2012 Senate Election Update 2/22/11 – Connecticut and Delaware

Welcome back!

Today we’ll add two more states to the mix, CT and DE.  We’ll be adding two states a day to get to our 33 total, at which point we’ll start putting up articles as news happens and ratings change.

We rate each election for the dems (democrats) or GOP (republicans) from “Safe” to “Likely” to “Lean”.  “Toss-up” means the race is too close to call.  Red signifies republican and blue signifies democrat.

To see some of our sources and how we arrive at our conclusions, go to the top of our site and click “methodology”.  And coming soon, we’ll have a new page at the top of the site called “Election Chart” where we’ll put up every seat so you can quickly see where every senate stands in terms of holding, changing, and the rating assigned.

Connecticut – Joe Lieberman (retiring)

Status – Current independent (democrat) is retiring.

Rating – Likely Democrat.

Lieberman was popular enough (with a wide enough spectrum of voters) to win as an independent when his party’s liberal base threw him off the democrat ballot in 2006.  Lieberman’s strong advocacy for national defense and the war on terror was enough to buy independent and republican votes, while his liberal views on other issues held enough democrats.  But when Lieberman came out in support of his friend John McCain (another moderate, but a republican) over Obama in the 2008 race, Lieberman’s coalition fractured.  Joe probably saw the writing on the wall that he couldn’t hold enough dem votes to win in a dark blue state, and decided to hang it up.

We’ve noticed that there is no agreement between other expert sites on this race.  Sabato calls it a toss-up, Roll Call say lean dem, Cook says likely dem, and Rothenberg says safe dem.  What they all have in common is the nature of the race to go to the democrats.

We don’t see that any of the current potentials on the GOP side have any more chance than they did in 2010 when they couldn’t win in a republican wave year.  Perhaps star power like former governor Jodi Rell could tip the scales, but after turning down other races and a tough victory over breast cancer we can understand if she skips this race.

Still, the republicans have a silver lining here.  Had Lieberman remained, he would have split enough CT republicans and independents to ensure a victory and make this race “Safe” for dems.  With his farewell, the national dems will “Likely” keep this seat, but have to waste money and resources to keep it; money and resources needed badly in the rest of the many seats democrats are defending.

Delaware – Tom Carper

Status – Dem incumbant.

Rating – Safe Democrat.

Carper has two things going for him.  First, he’s a liberal in a deep blue state that won his last race with about %70 of the vote.  Second, the best the republicans could muster in a 2010 race was Christine O’Donnell.

Dropping hints that one’s opponent is gay is a tactical mis-step, particularly in a blue state.  But putting up a candidate with a history of lying about her education, wild stories about witchcraft, and filing a ridiculous claim of harassment against a conservative organization that she had misappropriated resources from made the race deteriorate into a circus.  She is currently being investigated by the FEC in an action that started in December.

In other words, Carper is a strong candidate, Delaware loves (liberal) democrats, and the republicans in Delaware are coming off of the worst embarrassments of the 2010 senate cycle.  Nothing to see here folks; move on.


Seats evaluated to date:

Safe Dem   Likely Dem   Leans Dem   Toss-up   Leans GOP   Likely GOP   Safe GOP
CA                CT                                                                                           AZ

4 seats down, 29 to go!  So far there hasn’t been much excitement in terms of ratings changes or flips being predicted.  We’ll note that CT would have started Safe Dem, and AZ would have started Safe GOP if the incumbents hadn’t retired.  However, as we go further down the list you’ll find us sticking our necks out a bit and finding some seats that we predict are going to switch.

Stay tuned!


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