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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Mid Term Corrections

With less than a week to go, I stand by the prediction made here previously that the Democrats will hold the Senate, and very probably gain 2 seats or more. The forecast: Democrats are likely to pick up seats in Colorado, New Hampshire, and Arkansas. Republicans have only one probable pickup, in Missouri, and that one is looking less probable now, due perhaps to a rebound sympathy vote for Carnahan after the death of Paul Wellstone. Another potential Republican gain is South Dakota, where the race is pretty much a toss up. Democrats have a shot at gaining seats in Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, and possibly Maine, but none of these is worth betting on. Along with their two good shots, Republicans have outside chances at Democratic seats in Georgia, Louisianna, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Iowa. However, Ganske in Iowa and Lautenberg in New Jersey are looking safer all the time. Mondale should be able to hold Minnesota, and I think Wellstone, had he lived, would have won there. Only Cleland of Georgia from that list is in real danger, and I think he will pull through.

In the Governors' races, Tuesday will be a disaster for the GOP. Democrats might, if things really break their way, pick up as many as 10 states. Democrats will pick up Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Kansas(!) and Maine (currently independent). Already an impressive list, but voters may add Florida, Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Minnesota. Few states are likely to go in the other direction, and the candidates are mostly smaller states: Alabama, Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Hawaii are the most likely. On Wednesday morning, it's possible that among the 10 largest states, only Ohio will have a Republican governor who fits into the national party. (Pataki is very much a RINO, well to the left of many Democrats, including, on some issues, his opponent.)

New Democratic governors in swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and New Mexico could make the difference in ousting Bush if 2004 turns out to be close. Obviously Bush could not have 'won' in 2000 if Florida had been in Democratic hands.

As for the House, it's hard to call, but Republicans probably have the advantage. Republicans were able to use Governorships in several states that added seats to rig several new districts in their favor. However, numbers for the last few weeks show Bush's popularity dropping and, worse for Republicans, consumer confidence sinking to a 10 year low. It's very hard to figure out - there is little polling for most races, but I think control of the House is very much in play.

Note: Daily Kos agrees with me in looking for a gain of 10 - 11 seats in governorships, and explains why it matters. He corrects me on Arizona, which I had listed as a possible Republican gain, but is yet another swing state that is a probable Democratic gain.