The Republican contingent is already looking at four retirements in 2010, affecting races in FL, KS, OH and MO. It may have another incumbency disappear in Texas. It has a few seats in territory that is getting bluer and bluer, particularly seats in PA and NH. Now word is out on another pair of seats which may pose difficulties and sap national campaign cash.
In Kentucky, Politico reports that members of the caucus are trying to ease Jim Bunning (R-KY) into retirement. The aging Hall of Fame pitcher appears increasingly vulnerable in a state with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was forced to fend off a surprisingly spirited challenge in 2008.
Then there’s the case of Richard Burr (R-NC). The freshman will be mounting the first defense of his seat, but is looking at poor recognition among the electorate and a scant 33% approval rating in a state that just sent Democrats to the Senate and the governorship in 2008.
RBR/TVBR observation: In an off year, all of these states figure to be battlegrounds, attracting both national attention and dollars. Smart broadcasters will be in the ear of key staffers of all defenders, not to mention keeping close tabs on likely challengers, to assure a healthy chunk of the political advertising pie.