Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Democrats and the Senate 

Do Democrats have a shot at taking back the Senate this November?

Conservative commentator Fred Barnes says it's not such a long shot. Considering the current 51-49 split, with a Kerry win the Democrats would only need to pick up two seats to regain the majority they lost after the 2002 elections. As Barnes notes:
To pull it off--and assuming a two-seat gain is required--Democrats must achieve three goals. First, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle must be re-elected in South Dakota. Second, Democrats have to limit their loss of Senate seats in the South to two. Third, they need to capture all four of the vulnerable Republican seats. Capturing the Senate won't be easy, but Democratic chances have dramatically improved as the four Republican seats turned soft.
Political Wire points out that if Kerry wins, Republican governor Mitt Romney currently holds the power to appoint Kerry's successor in the Senate, which would actually make the Democrats' magic number 3. But as this Boston Globe article from last month points out, Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature have introduced legislation
to strip Governor Mitt Romney of his power to fill the Senate seat that Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry would vacate if he wins in November.

The bill, sponsored by the House and Senate cochairmen of the Joint Committee on Elections Laws, would mandate a special election within 105 to 130 days after a vacancy in the Senate is declared. The seat would not be filled temporarily.

One top Massachusetts Democratic leader said he is confident that the bill will whisk through with enough votes to override an expected Romney veto. House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran said yesterday that the Legislature would take a serious look at the proposal.
Keep your fingers crossed.

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