A few days ago, I reported on a preview analysis of next year’s Senate races by the Capitol Hill newpaper Roll Call. The analysis projected that the Republicans will pick up one seat. This was based on the view that the Republicans will pick up seats in Georgia and South Carolina, the Democrats will pick up a seat in Illinois, and the four toss-up races (Oklahoma and Alaska, where the incumbents are Republicans, and Florida and North Carolina, where they are Democrats) will be a wash.
Reader Dafydd ab Hugh found this analysis unconvincing because it overlooks substantial opportunities for Republican pick-ups. I tend to agree with this criticism. Although the Roll Call outcome may be the single most likely, the Republicans have an excellent chance of doing better, and the Democrats don’t. First, it’s probably generous to the Dems to rate North Carolina a toss-up. Second, Senator Breaux may retire, in which case Louisiana becomes a possible Republican pick-up. Third, Roll Call admits that Tom Daschle is vulnerable. Fourth, it is more likely that President Bush will win decisively than that he will lose decisively. A decisive Bush victory could lead to Republican victories in states where Democrats are not now seen as in trouble.
The bottom lline, I suppose, is that it’s too early to be playing this game with much conviction, except to say that, overall, the Republican Senate propsects are better than those of the Democrats, perhaps considerably so.
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