Senate News & Analysis

Tim Kaine Might Not Be the Perfect Answer

by Stuart Rothenberg March 17, 2011 · 10:41 AM EDT

Sen. Jim Webb’s announcement in early February that he would not seek a second term wasn’t exactly a shocker. Democrats always knew that since Webb isn’t your typical Senator, he might not behave as others have and that they needed a Plan B.

For many, Tim Kaine has…

Montana Senate: Test(er) Time

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 11, 2011 · 4:30 PM EST

Jon Tester was elected to Senate in one of the best Democratic years in history, and he did it with less than 50% of the vote. Given that, it’s no surprise that the Montana Democrat is a top Republican target in 2012.

Republicans scored an early recruiting victory…

An Early Look at 2012 ‘Elite Eight’ Battleground

by Stuart Rothenberg March 11, 2011 · 8:48 AM EST

At least eight states that are likely to be among the most competitive and fiercely fought on the presidential level next year are also headed for high-profile Senate contests that could determine control of the chamber.

The list includes Florida and Virginia in the South, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri…

Nevada Senate: Open Seat Remains Lean Republican

March 7, 2011 · 2:32 PM EST

Sen. John Ensign’s (R) retirement announcement isn’t that surprising and doesn’t change our initial bottom line in Nevada since we didn’t expect him to make it out of a primary if he sought reelection.

With Cong. Dean Heller (R) as a likely candidate, Republicans are well-positioned to hold…

Democrats Need GOP Voters to Win

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 7, 2011 · 9:54 AM EST

Vulnerable Democrats beware: The bipartisan well is about dry.

Last cycle, Democrats saw their percentage of the Republican vote drop dramatically, and that could spell trouble for incumbents relying on that vote to survive in 2012. Sen. Ben Nelson is at the top of the list.


Hawaii Senate: Open Seat Remains Safe for Now

March 3, 2011 · 2:05 PM EST

At 86 years old, Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D) retirement isn’t terribly surprising and his timing might be perfect for his party.

Democrats will defend Akaka’s open seat in 2012 while sharing a ballot with Hawaii’s native son, President Barack Obama. In 2008, Obama defeated John McCain 72%-27%. Even…

New Mexico Senate: Open Seat Move to Tilt

February 25, 2011 · 2:58 PM EST

Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s retirement puts Democrats firmly on the defensive as the 2012 cycle is just beginning.

Democrats haven’t had to worry about his New Mexico Senate seat in almost two decades, but his exit creates an open seat headache for his party and an opportunity for Republicans.

Nebraska Senate: Cornhusker Kick-Out?

by Nathan L. Gonzales February 11, 2011 · 3:00 PM EST

From presidential elections to football jerseys, Nebraska is scarlet red. But for the last 35 years, Democrats have controlled one U.S. Senate seat. Sen. Ben Nelson is hoping to keep the streak alive.

Nelson is no stranger to close elections, and in all but one instance he’s come…

Indiana Senate: Legend of the Fall

by Nathan L. Gonzales February 11, 2011 · 2:59 PM EST

Sen. Richard Lugar (R) is an icon in Indiana, but he could lose reelection next year.

And if he loses, it will be fellow Republicans who deny him a seventh term.

Lugar is a highly-respected moderate conservative with a reputation of being willing to work across the…

Webb Underscores Democrats’ 2012 Challenge

by Stuart Rothenberg February 11, 2011 · 2:19 PM EST

Note: This column appeared in Roll Call before Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl announced his retirement.

Spring training hasn’t even started for the 2011 baseball season, but it’s already clear that control of the Senate is up for grabs this election cycle.

Almost before the cycle even began,…