Okay. We're here. Mid-terms 2006. I'm going to make some last minute (relatively-uninformed) predictions and see how it all turns out tomorrow.
Overall - Democratic Gain of 3
Important Races -
Rhode Island - Whitehouse picks up one for the Dems
Connecticut - Lieberman holds as an Independent Democrat
New Jersey - Menendez holds on to the seat for the Dems
Maryland - Too close to call - I'm giving this to the Rep Steele for the terrific campaign he has run...Republican gain
Virginia - I think the power of the incumbent will trump in this toss up race - Allen holds the seat for the Reps
Pennsylvania - Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead! Casey picks up one for the Dems
Ohio - Good campaign by Sherrod Brown in a terrible year for Ohio Reps - pick up for the Dems
Tennessee - Harold Ford Jr. ran what may have been the best campaign in Senate history, making an improbably competitive run in a Republican stronghold...but the nasty, dirty Republican machine politics turned this race at the death - Corker holds for the Reps
Missouri - Oh, so close. I'm going to guess and say Reps hold...but could go either way
Montana - Tester is the perfect man for Montana, and will pick one up for the Dems
Arizona - This race has come from no where to get tight at the end, but Kyl will hold for the Reps without much problem
Overall - Democratic Gain of 12
I don't even pretend to follow too many individual House races, but I did some quick-and-dirty reading about some interesting and competitive races, and I think that the Democrats are going to be able to make some strong gains - though not nearly what the media is hyping. I think the interesting places to watch will be the races in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wyoming - and of course TX-22.
I think there are two stories to come out of this election - the corporate-media story, and the real story.
First - I think that the big corporate media story on Wednesday will be the big "victory" of the Republicans, because they've managed to hold both Houses of Congress. Why? Because the Republicans have managed expectations so well this year - while the Democrats have gotten caught up in the hype.
The right-wing vote is not as disinterested and unmotivated as the Republicans have led the media to believe...in fact, they will turn out in large numbers, just as they always do. And that will tip the scale in the 70 or so competitive races. The Right has effectively been sending out negative signals so that even such a disastrous loss as what I am predicting can be spun as a victory. Very smart.
Second - in my opinion the real (but unreported) story will be the HUGE SUCCESS of Howard Dean's 50-state plan. When is the last time over 70 seats in the house, and 10+ races in the Senate were competitive? In the end, most of those races will end up staying Republican...but it is a miracle that they are competitive - especially in Republican strongholds like Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, Montana, Missouri, Idaho, etc. And this is the first election of the 50-state plan. Even without taking either the House or Senate, the Democrats should be overwhelmingly excited about the first-cycle success of this plan. With perseverance, this is going to turn the map blue. Kudos to Howard Dean - and the tremendous slate of candidates that the Democratic party attracted in 2006.
Let's see what happens...
Prior related posts:
Midterm predictions for the Midterms...