2012 Senate Election Update 2/23/11 – Florida and Hawaii

We continue our record of looking at two states a day until the election season starts.  At that point, we’ll look at states at their ratings change or news comes out.

By the way, our election chart is available now.  Simply click “Election Chart” near the top of the page.  As of today (2/23/11) we have the republicans picking up 5 seats, with a floor of 1 and a ceiling of 9.  Each state is listed, and we hope you’ll look it up.

Florida – Bill Nelson (D)

Status – Dem incumbant.

Rating – Toss up.

In the limited polling we have so far, Nelson is able to hold a small lead against his potential rivals.  On the other hand, the state moved further to the right in the most recent election , leaving Nelson as the only democrat in a state-wide elected office.  Nelson obtained his office by beating Katherine Harris in 2006, and that wasn’t a major accomplishment to boast about.

The main thing is that Nelson will be running in a redder Florida during a presidential election year.  We think that will significantly hurt his chances.  We expect both national parties to pour a lot of resources into this state, as it may be one of the closer contests in the nation.  But with the democrats playing defense in so many states, can they match the republicans?

We’ll be watching this one closely.  We don’t like to “hide behind” the toss-up column, and would prefer to make picks.  Stay tuned.

Hawaii – Daniel Akaka (D)

Status – Incumbant Dem.

Rating – Likely Dem.

You might wonder how Hawaii (and Akaka) don’t make it into the “Safe” column for dems.   Well, we have three reasons to believe that the democrats will hold the seat, but that it isn’t a lock.

First, and not to be insensitive, Akaka is going to be 88 years old the day of the election in 2012.  Second, Ed Case is a potential primary spoiler for Akaka.  Third, popular former governor Linda Lingle is still considering a run.  Even if the republicans got a hat trick (Akaka dies or retires, a democrat primary fight, and Lingle enters the race) Hawaii would still be in the likely or lean dem column.

Assuming Akaka’s health stays up (and we hope that it does), we will move the race to “Safe” if Lingle passes on running.

~~~

Here are our ratings (updated yesterday 2-23-11).  For more details, see the Election Chart link at the top of this page, or click here.

Safe Dem  Likely Dem  Leans Dem  Toss-up  Leans GOP  Likely GOP  Safe GOP
CA               CT                    MI                  FL             MT                 AZ                   MS
DE                HI                   OH                  MA           ME                 IN                    TX
MD              MN                 WV                 NM           MO                ND                    UT       NY               NJ                                           VA            NE                 TN                    WY
WA              PA                                                              NV
                     RI
                     VT
                     WI

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