Larry Sabato’s 6/17/10 Senate Rundown

U.S. SENATE RACES OF INTEREST:

ALASKA SENATOR: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is a heavy favorite, but the Tea Party is taking her on with a candidate named Joe Miller. And Sarah Palin, who defeated Murkowski’s father for governor in the 2006 GOP primary, favors the Tea Party candidate. Oh, how delicious!

CALIFORNIA SENATOR: Carly Fiorina (R) did herself no good with her petty remarks about Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s hair. The best thing Fiorina has going for her is Boxer’s personality, and she managed to make Boxer into a sympathetic figure. Dumb, dumb.

FLORIDA SENATOR: Gov. Charlie Crist is increasingly looking like the cat that ate the canary. The Democrats have mainly come to realize that their nominee, whether Rep. Kendrick Meek or controversial self-funder Jeff Greene, will finish a poor third in November. Crist has done everything but jump in President Obama’s lap during Obama’s recent trips to the Gulf, as well as take issue stands on abortion and other topics very pleasing to Democrats. Is Independent Crist becoming the de facto Democratic candidate? If he can consolidate his backers and Democrats, Republican Marco Rubio is unlikely to win. We’ll see.

ILLINOIS SENATOR: If Illinois had a “none of the above” ballot line like Nevada, we’d bet on None. Mark Kirk (R) and Alexi Giannoulias (D) are running a race to see which one can become less popular. Even a Green Party candidate is registering in double digits. Both parties secretly wish they could start over, but they’re stuck. One of them has to win.

SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR: It doesn’t matter whom the Democrats have on their ballot line. Sen. Jim DeMint (R) will win easily. But the saga of Democratic primary winner Alvin Greene has brought more embarrassment to the Palmetto State. Greene’s $10,400 filing fee is the key. Who paid it? And why is South Carolina now the home of the nation’s dirtiest politics?

UTAH SENATOR: We’re sure it matters who is the next senator from Utah, if you live in Utah. But if we could set up three parallel universes, and have ousted Sen. Robert Bennett (R), and the GOP contenders for his seat in the primary to be held June 22, Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, cast Senate votes for the next six years, we’d wager that at least 95% of the votes would be identical. All this fuss over less than 5% of the votes.

Read more from Larry Sabato at Sabto’s Crystal Ball

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