Council for a Livable World Senate Election 2012 Roundup
Last updated October 24, 2012
The latest developments:Massachusetts: WBUR poll that had Warren (D) down by 3% 10/7 now has her up by 6% over Brown (R). Connecticut: Quinnipiac poll has Murphy (D) taking a 6 point lead over McMahon (R) when previous poll had him 1 point behind. Pennsylvania: Breathing space: Muhlenberg poll that had Casey (D) ahead of Smith (R) by only 2% now has him ahead by 8% Nebraska: Kerrey Komeback (D): internal poll shows him only 5% behind Fisher (R) Indiana: Lugar (R) makes it clear that he still withholds his support for Mourdock (R). Arizona: Independent expenditures flooding Arizona now that groups understand very tight contest. Maine: While there are outliers, most polls show King (I) way ahead of both opponents. Missouri: McCaskill (D) running 6 points ahead of Akin (R), not an unassailable lead. Virginia: Two more polls, NBC News and Roanoke, confirm Kaine (D) ahead of Allen (R) by 5 - 10 points. Ohio: Two more polls confirm Brown's (D) lead over Mandel (R) by 8 or 9 points.
The 2012 Senate contests are as uncertain as ever, but momentum has moved to the Democrats. Politico pointed out on September 30: "Five weeks from Election Day, both parties jousting for control of the Senate face a stark fact: Neither has yet locked down races that should have been put away by now. That means the Senate map has gotten bigger, not smaller, leaving races from New England to the Upper Plains to the Southwest all in play."
The key numbers:
-->21 Democrat seats are up for election in 2012 plus two independents who caucus with the Democrats.
-->There are only 10 seats for the Republicans to defend.
The closest Senate contests (and most likely nominees)
Arizona - Carmona (D) vs. Flake (R)
Connecticut - Murphy (D) vs. McMahon (R)
Indiana - Donnelly (D) vs. Mourdock (R)
Massachusetts - Warren (D) vs. Scott Brown (R)
Missouri – McCaskill (D) vs. Akin (R)
Montana – Tester (D) vs. Rehberg (R)
Nevada – Berkley (D) vs. Heller (R)
North Dakota- Heitkamp (D) vs. Berg (R)
Virginia – Kaine (D) vs. Allen (R)
Wisconsin - Baldwin (D) vs. Thompson (R)
The next closest Senate contests
Florida – Bill Nelson (D) vs. Mack (R)
Hawaii - Hirono (D) vs. Lingle (R)
Maine - Dill (D) vs. Summers (R) vs. King (I)
Nebraska - Kerrey (D) vs. Fischer (R)
New Mexico - Heinrich (D) vs. Wilson (R)
Ohio – Sherrod Brown (D) vs. Mandel (R)
Pennvylvania - Casey (D) vs. Smith (R)
Council for a Livable World Senate endorsements for 2012
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV)
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Dr. Richard Carmona (D-AZ)
Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE)
Gov. Angus King (I-ME)
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Rep. Chris Murphy (D)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Arizona: The Grand Canyon state is a battleground for the Senate. Incumbent Sen. Jon Kyl (R) has announced his retirement. Both parties have come up with strong nominees. Rep. Jeff Flake (R) faces former Surgeon General Richard Carmona (D) in an unexpectedly close contest.. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Carmona]
California: Republicans ran two strong candidates for governor and Senator in 2010, but both lost handily. If Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) could win re-election by 10 points in 2010, her colleague Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is more heavily favored despite the fact that she turns 79 in 2012. Her major problem is that her campaign treasurer absconded with her funds and those of others. Her opponent is ex-Autism Speaks executive Elizabeth Emken.
Connecticut: This state has produced one of the major battles of 2012. Four-term incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) announced that he will retire after completing his current term. With this news, Democrats have been given a tremendous opportunity to pick up a new seat. U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy (D) easily won the Democratic primary in August and wealthy businesswoman and former Senate nominee Linda McMahon handily won the GOP convention. Her self-funding has put Murphy on the defensive, and a close outcome is expected.[Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Murphy]
Delaware: Two-term incumbent Sen. Tom Carper (D) in great political shape and should have no trouble winning re-election against businessman Kevin Wade (R). His margin of victory in 2006 was 41 points.
Florida: Republicans are gunning for two-term incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D), the Democrats last statewide official. Republicans made major gains in the state in the 2010 election, including four new House seats, and hope to extend their winning streak. Rep. Connie Mack (R) won the August 14 primary, but is the underdog.
Hawaii: Hawaii remains a strongly Democratic state. Three-term Sen. Daniel Akaka (D) has announced his retirement, leaving an open contest to replace him. Former Governor Linda Lingle (R) is running, but polls show U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) ahead after winning a tough primary. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Hirono]
Indiana: The state is strongly Republican, and the GOP captured a Democratic Senate seat in 2010 by 15 points. Incumbent Senator Richard Lugar (R) has been in office since 1976, and tried to run again. Tea party favorite State Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R) easily defeated Lugar in the May 8 primary. Polls show the Democratic nominee Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) to be very competitive.
Maine: In late February 2012, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) surprisingly announced her retirement. The first declared candidate was former Governor (and independent) Angus King, while a number of political heavyweights declined to challenge him. King is the strong favorite against Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) and State Sen. Cynthia Dill (D), although the contest has tightened. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for King]
Maryland: This state remained firmly blue in the 2010 election and incumbent Sen. Ben Cardin (D) should easily win re-election. His Republican challenger is ex-Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino (R).
Massachusetts: This heavily Democratic state shocked the political world with the January 2010 special election when it elected Sen. Scott Brown (R) in a harbinger of GOP victories to come. However, Democrats scored solid wins in the Bay State later in 2010, and are salivating over one of their few pick-up opportunities in 2012. Still, Brown has a strong favorable rating and $15.5 million in his campaign treasury. Former White House official Elizabeth Warren (D), who has $13.5 million in the bank, is running strong. Polls show Warren and Brown even. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Warren]
Michigan: Republicans scored solid gains in the state in 2010 and hope to contest strongly the seat of two-term incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). She won her first re-election in 2006 with 57% of the vote. Polling indicates that a close race could shape up, but the incumbent remains the favorite. Ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) won the August 7 primary against charter school founder Clark Durant. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Stabenow]
Minnesota: The state has been the scene of several close elections in recent years that have forced lengthy recounts. But first-term incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) won in 2006 by 20 points and she continues to be popular. She is strongly favored. Her challenger is State Rep. Kurt Bills (R), who won the GOP nomination.
Mississippi: In this very conservative state, Sen. Roger Wicker (R), who was voted in during a 2008 special election to replace Sen. Trent Lott (R), should coast to re-election against 81-year old Democratic chair, minister and Vietnam vet Albert Gore Jr. (D), who is not the former Vice President.
Missouri: Expect a close contest in this state evenly divided between the two major parties. President Obama lost Missouri by fewer than 4,000 votes out of 2.9 million cast. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) ousted Sen. Jim Talent (R) by three percentage points. The GOP made major gains in 2010. Rep. Todd Akin (R) won the August 7 primary -- the candidate McCaskill thought easiest to beat -- and then proceeded to undermine his candidacy by talking about "legitimate rape." [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for McCaskill]
Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D) upset an incumbent Republican Senator in 2006 by fewer than 4,000 votes and is a top Republican target in 2012. President Obama is very unpopular in the state. Six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) is a very strong challenger. This is a toss-up contest. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Tester]
Nebraska: Republicans think that the Cornhusker state provides them with one of their best chances for a pickup in 2012. Moderate incumbent Sen. Ben Nelson (D) was the only non-Republican in the delegation, but after appearing to run for re-election, decided to withdraw from the race in December 2011. State Sen. Deb Fischer (R) shot the gap between two better known candidates who had been attacking each other and won the May 15 primary. Former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D), the Democratic nominee, is the underdog. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Kerrey]
Nevada: Sen. John Ensign (R), won two elections by large margins - but his ambition to be President evaporated when he admitted to an extramarital affair with his campaign treasurer who was also the wife of a staffer. On April 21, Ensign announced he would resign his seat early. The Governor appointed Rep. Dean Heller (R) as his replacement, but Heller faces a close contest with Rep. Shelley Berkley (D). Berkley is a great campaigner, but faces an Ethics Committee investigation. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Berkley]
New Jersey: Sen. Robert Menendez (D) has so-so approval ratings and his state is mired in a recession. Still, the Republican bench in the state is not deep and the incumbent has $9.5 million in his campaign account. State Sen. Joe Kyrillos (R), who is close to Gov. Christie (R), is the GOP nominee, but Menendez remains favored.
New Mexico: Incumbent Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D), who has served in the Senate since 1982 and won his last election by 40 points, has decided to retire. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) won his primary in June with about 59% of the vote, and faces Former Rep. Heather Wilson (R), who easily won her primary. A close race may be in the offing, but Heinrich has pulled into a lead. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Heinrich]
New York: The best chance to defeat appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) came in 2010, but she easily won the special election to replace Hillary Clinton and should have no problem in 2012. She faces attorney Wendy Long (R), who won a three-way June 26 primary.
North Dakota: Republicans made major gains in the state in 2010, winning a Senate seat and the House seat. Incumbent Sen. Kent Conrad (D), who has held the seat since 1986, announced his retirement on January 18, 2011. On the Republican side, freshman U.S. Rep. Rick Berg (R) easily won his primary. Ex-North Dakota Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) is the Democratic nominee. Polls show a close contest despite the state's GOP tilt. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Heitkamp]
Ohio: The Buckeye State will again be contested closely at the presidential level and for Senate as well. In 2010, Republicans won the governorship, one U.S. Senate seat and five House seats. First-term incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) faces a strong and well-funded challenge from State treasurer Josh Mandel (R). [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Brown]
Pennsylvania: This is another state where Republicans made major gains in 2010. However, first-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D), who beat incumbent Sen. Rick Santorum (R) by 18 percentage points in 2006, remains popular. Polls show Casey ahead of businessman Tom Smith (R), who won the April 24 primary after self-funding to the tune of $5 million, but Smith has closed the margin.[Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Casey]
Rhode Island: If Democrats don’t do well here in 2012, then a nationwide Republican landslide is in order. First-term incumbent Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) should win re-election, particularly because the GOP has a weak bench of candidates. Software company founder Barry Hinckley (R) is the challenger. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Whitehouse]
Tennessee: First-term incumbent Sen. Bob Corker (R) will win easily. Democrats in the state were wiped out in 2010. Corker won his first election against Harold Ford, Jr. by six points. A June 2011 Vanderbilt University poll showed Corker with a healthy 51%-23% approval rating. He is opposed by 2008 candidate/floor installer/Christian author/ex-Army reservist Mark Clayton (D).
Texas: Coming off a failed run against Rick Perry for the Republican nomination for governor, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) announced that she will not seek re-election. Ex-solicitor general Ted Cruz (R) won the primary runoff against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) and will be the next Senator.
Utah: After the defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett (R) in a Republican nominating convention in 2010, long-time Senator Orrin Hatch (R) was next on the Tea Party hit list. Hatch worked hard to prove that he is different than Bennett. Hatch did well in the Utah GOP nominating convention on April 21, but with 59% of the vote finished just short of the 60% needed to avoid a primary. Then Hatch easily won his primary against ex-state Sen. Dan Liljenquist (R) with 67% of the vote and is unbeatable in the general election.
Vermont: There is one official Socialist in the U.S. Senate and his name is Sen. Bernard Sanders (I). Sanders, who won by 30 points in 2006, should coast to re-election. He faces a weak former Massachusetts state representative John McGovern (R). [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Sanders]
Virginia: First-term Sen. Jim Webb (D), who upset Sen. George Allen (R), has announced he will not be the Democratic candidate for 2012. Allen, who was spoiling for a return to the Senate, has decided to have another go at it, and easily won a three-way primary. Former Gov. Tim Kaine (D) is the Democratic nominee. This is a toss-up race until November.[Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Kaine.]
Washington: In 2010, Sen. Patty Murray (D) withstood the Republican tide, and there is no reason to believe that incumbent Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) will be seriously threatened. State Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R) is the opponent.
West Virginia: Sen. Joe Manchin (D) won a special election in 2010 to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D). Manchin was a highly popular governor, and won his Senate seat by 11 percentage points. Manchin should be okay in 2012. Businessman John Raese (R) is running for Senate a fourth time.
Wisconsin: Democrat Russ Feingold was ousted in 2010 after three terms, and Republicans hope to capture the seat held by Sen. Herb Kohl (D), who announced in May 2011 that he will retire. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) is the Democratic nominee. Former governor Tommy Thompson (R) won a four-way primary in August in a toss-up contest in November. [Council for a Livable World has endorsed and fundraised for Baldwin.]
Wyoming: If the Democratic Party in the state runs a candidate, hardly anyone will notice. Incumbent Sen. John Barrasso (R) won a special election in 2008 by 46 points and has a lock on re-election in 2012.