Election 2010 Predictions: The Senate
If these predictions are right, Republicans will narrowly miss taking the upper house.


Jim Geraghty

I would like nothing more than to be able to see just a few more breaks going the GOP’s way, but some things are going to go wrong for Republicans. Even in the big wave year of 1994, Jeb Bush, Ollie North, and Ellen Sauerbrey lost close races. Some of these toss-up races aren’t going to break the GOP’s way, and the Democrats’ enormous effort to wake up their base is going to have a bigger effect in statewide races than in the competitive House districts, which generally have fewer African-Americans and college students.

A couple of general operating assumptions:

— If you’re a longtime incumbent and you’re polling in the mid-40s, you’re probably toast.

● The GOP wave is coming, but it’s not hitting evenly. Some states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida) will see intense GOP waves; some states (Iowa, New York, West Virginia) won’t. Candidate quality matters, as well as the strength or weakness of the state party.

In the Senate, my projection is for the GOP to gain eight seats: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. I regretfully predict narrow Democratic wins in California, Washington, and West Virginia; this leaves the Senate split 51–49 in the Democrats’ favor.

Alabama: Republican incumbent Richard Shelby wins easily over Democrat William Barnes. Barnes is an attorney prone to groundbreaking ideas like “Our children are our future.” Indeed,  Mr. Barnes, teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside.

Alaska: Because of the complications and difficulties of a write-in bid, Republican Joe Miller should win, perhaps narrowly, over incumbent Lisa Murkowski and the candidate whose name the DNC couldn’t remember. Alaska voters reading this should keep in mind that Murkowski’s name is spelled differently than it sounds; it is actually spelled J-O-E M-I-L-L-E-R.

Arizona: Longtime incumbent Republican John McCain wins easily over Democrat Rodney Glassman.

Arkansas: Republican John Boozman beats incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln by an embarrassing margin.

California: For a long while, my optimistic upset pick was Carly Fiorina. But looking at the polls, Barbara Boxer’s average is inching closer and closer to 50. Boxer wins by a narrow and quite frustrating margin.

Colorado: Republican Ken Buck wins by an uncomfortably close margin over appointed senator Michael Bennet; in the end, the incumbent couldn’t run against Washington after spending two years as a senator.

Connecticut: While her campaign wildly outperformed expectations and she proved much tougher and sharper than the GOP dared dream, Republican Linda McMahon falls short against Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

Delaware: Democrat Chris Coons beats Republican Christine O’Donnell by a wide margin. O’Donnell begins new career as public speaker, MSNBC talking head, and author in the weeks afterwards. No Magic, Just Faith from Regnery becomes a New York Times bestseller.