February 12th, 2009
06:11 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate Democrats optimistic about 2010, targeting nine states

 Menendez is chairman of the DSCC.
Menendez is chairman of the DSCC.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nearly two years before Election Day 2010, the Senate Democrat charged with expanding the party's already-strong majority sounded a bullish tone Thursday, suggesting the national mood and political environment make it nearly impossible for the GOP to pick up seats.

"The fear should be on the other side,” New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told reporters in his first briefing since assuming the post formerly held by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Menendez's unyielding optimism may seem surprising given how far out the elections remain, and the fact that the president's party historically loses seats in a midterm election, especially when that party controls both houses of Congress and the White House. The Democratic Party’s decades-long majority status in Congress ended with the first midterm of the Clinton presidency.

But Menendez noted five currently-held GOP seats are set to be vacated in 2010, most of them in traditional swing states: Florida, Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kansas. Meanwhile, no current Democratic senators have plans to retire, though the president's Cabinet appointments have technically left Colorado, New York, Illinois, and Delaware without an incumbent Democrat.

UPDATE: With New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg removing his name from consideration to be Commerce Secretary, New Hampshire may no longer be an open seat, though Gregg later said he 'probably' would not seek reelection.

Of those five states with outgoing GOP senators, Menendez said the fact that President Obama carried three of them handily and essentially tied Sen. John McCain in Missouri bodes well for Democrats in 2010. He also expressed optimism about Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' chances in that traditional red state should she decide to run there: "If Kathleen Sebelius runs, she will win," Menendez said.

The DSCC chief added a combination of local and national factors make four other Republican-held seats vulnerable - Louisiana,- North Carolina, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

Incumbent Republican senators are particularly vulnerable, Menendez said, because of their "Bush like" approach the nation's sputtering economy and overwhelming opposition to the White House-backed stimulus bill.

"They just don't get it," Menendez said of his Republican colleagues, "How many more people need to lose their jobs?"

Menendez indicated the committee will support all three Democratic appointees, should they decide to run in their own right - including Illinois Sen. Roland Burris, whom only 37 percent of Illinois voters say should run for the seat in 2010, according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll.

"I presume that any of the appointees who do decide to run will have the support of the committee," Menendez said of Burris.


Filed under: Bob Menendez • Senate
soundoff (563 Responses)
  1. Maee

    I am amazed at the talk on the economy. You would think that everyone on this board are the top economist in the world. For the past 8 years, the republicans have spent like drunken sailors and now with our future at stake, they want to act like they are concerned about spending. Give me a break! They would rather the economy failed and the American people suffer, than to work with the democrats to make things better. They are the worst of the worst. The past administration lied to all of us about WMDs, they outed a CIA agent to shut her husband up about the truth, they have broken the law any number of times. They took a surplus and turned it into the largest deficit we have ever had. The republicans are just a bunch of hipocrates and care nothing about anything except keeping their paid to do nothing jobs.

    February 12, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Rafael VA

    I think Sen. Bob Menendez is smoking pot! Cocky remarks two years before elections. He should first try and see how they are going to keep Corzine in the Governorship in New Jersy before 2010 comes.

    February 12, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    here is one issue facing the Republicans: The demographics/groups etc that they are winning over are shrinking within the overall population of the country while the demographics/groups that find the Democrats appealing are growing, with-in the overall population. The republican party better wake up to the 21st century and re-tool or they will become the Wigs. They need to find a way to appeal to the average person under 50, to minorities, to non-fundementalists. In the years ahead, there will be far less of who is making up their base at the moment.

    February 12, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Vince

    If Barack Obama does not have our troops out of Iraq by May 20, 2009, the Democrats should fear 2010

    February 12, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. Jim

    As a republican I can't wait for 2010 to roll around. America is starting to see what happens when you have extreme left wing democrats at the helm.

    Spending won't bring jobs back, the open market will. History has proven time and time again that fiscal policy creates recovery not government spending. You will see inflation, more unemployment and rising interest rates down the road as a result of Obama's plan just as we did during the Carter years. Americans aren't stupid, you can't spend your way back to a growing economy.

    Bring on 2010!!!!!

    February 12, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    Our nation and the Democratic party's hopes, dreams and destiny all reside in the stimulus plan. If successful the world will rejoice if not the world will be foreclosed!!! It is simply that serious as we are teetering on the verge of depression and possibly civil strife as our citizens have lost many skills of survival with our advanced lifestyles. Most folks cannot cook a meal from scratch, plant a garden, sew clothing, self-medicate minor ailments or construct a shelter.

    February 12, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. Lance

    You should be more worried about how Pelosi and Reid could affect the elections nationwide. Two years from now it will be hard to blame everything on Bush especially since Dems will have had control of the house and senate for four years.

    February 12, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    @ J.P.

    You smoking wha Michael Phelps is smoking? Seriously. daaaaaaaay trippah

    February 12, 2009 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. joe

    DEAR REPUBLICANS,

    THIS IS NOT REPUBLICAN HATE, THIS IS SIMPLY A WORDS FROM THE WISE. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO SOLVE ANY PROBLEMS BY BEING OBSTRUCTIONIST, PRES OBAMA DID EVERYTHING HE CAN TO REACH OUT. TAX BREAKS ARE OK, BUT THAT'S WHEN EVERYONE IS WORKING, IF I'M UNEMPLOYED HOW DO I BENEFIT FROM TAX BREAKS..., YEAH OK LET THIS BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION GET MILLIONS IN TAX CREDIT BUT YET FAIL TO HIRE NEW EMPLOYEE...I BELIEVE G.W.B CALLED IT THE TRICKLE DOWN AFFECT, BUT I THINK REPUBS HAVE A DIFFERENT LAW OF GRAVITY CAUSE TO THEM "WHAT GOES UP DON'T COME DOWN!"

    2010 MIGHT BE THE END OF REPUBLICANS....

    February 12, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  10. bern n san diego

    repulsive republicans. to think i used to be one. they are liars, worrying only about their "friends" on Wall Street and in the board rooms. any type of stimulus will be quickly shot down by those thugs. we can do without any of them. Just keep the current Demos, the moderates and the lefties, there you have your 2party system.

    February 12, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Eric

    Ritas, you're a pawn of the media. If you'd do some research instead of eating chips you'd realize that it's the Democrats including Mr. Frank who are to blame. Remember, not everyone can afford a house nor should a house be provided to everyone. It's time Americans took responsibility for their own actions.

    Republicans will be fine as the stimulus will no doubt cause inflation and a situation similar to 1980. The real question should be who's the next Reagan? I vote Romney.

    February 12, 2009 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  12. Lee

    Sorry for America, a conservative state of Abraham Lincoln.

    February 12, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. Afia

    I'am a Democrat, Although i did not vote for John Mcain, I respect him. I think he has done good for the state of Arizona.

    February 12, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  14. HeavyG

    It took Clinton and the Dems only two years to turn Americas stomach to the spending. Now, only a month into his term, Obama is going to sign into law a huge spending and government expanding bill that is doomed to fail. He will, just as Clinton did, hand control back to the Republicans without them even trying. Just wait and see!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 12, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  15. G Simbles

    What an Idiot, he just apporved 14 thousand million for special ed, why not just pay the people that babysit them all day more, that helps the economy, you are a moron.. Who are we kidding that with 14 thousand million dollars that we'll ever as a nation receive that level of benefit from this idiots support. Yeah the GOP should sweat because you've proven that roads and infrastruture is far less important than to spend 14 thousand million dollars to help people that at the end of the day will never see that sort of benefit. I can't wait to see your response in how we as a nation are going to reap these benefits 10 fold to help the economy.

    February 12, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. chuck

    JOHN MCCAIN IS LIKE A POISONOUS GAS IN THE SENATE AND SHOULD BE TERMINATED IMMEDIATELY. HE WAS THE ONE WHO CALLED ON ALL THE REPUBLICANS EXCEPT THREE OF THEM TO VOTE AGAINST THE BILL. THIS IS BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!! THE DEMOCRATS WON THE ELECTIONS ON NOVEMBER 04,2008. THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA AND HE WILL BE INCHARGED OF THE COUNTRY FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS.

    February 12, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. HuskyPhD

    It's this kind of arrogance that cost the Republicans dearly in 2006 and 2008. Looks like it just may cost the Democrats in 2010.

    February 12, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  18. ray

    ALL REPUBLICANS SHOULD BURN IN HELL AND I HOPE THAT'S SOONER THAN LATER. OOOO HOW I WISH THESE OBSTRUCTIONIST VANISH IN THE GUTTER OF HELL SOON. THESE PEOPLE F,,,THIS COUNTRU UP OVER THE LAST EIGHT YERS AND STILL DOING IT.

    February 12, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. Janssen

    First it's way too early to predict whose going to win in 2010. FIX THE ECONOMY FIRST! Secondly all the republicans here talks like BUSH never made a mistake during his 8 year term! Let's look back what blunders Bush did. 1. 9/11 (homeland security, under his watch) 2. Iraq and Afghanistan 3. Katrina 4. Energy crisis (remember oil was up $150 a barrel?? Only on Bush term this ever happened) 4. home and stock bubble.. so are these all because of corporate America?? The problem is a lot of Americans are greedy, they will do everything just to get ahead even if they know what their doing are WRONG! Now who is suffering?? Americans!

    February 12, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  20. Jh

    Look at what is happening in your country instead of fighting with each other U should be working with each other to make your country better.
    Obama won and he is trying look what Bush did he gave the banks more money than they need and they are having a party.

    February 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  21. Sharon

    Ah, yes, The Repubs...The party of NO!!!!

    February 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. Bayou Blues

    With all the zeros we've been asked to considered lately, it's understandable that 'Were Getting Hosed' got a little confused and added a few extra. Hope his math does result in a new GOP position. They seem to be attracted to flabby thought these days like flies to a corpse.

    February 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  23. P. D.

    Everyone one I know is angry with the Republicans and I from Pennsyvania. They are losing grip of the suburbs with their Religious hypocrisy and support for the rich. By just saying they want tax cuts and nothing else is unacceptable. Why not improve our childrens school? Fix are roads and highways?

    February 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  24. Proud Vet

    Shame on us as a country if we ever allow another Republican in office. They had the White House for 8 years and Congress for 6. What did we get for it?:

    1. An elective war trumped up by cowards who never had the guts to serve in uniform themselves

    2. A devastated economy

    3. A destroyed international reputation

    4. The authorization of torture

    5. Indifference while a great American city drowned

    The list goes on and on.

    Folks, we're lucky we still have a country to call home.

    February 12, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  25. Louis

    IT'S THE HARD-WORKING TAXPAYERS WHO HAVE FEAR–fear of a wasteful and incompetent government of Republicans and Democrats that has driven our country's economy into the ground. Now they say we should trust them to fix everything. What a pathetic joke. The American people are lied to and ripped off.

    February 12, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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