Well, another one is joining the ranks of those leaving the Senate.
Veteran Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) is expected to announce tomorrow that he will retire from the Senate in 2008, according to several informed sources, a decision that further complicates an already difficult playing field for Republicans next November.
Domenici has struggled with health problems over the last several years and has been dogged by questions about the role he may have played in the firing of U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias in Albuquerque. As a result, he had been long been rumored as a potential retirement. Domenici's Senate office did not return a call this afternoon, but sources close to the senator say he will fly home to New Mexico tomorrow to make the announcement that he is retiring.
New Mexico is in the somewhat odd position of having a GOP Senator but a Democratic Governor. And in this case, the mix is made even more interesting because that Governor is currently running for President and not doing very well in the polls. He and his handlers may start looking at that Senate seat as a better option than a losing battle with Hillary for the Presidential nomination. As Ed Morrissey points out, this could paint a rather dark picture for yet another GOP held Senate seat.
The only reason Richardson might stay in the race for the presidential nomination would be to gain a spot at the bottom of the ticket. Not too many people aspire to be Vice President, but a victory on a Hillary ticket would put him in good position for a later run at the top spot. If he bails out in favor of the Senate race, and Hillary wins, he'd have to run as a semi-outsider in 2016 against Hillary's VP, even if she lost re-election in 2012.
Expect Democrats to start urging Richardson to switch races. If he does, the Republicans have a huge problem in New Mexico, and they gain nothing in the general presidential election.
I don't think anyone could, at this point, realistically expect the Democrats to run the table on 34 Senate seats, and frankly I wouldn't care to see either party take a supermajority. But as more and more of these stories emerge, it's not hard to imagine the gap between majority and minority growing, and Joe Lieberman's influence waning.