Monday, January 25, 2010

If Indiana is in Play, so is the Senate - and now Wisconsin?

Update: Could it be that Wisconsin is also in play? If so, this could be a crazy year. A new poll shows that Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold (D) trails former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) in a potential match-up.

Birch Bayh was a Senator for the state of Indiana from 1963 until 1981, his son Evan was elected Attorney General of the state in 1986, governor in 1989 and has served as one of the state's Senators since 1998 - he received 64% of the vote in 1998 and 62% in 2004. Evan Bayh is as close to political royalty as one come in Indiana. Bayh is a Democrat. Although Indiana is a reliably Republican state in Presidential elections, Barack Obama scored a stunning victory there in 2008 - leading many to wonder if the political stars were realigning in Indiana. Apparently not, news comes today of a new poll showing Bayh trailing Indiana Representative Mike Pence in a hypothetical match-up. Bayh leads two other possible rivals, but polls below 50%. Make no mistake, if Evan Bayh is in jeopardy in Indiana then control of the US Senate is in play come November. Republicans could look to win AR, CA, CO, DE, IL, IN, NV, ND, PA – If the GOP held their seats and won those the Senate would be split 50 GOP, 48 Democrat, and 2 Independent. If those Independents continued to caucus with the Democrats VP Biden would be the tie breaking vote and Democrats would still have control, but if the GOP also picked up NY or Joe Lieberman switched to the GOP the Senate would be theirs… It would be difficult for the GOP to win back the Senate, but after MA and with IN in play it seems that anything is possible this year.

Charlie Cook had this to say about the current state of affairs: "The last six months, since we began writing about impending Democratic problems in August, has been like watching a car wreck in slow motion. We keep watching, anticipating that one of the drivers will swerve or hit the brakes, but they never do. The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders have done nothing to halt the impending collision. Things could change over the next nine months, but we have seen little to convince us that the trajectory of this election is changing at all."

Cook currently predicts that Democrats will lose 25 to 35 House seats and 5-7 Senate seats.