Handicapping the Senate for 2012
After Jim Webb’s retirement, the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza takes a look at the Senate for 2012 (bold in original):
Webb is the third Democratic (or Democratic-affiliated) Senator to call it quits already this year, joining Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) on the sidelines. Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is the lone Republican to announce she will not seek re-election in 2012. [CW–this article was written before Senator Kyl announced he was retiring.]
While holding the Connecticut seat should pose limited problems — if any — for Democrats, both Virginia and North Dakota have deep Republican roots and will be major targets for Republicans in 2012.
The open seats in Virginia and North Dakota — when coupled with the fact that there are 23 Democratic seats up this cycle as compared to just 10 for Republicans — paint a stark portrait of the challenge before Democrats to hold their majority next November.
For Democrats hoping to hold that majority, Virginia is likely to emerge as a linchpin.
It really doesn’t look good for the Democrats, since Virginia is turning very red; they just elected a Republican Governor in 2009 by a 17-point margin, and they were one of the first to fire a shot across the bow of ObamaCare. If Virginia is a linchpin, it could be another ugly election for the Democrats.
And if you’re looking for another linchpin, look no further than ObamaCare. People (including us here) were saying it was going to be a disaster, and the Democrats ignored everyone and went ahead and did it. So the coming defeats are their just desserts.