This is a recap of my earlier post of what to watch for in the US Senate Races.

We are hoping for a 60 seat Democratic Party presence in the Senate in order to have a filibuster proof majority. Without this, any Republican with a grudge, a bad attitude, a hatred of liberal or progressive idea, or who feels that his/her own career is more important than his/her country (which pretty much describes 99 percent of all Republicans) can get up on the Senate Floor and read Mother Goose Tales forever in order to stop a bill being brought up for a vote. I’m not using an analogy or a metaphor here …. this is what the senate rules state. Sixty senators have to vote to end discussion on a bill before the bill can be voted on. Just in the last two years, the Republicans have stopped Democratic action using this technique somewhere between one and two hundred times. This is not a theoretical possibility, it is a way of life for the Republicans.

And no, it is not the case that the Democrats to the same thing. This is a Republican thing, mainly. The Republicans are the assholes.

But I digress.

The chance of a Democractic 60 seat majority is slim, but it is not entirely out of the range of possibilities. Let me lay it out for you.

This information is based on polling data from Real Clear Politics and Vote From Abroad Dot Com.

There are fifty five cases where a Democrat holds a seat and is not running this year, or is running and has no chance of losing. Similarly, there are 37 solid Republican seats. This leaves eight seats up for grabs; In eight cases, there is a fight and a chance for either party to win the seat.

Oregon, North Carolina and New Hampshire have Democrats in leading the race by at least five percentage points ahead of the republicans, and this number is holding. So the Democrats will almost certainly come out of Tuesday’s election with 58 or more seats.

Minnesota is a race that is too close to call. Minnesotans: It is up to YOU to get out and vote, and vote for Franken . This will also save you the embarrassment later of seeing Coleman disgraced in office, standing charges, tossed out of the Senate on ethics charges, etc. The women he abuses, the other politicians he has screwed over, all of his enemies, will eventually have had enough and that will be the end of him.

The remaining ‘battleground’ states are Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Texas.

The Republican in Texas is strong and there is nothing to contradict the idea that this seat will go Republican. The gap in Kentucky is widening with the Republican moving ahead.

The interesting states are Mississippi and Georgia. In both states, the gap between the leading Republican and the trailing Democrat might be getting narrower, given recent polls. In Mississippi, this seems unlikely to change the order of the ponies, but in Georgia, at least one recent poll puts the two candidates, suddenly, in a statistical dead heat.

If Minnesota goes for Franken, and Georgia goes for Martin, that brings the number to 60.

Minnesota and Georgia. We are counting on you. Don’t let us down. You usually do let us down. Please don’t do it this time.


  1. #1 chezjake
    November 2, 2008

    I think your math is a bit off, and you left out the case of Guilty Ted Stevens, unless you are counting that one as a guaranteed Dem win.

    – Current Dem seats – 49
    – Independents – 2 (usually vote with Dems, but one is Joe Lieberman)
    – Pretty sure Dem takeovers – the Udall cousins in NM and CO, Jeanne Shaheen in NH, Warner in VA – that’s 4 more
    – Leaning Dem – Merkley in OR, Hagan in NC, Begich in AK – 3 more for a total of 58

    So Franken becomes the 59th. If there’s a real blowout in GA, then Martin would make the 60th, but I don’t see that as very likely.

    However, don’t forget that a couple of the more liberal Republican Senators (Snow and Collins of ME, most prominently) have voted with Dems on some cloture votes.

  2. #2 greg laden
    November 2, 2008

    chezjake: Right…. apparently, the Alaska race is being considered won, so I left it in the known-to-be-Dem category. I ignored the independent status cases. This part is following the model on “Vote from Abroad” (link above), just trying to keep it simple. Otherwise our numbers are exactly the same, but with some differences in whether a particular race is ‘in play’ but not really in play. The conclusions are the same: There are fifty eight Dems. Then we see if we can add Franken, that would be 59. The next possible race that could go Dem is Georgia, not likley but that race is actually closing, and closing faster and starting closer than all the other ones.

    Now, you are absolutely right that a coalition can still be put together sometimes, and not mentioned is that 60 dems do not always run in the same lane at the same time.