The fact that Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd and North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan are retiring in 2010 has become to many observers the beginning of a Senate debacle for the Democrats in 2010. That is totally preposterous when one looks at the facts.
Dodd was facing a tough reelection and decided to leave, but state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is expected to sail to an easy victory, taking away a major GOP hope for another seat in the Senate.
Byron Dorgan might have had trouble in North Dakota, although that seems doubtful, but while Republican Governor John Hoeven may have an edge now, if talk show host Ed Schultz of MSNBC decides to run, it is very possible he could win that seat.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a major challenge in Nevada, but it is far from clear which of several Republicans could defeat him, and the question will arise whether his home state will want to give up the seniority, prestige, and leadership role that Reid has gained.
Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln also faces a difficult race, but Arkansas has been the only Southern state to elect Democrats consistently to the Senate in recent years, so it is far from certain that she will lose her seat.
Some think Senator Barbara Boxer of California may have some difficulties, but that state has tended Democratic for a long time, and again, whether California will want to give up the seniority and leadership role that Boxer has, seems doubtful.
Illinois, Colorado, Delaware and New York all have appointed senators, but the odds will still favor Democrats in all but possibly Colorado. Also, Senator Arlen Specter, having switched parties, will have to fight for his seat, but after 30 years, don’t bet against this feisty, outspoken senator!
Meanwhile, six Republican senators are retiring: Judd Gregg in New Hampshire, Jim Bunning in Kentucky, George LeMieux in Florida (who replaced Mel Martinez as an appointment), Kit Bond in Missouri, Sam Brownback in Kansas, and George Voinovich in Ohio.
The possibility exists that all those states could elect Democrats, except possibly Kentucky and Kansas. Florida certainly could elect Kendrick Meek over either Charlie Crist or Marco Rubio, due to the internal fighting in the GOP in that state’s upcoming primary battle in August.
So the Democrats could lose their 60 vote filibuster proof Senate (although Joe Lieberman as an independent is very unreliable, anyway), but is still likely to have a total in the mid to high 50s, including Lieberman and Bernie Sanders. Don’t start to think of the Republicans coming anywhere near control of the Senate!