Senate battlegrounds handicapped


The good news for Republicans is that at this point, about seven months out before Election Day, only one of ten competitive Senate seats is starting to look like a lost cause. But the bad news is that they are playing defense in all but one of them.

Respected political blog has done an analysis of ratings from a wide variety of political sources, including National Journal, Larry Sabato, Charlie Cook, CQ and others, producing a scorecard that, for broadcasters, also acts as a predictor as to where nationally political funding my be directed. States up for grabs are said to include Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia. Of these, only Louisiana is currently held by Democrats.

Virginia is the only state where Democrats are looking like winners early, and in the opposite column, Republicans seem likely to hold Mississippi. Of the other eight, three are said to be leaning Republican, two are leaning Democrat and three are called tossups.

RBR/TVBR observation: A recent Rasmussen poll conducted in Alaska may make take the outlook portion of the chart (below the click) even-steven, due to the legal problems of Commerce Committee stalwart Ted Stevens (R-AK). The Democrats were able to field a strong candidate in the person of Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, and Rasmussen is calling the race a dead heat at this point. Move it to the tossup category and each party has one likely and two leaners with four up for grabs.

The current Senate has 49 members from each party, with two independents. One of them, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is a solid bet to vote with Democrats, and the other, Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is a recent Democrat who elected to caucus with his former party (resulting in a de facto 51-49 Democratic edge), but he often votes with the Republicans on foreign policy matters.

State Republican Democrat Outlook
Alaska (R) Ted Stevens (i) Mark Begich Leans GOP
Colorado (R) Bob Schaffer Mark Udall Tossup
Louisiana (D) John Kennedy Mary Landrieu (i) Tossup
Maine (R) Susan Collins (i) Tom Allen Leans GOP
Minnesota (R) Norm Coleman (i) Al Franken Tossup
Mississippi (R) Roger Wicker (i) Ronnie Musgrove Likely Rep
New Hampshire (R) John Sununu (i) Jeanne Shaheen Leans Dem
New Mexico (R) TBD Tom Udall Leans Dem
Oregon (R) Gordon Smith (i) TBD Leans Rep
Virginia (R) Jim Gilmore Mark Warner Likely Dem


(i) = incumbent Source: