Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Weekend Monkey's Column - Handicapping The Senate Races
(In response to numerous requests, JoshuaPundit happily announces the return of Weekend Monkey's weekly column on things political)
Hidey Ho, Primates! Welcome to the one and only Real Banana, your source for the real poop on politics.
Let's do it and get to it..
Most political eggs-spurts have already conceded that my Democrats are going to lose our House majority..even Obama's pet cockroach Robert Gibbs.
But could the ReThugs pull off a majority in the Senate? That's the question.
I weighed in as far back as March that I could see the Rethugs with a net pickup of 35-40 seats plus in the House and at least 7 Senate seats...maybe more. And that was before the aroma of Obama health care and the Gulf Oil Spill hit.
Since the economy and Obama's poll ratings are both likely to keep on stinkin' , I could see the ReThugs taking even more House seats, and seven Senate seats wouldn't surprise me. But could they do even better?
As a political animal with a damned good track record for being right about this stuff, you wouldn't catch me putting down any shekels on how the primates are going to vote this far from November. But I'll go out on a limb a little and give you primates the benefit of my wisdom on how things look to this monkey right now.
Dem incumbents Dorgan and Bayh retired, and Indiana and North Dakota are hard core Red states where the seats'll be snapped up by ReThugs. Ditto for Delaware, where Biden's old seat will probably go to Mike Castle. Blanche Lincoln is pretty much baboon poop in Arkansas. So that's four Dem seats down the crapper right there.
The way it looks so far , ReThug Pat Toomey looks like beating Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania and either Ken Buck or Jane Norton will likely knock off Democrats Michael Bennet or Andy Romanoff in Colorado...which is probably just as well after Romanoff shot his mouth off about the Obama Administration offering him a gig to stay out of the primary. So that makes six.
That leaves six seats now held by Democratic party incumbents that are competitive...which of course is where I'm going to make my money on Election Day. Let's look at each one in turn, primates:
The fight over Obama's old seat in Illinois is a real circus. Tony Rezko's old banker Alex Giannoulias is in a statistical dead heat with ReThug Congressman Mark Kirk. So the primates have a choice between a crooked financier with major ties to the whole Rezco - Blagojevich-Obama- Daley gang whose bank got taken over by the feds and a Congressman who seems to have a habit of - umm- padding his resume, shall we say.
Both of them likely stink to the voters, but Illinois being a Blue state and Chicago and Cook County being what it is, I'd give the edge to Giannoulias by a few thousand corpses, felons and.or illegal aliens...with one important hedge.
The poop throwing over Blagojevich putting the open seat up for sale and the contacts with Obama still aren't really resolved, Giannoulias was involved, and if the GOP takes the House and gets subpoena powers , I'm not sure Obama wants somebody in the Senate who has something to lose in a position to drop the rotten banana on him. So they may let Giannoulias fall. Bottom line? Too close to call yet, but I'm leaning towards Giannoulias so far, by a nose.
Babs Boxer in Kali-fornia, Patty Murray's seat in Washington and Russ Feingold's seat in Wisconsin are all places where the ReThugs could make a pickup. These are all Blue states with long term incumbents who have become unpopular because of the Obama economy.
In Kali, Carly Fiorina has borkoo shekels of her own to spend and that's always an advantage you can't discount. But California is the most Democratic of the three mentioned above and as whacked out as Babs Boxer is, she will probably be back in the Senate for another term. Call it five to three, as of now.
Wisconsin and Washington are different matters.
In Wisconsin, Russ Feingold is in a major Horse race with likely ReThug challenger Ron Johnson, and it could go either way. Johnson, like Fiorina in California has the advantage of having a lot of his own shekels to spend, but he's also going to have a primary race, which Feingold doesn't have to mess with. Wisconsin holds it primary September 14th, and a smart primate will wait to see how the numbers shake out after the primaries.
In Washington, Patty Murray is actually polling behind Dino Rossi, and the primary hasn't even been held yet. Rossi got in late, but if he's the nominee I wouldn't be surprised to see him take the seat. Again, it's early, but right now five to three on Rossi to win seems realistic.
Next we come to the real wild cards, an open GOP seat in Florida and Harry Reid's seat in Nevada.
By all rights, Nevada shoulda been an ee-zee ReThug pick up. Almost everybody in Nevada hates Harry Reid.
Fortunately for him, He ended up running against Sharron Angle, who made the amateur's mistake after a stiff primary fight with Sue Lowden of not having her campaign and her moolah together to take on Reid right after she won the primary. Reid used that time to spend the millions he got from the unions and from the DNC to paint Angle as a Tea Party whack job.
At this point, he's slightly ahead and Angle is just getting her message together for the primates..but she's also had to spend a lot of time on defense, which is always biting the rotten banana. Believe me, after what happened to this Monkey in Iowa, I know.
So at this point, it's really going to be a question of who throws the poop the best and who the voters hate least. Since Reid's the incumbent, has more experience and has a head start in the poop flinging, my gut tells me he'll be back in DC come January, but this is definitely too close to call right now.
Florida is a reee-eal zoo. Again, this started out as an easy ReThug hold, with everybody expecting Governor Charlie Crist to have a real walkover for the seat. And then along came Marco Rubio, who ended up eclipsing Crist in the ReThug primary polls. So after looking at the numbers Crist went rogue and decided to run as an Independent.
That actually put Crist ahead in the polls, with Rubio second and Democrat Kendrick Meek a distant third.
Lately, there are some polls that show Rubio just slightly ahead of Crist, with Meeks still third but gaining slightly, which tells me the race is tightening. It will tighten up even more after the August 24th primary. Again, the smart primate is gonna wait till then to calculate the odds, but I see Rubio winning this one by a small margin.
OK primates...get your fingers ready.
If current trends continue - and remember, I'm out on a real limb here - and things shake out like I think, the GOP takes six seats from the Dems and holds Florida. They also have a chance to take Wisconsin or Washington, but probably not both. So we're looking at a 7 seat gain for the ReThugs, 8 maximum if they actually take both Wisconsin and Washington. So based on that the new Senate will be 47 or 48 seats for the Republicans, 53 or 52 seats for my Democrats.
To win the Senate, the Rethugs would have hold Florida and win 10 out of the 12 elections I mentioned here, the six pickups they will already probably get plus four from the list of California, Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, and Nevada.
Not impossible, but likely? Hoo hah!
But never fear primates... rest assured that this Monkey will be watching to see what goes on in the fetid political jungle - and will be telling you all the dirty details as they float to the surface.
Smell ya later, Primates!
Weekend Monkey was a Democratic candidate for president in 2008 and is JoshuaPundit's> political Guru. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org