Senate Fun--Repubs Maintain Control
I have it 50 for R's, 46 for D's, and 4 toss-ups that will take more discussion...
1. Alaska. What a long, strange trip it's been. On one hand, AK is a strongly R state. On the other, Daddy Murkowski has really made voters angry, both because of the nepotistic appointment of his daughter to his seat and because the econonomy has tanked badly. BUT: Can't imagine that when it comes to be Nov. 2 the voters will really yank the "D" lever. If Babs Murkowski has Daddy to worry about, the D canidate (Knowles) has Kerry to worry about. The ANWR project, which Kerry opposes, is hugely popular as an employment creator in AK. And Bush is sure to win AK by 25 points or more. I can't imagine that people are going to split their ticket enough to toss Murkowski out. SO: AK GOES TO THE R's-- 51 R, 46 D
2. Colorado: R Pete Coors vs D Ken Salazar. This stays too close to call. CO is drifting toward Bush on the national race, going from tied in the polls to Bush leading by 3-5 points, or even more. Coors has big money, but Salazar is not fading. One of the most interesting races in the country. (This is an incumbent R seat, Campbell, so even more important).
STILL 51 R, 46 D
3. Oklahoma: Larry Sabato (UVA) has claimed that Republican Tom Coburn has severe foot-in-mouth disease, saying the race is a battle between good (Coburn) and evil (Carson). Just for kicks, Dr. Coburn is being sued by a a young lady who claims that years ago he sterilized her without her permission during an operation. Even though it seems impossible (there is really no state more Republican than OK), a Democrat might win here, unles Coburn can be fitted with a muzzle. I have to leave this as a toss up, though. STILL 51 R, 46 D
4. Louisiana: Bush, for reasons that are hard to explain, now has a significant polling lead in LA. This bodes ill for the Dems. However, because of LA's truly arcane electoral system, there will probably be a run-off, and coat-tails wouldn't count then. I am going out on a limb here: Neither Kennedy (D) nor Vitter (R) gets a majority on Nov. 2, and then Kennedy wins the run-off, keeping LA in the Dem column.
SO: LA GOES TO THE D's (after run-off)-- 51R, 47D
(NOTE: my original 46 in the D column include my assumptions that Daschle wins in SD, though not by much, and that Bowles wins in NC, maybe by 6-8 points).
(ON FLORIDA: Florida voters give Bush a 50 - 47 percent approval rating, up from a 54 - 44 percent disapproval August 12. Voters approve overwhelmingly (78 - 14 %) of the way President Bush has responded to recent hurricanes. So, Martinez beats Castor)
(SOUTH CAROLINA: Def'ly Republican win. Dems are dreaming if they think they can win here. Kerry at top of ballot hurts them, but Dem candidate Inez Tennenbaum probably could have lost all by herself. Campaign imploded). (On the other hand, maybe not: see this).
OVERALL: This is strange. Repubs are not very exposed this time, with fewer R-controlled seats up for reelection. But the Dems are running well. It is still hard to imagine the Dems retaking control, however. One scenario is to have either FL or SC go to the Dems, and then have both toss-up states (OK and CO) go to Dem side also. Then, it would be 50-50, and Vice President Edwards could cast the tie-breaking vote for Dem control. Not saying it will happen, but it sure could.