Monday, March 1, 2010
Though it seems unlikely that Republicans can win control of the Senate, President Obama's election made GOP gains more likely. He and Vice President Biden vacated Illinois and Delaware seats that are now ripe for pickup. The same goes for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's old seat in Colorado. And although the New York seat once held by Secretary of State Clinton is more of a reach, a Republican might win it if the circumstances are just right.
Moreover, the president's sagging approval ratings put other seats into play. For instance, as a New York Times piece suggests, California's Barbara Boxer could have a fight. Up to now, she has had the luck of the Senate cycle. Her initial election took place in 1992 -- when Bill Clinton's double-digit lead in the state marked California's switch from red to blue in presidential elections. She ran again in 1998. Normally, midterms are tricky for incumbents of the president's party, but the Clinton impeachment drove voters away from the GOP and toward the Democrats. And in the gubernatorial election that year, Democrat Gray Davis won big. Six years later, the Bush campaign went dark in California, and GOP Senate candidate Bill Jones could not afford a single television ad.
Now she is running in a much more challenging year.