Is the Senate in play in 2006?

Don't count your donkeys just yet, but one Senate watcher says that Democrats may have a shot at regaining control.

By Tim Grieve
Published June 23, 2005 1:28PM (EDT)

Now don't anybody go hyperventilating on us just yet -- we've been down this road before-- but Democrats looking for some sliver of hope for the future should check out Chuck Todd's latest column in the National Journal.

Todd, who has a helpful if unhealthy obsession with the state of Senate races around the country, says that the Democrats actually have a chance to regain control in 2006. Harry Reid has said that it would take a "miracle" for the Democrats to overcome the Republican's 55-44-1 advantage so soon, but Todd says not to count the Democrats out just yet.

"The ingredients -- violence in Iraq, the uneven economy and partisan tension -- are there for the party to make a comeback after two cycles of GOP dominance," Todd explains, adding that Iraq -- the "number one issue for voters" -- is "devouring the Republican Party." The problem for Republicans, Todd says: Aside from the adoption of a constitution, there aren't a whole lot of big positive developments possible in Iraq between now and next November. "We've caught Saddam Hussein, we've turned over power, we've held elections and the level of violence appears to be the same to the lay voter," he writes. "We've been writing for months that at some point, Iraq was going to hurt the Republicans as much as it helped them in 2002. They lucked out in 2004, but 2006 is a whole new ballgame."

Todd ranks the 2006 Senate races using his analysis of each seat's vulnerability to a party switch. Number one on the vulnerability list right now: Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum. Democrat Bob Casey, Jr., "may not be tough enough to win," Todd says, "but it's possible that Santorum is just carrying too much baggage" to hold onto a state Kerry won in 2004.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

U.s. Senate War Room