Senate News & Analysis

2012 Senate Overview (April 8, 2011)

April 8, 2011 · 3:45 PM EDT

The combination of retirements and GOP recruiting has already put the Senate in play. The GOP needs to gain three or four seats to win control of the Senate (depending on which party holds the White House), and already five Democratic-held Senate seats are no better than toss-ups.

LeMieux Nabs Jon Lerner to Advise Senate Bid

by Stuart Rothenberg April 8, 2011 · 11:01 AM EDT

The state that brought you Republican candidates as varied as Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, Charlie Crist, Allen West, Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Joe Scarborough will be choosing a Senate nominee next year, and the early signs point to a fight for the heart and soul of the party.

Odds Are Against Lugar in Bid for Seventh Term

by Stuart Rothenberg April 4, 2011 · 9:00 AM EDT

Six-term Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar ended 2010 with more than $2.3 million in the bank. Unfortunately for Lugar, his war chest is about the only reason to think that he might have a chance of winning a seventh term next year.

The 78-year-old (he turns 79 on Monday)…

Guy Cecil Returns to Defend Democratic Majority

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 29, 2011 · 1:51 PM EDT

A framed New York Times front page hangs on the wall behind Guy Cecil’s desk.

“Democrats take the Senate,” the headline reads, a reminder of his role on the front lines in helping his party win back the majority in 2006 as political director of the Democratic Senatorial…

Tim Kaine Might Not Be the Perfect Answer

by Stuart Rothenberg March 17, 2011 · 10:41 AM EDT

Sen. Jim Webb’s announcement in early February that he would not seek a second term wasn’t exactly a shocker. Democrats always knew that since Webb isn’t your typical Senator, he might not behave as others have and that they needed a Plan B.

For many, Tim Kaine has…

Montana Senate: Test(er) Time

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 11, 2011 · 4:30 PM EST

Jon Tester was elected to Senate in one of the best Democratic years in history, and he did it with less than 50% of the vote. Given that, it’s no surprise that the Montana Democrat is a top Republican target in 2012.

Republicans scored an early recruiting victory…

An Early Look at 2012 ‘Elite Eight’ Battleground

by Stuart Rothenberg March 11, 2011 · 8:48 AM EST

At least eight states that are likely to be among the most competitive and fiercely fought on the presidential level next year are also headed for high-profile Senate contests that could determine control of the chamber.

The list includes Florida and Virginia in the South, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri…

Nevada Senate: Open Seat Remains Lean Republican

March 7, 2011 · 2:32 PM EST

Sen. John Ensign’s (R) retirement announcement isn’t that surprising and doesn’t change our initial bottom line in Nevada since we didn’t expect him to make it out of a primary if he sought reelection.

With Cong. Dean Heller (R) as a likely candidate, Republicans are well-positioned to hold…

Democrats Need GOP Voters to Win

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 7, 2011 · 9:54 AM EST

Vulnerable Democrats beware: The bipartisan well is about dry.

Last cycle, Democrats saw their percentage of the Republican vote drop dramatically, and that could spell trouble for incumbents relying on that vote to survive in 2012. Sen. Ben Nelson is at the top of the list.

The…

Hawaii Senate: Open Seat Remains Safe for Now

March 3, 2011 · 2:05 PM EST

At 86 years old, Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D) retirement isn’t terribly surprising and his timing might be perfect for his party.

Democrats will defend Akaka’s open seat in 2012 while sharing a ballot with Hawaii’s native son, President Barack Obama. In 2008, Obama defeated John McCain 72%-27%. Even…