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Random Thoughts on the 2010 Elections

Here are some notions that have been percolating in my brain as I think about the upcoming elections.

With a holiday weekend here, I certainly can't muster an extended coherent train of thought. But, I can give you a variety of unrelated thoughts that have been percolating in my brain as I think about the upcoming elections.

-How dramatic would it be if, come about 1 in the morning November 3, control of the Senate hinged on the (suddenly somewhat competitive) Alaska Senate race or control of the House hinged on Charlie Djou's Hawaii-1 seat? Of course, it's very possible that there will be several races from the lower 48 that are close enough to demand recounts, so maybe that scenario is pretty far-fetched.

More likely: We won't know who controls the Senate for days because Washington is so darn permissive about letting people mail in ballots at the last moment. By the way, I still stubbornly think that Democrats get totally destroyed in the House, but manage to keep their losses in the Senate in the 5-6 range.

-Right now, I have Nevada as the tenth most likely Senate pickup for the Republicans. It's just behind Illinois, Wisconsin and Washington, but ahead of California (others ahead include North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Colorado). Who could possibly have imagined that six or eight months ago? My thinking: Reid has led in eight of the last nine public polls.  It's possible that by November Nevada could be behind California, Connecticut and West Virginia. Harry Reid nearly was given up for dead, but he could end up as Republicans' 13th best target. That, by the way, says as much about Republicans' rising fortunes as it does about Reid.

-Along the same lines, why haven't we heard the term "firewall" when it comes to the Democratic majority in the Senate? Is that so 2006? Maybe it's because there are just too many races bunched together in competitiveness (including several genuine Democratic pickup opportunities). Or, maybe it's because the term never really meant anything to begin with. If I were to come up with a Democratic firewall, it would definitely include California, Wisconsin, Washington and Nevada, with Colorado and Illinois at least a little bit toasty as well.

-How important might John Hickenlooper and Alex Sink be after the election? Even if the elections result in carnage for the Democrats, the party could have two new governors in key swing states because of the weird circumstances in those races.

-Why didn't conservatives find someone better than Christine O'Donnell to run against Mike Castle? Castle should have had been a giant target from the start because of his genuinely moderate views on some issues. Don't tell me, by the way, that conservatives were just being practical by not trying to throw away a chance at a Republican general election victory. Remember Lincoln Chafee and Steve Laffey?

-Why hasn't this ad from U.S. Rep John Adler gone viral yet? Have we been so spoiled by the Date Petersons of the world that we no longer appreciate a strikingly harsh attack ad that just so happens to involve donkeys? If so, it's a sad day indeed.

Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..
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