Every two years since 1980, I have recorded my predictions about the elections. Some elections, I have been right on target (2004), and other elections way off (1988 and 2002). Regardless, I have always had fun following the races and analyzing them. Over the past months, I have reviewed many races on my blog, and it is time now for the predictions.
This year, I have arranged the races as to when the various state polls close on Election Night. (I have all times below on Central Standard Time. Some states have a couple time zones. They are listed with their first poll closings.) Given all the races to be decided, I will list only those that are very important, or where I feel a switch in party control of the seat will occur. I only list races where I have an understanding of the contest based on news coverage and polling data that I have reviewed since early summer. If you do not see a certain race listed here, it does not meet one of these criteria. It should also be noted that I have listed only certain House races, and therefore a firm net gain cannot be made from my predictions. I have, however, made calls for all Senate seats where a contest is underway that could result in a change in party control.
I guess many will consider my predictions to be somewhat on the cautious side given how national pundits are describing the election in the final days. While I think the House will have a Democratic majority after picking up 23 seats, the Senate will remain in the hands of the Republicans. I predict Democrats will have a net gain of four Senate seats.
My overall view from early summer about the final results has changed only slightly. I have always felt the House would switch, but the Senate would remain in GOP hands. I had originally thought Ohio and Montana would go to the GOP, but a few months ago started to change my mind.
I have been blunt with my views on my blog, and some Democrats were angry at what I had to say. However, my first allegiance is “to call it as I see it”.
As I wrote in an August 2006 blog entry, I think voters want to vote for a candidate, as opposed to voting against someone else. I think voters want to vote for an agenda, as opposed to voting against a plan by the other side. The Democrats had the funds this year, candidates with talents and skills, but I have never seen a real true agenda except that they were not Republicans. That will be enough to win the House, but I fear it is not enough to govern. There is a large difference between those two realities.
I think Democrats have missed an opportunity to engage the public in a serious wide-ranging debate on the issues with a detailed agenda, so that once Election Day was over the public would be supportive of the various legislative proposals. While I think raising the minimum wage is a valid and moral idea, I do not think it should have been used as a foundation for the national election. We have talked endlessly about the Iraq war, and yet have no plan that can galvanize our party, or the majority of the American public. If candidates are scared of ‘rocking the boat’ during an election season, why should voters feel that they are going to govern with principle once elected? I fear we will win in November, but fail at governing. Winning for the sake of winning, does not interest me.
I want to see the Republicans removed from power and the nation change direction. Winning the election is the easy part. The true test of what Election Day means happens in January.
5:00 P.M. (As Jackie Gleason would say, ‘and away we go…!’)
Indiana (The end of the GOP House majority begins!)
A year ago, I would never have dreamt there would be three House seats up in the air in this very Republican state. Since House seats, as a rule, do not have exit polling conducted, we are probably not going to know the results for some time. But if the Democrats win big here, and in Kentucky, it will be a tsunami type Election in the House.
There are tight races in the 2nd, 8th and 9th Congressional Districts
2nd CD..Blue-collar bread and butter issues make this CD blue as Donnelly defeats GOP Chocola.
8th CD…Brad Ellsworth will defeat GOP incumbent John Hostettler.
9th CD…I think GOP candidate Sodrel will hold this seat. This is one of those races where a third party candidate plays troublemaker and helps the GOP. This time it is a Libertarian who plays spoiler.
3rd CD…Democrat Yarmuth wins over GOP Northup. Four months ago this race was a pipe dream for the Democrats but in the past five weeks it has become a GOP nightmare.
4th CD…This House seat had the real possibility of being picked up by Democrats. However, I think it likely that Republican Davis retains his seat. Lucas, his Democratic opponent held this seat for several terms. If I am wrong about this, then it will be a sign that a national rout for the GOP will occur on a large scale. If however, Davis retains this seat we might be able early in the evening to assess how effective the GOP GOTV machine is working.
6:00 P.M. (A tense mood throughout the land….)
Senator Bill Nelson wins big over Katherine Harris in the Senate race. This will be the first ‘feel good’ win tonight as Democrats hand Nelson the largest margin in any statewide race tonight. Harris will be best remembered for the Florida 2000 debacle, which then turned into the national debacle, better known as the Bush Presidency. Harris waged the worst organized Senate campaign in the nation this election cycle.
GOP Crist wins Governor’s race.
13th CD…When veterans laugh out loud at a GOP nominee trying to tell them the White House has a strategy for Iraq, you can assume the race is over. Christine Jennings defeats Vern Buchanan. Katherine Harris vacated this seat.
16th CD…Representative Foley’s seat goes Democratic as Joe Negron loses to Tim Mahoney. The immigration issue plays a large part in Mahoney’s win.
Senator Allen will win tonight but the political veneer that he had created is gone, as are his Presidential dreams. Webb may have lost, but saved the country! Allen 51%.
6:30 P.M. (A major state closes their polls…)
This will be one of those times tonight that as soon as the polls close the news operations will be able to call a race. Senator Mike DeWine is rejected in favor of Sherrod Brown.
Ted Strickland wins the Governors race.
15th CD…The fourth ranking member in the House, incumbent Pryce is in the battle of her life. I predict she fails to win another term, but will not be surprised if I am wrong. Pryce has never won her last six elections with less than 60% of the vote. This was a tough race for the GOP, as her district has university students, Latino immigrants, and is feeling the middle class economic crunch. I predict Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy wins, but will not be surprised if she loses. TOUGH RACE TO CALL!
18th CD…Former GOP Congressman Ney resigned due to scandal, and his replacement candidate has not had enough time to create her own image. Padgett goes down to defeat by Democrat Z
11th CD…Democratic nominee Shuler wins over GOP Taylor.
7:00 P.M. (Key blue collar powerhouse states count ballots….)
Senator Debbie Stabenow was elected by less than 1% in 2000, but the GOP finds she is not easy picking as she defeats GOP nominee Bouchard.
When Santorum accepts defeat I predict that he has remarks such as ‘we may have lost tonight but we are right about our values and convictions’ even though the voters had rejected him many months ago. He just happens to be the last to know. Casey wins big….12% or more! The loud roar of VICTORY that you might hear as this race ends comes from my home in Madison, Wisconsin. The readers of my blog understand why this is my #1 Senate race for the Democrats to win tonight.
7th CD…GOP Weldon is defeated by Democrat Joe Sestak. John Kerry defeated Bush by 6% here, and Weldon was entrenched until his scandal undermined his numbers.
10th CD…Chris Carney ‘chokes’ GOP incumbent Don Sherwood. If you get this joke you have been paying attention in class this fall!
I had feared for weeks about Senator Menendez, but tonight he puts those fears to rest as he defeats Tom Kean, Jr. Kean will be back again soon in another race as he has real ability on the campaign stump.
The readers of my blog understand it pains me to predict Joe Lieberman defeating Ned Lamont. Joe will feel emboldened by the win, and ready to war against Iran. Really.
4th CD…GOP Shays had some bad moments in this election and stumbled in ways that surprised me. His moderate voice is what I have argued his party needed. Democrat Farrell defeats Shays tonight.
5th CD…GOP Nancy Johnson wins.
I admit to being drawn to the campaign styling of GOP nominee Michael Steele, and feel that he ran the best GOP Senate race this year. But Democrats are on the move in the final days of the race and Iraq is the issue that will bring this intelligent candidate down. Democrat Ben Cardin wins. Steele has a future in GOP politics.
Deval Patrick wins the race for Governor.
The candidate with the best hair this year wins another term as Governor. Blagojevich soundly defeats the candidate with the most irritating voice this year, Judy Baar Topinka.
6th CD…The Democratic nominee, Tammy Duckworth, is a solder who fought in Iraq and paid a very dear price as she is now disabled, but that doesn’t give her a seat in Congress. GOP candidate Roskam wins.
Senator Jim Talent wins; though McCaskill proved what a fighting Democrat looks like.
The statewide ballot question about banning all abortions except to save a woman’s life resulted from bizarre moves by abortion opponents in the Legislature hoping to get a new case before the U.S. Supreme Court. But I predict that the voters settle this tonight by rejecting it. The ballot measure fails. The right to an abortion is embedded in our law.
Racism is not dead in America. Ford has run perhaps the best U.S. Democratic Senate race in the country, but angry white men still vote their fears and prejudices. Ford loses to Corker.
Governor Perry slides to election easily, and Kinky Friedman should just GO AWAY!
22nd CD…Tom Delay held this seat but resigned it due to scandal. In light of the GOP write-in candidacy of Shelley Sekula-Gibbs….(can you imagine a more troubling name for this type of race?) the final results are not going to be known for perhaps days. In the end however, this will be a Democratic pickup with Nick Lampson winning.
7:30 P.M. (News anchors are ready for a long night…..)
Mike Beebe wins. My readers know I have a great dislike for Asa Hutchinson
8:00 P.M. (The heartland starts to count….)
Jim Doyle defeats Mark Green for Governor 53%-47%.
I predict the State Senate turns Democrat. I will only weigh in with two predictions here. Dave Z
ien is defeated by former TV anchor Pat Kreitlow, and Jim Sullivan slaps Tom Reynolds silly and removes this stain from the Wisconsin State Senate.
The State Assembly stays Republican, but Democrats will pick up two seats.
Falk wins in a tight battle 51%-49%
Wisconsin voters place discrimination into the State Constitution by passing the marriage amendment 52%-48%, and also pass the death penalty question 54%-46%.
Mahoney wins Dane County Sheriff race.
2nd CD…GOP nominee Magnum does not feel he needs to pay income taxes. I feel stupid even needing to rationalize this race. Tammy Baldwin never broke a sweat and wins with over 62%.
8th CD…Though there is a Democratic wind blowing across the land this conservative and Republican area stays red as John Gard defeats Kagen. Each candidate spent $2 million dollars (on paper) and the end result is Gard, a very low wattage brain going to Congress.
Amy Klobuchar defeats Mark Kennedy for U.S. Senate
26th CD…After a few hard knocks with the Foley affair, I think GOP Reynolds is on the move back and survives this election.
The race to watch tonight that could be the upset Senate race is here in beautiful Arizona. The move in the polls has made everyone pay attention as Democrat Pederson is gaining on incumbent GOP Kyl. In the end I think Kyl wins, but if there is enough of a ‘wave’ this one could fall to the Democrats.
5th CD…J.D. Hayworth is just wrong for Congress. One of the good feeling wins for Democrats comes tonight when Harry Mitchell wins this House seat.
8th CD…Democratic Giffords defeats the GOP one note immigration candidate Randy Graf in this open seat.
Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse wins over Lincoln Chafee. I like Chafee, and as my blog readers know I wish him the best.
Democrat Bill Ritter wins as Governor.
4th CD…This is the number one race in the House for me to see a Democrat win, and a Republican defeated. Representative Musgrave must be defeated. She is a prime example of the gay bashing extremism that makes the GOP a hate filled party. But I think the news of Ted Haggard and his gay male escort throws this race into the air….so I will not predict…..there is just no way for me to sense what this has done to this CD. Let us hope for the best, as Musgrave needs to lose this race! Democrat Angie Paccione would be a rationale Congresswoman that all of Colorado could be proud of.
7th CD…GOP candidate Rick O’ Donnell will lose to Democrat Ed Perlmutter. This is one of those races where Latino’s and immigration give the advantage to the Democrats.
9:00 P.M. (The western states tally their votes.)
Democrat Jon Tester wins over Conrad Burns for U.S. Senate
10:00 P.M. (49 states have finished voting.)
Marie Cantwell returns as U.S. Senator.