report, is losing considerably to Pennsylvania prodigy, Bob Casey Jr., is likely to get the boot from the predominantly blue state.

Other Republicans may be weakened by their own party. Ohio moderate, Mike DeWine, who lost valuable support from the right wing of his party when he joined the "gang of 14" during the filibuster battle, is also in an unfortunate position due to the unpopularity of the Ohio Republican Party, which has suffered under the leadership of Governor Bob Taft, who currently enjoys an approval rating of 19%. Lincoln Chafee, who toyed with the idea of switching parties in 2004, has similarly angered both parties in his state and will face tough primary opposition as well as a fair fight in the general election. I might note that he would be a considerably safer incumbent if he had joined the Democratic Party.

The most exciting race could very well be the fight for the open seat in Tennessee. Assuming that Frist does indeed go ahead with his presidential ambitions, a promising Democrat in Congressman Harold Ford could emerge as the first Black Senator from the South ever. Ford is young, charismatic, and fiercely ambitious. He challenged Nancy Pelosi for the Democratic Leader position in the House (he was defeated miserably) at the age of 32 and has proudly taken conservative stances that are at odds with the party. However, Ford has a troubling family.


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