With the death last week of Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, the dean of the Senate, and its longest serving member in history, the possibility arises that his passing could have an unintended effect on that chamber: a Republican Senate majority in 2011! 🙁
With 59 Democrats (57 plus Independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders) in the Senate presently, one would think that the Democrats are safe from a GOP takeover!
But if one goes by recent polls, the possibility arises of major Republican gains, with eight to nine seat gains seen as possible!
However, even with nine seats gain, the Republicans could not organize an evenly divided Senate, because of Vice President Joe Biden’s ability to break a tie in organizing the Senate!
But if West Virginia is required or decides to hold a Senate race to replace Byrd in November, the strong possibility exists that a Republican could win Byrd’s seat!
If the Governor, Joe Manchin, a Democrat, rumored to want the seat for himself in 2012 when the six year term ends, has the opportunity to make an appointment until 2012, then the seat will remain Democratic until 2012 at least! But he does not intend to appoint himself now, and instead have an appointed replacement for two years!
There are discussions, however, that with two and a half years left in the term, it is appropriate to have an election now, and with the GOP tide seemingly apparent, the seat could go Republican, and give that person the upper hand in the 2012 full term race!
So it would be ironic if Byrd’s passing brought about a ten seat gain by the Republicans, and them having an absolute majority in the Senate as a result!
One must remember that John McCain won the state, and that it is still a heavy majority WASP state, not the best territory for President Obama to seek support in 2012!
Meanwhile, West Virginia could turn the political tide, if all the worst prognostications for the midterm elections for the Democrats holds up! 🙁