I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Merkley Moves On To the Line

Update From Ron
My friend Jazz is from the East Coast and gets most of his West Coast information from me. I tend to lean towards Jeff Merkley and he's really the only one we have talked about. Steve Novick is also a great and viable candidate. We hope to have them both on Mid Stream Radio in the future. The news about Gordon Smith is great news for both of them and they would both make a great Senator.
Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post has spent some time handicapping the presidential race, but this weekend he finally turns his attention to updating The Line. (Where he notes the ten races in the House and Senate most likely to be up for grabs in changing party control.) Most of this update is nothing new... the odds for the GOP have the distinct odor of last week's flounder left out on the bank. (In each of the lists, only one Democratic seat is listed as being in danger, versus nine for the Republicans.)

What is of note for regular MEJ readers is the move up to slot number eight for the Senate seats. It's none other than Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, who as recently as last October was still listed as "relatively safe." Making this list is a definite sign of trouble for Smith and will certainly come as heartening news to supporters of Jeff Merkley. (See our right hand side bar for more information on Jeff.)

Another shift came in Maine, where long time state favorite and very moderate Susan Collins has moved into the number seven slot. Collins has easily held her position there for some time representing the purple nature of Maine and their support for moderates.

Here's Chris with some of the intro.
Last fall it looked as though Democrats could make a legitimate run at 60 seats in November. That dream is gone but the number of GOP retirements and continued lackluster recruiting by Senate Republicans puts Democrats in position to pick up somewhere between two and five seats. (Just one of the ten seats on this month's line is held by a Democrat.) Since our last Line, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has run his typical brutally efficient campaign, scaring away top Democratic challengers and keeping himself off this month's Line. The resignation of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and the controversy over when the special election will be held to replace him puts his seat on the Line this month.

Chris is being realistic and possibly a bit frugal in his estimates of how many of these seats could change hands, but in a worst case scenario for the GOP, you're looking at a supermajority in the upper chamber for the Democrats. The House doesn't look much better, but I'll let you click through the jump to catch up on that.