Another 2010 Senate seat now toss-up or better for Repubs

Rep. Mike Castle
Rep. Mike Castle

Any minute now, the most popular Republican in Delaware will announce as a candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in 2010.

He’s Mike Castle, currently a congressman, formerly a governor and a politician who has never lost a race in this otherwise Dem-leaning state.

The seat is the one vacated by Joe Biden when he became veep. Long-time Biden aide Ted Kaufman now holds the seat by appointment with no plans to run for a full term. Biden’s son Beau, the current Delaware attorney general, is the likely Dem nominee. Beau Biden recently returned from a year’s deployment to Iraq (and somehow managed to function as the state’s AG while he was overseas).

Castle’s current House seat is a statewide office, since Delaware has only one House seat. He has held statewide office continuously since he was elected Lt. Gov in 1980. He was governor from 1984 to 1992. Castle is now 70. Beau Biden is 40. I suppose Castle’s age will be an issue, but those who know Delaware politics believe he is a major contender and probably the only Repub who could give Biden much of a contest. Upon learning that Castle, who had been publicly mulling whether to retire or run for the Senate, would choose the latter option, the Rothenberg Political Report rated the race as “leans Republican.”

Beau Biden
Beau Biden

A lot of the info above is cribbed from Chris Cillizza’s excellent Wash Post blog, The Fix. I have also relied on The Fix for Cillizza’s rankings of Senate seats most likely to change parties, but it’s months since I published it and Cillizza hasn’t done a complete update since late July.

It is normal for the president’s party to lose seats, sometimes many seats, in mid-term congressional elections. There is a growing concensus among those who constantly calculate such things that the Repubs make a major gain in the 2010 House elections. Less so in the Senate, where individual candidacies can more easily overcome national trends. In early and mid-2009 the mid-term Senate races looked very promising for Dems to actually add to their 60-seat majority.

Still possible, but now not so promising. Cillizza’s most recent top 10 seats most likely to change parties in 2010 listed five seats held by Dems and five held by Repubs as the 10 moistly likely to switch. (Obviously, if they all switched, they would net out even and the Dems would still have 60.) The good news for Dems on that list was that three of the four most likely to switch were current Repub seats. The bad news for Dems is that Cillizza hasn’t updated since the end of July. On that list, Delaware was the 10th most likely to switch. It will move way up now.

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by John E Iacono on 10/06/2009 - 12:51 pm.

    A lot will be hanging on what happens with health care.

    A moderate “reform” that focused on fixing some of the problems rather than one that tries to turn a huge part of the economy over to government would give the dems a big boost.

    If the current health care plans on the table get passed, on the other hand, Castle’s win would in my thinking be just one part of a huge tide in the congress.

  2. Submitted by tim johnson on 10/06/2009 - 11:15 pm.

    Mr. Black:
    Interesting to see you wrote a story on a Senate race in Delaware.

    So, closer to home – how’s that assignment from Kersten coming along?
    Something about you digging around to see if ACORN did any hijinks in Minnesota the past year or two or three that might have affected the closest Senate election in state history?
    Seems of more local interest than Delaware potentialities .. . I mean, where’s the “concensus” that a political story about the three-county state has much readability here in the land of the Twins-Vikings-Gophers-Wuffs-Wild?
    I ask, because there’s something about your phrase on ACORN and Minnesota, “no evidence whatsoever” that sort of smells, oh, non-journalistic; maybe even anti-journalistic.
    How often does an inkstained wretch shout: “No evidence whatsoever,” over such an amorphous indictment as the one ACORN is laboring under?
    “No evidence whatsoever” has more the ring of, say, the famous Ozian bluster: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!!!”
    So, I’m just sayin’, how’s the assignment going?
    Anything, anything whatsoever, turn up yet?
    (I just can’t help good-naturedly needling a top journalista.)
    And I do think you should check it out.
    What are the odds that ACORN didn’t do in Minnesota the things it apparently has done in many other states?
    Sure, the race doesn’t always go to the swift; but that’s the way to bet.
    The scorpion’s going to sting the tortoise. Why? Cause it’s a scorpion.
    You might be surprised by what you find.
    What could beat that?
    And if not, the only downside is, you could nail down the “no evidence whatsoever.”

  3. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 10/07/2009 - 03:18 pm.

    Tim Johnson: While some Acorn employees have been investigated (or arrested for attempted voter REGISTRATION fraud, not election fraud), the right-wing videographers who made the recent tapes edited them carefully to make sure viewers only saw what they wanted them to see. As in the taped discussion of a loan to buy a house to be used as a brothel staffed by teens from elsewhere in the world — nowhere do we hear the repeated question by the Acorn employee as the couple detail their plans: “You’re kidding me, right?”

    The attackers now have the SEIU union in their sights. They hate unions (which fight for decent salaries and working conditions) as much as they hate organizations like Acorn (because they help poor people register to vote and poor people don’t often vote for Republicans).

  4. Submitted by tim johnson on 10/07/2009 - 10:02 pm.

    Bernice: so from your point of view, wouldn’t it be kind of cool if a reporter reported the good, honest job ACORN did in Minnesota in recent years?
    Or do you think it’s better that nothing more be said about it?
    Don’t you want to know, either way?
    And at the same time, any other groups doing electioneering could be reported on, too.
    Why not? Seems like basic journalism.
    Especially when it was such a close race.

  5. Submitted by Mike Haubrich on 10/07/2009 - 10:21 pm.

    Tim, if an investigation needs to be done, fine. So far, no one has found any credible evidence of wrongdoing by ACORN, and an investigation would find less on them than the insurance companies that are underwriting the witch-hunt against them. It’s a smokescreen to deflect from the real problems in corporate funding of the campaigns of those congresscritters who are preventing any serious discussion on health care reform.

  6. Submitted by John Roach on 10/08/2009 - 07:26 pm.

    Mr. Johnson,

    Can you please establish for us exactly when you stopped beating your wife? Don’t hide behind the excuse that there is “no evidence whatsoever”.

    “Wouldn’t it be kind of cool” if some reporter wrote a story on what a great relationship you have with your marriage? But since nothing like that has been written, there is obviously some sort of biased coverup, or perhaps a genuine journalistic conspiracy to hide the sordid truth from the public.

    If you happen to produce evidence that you have never been married, that will be the ultimate PROOF of the huge extent of the conspiracy to protect your reputation. All the reporters in town are probably in on it, as well as numerous government officials.

  7. Submitted by John E Iacono on 10/10/2009 - 12:44 pm.

    Facts: Acorn employees have been caught cheating when enrolling voters. Many times, in many places. Enough to warrant suspicion that this may be with the tacit consent of the organization, although it declares it has — after the fact — punished those who are caught.

    Fact: “Birds of feather fly together.” is an often, but not always, true saying.

    Fact: Acorn in Minnesota has not had any of its representatives charged with similar behaviors.

    Fact: This syllogism is INVALID: “Some Acorn members have done illegal things. Minnesots has Acorn members. Therefore Minnesota has some Acorn members who have done illegal things.”

    Fact: Only investigation and found facts will correct the syllogism…if anyone cares enough to make the search. Until then, these claims are just so much fuzzy thinking.

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