This post is probably more relevant for the Dem board, but I can't figure out how to start my own thread on that site. If someone on the Dems site sees this and links it to a new thread, I'd appreciate it.
Anyway, I don't know about you guys, but I enjoy keeping up on future elections. My claim to (sort of) fame was correctly predicting the winner of all 50 states in the 2004 Presidential Election (although I was slightly off in predicting only a 50%-48% popular vote for Bush). So, I've been following the 2006 Senate Elections. I'm hoping to start a discussion with the opinions on others. Harry Reid has already admitted that it would take a "miracle" for the Democrats to retake the Senate in 2006, but it will make a big difference whether they get closer to a majority or if the Republicans get closer to a fillibuster-proof 60 seat majority. Currently, they have 55. Here is what I see:
Potential Democratic Pickups (in order):
1) Pennsylvania (Santorum) - polls have Santorum down about 10-15 points right now. But he has never lost a campaign in his life and he has a huge money advantage. Also, die-hard Democrats might not show up to the polls to vote for an anti-abortion Democrat in Bob Casey.
2) Rhode Island (Chafee) - polls had him down double-digits to Rep. Langevin, but then Langevin decided not to run. Chafee is winning in recent polls, but no Republican is safe in Rhode Island
3) Tennessee (open) - Bill Frist has promised to step down, and Democrats have a great rising star in Rep. Harold Ford, a young African-American. The problem is that this is a very red state. The most recent poll has Ford down 3 points, but it's certainly going to be close
4) Montana (Burns) - I haven't seen anything about possible opponents, but his approval rating is under 50% and his "definitely re-elect" numbers were as low as 37% in one poll. I really don't know much about this race, but Senate Democrats seem to think that he's vulnerable.
Potential Republican Pickups:
1) Minnesota (open) - Republican party leaders have cleared the way for Rep. Kennedy. This is a state turning red, and he will have a lot of money. It will be tough for Democrats to hang onto this one.
2) Florida (Nelson) - Again, a red state with a weak Democratic incumbent. Republicans can screw this up by nominating Katherine Harris, but Karl Rove managed to keep her out of the Senate race in 2004, so maybe he can do it again.
3) Maryland (open) - This is a very blue state, but Republicans have rallied around the rising star that is Lt. Governor Steele, an African-American. Democrats can screw this up by nominating scandal-filled, ex-NAACP head, Kweisi Mfume. Their best candidate is Rep. Cardin, who the party elite are rallying around. Mfume leads by a little in primary polls. In head-to-head, Steele is losing to Cardin by 4 points and to Mfume by 2.
4) Washington (Cantwell) - It's a blue state, but there seems to be some resentment in this state against the Democrats, who many see as having stolen the 2004 Governor's election. In fact, that case is still in court, with money pouring in to try to overturn the election. Anyway, the only problem for Republicans is that they don't have a great candidate. Dino Rossi, who was on the wrong end of the Governor's election has said he will not run, and he would have been the best Republican candidate. I haven't seen any polls on this one...
5) New Jersey (open) - I'm calling this an open seat because it would pretty much take an act of God to keep Jon Corzine from winning the Governor's seat in 2005. That means that there will be an open seat for Senate with no real Democratic candidate. If Republicans can put up a good candidate they could steal it.
I'm sure other potential pickups, for both parties, will appear as we get closer. Anyway, what do people think?