FF Election Predictions: And the Winners Will Be…

November 1st, 2010 at 12:02 am | 26 Comments |

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Last week at FrumForum, we asked our contributors to share their midterm election hopes and wishes. This week, we are asking them to put away their rose-colored glasses and instead predict what will actually happen on Election Night.  Lawyer Jeff Cimbalo sees a 10 seat pick-up for the GOP in the Senate.  On the House side, Heartland Institute’s Eli Lehrer thinks Rep. Joseph Cao will survive in Louisiana’s heavily Democratic second district. Republicans for Environmental Protection’s Jim DiPeso predicts that some controversial state propositions will go down in defeat. Corey Chambliss thinks that California governor’s race watchers are in for a long night, and former Federal Election Commission chair Bradley Smith predicts big GOP gains at the state level.


I predict that Republicans will pick up 51 House seats and eight Senate seats.  Republicans will capture currently Democratic seats in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin but lose the close races in California, Washington State, and West Virginia.  Most governor’s races, including, sadly, California’s, now have a very clear favorite who will walk away with a victory. In the closer races for governor in larger states, Democrat Alex Sink will defeat Republican Rick Scott in Florida, Republican Bill Brady will top Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn in Illinois, and Republican John Kasich will beat Democrat Ted Strickland in Ohio.

For me, the coming defeat of Gene Taylor (D-MS), author of a particularly awful bill that would amount to a government takeover of coastal property insurance, will prove a particularly sweet surprise. As recently as last week, I had assumed Taylor was invincible; now, I’m pretty sure he’ll be humiliated at the polls.  Two other predictions for surprises. First, while Andrew Cuomo will be elected governor of New York, he’ll have a slimmer margin of victory than most polls now predict because many upstate Rockefeller Republicans will vote for Carl Paladino rather than a downstate Democrat who is fated to win anyway. Second, despite polls that lean the other way, the bright, thoughtful, hardworking Ahn “Joseph” Cao will narrowly hold onto his seat in Louisiana’s heavily Democratic second district.

One final thought: Although I disagree with him on most issues and wouldn’t vote for him even if I lived in his state, Russ Feingold’s near certain defeat in Wisconsin will be a loss to the Senate. Bright, honest, quirky, and possessed of more than a few libertarian leanings, Feingold was a very good Senator. President Obama should find a place for him in the cabinet.

- Eli Lehrer is a Senior Fellow and National Director for the Heartland Institute.


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Florida Gubernatorial: Rick Scott will win by 3 percentage points.  Florida’s economy has been among the hardest hit in the country and Scott’s business experience and resources ultimately should be enough to put away his opponent, Alex Sink. A new University of South Florida Polytechnic poll puts Rick Scott (R) ahead of Alex Sink (D) by 5 points (44% to 39%).  If you had told anyone a decade ago that Rick Scott would be governor after the Columbia/HCA scandal, they would have laughed in your face.  Only in America….

Illinois Senate: Kirk wins by four.  Virtually all polling now puts Kirk ahead.  To win, Giannoulias has to get a huge Chicago inner city turnout.  Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. could have given Giannoulias big time help here, but he reportedly isn’t fond of Mr. Giannoulias and Giannoulias’ problems will simply turn out to be too much.

Washington Senate: You heard it here first, but this thing is headed to a recount.  A recent McClatchy-Marist Poll in Washington has Sen. Patty Murray leading Dino Rossi by 1 percentage point, 49% to 48%.  If the Republican base comes out in force, this thing has recount written all over it.  TPM gives a rundown of relevant recount laws in all of the tight races for those of you interested in such a conflict.  But I’m calling it now: GOP, send your good lawyers to Washington.

Nevada Senate: I know, Sharon Angle leads in all of the polls.  But this lady can’t possibly win, can she?  I say no.  I’m sticking with the Las Vegas Sun’s John Rallston. Reid finds a way to hold on.

Colorado Senate: A McClatchy-Marist Poll has Ken Buck  leading Sen. Michael Bennett 49% to 45%.  Sounds about right.  Buck wins.

Alaska Senate: Jonathan Karl of ABC News reports that the GOP bigwigs have given up on Joe Miller (really….just now?). “The nightmare scenario for Republicans is that McAdams comes in second… trailing ‘write-in candidate.’… If enough [write in votes] are tossed out, second place McAdams would be the winner.”  OK, so maybe we shouldn’t send all of the good lawyers to Washington.  We may need a few in Alaska. I hope Murkowski, but the write-in thing really could be problematic… karma may come back to bite the party in the rear.  I’ll say Murkowski wins, but if it gets to a recount, the Democrats steal this seat.

Pennsylvania Senate: A pair of polls show Toomey leading Sestak by two points.  A Susquehanna Polling & Research poll pegs the race at 46% to 44%.  A Morning Call/Muhlenberg tracking poll has Toomey up 45-43.  The karma gods frown upon Mr. Toomey, who heads the club for Growth and forced Arlen Specter out of the party last year.  Sestak also has the momentum.  So why not? I call an upset: Sestak steals this seat.

- Jeb Golinkin is an editor and reporter for FrumForum.


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I brashly predict a Republican gain of 61 in the House and 10 in the Senate, with big Republican come-from-behind victories in West Virginia and Washington.  Both houses flip, but Fiorina doesn’t get it done in California.

- Jeffrey L. Cimbalo is a lawyer living in Virginia.


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Republicans have a 90%-plus chance of taking the House.  The floor for GOP gains is probably +45.  The ceiling?  That’s the hard question.  I would not be totally shocked if the Republicans netted 80 seats; if they sweep most of the toss-up seats (as often happens in a “wave” election), they’re already at that number.  Keep your eye on North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic, especially Pennsylvania and New York.  There are a lot of seats in play in those states, and, if the GOP racks up a lot of wins in those places, it could be a long election night for the Democrats.

I might eat some serious crow on this, but I would give the GOP a 50/50 shot at taking the Senate.  Republicans are likely to hold all open GOP seats and are (barring something very strange) clear favorites to get at least 4 Democrat seats (AR, IN, ND, and WI).  Then come the toss-ups.  I would rank the seats in the following order (from most likely GOP takeover to least): PA, IL, NV, CO, WV, and WA.  Maybe WA and WV could be switched in order, and CA and CT are huge long-shots at this point.  I could easily see Republicans winning the least likely of the toss-ups, so I’m open to the idea that they could take the Senate.  Additionally, many analysts have noted that, for every election since World War II, the Senate switches control when the House does.

An additional state worth watching is Massachusetts.  The Bay State delivered a political surprise in January, and it might have a few in store for November.  Obama ally Deval Patrick is running into trouble in his gubernatorial reelection bid against Republican Charlie Baker.  Facing a splintered opposition (Baker and Democrat-turned-independent Tim Cahill), Patrick had a fairly comfortable lead in polls, but Baker has closed it significantly over the past few weeks.  It now seems to be a 3-or-4-point race, and Baker has the momentum.  There are a number of interesting congressional races in Massachusetts, too.  Jeff Perry has an even chance of winning in MA-10; if other MA seats follow, 2010 would prove to be a GOP tsunami indeed.

- Fred Bauer is a writer from New England.  He blogs at A Certain Enthusiasm.


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The Numbers:

Republicans pick up 7 in the Senate, 52 in the House

The Surprise:

Joe Sestak beats Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania

Best Moment of the Night:

Lisa Murkowski beats Joe “East Berlin” Miller and Sitka Scott to win re-election in Alaska

Best New Governor:

Rick Snyder in Michigan

Ballot Measures:

California Proposition 19 – Legalizes marijuana for personal use: Extinguished

California Proposition 23 – Suspends climate law: Terminated

Rhode Island Question 1 – Shortens state’s name: “Providence Plantations” Uprooted

Washington Initiative 1098 – Imposes income tax on high earners: Cashiered

- Jim DiPeso is Vice-President for Communications of Republicans for Environmental Protection.


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The California governor’s race comes down to the wire. I won’t predict that Meg Whitman will win, but lost amid all the talk of her campaign spending has been an analysis of how much of that investment has gone toward voter microtargeting. That data sophistication will keep the race from being an early call for Brown, and could even produce an upset.

- Corey Chambliss is a government research analyst in New York.


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In New York state, Democrat Andrew Cuomo will win the governor’s office easily, reaping the good fortune of having the obnoxious Carl Paladino as his Republican rival. However, many voters will be opting for Cuomo with little enthusiasm, motivated mainly by repulsion at his opponent. In the comptroller’s race, Republican Harry Wilson, a former investment banker who served in President Obama’s auto industry task force, will win a narrow victory over incumbent Democrat Tom DiNapoli.

Wilson’s victory will come about partly because unenthused Cuomo supporters desire some counterweight to Democratic dominance in Albany, and partly because a broad swath of New York state voters are less hostile to Wall Street than they are to Albany’s stagnant, insular political culture.

Meanwhile in Denver, Colorado, Initiative 300, which would create an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission to improve relations between humans and space aliens, will fail because of a lack of alien support.

- Kenneth Silber is a senior editor at Research, a magazine for financial advisors, and blogs at Quicksilber.


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My predictions for the 2010 elections are that the GOP will pick up around 45 seats, gaining control of the House but not by an overwhelming margin while the Senate will remain in Democratic hands.  The Democratic majority in the Senate will be pared down to 53 seats, however.  While this is definitely a Republican year (as one would expect in the first midterm of a Democratic president), I think Democratic “get out the vote” efforts and GOP missteps will prevent this from being a massive blowout.

I’ve stated previously that the race that matters most to me this election is the gubernatorial race in Texas, and I support Bill White, the Democratic nominee for governor over the incumbent, Rick Perry.  I also think this is a race for non-Texans to watch.  There already is talk about Rick Perry running for president in 2012.  Don’t laugh – stranger things have happened and Perry would be in a good position to pick up conservative voters who are wary of Sarah Palin.  If Bill White wins, then Perry’s presidential prospects collapse.  If White loses but makes a strong showing, particularly if he keeps Perry under 50% (there are Libertarian and Green Party candidates on the ballot, so it’s possible), then Perry’s presidential prospects will take a hit.  But if Perry wins by a wide margin, such as by 10%, then you can expect to be hearing a lot more about him in 2011 as a possible 2012 GOP presidential candidate.  Watch this one.

- Mark R. Yzaguirre is an attorney in Texas.


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Senate: 47 or 48 Republicans

House: 245 Republicans

My thought process: This will be an election of demographics. While the urban areas will save a few contentious races for Democratic senatorial candidates, most contested House races outside of densely urban areas will be won by Republicans.

A further thought: As neither party will have less than forty-three votes or more than sixty votes in the U.S. Senate, on many issues, the Republicans may be better served by being able to stop bad legislation rather than have good legislation vetoed by the President.

- Hank Adler is an assistant professor of accounting at Chapman University in California.


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The Republicans will gain 58 House seats. The surprises of the night are Fiorina and Tancredo. The Republicans will take 9 seats making Joe Biden a player in Washington!  Fiorina, Rossi, Angle, Paul, Buck, Johnson, Rubio, and Toomey will all win.  O’Donnell will not.  In Illinois, Kirk will pull it out.  I think however that West Virginians may not hold Obama against Manchin.  While Blumenthal will win, New England Republicans will come roaring back.  In Connecticut Jim Himes will lose.  There will again be Republican congressmen in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.  New York’s GOP congressional delegation will double or even treble!  But NY will be the great disappointment of the night.  Republicans will fall short of retaking the Senate and the weak Gillibrand will entrench herself.  Joe DioGuardi and all other Republicans are weakened by Paladino and the moribund state of the party.  Of the big states, Texas and Florida will be governed by Republicans and NY and California by Democrats. Texas and Florida though will fortunately gain seats in reapportionment.

- John Vecchione is a litigator in Virginia.


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There are now over 70 Democratic held House seats in which the latest publicly released polling shows Republicans either leading, within one point and the incumbent below 50%, or within three points and the incumbent below 45%.  There are many more races with Democratic incumbents below 50 percent.  Unless the polls are way off, the GOP will almost certainly eclipse its 1994 gains and could easily head upward of a 65 seat pickup.  The Democrats are likely to fall below 200 House seats for the first time since the elections of 1948.  Republicans will return to New England, winning at least 4 House seats there, and they will also pick up several seats in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, ending talk of their demise in the northeast.  I don’t like to pick upset specials, but if I had to pick one real longshot to pull the upset in the House, it might be NY-4, where Francis Becker is running for the seat held by Carolyn McCarthy since 1997.  40-year-man Jim Oberstar of Minnesota is another likely upset victim, to Chip Cravaack.

On the Senate side, I see a GOP gain of 8 to 9 seats, including Sharron Angle taking out Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada and the surging Rand Paul winning in Kentucky.  A nine seat pick up would make for a frantic situation, with Democrats relying on Joe Biden to organize the Chamber.  Meanwhile, Republicans will hold out for the type of power sharing arrangement that Tom Daschle successfully negotiated after the 50-50 split following the election of 2000, and both parties will scramble to find a party switcher or two.  Upset special – Carly Fiorina in California, although I fear this may be wishful thinking.

The first two states where the polls will close, Indiana and Kentucky, both feature Senate races favoring Republicans, and several competitive House races.  If Rand Paul wins big in Kentucky, if Republicans pull out House races in Indiana’s Second District (currently held by Joe Donnelly) or Kentucky’s Sixth, where Republican Andy Barr is challenging incumbent Ben Chandler, those will be early signs of a really big Republican wave.  Conversely, if Dan Coates’ margin of victory in the Indiana Senate race is small, or even more, if Paul loses; if Democrats hang on to the open Indiana 8th and Baron Hill is re-elected in the 9th congressional district, then Democrats can breathe a sigh that the night may not be so bad after all.

Look for Republicans to end the night with 30 or more governorships under their control.  Democrats badly need to hold on in California (they will) and to take Florida (they won’t) to give them something to crow about on a generally bleak night.  Republicans will also recapture big state governorships in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.  Paul LePage in Maine will assure that at least one GOP governor remains in New England – it’s quite possible he’ll be the only GOP governor there, yet in a big night, Republicans could also come up controlling all 6 governorships in the region.  A big upset – I think Tancredo may pull it off in Colorado and become the Constitution Party’s first ever governor.

Republicans will gain seven state attorney generals offices, which will add to the legal opposition to Obamacare and stop some big payouts that Democratic AGs in some states have authorized to trial lawyers in settlements.  That will leave the nation’s AGs split 25-25.  Those GOP pick-ups will include some major states, such as California and Ohio, where former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine should beat Rich Cordray, a talented man who, just a year ago, looked likely to be the state’s next governor.  Republicans will gain at least three Secretary of States’ offices, including Ohio.

Finally, Republicans will pick up majorities in at least five state legislative chambers, and possibly 15 or more.  Possible pick-ups include chambers in a number of large states such as Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.  In January 2011, Republicans will hold a majority of the nation’s state legislative seats for the first time in over a decade.

Bottom line: John Boehner will be speaker-elect by the time the poll closings hit the Mississippi, and it will be a very good night for Republicans.  That will be unequivocally good for the country.  With Obama’s overreach properly rebuked, then comes the hard part.

- Bradley Smith was Chairman of the Federal Election Commission and is now a Professor of Law at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics.


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I’ll go ahead and lock in +55 in the House, +10 in the Senate.  I think Rossi’s in, Fiorina will be number 10, and Whitman will fall short.

I have zero confidence in my predictive abilities, but nevertheless, whatever happens will prove exactly what I have been saying all along.

- T. Joseph Marier blogs at Going Noble.


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My predictions are that the GOP will take the House, while the Dems will (barely) keep the Senate.  Expect Senate GOP pickups in Washington, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Florida.  The Democrats will hold on to the governorship of Colorado with John Hickenlooper barely beating Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo.

I think the surprise race(s) have already happened in Alaska and Florida.  Lisa Murkowski was written off after Joe Miller beat her in the GOP primary, but I think she will win as a write-in candidate while Miller will come in third.  Marco Rubio was written off after Charlie Crist left the GOP to run as an independent and seemed to be doing surprisingly well during the summer.  But as summer turned into fall, Crist has faded and Rubio looks set to win.   The news media had written off Murkowski as another Tea Party sacrifice, while Crist was supposed to be the rise of a new third force in politics.  In the end, I think both stories will be wrong.

- Dennis Sanders is an ordained minister living in Minneapolis.


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In truth, I don’t really follow politics — or at least not closely enough to make a useful prediction on any race, much less the overall outcome on Tuesday. By “useful,” I mean “more likely to be correct than what markets such as the Iowa electronic futures market would predict.”  So, keenly aware of my own ignorance, I hereby make exactly the predictions of the futures market as of this writing:

  • Republicans are overwhelmingly likely to take the House.
  • Democrats are very likely to retain control of the Senate.
  • As for the number of seats gained, I don’t currently have access to the Intrade quotes. If this website is to be believed, however, the most likely outcome is that the GOP will pick up 60 seats in the House and 8 seats in the Senate.

Now, sometimes on the day before an election, a few buyers or sellers will try to manipulate the markets in order to skew perceptions and change electoral outcomes. On the other hand, market manipulation is a classic Sisyphean task: The more you try to inflate or depress the price of an election result, the easier it becomes for others to profit from your partisan zeal. Now that schemes to alter election market prices have been attempted a couple times already, sophisticated participants are all the more ready to pounce at the first sign of price manipulation. Further, Democratic and Republican market manipulators may largely be cancelling each other out right now. So, I expect to be closer to correct than most of the experts (however defined), even as the experts, slowly wise to the “wisdom of crowds,” are keeping their own predictions these days within the range predicted by the markets.

Since my predictions are rather less than audacious, let me also offer the following: As surely as the sun will rise Wednesday morning, pundits will over-interpret the results of Tuesday’s elections. Conservatives, for example, will call the results a clear repudiation of Obama’s policies. They will be no such thing. After you take into account “nature of the times” voting (i.e., voters holding the party in power responsible for today’s high unemployment and sluggish growth), there will be very little left in the GOP victory to explain. Any apparent ideological change will be illusory.

- Austin Bramwell is a writer living in New York City.


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In January 2009, I was asked over lunch by a group of Manhattan Democrats how the Republicans could ever, possibly recover from their recent drubbing.  My response was that Republicans would build their political recovery on the mistakes of President Obama and the Democratic Party.

At about that time, President Obama and Congressional Democrats were placing their bets on the passage of the stimulus and the decision to forsake a narrowly focused message on job creation in favor of finally capturing the great white whale of national health care reform.  Well, they got their stimulus package and they caught their whale and, in doing so, re-energized Republicans and alienated independents.  From the standpoint of average voters, everything since then (the auto-de-fe of John Boehner, the Chamber of Commerce flap, “secret” campaign money) has been one, long footnote punctuated by off-year contests electing Republicans in extraordinarily unlikely places like New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Independent voters have turned away from the Democratic Party in an historically unprecedented fashion.   In the House, the GOP will pick up at least 70 seats with potential to reach into the 80s.  Only three seats currently held by the GOP (Delaware At-Large, Illinois 10 and Louisiana 2) will turnover.  This will be a national sweep with significant gains in every region, including a Republican resurgence in the Northeast.  In the Senate, Republicans will hold everywhere but Alaska (see below) and win Democratic held seats in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, North Dakota, Arkansas, Colorado, and Nevada.

There are really just three contests that are almost anyone’s guesses for different reasons.  Alaska.  Sigh.  Family political vendettas, the Berlin Wall, ethics violations, write-in campaigns –an unsavory and unpredictable political stew.  Who knows how it will end? Against conventional wisdom – and the Field Poll – Barbara Boxer is a slight underdog to Carly Fiorina by virtue of the extraordinary political environment.  With independent voters surging toward her (up 11 points this month), my guess is she prevails narrowly.  The wild card is Washington state.  The rush of presidential, vice presidential and first lady visits to Washington show the Democrats know this one is for all the marbles.  Dino Rossi has played every card right and is probably odds-on to win this race although it may be a few weeks before we know for sure.  He’s pulling half the women’s vote and 60 percent of independents.  That should be enough even in this heavily Democratic state.  The award for the most nervous man in Washington goes to Senator Chuck Schumer who waits upon King County Democrats to tell him whether or not he is the new majority leader.

Races to Watch on Tuesday Sorted by Poll Closing Times

Kentucky 3 – The swingiest of swing seats.  Anne Northup captured it in 1994 and, through expert management, held on until 2006.  Polls show this one closing toward the Republican and it should be a very early indication of how the evening will turn out.

Indiana 2 – Joe Donnelly is running against Obama and Pelosi as a Democrat.  This one should be an early indicator on the other Rust Belt contests across Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Georgia 2 and 12 – Sanford Bishop has had a safe seat with a large African-American population and is polling behind.  If he sinks, it could call into question similarly situated Bennie Thompson in Mississippi.  John Barrow represents Athens, Georgia with its large university population.  It would take a tremendous wave to take him out.

Virginia 9 and 11 – These districts represent the breadth of the old and new Democratic Parties.  Rick Boucher’s race in the coal-dominated 9th has closed rapidly in the final days and even he acknowledges the outcome will be extremely close.  Gerry Connolly has run a lack-luster campaign in the 11th, a suburban swing district, and the DCCC has dumped over $1 million into the race in the last week to try to save him.

Ohio 6 – Charlie Wilson didn’t know he was in danger until three weeks ago.

Connecticut 4 and 5 – These historically Republican seats flipped to the Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 campaigns.  Again, Republicans are closing strongly and have been helped by a very competitive governor’s race.  They are the first GOP tests in the Northeast on Tuesday night.  If one or both go to the GOP, we are headed for an historic blow-out.

Maine 1 and 2 – It is a measure of just how bad the environment is for Democrats that experienced incumbents in both districts are scrambling at the end to hold off conservative Republican challengers.

Massachusetts 4 – Barney Frank.  Enough said.

New Jersey 6 – Frank Pallone is an entrenched Democratic incumbent.  There are signs this one is getting very close.  It is the kind of race Republicans would need to win to break into the 70s and 80s in terms of total gains.

Texas 23 and 27 – These are heavily Latino district where incumbent Democrats are facing tough challenges.

New Mexico 1 – Martin Heinrich hasn’t run away from Obama or his own votes.  Both seem to be catching up with him at the end.  If he loses his Albuquerque-based seat, it bodes very poorly for similarly situated Democrats in neighboring Arizona like Gabrielle Gifford, Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell.

New York 4 – There is a lot to talk about New York this year with as many as 11 Democratic-held districts in play.  The Upstate contests are to be expected but the closeness of Carolyn McCarthy’s race is truly shocking and a possible harbinger of disaster for other suburban New York seats.

Idaho 1 – Walt Minnick was supposed to have been the clever Democratic incumbent with the lousy Tea Party opponent.  Turns out that even terrible Republicans can win in a year like this.

Oregon 4 and 5 – These are two very different seats, one suburban boomtown and one heavily rural and economically depressed.  The vulnerability of long-time incumbent Peter DeFazio in the 4th is one of the more surprising late developments.

- Brent R. Orrell is Principal of the Fulcrum Group, a Virginia-based consulting firm.


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Everyone knows the Republicans are going to win big on election night. That’s hardly news. We’re talking at least 50 more Republican congressmen (and women) and at least eight new GOP senate seats. These are unquestionably impressive gains for the Grand Old Party.

But being the contrarian that I am, let me suggest that what election year 2010 might really illustrate is the latent and underlying weakness of the Republican Party.

I say this because although we’re now in the midst of the worst economic crisis in more than 60 years, and although economic growth is anemic and unemployment nearly 10 percent, the Democrats are still poised to hold on to the Senate and likely will retain roughly 200 House seats. (The Republicans, by contrast, currently have only 178 House seats.)

Moreover, if the polls are right, one of the Senate’s most rabidly left-wing and ideologically rigid and doctrinaire Democrats, Barbara Boxer, is poised to win in California. And, what’s more, a majority of Californians, and an even larger majority of young Americans under age 30, still support President Obama — despite the manifest failure of his economic policies!

This is a big deal because as California goes, so goes the nation — eventually and in time. Young voters, too, are the future. And if California and young voters remain out of reach even in this political climate, then the Republican Party is in very dire straits, indeed.

Thus, what the 2010 election might well show, I’m afraid, is that the Republicans can win in Republican- and independent-leaning House districts with an older and whiter electorate. But in bigger and more competitive, ethnically diverse states like California, Illinois and New York — three states that combine for 107 electoral votes in presidential elections — the GOP struggles, even in the most advantageous times politically, to stay competitive.

California. So, with that in mind, I’m especially interested in the California senate race. Because if Carly Fiorina can defeat leftist stalwart Barbara Boxer, then it might well signal a new day for the GOP.

Fiorina has everything going against her, including the formidable political muscle of California’s public employees unions, which are pulling out all the stops for their servile lapdog, Barbara Boxer.

Nonetheless, Fiorina has managed to keep the race close. And, if the impending Republican wave is big enough, it just might be enough to put her over the top. We’ll see.

Washington State’s Patty Murray is another knee-jerk West Coast lefty who deserves to lose. Murray is the Senate’s most intellectually challenged member and a true left-wing drone.

This race is in a statistical dead heat, which means that if the Republicans outperform the polls — which they should, given the strength of the GOP wave nationwide — then historically Democratic Washington is turning red in 2010. Credit Republican challenger Dino Rossi for the win.

New York. Because of GOP ineptitude, New York is going to elect Andrew Cuomo as governor and Kirsten Gillibrand as senator. But it didn’t have to be this way. Gillibrand and Cuomo both could have been beaten if the Republicans had bothered to field credible, first-tier candidates.

Rudolph Giuliani and Peter King, however, both declined to run. So instead, the GOP offered up Carl Paladino for governor and Joseph J. DioGuardi for the Senate.

DioGuardi is a good man, but a lackluster, no-name candidate. He certainly lacks the star power and firepower of a Rudy Giuliani. Paladino, meanwhile, has run an incredibly bad and undisciplined campaign, while proving to be an embarrassment to his supporters.

In short, the Republicans essentially forfeited these races before the election even began. They gave the Democrats a free and easy senate seat and a free and easy governorship. But a party that is serious-minded and intent on competing and winning nationally simply cannot afford to write off two highly winnable statewide races.

Delaware. All of the elite pundits have had a field day beating up on Christine O’Donnell for her supposed lack of policy chops and policy sophistication.

But O’Donnell performed far better than the elite media would have us believe; and she will do better on election day than the polls now suggest. She’s a fighter who, despite some unforced errors, deserves praise and recognition for courageously entering the political arena.

Nonetheless, it is true that O’Donnell was not an especially strong candidate. But that only begs the question: Where were the stronger candidates? Why didn’t they run in Delaware? Why did they cede the field to O’Donnell?

And don’t talk to me about Mike Castle. Castle was beaten not because he was a “moderate.” He was beaten because he was a selfish and singularly uninspiring candidate who thumbed his nose at the party’s conservative base.

Castle, therefore, was ripe for the picking and thus should have been challenged by someone of real stature. That he wasn’t speaks to a systemic problem within the Republican Party. Simply put: too many top tier GOP candidates, or potential candidates, refuse to run for high political office.

But just as in New York, if the Republican heavyweights won’t run, then the lightweights will; and the GOP will suffer the inevitable election results. You have to be in it to win it. Yet too many Republicans, it seems, lack the courage of their convictions.

Illinois. Amazingly, the Republican Party is struggling to beat an ethically challenged, Mob-connected Democratic candidate in the Illinois senate race. What does this tell you about the Republican Party’s brand and image?

A lot, I’m afraid, and none of it very good. Why, this race shouldn’t even be close! Mark Kirk should be running away with it. That he’s not underscores the party’s weakness.

Florida. The election of a bright, young, articulate conservative Latino from the nation’s fourth-most populous state cannot be overestimated.

Indeed, Marco Rubio is destined to be a national Republican star and almost certainly a GOP presidential candidate, perhaps as soon as 2016. Temperamentally and stylistically, he is exactly the type of candidate that the party needs to field if ever it is to regain majority status and become a true national governing party.

The bottom line. The real unknown right now is the fate of the senate. The Republicans, everyone knows, will win control of the House and gain, I predict, at least eight Senate seats — in Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.

But can the GOP win two additional seats, for a total of 10, to capture control of the Senate? Maybe. The odds are at least 50-50, I think.

The University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato offers up a reason to be optimistic. “The big surprise on election night,” he told Fox News on Saturday, “could be — could be — a Republican takeover of the Senate.

Because all six times since World War II when the House has flipped parties one way or the other, the Senate has flipped the very same way, even when it could not be seen and predicted in advance…

I’ve been through a lot of election nights. I can’t remember one when the experts weren’t surprised by a dozen or more races.

“We’ll see,” Sabato said. “We’ll see.” Yes we will. And hopefully: yes we can.

- John Guardiano served as a Marine in Iraq and once worked on the Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) modernization program. He blogs at www.ResoluteCon.com (www.twitter.com/JohnRGuardiano).

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26 Comments so far ↓

  • Moderate

    There’s no way that Fiorina or Whitman are winning California. All the recent polls have them losing ground.

    My predictions (good for a laugh on 11/3):

    + 65 House pick-ups for Republicans
    + 10 Senate Seats for Republicans (WA, NV, CO, ND, AR, WI, IL, IN, PA, WV)

    Murkowski will be the clear winner in Alaska, Rick Scott will win in FL, and Hickenlooper will prevail in CO. I agree with Eli Lehrer’s sentiment regarding Russ Feingold, one of the more principled Democrats – I’ll still be glad when he loses though.

  • Madeline

    I’m going to be a contrarian and say that the Republicans will take the senate but not the house.

  • SkepticalIdealist

    This entire election season has been a slow motion car crash for democrats. They knew this was coming, yet they did not (or could not) do anything to stop it. Timidity, lack of unity, and being constantly on the defensive is what destroyed Democrats this election season. Conservative democrats in the senate were not served by their votes and the rightward gravitational pull they had on the administration. A full stimulus bill combined with pay roll tax cuts and better allocation of funds would’ve improved the economy enough to inspire confidence in the electorate. A more aggressive narrative against wall street and the people responsible for the crash could’ve helped turn the tide as well.

    In the end, this is going to be a story of too little too late. They insulted the democratic base at every available opportunity up until 2 weeks before election time. Meanwhile, conservatives have been pumped with the narrative of socialism, government takeover, and Obama’s “otherness” for the past two years. It’s truly remarkable how different both parties treat their base. For example, gay activists were burned multiple times by Obama. First, he refused to sign an executive order to end DADT and then he refused to sign an executive order to halt its enforcement. Second, his DOJ poured salt on the wound when they defended DOMA by comparing homosexuality to beastiality and now they’re pouring even more salt by appealing the recent decision that overturned DADT. Health care activists will never forgive Obama for sacrificing the public option because it’s been reported that he traded it away to special interests in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in favorable advertisement for HCR. Did the ends justify the means? Financial reform activists are similarly disenchanted because too-big-to-fail wasn’t dealt with, as well as other systemic problems. Immigration activists didn’t even have their issue raised. And labor activists saw the employee free choice act crash and burn. Of course, this congress has done some historic things, and liberals have actually gained quite a bit in this session. However, it’s been highly demoralizing to see so many key agenda items compromised, defeated, or never even come up for a vote in the first place.

    The constant disrespect and disdain toward the democratic base was the final nail in the coffin. I have to ask what did they gain by rhetorically throwing lefties under the bus in a half-hearted attempt to appear centrist? Midterms are all about turning out your base. Conservatives know this and tacked hard to the right, and they will be rewarded for it at least in the short term. Democrats didn’t have to go further to the left, they simply needed to hold their ground, and they didn’t. They ran from their record, they ran from Obama, and they never made their case. I see many of them running to the right and each and every one of them is going to get destroyed. Why would any tea partier want a conservative democrat when they could have a bonafide tea party republican? It’s a losing strategy that alienates the democratic base. I’ve watched so many c-span debates where the democrat and republican are both pro-life, pro-gun, and supportive of extending all the bush tax cuts. This is John Kerry all over again. You can’ t beat a republican by being one. What they needed to do is take a lesson from Ron Paul. In the 2008 fox news presidential primary debate he stood his ground and made his case against a hostile audience, a hostile moderator, and a hostile stage filled with neo-cons. He advocated a more liberal position on the war than Barack Obama in a REPUBLICAN primary debate, and he was voted the clear winner by the end of it. That’s what Democrats should’ve been doing this whole time. Framing the narrative, making their case, and finding ways to get the media to accept it as the correct interpretation of our current political situation. Instead, they played by the Republican’s rules and accepted bit parts in the Republican narrative. So I suppose they shouldn’t be surprised by how the story ends.

  • ccdemuth

    Himes’ healthcare takeover already has massive cost overruns compared to its advertized costs. Himes voted for a bill that was supposed to cost only $788 billion. Since March, the estimate has been increased by $115-125 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    Only in Washington does one encounter the phrase “only $788 billion”. Only with followers such as Himes can Nancy Pelosi pass laws first and admit to the costs later. Only if the voters return Himes to Washington will we get more of the same fraudulent accounting of the costs of his votes, wasteful spending, and abuse of the taxpayer.

  • DFL

    8 Senate seats. 62 House seats. 10 governor’s houses. Tremendous gains in state legislatures giving the Republicans a pretty thorough control over redistricting.

  • abj

    Re Sharron Angle –

    Jeb Gonklin cites to Jon Ralston’s piece yesterday (and misspells both his and Angle’s first names). Ralston is the expert on Nevada politics, but he didn’t make a compelling argument for a Reid victory. I agree with Ralston that Reid ran one of the best campaigns this cycle. I don’t think Reid could possibly have done more to paint Angle as an extremist, nor could he have done it more effectively (to my mind, he unquestionably aired some of the most effective – and damaging – attack ads in the country). In the end, it just wasn’t enough. He simply failed to put the race away in the summer, when he needed to render Angle radioactive to dry up her fundraising and neutralize her support. He failed to do either. He lined up more Republican endorsements than any incumbent Democratic senator running for reelection this cycle, but that hasn’t had a palpable effect on her poll numbers.

    Reid’s flawless campaign couldn’t save the candidate from himself. He turned in an awful debate performance, and hasn’t acquitted himself well over the past few weeks, as the spotlight has shifted to him. That’s why I think he’ll lose tomorrow. Any time an unpopular incumbent is on the ballot and the focus in the closing days of the campaign is on the incumbent, he/she almost never wins.

    Ultimately, I think Ralston went with his gut rather than his head. It seems he just can’t believe an Angle victory is possible.

  • armstp

    Some losses for the Dems. Repub take the House. Mixed wins for Tea Party. No Tsunami.

  • medinnus

    Big losers – those who want to reduce government spending and the deficit – but they’re screwed no matter who wins.

    Next biggest losers – those who wanted rational government

    Marginal Winners – The GOP, who are rewarded for eight years of deficit spending and corruption with a huge recession, which they then get to blame on Obama.

    Big Winners – GOP propagandists, who get the victory that two years of obstructionism and lying their asses off got them. Shame to see the party of “Death Panels”, “Obama is a Marxist/Socialist/Kenyan/Other who is out to RUIN the Country” reap a reward for their mendacity.

  • sinz54

    My prediction is more modest than the inflated expectations of overconfident Republicans:

    I’m looking for a GOP pickup of 56 seats in the House, and 6 or 7 in the Senate.

    But drill down to the details:

    I’m also predicting that Russ Feingold will lose.
    And Alan Grayson will lose. (Thank goodness!)
    Even if Murkowski wins re-election, she’ll caucus with the Republicans who always favored her over Miller. (Just like Lieberman still caucuses with the Dems.)

    The bottom line is that I’m predicting that the balance of power in both houses of Congress is going to swing significantly to the Right.

  • ditka

    Republicans take 50 seats in the House and 8 seats in the Senate. Governors races in Florida, Arkansas, California, Maryland, Colorado, and Oregon provide Democrats their few bright spots. Both Congressional caucuses will become more ideological and less able to get anything done.

  • merlin

    House: + 52 seats
    Senate: +8 seats (Miller, Angle win)

  • Non-Contributor

    I predict the economy does not get any better.

  • pnumi2

    Okay, I don’t have any idea who the winners will be.

    OTOH, it’s as clear as a vodka martini that the losers are going to be the American People.

  • Diomedes

    I predict two more years of gridlock in Washington. While the economy flounders and our jobs continue to end up in India and China.

  • jakester

    I wonder if Iott will get to Congress in Ohio. He certainly will get the SS fan vote

  • Diomedes

    “I wonder if Iott will get to Congress in Ohio. He certainly will get the SS fan vote”

    I may start worrying if he lobbies to change the name of Homeland Security to ‘Fatherland Security’.

  • sdspringy

    Maybe the Frum Editors could review their advice after the loss of 08 and see how many advised going more conservative would ensure a dramatic victory in 10????

    Doubtful any made such a bold statement. However it is true and David you were the worst offender. Want to explain how you could have been so far off.

    GO Conservatives, won’t hear that from the Frum Editors but sounds good to me.

  • Shotgun314159

    GOP gets:

    House: + 9 seats
    Senate: +2 seats (Buck, Rubio)

    I will hold my breath and stomp up and down if I’m wrong.
    As the night goes on, I will drink more and more.
    Wed. I will call in sick.
    Should be fun.

  • easton

    I predict with absolute certainty that the candidate who gets the most votes will win (with the possible exception of Illinois, because…you know, and Alaska, because who knows how many of Murkowski’s votes will get tossed because someone wrote in something like Liza Mercowski)

  • anniemargret

    pnumi: “OTOH, it’s as clear as a vodka martini that the losers are going to be the American People.”

    I’m with you on that one. If Dems lose, it’s because they don’t sell their product well. Republicans appealed to hysteria – Obama Derangement Syndrome – fanned the flames of resentment and fear – and FEAR always wins.

    They do it much, much better than Democrats.

    They will put more extremists in office than not – and that is always bad for our country. The Right will be as destructive and impervious to compromise as the Left.

    But being a moderate these days means squat. Yes, I’m sad…..and mad.

    There’ll be another huge turnaround come 2012, for sure.

  • anniemargret

    What a inane country this has come to be. We are warring factions of Americans, driven by polls and votes and partisan rancor to the point of not caring a whit about what really happens to the average American or our place in the world.

    Scientific and technological advancement? Does anyone think Republicans give a whit about that? Climate change as a national security issue? Do the Tea Partiers give a R.A. about that? Crumbling infrastructure, unemployment benefits, minimum wage, foreclosures, poverty? Nope. Nope and Nope.

    S.Palin says she can’t want to ‘repeal the HCR!” She said ‘they’ will do it much better than the Democrats. Sure, they will. And if you buy that one…there’s a moose up in Wasilla that has “I Love Sarah’ on its belly.

  • SkepticalIdealist

    People vote their fears and not their hopes. The winners in politics understand that. The losers don’t.

  • Letter From Washington: Eli’s Crystal Ball

    [...] election day. Over a Frum Forum, you can read my predictions for the overall outcome. I’m hoping I manage to do better than [...]

  • ditka

    One more thing, Jim DeMint is cemented as the real power in the GOP caucus. He can point to Senators Lee, Toomey, and Rubio as proof that he can primary anyone who steps out of line. If Miller wins in Alaska that power is only strengthened. That can only mean great things are in store for the GOP, or maybe not…

  • Moderate

    Moderate: Nov 1, 2010 at 12:41 am: There’s no way that Fiorina or Whitman are winning California. All the recent polls have them losing ground.

    My predictions (good for a laugh on 11/3):

    + 65 House pick-ups for Republicans
    + 10 Senate Seats for Republicans (WA, NV, CO, ND, AR, WI, IL, IN, PA, WV)

    Murkowski will be the clear winner in Alaska, Rick Scott will win in FL, and Hickenlooper will prevail in CO. I agree with Eli Lehrer’s sentiment regarding Russ Feingold, one of the more principled Democrats – I’ll still be glad when he loses though.

    Hot damn! I hit 65 seats on the nose!

  • Anonymous

    [...] my blog. But for the record, here are my pre-election predictions and analysis, published at FrumForum, coupled with some post-election ResoluteCon [...]