Here's part two of my Senate ratings for 2006!
Missouri - Leans Republican
Senator Jim Talent was elected in 2002 in a special election, defeating Senator Jean Carnahan (D). His 2002 election was extremel close, and 2006 looks like it will be no different. State Senator Chuck Graham, a wheelchair-bound advocate for stem cell research, ahs recently counted himself out for the race, leaving State Auditor and 2004 Governor nominee Claire McCaskill with a clear shot if she runs. If she doesn't, look for former Governor Roger Wilson or former Lt. Governor Joe Maxwell to explore runs.
Montana - Leans Republican
Don't let President Bush's 2004 showing fool you; Montana is becoming an increasinly moderate populist state, electing Governor Brian Schweitzer in 2004. Senator Conrad Burns has been involved in several scandals and is polling only 50% against a State Senator. If the aforementioned State Senator, Jon Tester, a farmer from Big Sandy, Montana (popluation 703), receives the nomination, this race could get close.
Nebraska - Leans Democrat
Nebraska is one of the most conservative states in the nation, yet has a democratic incumbent Senator? Furthermore, who will be re-elected in 2006? Yes, to both questions. That incumbent is Sen. Ben Nelson (who is more republican-like than many republicans), and, without Governor Dave Heineman, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, or Congressman Tom Osborne running, Senator Nelson seems to be safe.
Nevada - Solid Republican
Sadly, Senator John Ensign, who in his six years in the senate hasn't distinguished himself whatsoever, will be re-elected safely to a second term in 2006. Enough said.
New Jersey - Open - Likely Democrat
Senator Jon S. Corzine is running for Governor in the 2005 election, and with his win all but assured, the question turns to who will replace him. I'll tell you about the Republicans first, because its not complicated at all. State Senator Tom Kean, Jr., son of the immensly popular former Governor and 9/11 Chairman, Tom Kean, is the GOP's likely nominee. If Corzine wins, he must appoint a replacement to his own vacant seat. The current frontrunners are Congressmen Frank Pallone, Rob Andrews, Rush Holt, and Bob Menendez. While Pallone is already running a campaign, Menendez is the odds-on favorite for the nomination. But he has a high leadership position in the House, so if I were him, I would bide my time in Congress in hopes of eventually becoming Leader or Whip of the House Democrats. With Menendez possibly out of the running, all eyes would turn to Rush Holt (Holt's father, Rush Holt, Sr., was elected to the U.S. Senate from West Virginia at age 29). And of course there's a chance Corzine could appoint a placeholder and allow the democrats to duke it out.
New Mexico - Solid Democrat
Senator Jeff Bingaman is running for his 5th term, and, so far, no major Republicans have rose to challenge him. Former State Senator Tom Benavides has said he will run, but will just be token opposition. Bingaman should receive at least 75%.
New York - Solid Democrat
As much as Republicans would love Senator Hillary Clinton to be in trouble during her re-election campaign, there's no chance of her defeat. The Republicans have currently fielded several minor candidates, including Bill Brenner, Adam Brecht, Antonia Novello, Jeanine Pirro, Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, and Nixon Son-In-Law Edward F. Cox. Cox or Spencer would be considered the party frontrunners for the nomination.
North Dakota - Leans Democrat
Governor John Hoeven is currently the only republican who could give a serious challenge to Senator Kent Conrad. Hoeven hasn't made an announcement, but, in anticipation that he does, this will be tilted just a small bit to the Democrat. If he doesn't run, it will certainly be upgraded to Solid Democrat.
Ohio - Leans Republican
This race should be alot less of a race, considering Senator Mike DeWine is running for a 3rd term, if it hadn't been for DeWine's involvement in "Coingate" and his compromise as a member of the "Gang of 14" Senators who found a middle way in the Judicial battle in the Senate. Now, DeWine is being attacked from all sides. The right-wing would like former Congressman John Kasich, an original architect of the 1994 Republican Revolution, to run. The Democrats are trying to draft Congressmen Sherrod Brown or Tim Ryan. And, depending on the primary elections for Governor, possibly Congressman Ted Strickland or Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman. If DeWine survives the primary fight, he will be weakened, but favored. If Kasich wins, it will move to the toss-up category.
Pennsylvania - Lean Democrat
Senator Rick Santorum is both a leader of the Radical Right, and a major target of the left. Santorum is the only incumbent who consistently polls below his democratic challenger, State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr., and will need a huge turnout of moderates in Philadelphia to defeat Casey. Look for the Christian Coalition, the NRA, and other conservatives to pour millions into the state for Santorum.
Rhode Island - Toss Up
Senator Lincoln Chafee has a reputation as being a little bit slow. But he's definitly bright enough to know that he's got trouble. He's being attacked from both sides. The Democrats are fielding Secretary of State Matt Brown and former Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse (awesome name, huh?). If that weren't enough, the liberal Chafee is also being attacked on the right by Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey. If Laffey wins the primary (a possibility), then the Democrats are assured of a victory. If Chafee does win, he may be favored 51%-49% over the Democrat, but not by much.
Tennessee - Open - Lean Republican
With failed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist packing up and going home, the GOP has a primary fight brewing in the Volunteer State. Former Congressmen Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary, Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, and State Senator Beth Harwell. Bryant is considered the frontrunner, but Corker is tailing him very closely. The Democrats are supporting Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., whose campaign has been recently tainted by the arrest of his uncle, State Senator John Ford (D). Look for this to get interesting if its a Bryant v. Ford race, but if Corker wins, Ford may as well pack up and go back to Memphis.
Texas - Solid Republican
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison will be re-elected in 2006. Next question, please.
Utah - Solid Republican
Senator Orrin Hatch is one of a select group of "Senators For Life", and the 2006 elections won't change that.
Vermont - Open - Solid Independent
Senator Jim Jeffords is retiring due to ill health (he has been seen recently on the Senate floor in a wheelchair, and is rumored to also have Alzheimer's disease), and the state's only congressman, Bernie Sanders, a self-avowed Socialist Independent who caucuses with the Democrats, will win this seat.
Virginia - Likely Republican
As much as I wish that my homestate would have a real race next year, that seems unlikely at this point. Senator George Allen had been polling below Governor Mark Warner, but with Warner likely running for President in 2008 (as will Allen), he will forego a Senate race. With Warner out, all eyes turn to former Lt. Governor Don Beyer, the 1997 Candidate for Governor, as a possible challenger to Allen. Beyer is wealthy and could finance himself, which is always a good thing.
Washington - Likely Democrat
With 2004 "almost-Governor" Dino Rossi likely opting out of a senate race, Senator Maria Cantwell should be re-elected with little trouble. Former Congressman Rick White could give Cantwell a race however.
West Virginia - Likely Democrat
As much as Republicans would love to unseat the Democratic Party's liberal icon, Senator Robert C. Byrd is completely safe, and will be re-elected at age 89, and serve until he is 95, tieing Strom Thurmond's record of 48 years of service. The only reason its not marked solid is because Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito could possibly make a 15% race out of it.
Wisconsin - Solid Democrat
You can't make something of nothing. Senator Herb Kohl wins again.
Wyoming - Solid Republican
Senator Craig THomas wins. That's all.
And that's it. I'll be working on ratings for the Governor's elections in 2006 very soon, and an extremely detailed critique of the Virginia Governor's race also.
Like my little changes I've made? Terror alert level, Pennacchio for Senate, Jimmy Carter, and so forth. I'll be adding much more, as soon as I can really figure out HTML.
That's all for now. Over and out.