The Campaign Spot

A Lot of Tough Fights in Next Year’s Senate Races . . .

Charlie Cook lays out the gloom for Democrats in the Senate:

Democratic attempts to knock off the two GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable — Sens. David Vitter in Louisiana and Richard Burr in North Carolina — appear to be slim and diminishing. It’s not very likely that many Republican incumbents will lose re-election in the South these days. If Vitter behaves himself and Burr very visibly hits every county a couple times in the next year, Democrats have virtually no chance in either state. Basically, there is a real chance that Democrats won’t flip any GOP Senate seats. This is not — repeat, not — to say that Democrats can’t pick up any Republican seats, but their chances certainly aren’t what they used to be.

At the same time, things look very tough for Democrats in three toss-up races: Neither Sen. Christopher Dodd in Connecticut nor Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada is polling well, and the GOP has a chance in the Illinois open seat contest. Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado and party-switcher Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania have to deal with formidable primary challenges before they can even get to what are likely to be tough general election campaigns. In California, it’s unclear how tough the re-election challenge will be for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. The biggest question there is whether Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is ready for prime time politics. Finally, add to that list Sen. Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas, who is looking more and more vulnerable, despite a lack of name-brand competition.

That’s seven Democratic Senate seats in real danger, and that doesn’t include the Delaware open seat if GOP Rep. Michael Castle runs, or if Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in New York faces a top-drawer challenger.

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