Ten to beat

Which Republican Senate incumbents are ripe for the picking in '08?
By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN  |  December 27, 2006

061229_sununu_main
NH Senator John Sununu
If you’re looking to help build the Democrats’ majority in the US Senate, set your sights on some of these vulnerable Republicans up for re-election in 2008, as ranked by the Phoenix.

1) Wayne Allard, Colorado. He is so unpopular in this increasingly purple state, the GOP is looking for alternatives to run in the primary. Popular Congressman Mark Udall is running for the Dems. An excellent pick-up chance.

2) Gordon Smith, Oregon. The Dems are drooling over this seat, and several candidates are already emerging. Smith is loudly reversing his opinions on the Iraq war, a sure sign of electoral distress.

3) John Sununu, New Hampshire. Sununu is not unpopular in the Granite State, but his party sure is. Governor Lynch insists he won’t run, and many are assuming a rematch with Jeanne Shaheen.

4) Susan Collins, Maine. Moderate Republicans running in blue states had a rough time of it in ’06. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine was an exception. Collins, however, is no Snowe, and Representative Tom Allen is gearing up for a run at her.

5) Norm Coleman, Minnesota. He squeaked into the seat after Paul Wellstone died mid campaign, in 2002, and is easily beatable in this generally blue state, where Amy Klobuchar just won the other Senate seat in a romp. Opinions are split about the effect of Al Franken’s entry into the Democratic primary.

6) Saxby Chambliss, Georgia. The Democrats will go after him with everything they can muster. Chambliss, you may recall, is the guy who unseated a legless Vietnam veteran by questioning his patriotism. But Georgia is an increasingly solid red state, and Chambliss will be tough to beat.

7) Pete Domenici, New Mexico. If Domenici retires, as is rumored, this one is wide open for the Dems — although they seem to be running dry on candidates the longer Domenici keeps them guessing.

8) Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina. Another one rumored to be considering retirement. If the country’s mood stays where it is, or worsens toward the GOP, Libby is ripe for removal in this increasingly purple state — even if she runs.

9) John Warner, Virginia. John Warner has surprised some with his apparent decision to run for re-election; this would have been a big pick-up opportunity for the Dems. Now the question is whether Mark Warner will jump in for a rematch of 2000.

10) Lamar Alexander, Tennessee. After the very close Senate race this year, the Democrats would love to take another run in ’08. The right candidate will be key, and it probably won’t be just-defeated Harold Ford Jr.

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  Topics: Talking Politics , Elections and Voting, Politics, Mark Udall,  More more >
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