What do Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Bob Kerrey, Tim Kaine, Heidi Heitkamp, and Shelley Barkley have in common? To start with, they are all Democrats running for the Senate this year. But that’s not all. Each disagrees with President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on people who make more than $250,000, preferring a higher limit. Nelson, McCaskill, Heitkamp, and Barkley favor $1 million; Kaine favors $500,000; and Kerrey hasn’t provided a number.
These politicians also have in common that they are running in tough races. And each, presumably, has concluded that the voters in their states don’t favor Obama’s proposal to start raising taxes at incomes of more than $250,000.
Now look at the states these candidates are running (scared) in. Three of them — Florida (Nelson), Virginia (Kaine) and Nevada (Berkley) — are among the small number of states that are rated toss-ups in the presidential race, and are considered key to winning the presidency. A fourth state — Missouri (McCaskill) — leans Republican, I think, but is traditionally a bellwether state. Only two of the six states — North Dakota (Heitkamp) and Nebraska (Kerrey) — are true Red States.
What does this mean? Unless Nelson, McCaskill, Kaine, and Barkley don’t know their states, it means that Team Obama’s decision to to raise taxes for people making more than $250,000 is likely to hurt Obama in states, and among voters, that he needs to win.