Wednesday | September 04, 2002
TRO's Senate outlook
In 2000, Democratic candidate Maria Cantwell shocked the DC establishment and contradicted all pre-election polls by defeating GOP incumbent Slade Gordon in the Washington Senate race. The race was a squeaker, but symptomatic of the increasing Democratic bent of the nation's entire West Coast.
The National Review's political reporter, John Miller, worries that Oregon may follow Washington's lead:
This could be the sleeper race of the year for Democrats -- they're hoping for another surprise in the Northwest, repeating the razor-thin, upset victory over GOP Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington two years ago. Smith is the favorite, but his reelection numbers have not been impressive. Definitely worth watching.The Oregon race is just one of 12 analyzed in the piece, which is surprisingly pessimistic given the right-wing, cheer-Republicans-at-all-costs bent of the publication. Miller shatters GOP illusions of picking up Senate seats in Iowa ("state ... has trended Democrat in recent elections") and Georgia ("unseating [Cleland] would be a major upset"). And, despite all the pre-election hype and uncompetitive poll numbers, Miller rates the North Carolina race as competitive ("[Dole's] campaign has succeeded so far by avoiding mistakes, but the generally right-leaning voters of North Carolina have shown a tendency in recent years to cast ballots for Democrats").
Missing from the list are Louisiana and Montana, which the GOP desperately wanted to make competitive. But Miller does ignore Arkansas, the most vulnerable GOP-held seat in the Senate today. Probably an oversight.
Want more rankings? MyDD has excellent Senate rankings, and he even calls for an Democratic upset victory in South Carolina. Business Week has its own Senate race analysis, and at some point, I'm sure ABC News will update their hopelessly out of date Senate rankings.