One of Vice President Joe Biden‘s long-standing and endearing qualities is his gift of hyperbole. The Washington Post recently quoted Biden as saying at a Democratic fundraiser that, of the 54 House seats Democrats have flipped in the last two elections cycles, “If [Republicans] take them back, this is the end of the road for what [President Obama] and I are trying to do.”
While he overstates the case, Biden’s worry applies at least as much in the Senate. The Democrats’ majority status next year is not in doubt, but their 60-seat majority is in grave danger and the odds of their maintaining control after 2012 and 2014 are increasingly remote.
The Senate seats up in next year’s midterm elections are evenly split, with 19 on each side. But in 2012, Democrats have 23 seats at risk (counting Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.) compared to only nine for the GOP. In 2014, it’s 20 Democrats up, to only 13 for Republicans.
Good news for the GOP.
In California, it’s unclear how tough the re-election challenge will be for Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer. The biggest question there is whether Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, is ready for prime time politics.
Note: there is NO mention of Carly Fiorina’s GOP challenger Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.
New York is also very murky. Former Republican Gov. George Pataki might run. Remember that he knocked off Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994, the last really bad year for Democrats. There are other first-tier Republicans — former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Rep. Rick Lazio — who are looking at the gubernatorial race but might be enticed to take on Gillibrand.
Probably Rudy for Governor against Paterson and Pataki against Gillibrand. Then, a likely dual pick-up for the GOP.
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