Posted by Brad @ 3:10 pm on January 25th 2010

Senate Picture, 2010: Beau Biden Out

There’s a certain critical mass with political momentum such that, when things are going good, you start getting the breaks, and when they’re bad, everything seems to go the other way. People on the fence about retiring decide to go ahead and pull the trigger, top tier candidates decide to wait for another spot and a better climate, etc, and that just gets the old snowball rolling.

we have now reached the bad kind of critical mass for the Dems.

I understand why people care so deeply about this election. The challenges we’re facing as a country are extraordinarily difficult. The economy. Jobs. Health care. Energy. Education. Climate change. Financial regulation. Foreign policy. These are not only the issues of the moment – they’re the issues that will determine our children’s future. And as someone who has had the privilege of serving with the bravest men and women on this planet, I care deeply about how we treat our returning veterans and how we resolve our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I feel strongly about these issues. However, my first responsibilities are here in Delaware. I have a duty to fulfill as Attorney General – and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence. And that is what I must do. Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for reelection as Attorney General.

Joe Biden also doesn’t think his aide who is keeping his seat warm, Ted Kaufman, is going to run either.

That makes what would have been a relatively easy hold for the Dems into a lean Republican race, as Mike Castle is maybe the most popular political figure in the state short of Beau Biden, and there isn’t much of a bench left to speak of. It also joins a few Congressional retirements from Dems in red districts also being announced in the last week, as well as new polls in Nevada and Indiana showing Reid basically being toast, and Evan Bayh in real danger of following him out.

Of the Top Ten Seats Most Likely To Switch Hands, 8 belong to Democrats, and there is roughly the same level of probability that the Dems actually lose their majority as retain 60 seats (although the path to Republicans regaining the majority goes through Boxer and Feingold). Regardless, I’d say -6 is a good guess, and that’s a pretty brutal midterm swing.


  1. -6 come November raises the stakes for this year, given that Obama can wave goodbye to legislative ambitions if a shellacking of that proportion is on the cards. Of course, there won’t be an enormous enthusiasm amongst vulnerable Democrats for helping Obama out, either.

    Comment by Adam — 1/25/2010 @ 5:04 pm

  2. I think he’ll have a small window of opportunity from his SOTU for another few months (tops), and then it’s turtle time for congressional Dems.

    Comment by Brad — 1/25/2010 @ 7:15 pm

  3. Well, maybe not -6. Let’s see, my offhand guess is they lost ND, NV, AR, DE, PA, retain IL and CO (though who knows on CO), and I can’t peg a seat I’d guess the Republicans might lose, although any other cycle I’d guess NH, FL, and KY would be competitive (I think Paul wins KY, but there is also a fairly decent chance that he flames out spectacularly if they find, say, a bunch of neo-Nazis running his direct mail). I don’t think Boxer or Feingold will bite it no matter how bad it gets, so I don’t think the Dems lose the majority, but nor do I imagine Portman in Ohio or Blunt in Missouri losing in this atmosphere, which makes finding a Dem pickup pretty tough (Florida would actually be my bet, and maybe New Hampshire depending on how that primary shakes out—I’m more bullish on Hoades than most).

    So this far out, I’m guessing -5, but CO could easily go, and I’m not very confident in PA either way. So -4 to -6.

    Comment by Brad — 1/25/2010 @ 7:31 pm

  4. Nevermind on Indiana. Mike Pence has decided not to run, for some damn reason, which means Bayh is probably safe.

    Comment by Brad — 1/26/2010 @ 1:14 pm

  5. I assume Pence isn’t certain enough of victory (and probably rightly).

    Comment by Adam — 1/26/2010 @ 1:42 pm

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