I have been planning a post previewing the 2010 election but events are overtaking my procrastination.
Big News: Two Dem Senators Quit
- Senator Dorgan, Democrat North Dakota surprise retirement announcement. In what would have been his 4th election in 2010 he was rated far behind the GOP governor of the state who hasn't even announced he is running.
- Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat Connecticut, and a leader in the Dems effort to federalize health care will announce his retirement on Wednesday. The Senator was embattled after numerous scandals.
Pair that up with the news at the end of last year that four House Democrats were retiring with more on the way. And of course the big switch to the GOP by Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democrat from Alabama. In gubernatorial races, key Democrats in both Colorado and Michigan have dropped out of the race.
Can GOP Retake House and Senate?
Stay tuned for a more complete analysis of House and Senate races. But as a teaser, I'll point you to the Pelosi Index, a project of the National Republican Trust. The index lists every member of congress (check yours here) and ranks them on how many times they voted with Pelosi on many of the big issues during the past year.
Dems targeted for defeat in 2010 will include this list who serve districts which voted for McCain/Palin in 2008 but who voted with Pelosi 75% or more on key issues. There's also another list for the so-called "Blue Dogs" who showed more yellow belly than independence by also voting with Pelosi.
It will take a change of 40 seats from Democrat to Republican to permanently remove Nancy Pelosi from the Speaker's Chair. That's a tall order, but keep in mind the GOP took 54 seats in the earthquake led by Newt Gingrich in 1994.
In the Senate a gain of 11 seats for the GOP would mean control. In addition to these latest retirements at least five other Democrat seats look like easy pickings for the GOP. And even if we don't achieve the magic number of eleven, it looks like Harry Reid, the current Majority Leader from Nevada, may be heading home permanently. Every poll in his home state shows potential voters willing to vote for anyone but him.
It's a tall order to retake one house and a taller order to retake both. The odds are against it, but it's still early and we'll have a lot more to talk about on this matter as the year unfolds.