With additional Senate contests tightening as Republican support ebbs in the face of the terrible economic situation, another political pro calls the possibility of Democrats winning 60 seats in the next Senate plausible.
Wrote Chris Cillizza in washingtponpost.com on October 10: “Sixty seats for Democrats remains something less than a 50-50 proposition but a relatively plausible path to a filibuster-proof majority does exist.”
As I previously pointed out, Democrats currently hold a 51 – 49 majority in the U.S. Senate, with the 51st vote being that very independent (read turning Republican) Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
Senate rules, however, frequently require 60 votes to prevail on controversial issues, from health care to minimum wage to the Iraq war. This high threshold has frustrated Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).
A still higher threshold is required for the Senate to give its advice and consent to treaties — just say, for example, a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty or a treaty to reduce significantly the number of nuclear weapons. Both are goals ardently desired for action in the next Administration by those who focus on nuclear weapons.
According to Cillizza, the Senate contests mostly likely to switch parties in the most likely to least likely order (with the winner if the seat changes hands listed):
1. Virginia (former Gov. Mark Warner)
2. New Mexico (Rep. Tom Udall)
3. Colorado (Rep. Mark Udall)
4. New Hampshire (former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen)
5. North Carolina (Kay Hagan)
6. Oregon (Jeff Merkley)
7. Minnesota (Al Franken)
8. Alaska (Nick Begich)
9. Kentucky (Bruce Lunsford)
10. Louisana (John Kennedy)
For more on current polling, check out Council for a Livable World’s constantly updated list of polls: