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Will Senate Retirements hurt Republicans in 2010? January 13, 2009

Posted by neoavatara in Politics.
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There are several articles and op-eds on the effect of retirments on Republican senate chances in 2010, including this one by Amy Walter of the National Journal.

Kit Bond of Missouri, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Mel Martinez of Florida, and George Voinovich of Ohio have all decided to retire by the next election cycle.  With two consecutive disastrous election cycles in the rear view mirror, this should forbode ill for the Republican hopes.

I, however, disagree.  Here is why:

1.  Kansas:  Highly likely to be a Republican hold, unless current Gov. Kathleen Sibelius for some reason decides to run.

2. Ohio:  I would argue that Voinovich was much more vulnerable than the alternatives.  Rob Portman would be an extremely strong candidate; not to mention, he has a $1.5 million campaign treasury already, and that is likely to scare off most other competitors.  If not, former Senator Mike Dewine would be waiting in the wings.  Jon Kasich likely will run for Governor against current Gov. Ted Strickland.  The Democrats highest profile candidate is likely to be Jennifer Brunner, the current Secretary of State, who may be competative, but certainly is not in the same league as the other viable candidates.  Again, more likely to be a Republican hold.

3. Missouri:  Definitely will be competative, and Sen. Bond’s retirement certainly hurts.  But without Bush in the White House, is this likely to look more like 2008 or 2004?  I will still wager that this is a Republican hold.  And that is considering there are no real big name Republican candidates waiting in the wings.

4. Florida:  The biggest chance of a lost seat.  Martinez would have been a shoe-in.  Same with Jeb Bush, who shockingly has decided not to run.

Potential Republican candidates include Attorney General Bill McCollum, former House Speaker Marco Rubio, former House Speaker Allan Bense and U.S. Rep. Connie Mack. McCollum is the only one on the Republican short list who has run statewide.  Another statewide officeholder, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, is considered the most formidable Democrat. Other possible contenders are state Sen. Dan Gelber and U.S. Reps. Kendrick Meek, Ron Klein and Allen Boyd.  In any case, likely to be one of the most highly competative races in 2010.

So, overall, the retirements really wouldn’t have changed much.  Ohio is a little LESS competative, and Florida more so, with the other two strong Republican leans.

On the other hand, Democrats will have to defend more seats.  Appointed senators in Colorado and Illinois will have to run, and likely will both be close races.  Other Democrat seats could also be in play.  And assuming that history (with the exception of 2002) holds, it will be an off year for the Democrats.

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