The last time the Senate convened with a perfect balance of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, the two parties struck a power-sharing agreement.
Republicans got control of the Senate, but gave Democrats equal representation on the committees that drive the legislative machinery.
Six years later, with Democrats poised to take power with a 51-49 edge in the incoming Senate, the possibility of another evenly divided chamber hovered over the Capitol Thursday as Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota recovered from brain surgery.
If Johnson is unable to serve, South Dakota Gov. Michael Rounds, a Republican, would appoint someone to fill his vacated seat. A Republican appointment would split the Senate anew, giving Vice President Dick Cheney the tie-breaking role and handing control of the chamber to Republicans.
Will the pressure be placed on Lieberman to swtich over like Jeffords in 2001?
Does it look like Johnson will be able to resume a normal political career?
He probably will defer and resign even if he makes a complete comeback/recovery. Why endure the stress at his age? For Harry Reid and the Democrat caucus?
Harry Reid may be the Senate Majority leader in January 2007 but will he be able to hold it and a Democrat majority?