'06: Where We Stand

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Sep 28, 2006 8:46 AM

The NYT is, unsuprisingly, optimistic about Dems' chances for taking over the Senate and the House:

Six weeks before Election Day, the Democrats suddenly face a map with unexpected opportunities in their battle for control of the Senate.

In Virginia, a state that few expected to be seriously competitive, Senator George Allen looks newly vulnerable after a series of controversies over charges of racial insensitivity, strategists in both parties say. In Tennessee, another Southern state long considered safely red, Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., a Democrat, has run a strong campaign that has kept that state in contention.

Elsewhere, Democratic challengers are either ahead or close in races in five states held by the Republicans: Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, according to political strategists in both parties and the latest polls.

Yeah, the Virginia thing has become a big fiasco, but I have a feeling all this focusing on something Allen may or may not have said 30 years ago is gonna backfire. For instance, I wasn't thinking about volunteering on the campaign until this whole thing ticked me off. 

Most Southerners have seen false, politically motivated accusations of racism thrown around their whole lives. Most Southerners know that, even if he did utter the n-word in college, it does not negate all that he has done in the state as a representative, senator and governor. During his time in office he has conducted himself as a non-racist and as a decent public servant. Also, he's up five points in the polls still.

The RCP average has Bob Corker and Harold Ford dead-locked, 45-45.

In Missouri, Talent's up by a negligible .3 percent.

Montana: That Nutroots goober Tester is up 47-41 due to Burns' maybe/maybe-not involvement in the Abramoff stuff.

In Ohio, Dewine is down thanks to abysmal Republican leadership and a generous helping of scandal in his own state.

Santorum and Chafee are also locked in tight races. You know what all that means, right? Time to chip in.But the news isn't all bad for Republicans. Dems would have to pick up six of the above seven seats to take control without losing any of their own seats.

In New Jersey, that's becoming a little less likely where Dem challenger to Thomas Kean, Jr. is embroiled in controversy and just today fired one of his key advisers for getting caught on tape seeking political favors years ago. Kean's up 43-41.

The Maryland race, at 49-43 for Cardin, is listed as a toss-up on RCP.

But what about the House landslide? Slightly more likely, but Roll Call's Stuart Rothenberg warns Dems not to get too slap-happy over their chances.

You can chip in here on House races.

Given the Republicans' significant money advantage and the fact that that money is handled by Ken Mehlman, not Howard Dean, I think the chances of a Dem Senate takeover are much lower than the NYT would like to think. And, I think the GOP GOTV has shown to be superior in 2004 and 2002, so here we go again.

TV ads and serious campaigning get started now as folks actually start to pay attention. Oughtta be a good October for people who have to watch politics 24/7.