2012 Already Looking Grim For Senate Dems

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If you thought 2010 looked nightmarish for Dems, take a peek at two years from now. No less than 16 23 Dem Senators will be up for reelection. Many A lot are from purple or red states.

Here’s the list of the most vulnerable…

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (PA)

    • Thumped Rick Santorum in 2006 by 16%, but Santorum was a joke by that point and wasn’t even really trying. Also, Pennsylvanians elected Pat Toomey on Tuesday, who has some incredibly radical fiscal views.
  • Claire McCaskill (MO)

    • Beat the anemic Jim Talent in 2006 by only 2%, and only because she was able to make gains in the rural areas. That’s unlikely this time around with Obama pulling her approval down in those outlying areas. So unless she can GOTV in the cities, this one is going to be tough.
  • Jon Tester (MT)

    • Won by less than 3,000 votes. This is one of the likeliest to turn, but Montana does have a very popular Democratic Governor in Brian Schweitzer. Look for Tester to distance himself from Obama or demand consensus building when it comes to deficit reduction and taxation.
  • Sherrod Brown (OH)

    • Won his race by 12% over a two-term incumbent, and seems to be a strong advocate for Ohio in the Senate. Plus, John Kasich barely won against Strickland on Tuesday for Governor, so it doesn’t look like Ohio is making a dramatic swing to the right in the manner that other states are.
  • Jim Webb (VA)

    • Webb won by less than one half of 1% against George Allen, who suffered from foot-in-mouth-disease throughout the 2006 campaign. Most notably, his “macaca” incident really turned Virginians stomach. No doubt Allen will be running again, but Webb has maintained a fairly independent streak in the Senate and he can point to bipartisan legislation that he spearheaded as proof. Still, Obama could pull Webb down.
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)

    • Beat the very popular moderate Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee by 7%. If Chafee runs again on a “return to moderate politics” campaign, it’s possible Whitehouse could have an uphill battle. (UPDATE: Chafee is the new Governor of Rhode Island so he won’t be challenging Whitehouse. My apologies for any confusion. which makes it less likely for him to challenge Whitehouse, but not out of the realm of possibilities.)
  • Joe Manchin (WV)

    • He’s a very popular former Governor turned Senator last Tuesday by 10% over his opponent thanks to a last minute surge fueled by a pledge to kill cap and trade and revise the health care law. But since this was a special election, he’s up again in 2 years. Given his independent rhetoric so far, this one will probably stay blue. Let’s remember, Robert Byrd held this seat FOREVER. West Virginia may not turn blue when it comes to Presidential races, but they have a long history of supporting Dems in the Senate.
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)

    • Gillibrand destroyed her opponent by 24%. The only person who could potentially challenge her is a Giuliani-type. Hmmm
  • The Hill has more from the left and the right:

    The other Democratic incumbents up next cycle are Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Tom Carper (Del.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Ben Cardin (Md.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Robert Menendez (N.J.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.).

    The 10 GOP senators facing reelection are John Barrasso (Wyo.), Scott Brown (Mass.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), John Ensign (Nev.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and Roger Wicker (Miss.).

    So yeah, it could get tough and the Dems’ majority is definitely in question at this point.

    More as it develops…