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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bye-Bye Bayh

Bumped to top (Spree)

Senator Evan Bayh has decided that the odds of his getting re-elected were not that good and decided to pack it in while he was ahead. We find this interesting because we had him rated at only a 37.2% chance of losing. We have had to change our rating to a 74.2% chance that the Republicans will pick up this now open seat. What is interesting is that we had 11 other seats with a better chance of going Republican than Indiana. Actually there were 12 seats with a better chance but Scott Brown already picked up one of them in the Massachusetts special election last month. If the incumbent in our weakest real possibility of a seat going Republican decided he should quit, what does that say about the other 11 seats?

This retirement would ordinarily mean that control of the Senate would now go to the Republicans since they would pick up another 12 seats for a total of 53 versus 47 for the Democrats. The only reason this is in doubt is because the Republican Party cannot get candidates to run in three of the seats to get them above a tie with Vice-President Biden casting the deciding vote. Can you believe that? Polls show the Republicans could beat Gillibrand in New York but Pataki will not commit to run. They show that Thompson could beat Feingold in Wisconsin but Thompson is not even interested. They also show that Rossi could beat Murray in Washington and he has not decided to run either.

The Republicans have a golden opportunity to win control of the Senate and they cannot get good candidates to run. What are we to make of this? It would appear that the Republicans have gotten so used to losing elections in the last four years that they cannot even get candidates to try. We show 12 seats with a better than even mathematical chance of winning in our Senate target table. With the sudden addition of Indiana, only 7 of these seats are really good bets. Illinois and California are toss-ups and the other three have candidates who could win and will not commit to run. Illinois is a pretty good bet because Kirk is ahead of Giannoullias by 6 points. That makes 8 seats leaning Republican which would put the Republicans down by one in the Senate, 51-49.

The polls still show Boxer ahead in California over Campbell by 4 points but they also showed Bayh ahead by only three points and he decided to throw in the towel. What does that say about Boxer? Granted Indiana is red state and California is a solid blue one but so is Massachusetts and look at what happened there. Obviously California is not critical to gain control of the Senate if the Republicans could just get decent candidates to run in three odds on bets races. Is anyone listening out there in Republican land? Part of the problem is that Republicans do not even believe they can gain control of the House let alone the Senate because most analysts do not show them gaining more than 30 seats.

We hate to tell those analysts that they are wrong but they are. 2010 is shaping up to be a better year than 1994 for the Republicans. In 1994, the Republicans gained 52 seats in the House and 9 seats in the Senate. They only need 40 more seats in the House and 10 in the Senate to gain control of both houses. Gaining control of the House is highly likely at this point. The Senate is within their grasp but only if the Republicans can get good candidates to run.