On paper, Republicans would seem to have an edge going into the Senate races of 2006. With several more seats than the GOP to defend, the Democrats’ prospects for retaking control of the upper legislative house are somewhat less bright than their chances of taking control of the House of Representative. However, as we have discussed on this site many times, 2006 could turn into a devastating “sixth-year itch” for the Bush White House.
The Republicans are defending 15 seats and Democrats have 18, counting the Senate seat of the lone Independent-Democrat, Jim Jeffords. A handful of incumbents have decided to retire. The number of open seats is five, with Bill Frist (R-TN) calling it quits on the GOP side. Along with Jeffords, Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Mark Dayton (D-MN) are hanging it up on the on the Democratic side. In addition, with Jon Corzine‘s (D-NJ) election to the New Jersey governorship, Bob Menendez (D) is his newly appointed replacement, and he is running for a full term, never having been elected to the seat. All of these seats are somewhat less secure than they would be with an incumbent running, although at least one incumbent (Dayton) was considered very weak.
As the summer drew to a close, it looke dlike Democrats would pick up at least two or three seats, net. Of course, they are hoping for a big wave, which would enable them to win the six net seats they need to take control. A wave is only visible at the end of October or the beginning of November, and at this point it looks like Democrats are poised to gain four to six seats with Election Day just around the corner. (Read more in recent Crystal Ball email updates)
Click on each state in the above map for detailed analysis of each race, or select the View All Races option. The chart below lists this year’s Senate races by their current outlook.
2006 Senate Outlook Summary Chart
Each race is categorized by its current Crystal Ball Outlook, with a colored arrow denoting noticeable momentum in one direction or the other. Red arrows () indicate momentum for the Republican candidate, while blue arrows () signify momentum for the Democratic candidate.