Montana Democrat U.S. Senator Jon Tester – a GOP target in 2012
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has its eyes on five key races that could pave the way for the GOP to take the majority in the upper chamber in 2012.
NRSC Executive Director Ron Jesmer said in an interview with CNN published Wednesday that the committee believes there is “fertile ground” for Republicans gains in Montana, Virginia, Nebraksa, Florida and North Dakota.
Jesmer said that centrist Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D) is in “serious trouble and kind of in a league of his own,” and that Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) also “is in a lot of trouble.”
“There are other states where depending on if one candidate runs, there could be some other good challenges,” he added.
The official’s comments provide an early preview to the GOP’s strategy heading into the 2012 Senate campaign, when the party is expected to make gains on the Democrats and take the majority.
Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota were won by 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Florida and Virginia flipped from red to blue two years ago, but some see the states tilting back to the GOP after the party picked up a number of House seats in each state.
Barring any GOP blow up in the next year, I see a relatively easy time for the GOP to take control of the Senate in 2012 – or at least come within a few seats, but have an in effect operating majority.
Ben Nelson in Nebraska is toast as are North Dakota’s Kent Conrad and Montana’s Jon Tester.
Former Virginia Senator George Allen has a good chance to best the irascible and weird Jim Webb (if he runs).
It will be good Dem Senate hunting for the GOP in 2012.