Time magazine provides details of the 2010 Senate races. It seems that this is not shaping up as the banner year Democrats had envisioned:
The political scandals surrounding Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and Senator Roland Burris have handicapped the Democrats’ chances of keeping Obama’s old Senate seat. Governors in Colorado and New York appointed two relative unknowns to fill Ken Salazar’s and Hillary Clinton’s shoes, respectively, both of whom left for the Cabinet. And then Ted Kennedy died, prompting a Massachusetts special election due to be held in January.
Even worse, there are at least five incumbents who are facing competitive races: Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln, Pennsylvania’s new Democratic Senator Arlen Specter, Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Connecticut’s Chris Dodd and Barbara Boxer, who will face off with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in California. Reid and Dodd have some of the worst polls in the Senate — hovering near 30% approval ratings. “Illinois, Pennsylvania, Connecticut: those will be the most expensive to defend,” says Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, which tracks congressional races. “The more money you have to spend on defense takes away from what you’re spending on offense.”
Time insists that the Democrats are still headed for a net pickup, but it doesn’t look that way if you go through the open seats. Time, for example, lists Richard Burr of North Carolina among the vulnerable Republicans, but recent polling has him up by a comfortable margin.
So what happens if the Democrats, not the Republicans, lose a couple of seats? Republicans still won’t control committees and will be badly outvoted on budget matters. But the filibuster comes back into play, albeit with little room for error, if 2010 turns out to be a backlash election against the Democrats’ one-party rule.
You understand, then, why Obama is in such a hurry to jam through whatever he can, as fast as he can. The window of opportunity may close sooner than many Democrats ever imagined.