How Bleak is the Senate Landscape for 2008?

For Republicans, it’s pretty bleak, no doubt about it. The raw numbers, in terms of open seats and candidates up for re-election, heavily favor the Democrats. Still, the picture may be lightening a bit. In the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza writes that the Democrats’ giddy hopes of achieving a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority are fading:

For a few months this fall, it appeared as though Senate Democrats had a real chance at controlling 60 seats after the 2008 election. Not only were Republican incumbents retiring at a rapid rate (in Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado), but other, less obvious seats were emerging as targets. Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-Miss.) resignation, Democrats’ takeover of the Kentucky gubernatorial mansion and Sen. Ted Stevens’s (R-Alaska) continued ethics problems put three seats in potential jeopardy and opened up the real possibility of 60.
But, as quickly as the talk rose, it faded, thanks to a series of events that makes 60 seats in 2008 a pipe dream for Democrats.

Cillizza attributes the GOP’s improving prospects not to anything Republicans have done, but to the Democrats’ failure to entice top-drawer candidates into races in Nebraska, Kentucky, Texas and Mississippi. Still, he foresees a Democratic pick-up of between one and six seats. That’s not great, but, given the odds the Republicans faced at the beginning of the election cycle, it could be worse.
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