Senate Ratings

April 7, 2006 · 12:49 PM EDT

Montana Senator Conrad Burns’ prospects have continued to erode over the last three months, especially after a Vanity Fair article quoted disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff as saying that he could get anything he needed from Burns. We are moving that race to Toss-Up and believe that the Montana Republican is now one of the four most vulnerable incumbents seeking reelection (the other three are all Republicans, as well).

As for Florida, what else is there to say about Republican Katherine Harris’s Senate campaign other than to say it is an utter, unabashed, unparalleled disaster? Harris has been chewing through staff at an amazing rate, and her strange commitment of personal resources -- if that’s what it was – hasn’t changed our view that the Congresswoman’s bizarre campaign hasn’t gotten off the ground and isn’t likely to at any point this century. Move to Safe for the incumbent.

We continue to see that national political environment as a significant hindrance to GOP candidates except in those states where very specific factors could allow the Republicans to take advantage of local public opinion. We see only three or four states where that is even possible – Washington, New Jersey, Michigan and possibly West Virginia – but GOP nominees in those states are still likely to be impacted by what looks increasingly like a strong Democratic wave.

Finally, readers are cautioned not to get too excited about automated and online polls showing considerable movement in Senate races. Some candidates (including John Spencer in New York and Ed Bryant in Tennessee) are making outlandish claims about movement and about their standing in races that we believe are not warranted.
2006 Rothenberg Senate Ratings
Republicans (15)    
Democrats (18)(includes one Independent)

Lean Takeover
Santorum (R), PA

Burns  (R), MT *        
Chafee (R), RI            
DeWine (R), OH
Menendez (D), NJ
Narrow Advantage Incumbent Party
Talent (R), MO        
MD Open (Sarbanes, D)
MN Open (Dayton, D)
Clear Advantage Incumbent Party
Kyl (R), AZ        
TN Open (Frist, R)          
Byrd (D), WV
Cantwell (D), WA
Nelson (D), NE        
Stabenow (D), MI
Currently Safe
Allen (R), VA         
Ensign (R), NV        
Hatch (R), UT        
Hutchison (R), TX                  
Lott (R), MS         
Lugar (R), IN                
Snowe (R), ME        
Thomas (R), WY    Kohl, WI
Akaka (D), HI                
Bingaman (D), NM            
Carper (D), DE                
Clinton (D), NY
Conrad (D), ND
Feinstein (D), CA
Kennedy (D), MA
Lieberman (D), CT
Nelson (D), FL #
VT Open (Jeffords, I)

Changes since 2/10/06:
* more vulnerable    # less vulnerable