We haven’t written much about the Senate races that will be decided tomorrow, other than the one in Minnesota. Nor I have been following them closely. But based on what I have been able to learn, including from conversations with those who are paying more attention, it seems to me that the Democrats can expect a net pick-up of seven seats. Those seats are in Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, and Alaska. There are other possible Democratic pick-ups, and it’s also possible that the Democrats will fail to hold Louisiana. But I’m putting the “over-under” at 58.
If the Democrats do get to 58, they will on more than the odd occasion be able to pick up at least the two additional Republican votes — e.g. Collins, Snowe, and Specter — needed to prevent a filibuster. On the other hand, with an increased number of Democrats from Red States, the Dems will not always be able to count on unanimity in their ranks. For example, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is up for re-election in 2010. It she is smart (a matter which is not clear to me) she will show an independent streak during the next two years. My guess, though, is that she will manifest her “independence” only when her parties leaders tell her they don’t need her vote. Whether this will be true across the board from similarly situated Democrats remains to be seen. At a minimum, the Dems from Red and swing states will need to watch the polls.
Even so, if the Dems get to 58, they probably will have their way more often than not. If the line is held at 56, say, the Republicans will not be easily rolled over.
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