BY GEORGE WATTS
of 1994, Bill Clinton’s ;rst midterm
election, in which they seized control of
both the House and Senate. That seems
unlikely, but it’s quite possible that the
Democratic margin in the House —
now a commanding 80 seats — could
be whittled down to a range between
40 and 60.
In the Senate, the Democrats hold
58 seats and have two independents,
who caucus with them, for a total of 60,
the bare minimum needed to break a
;libuster if the Republicans are united.
If the Democrats lose just a few seats,
they lose a large part of their control
of the Senate.
three Republican seats. And loom- ing over the calcu- lations is the fact hat49 Democrats represent dis- tricts carried by Republican presi- dential candidate
John McCain in 2008. Clearly, many
people split their tickets and can go
either way in the election.
T he year 2010 will be a time for politics in the Senate and House of Representatives — as if 2009 was
not! The reason for this is simply that
all 435 seats in the House and 36 seats in
the Senate will be on the ballot.
The unfinished and controversial
business of the Obama legislative agenda
will have to be handled in the ;rst two or
three months of 2010, or it will probably
be put off until after the election.
Health care reform has to be wrapped
up fast, for example. Immigration reform
has to be done quickly or it will probably
slip again, unfortunately. Attempts to rein
in “climate change” may run afoul of the
Congressional clock, since passing bills
that will raise energy prices are usually
considered a bad idea in an election year.
Perhaps the most important issue is the
continuing problem with unemployment, which topped 10% before the end
Counting the seats in play
Political handicappers say that at
least six Senate seats are in play to
switch from Democratic to Republican
control, four of them for political
reasons: Bennet of Colorado; Dodd
Independents will decide
After McCain’s loss, liberal analysts
were fond of saying that the Republicans
were becoming a regional party representing only the South. Then the
Republicans won the race for governor
in northern, heavily Democratic New
Jersey as well as swing state Virginia.
The key in both states was that political
independents who had voted for Obama
in 2008 switched to the GOP
The bad news for the
Democrats is that independents seem to be abandoning
If he doesn’t, and the Democrats lose
ground in the House and Senate, his
legislative agenda could be in trouble
after only two years in of;ce. ■
Democratic margins in Congress
could be whittled down in midterm elections as
political independents grow restless.
The voters will have their opportunity
in November to express their pleasure —
or displeasure — with these and other initiatives (and the direction of the country)
under a White House, Senate and House
controlled by Democrats; Democrats
who have run an aggressive drive to enact
a liberal, high-cost, high-tax agenda. If
the voters aren’t happy, the results could
be very interesting.
How big a midterm swing?
Republicans are hoping for a repeat
of Connecticut; Reid of Nevada and
Specter of Pennsylvania. Two other
Democratic seats are open due to
retirement: Kaufman of Delaware and
Burris of Illinois. The Republicans,
meanwhile, have to worry about losing
four seats due to retirement: Bunning
of Kentucky, Bond of Missouri, Gregg
of New Hampshire, and Voinovich of
George Watts, President, National Chicken
Council, Washington, D.C.