Recent Republican retirements and Democratic appointments to a new administration are helping to make 2010 already look like an interesting and potentially crucial election in establishing either the extent of the Democratic majority or a possible Republican resurgence.
The Hill reports:
When you factor in the four Democratic seats left by members of the new administration, the next 22 months are set to be another cycle of upheaval in the Senate, which hasn’t had a quiet Election Day since 2002.
Recent cycles have almost always featured one or two open seats in bona fide swing states. With the ink still wet on the last election, there are already three this cycle, for GOP-held seats in Florida, Missouri and Ohio.
Already, nearly one-tenth of the Senate has headed for the exits, and their departures are paving the way for a younger class of politicians who could control their seats — and the Senate — for several cycles.
“This is obviously our unfortunate cycle,” said Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine). “Could some of this have been avoided? Yes, but unfortunately it wasn’t. Hopefully we’ve learned lessons.
“The sooner we can determine how we’re going to define ourselves as Republicans and the kind of candidates we enlist, that will make all the difference.”
GOP consultant Alex Vogel described the 2010 cycle as a seminal time in Senate history.
“This reflects a true generational change in the Senate,” Vogel said, adding that candidate recruiting takes on particular significance in such a cycle. “The reality is the work they do this year will determine how successful they are.”
The large amount of vacancies may also work to make the upcoming election cycle more costly than this past year.
The article also takes a look at even more potential retirements that could add to the intrigue.
Republicans are also guarding against more retirements, with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) a prime swing-state candidate to free up another race. His office has said he is running.
Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-Ala.) staff has said the 74-year-old will be running for reelection in 2010.
Other Republicans being mentioned as potential retirees are 78-year-old Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who has battled health issues, and Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.). Both have said they are running, however.