Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hagel calls it quits

Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel will not seek re-election nor will he seek the Republican nomination for President. Hagel, a critic of the war in Iraq, had considered a run for the White House but would've been unpopular with much of the party's base.

Another vacancy does put a dent in Republican hopes to re-claim the Senate. As a post at the Democrat-leaning Daily Kos notes,

After the 2004 election, Republican{s} held a 27-17 advantage in Senate seats from the Continental US west of the Mississippi. With wins to take previously Republican-held seats in Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and Montana, after the 2006 election the Republican margin shrunk to 23/21. In 2008 there will be 17 Senate seats up west of the Mississippi (including two in Wyoming). Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Tim Johnson in South Dakota are the only Democrats at any serious risk of defeat, but even there things look OK. But we’re already looking at several excellent pickup opportunities: open Republican seats in Colorado and now Nebraska, and extremely vulnerable incumbent Republicans in Oregon and Minnesota. In New Mexico Pete Dominici is looking less secure than once thought, you’ve got the Larry Craig lunacy happening in Idaho, two seats to be contested in Wyoming, and seats that have to be defended in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It’s quite likely that after the 2008 election that the states west of the Mississippi will send a Democratic majority to the Senate; a conservative estimate is that we pick up 4 seats, resulting in a 25D/19R margin. With the GOP’s money woes and their need to defend 22 seats (vs. the Democrats’ 12), it’s not crazy to think we could pick off even more seats in the West.