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.
All this people stating they will contribute to beat the Republican's
Where are you going to get the money? The government? Rich
over sea contributor's?
I think knowledge of facts will decide who wins. One loud clear
focus voice over shallows a crowded room of UN-informed.
Great! To bad the condoms were stripped out of the stimulus package, cause now we won't have any protection from the Democrats in Congress!!!
it is funny how you are spitting out the same vocabulary that every republical speaks right now. It seems like you all get your information from one source and just go around spreading it with even processing it in you narrow minded heads. it really make you look like an idiot.
why don't you try thinking for yourself, butmost importantly getting all the facts and understand the subjects of debate before you chime in. I am really starting to get what peolpe like you that fill the republican party are made of.
Obama will get the majority of the next 4 generations of students.And once the rest of the nation recovers from this "republican recession".the rest of the voters, accept those who still approve of GB's job in the white house,will not vote republican.
generational theft is
When you cut taxes on budget deficit years. In this case you reap the benefit your kids get NOTHING for the money they gave you.
generational theft is NOT
when you run budget deficits to built a school or a bridge or a road. In this case you borrow from your kids but in return you leave them something usufull
Is this so hard to understand GOPers
"Seriously, look at where we were in 2000 and where are now and tell us again with a straight face that the Democrats are the one destroying the country."
Um, look where we were in 2004 and 2006 before DUMocrats took control of CONGRESS and the SENATE.. Hello!
With a Democratic Congress, Senate, and Whitehouse, the DUMocrats will have nobody to blame. Yeah, fools like Barney Frank can blame Bush, but Americans know that people like Pelosi, Frank, and Reid are just as guilty.
GET'EM DEMS!!! THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN DYING BY THE SWORD! CATERING TO THE BIG WIGS THAT HAVE LED OUR COUNTRY TO A NEAR COLLAPSE! DON'T WORRY, ONCE YOU ARE OUT OF A JOB, THE FEW REMAINING REPUBLICANS WILL TRY TO GET YOU SOME TAX CUTS TO SURVIVE ON THE STREET... HA HA HA!!!
Dems are determined to destroy this country? I am at a loss for words - can't comment on a foolish statement like that! Short memory you Repub turds have... BO has been in for 3 wks but has done more than most presidents have in the first 4 years...You jokers should just still with that turd spewer limbaugh's show for you commentary... I am really convinced that lots of Americans are insane! Something is wrong... maybe it's the water!
Let's see if we can get a DEMOCRAT to pay his taxes first.
I say it is time to dump both parties! neither support the U.S. Constitution, and neither support the will of the people.
It is timne the the Governemnt returns to being of the people, by the people and FOR the people not the corporate contributors, special interest groups, and lobbyists.
Since its Menendez's job to be optimistic, I won't label him delusional. But if anyone believes what he says, that person should avoid all used car salesmen and anyone named Jim Jones.
Sound optimism from another stupid hispanic leader – wow!
I have faith in the dems.. we need to support those that are in control and give them ideas and call them instead of just griping about them. Of course the action taken by the GOP is to oppose anything and everything that Obama will do. Now maybe we can call them unpatriotic.. since the majority of the u.s. had to undergo that abuse for the last 8 years. They should fear 2010... like people are going to forget the last 8 years. Good luck GOP have fun being a regional party.
The Republicans should be very worried. I will reach into my pockets and volunteer to get rid of these OUT OF TOUCH bozos.
Yeah, just wait until the annointed one's stimulus plan falls on it's face.
let just focus on right now.
The Republican Party is a party of the PAST!
They will be a marginalized party and the 2010 elections is going to prove this!!!!
Even the Republican senators in congress are saying this, and this they know is a FACT!
Proven fact, plain and simple is that anytime a Republican takes office, the economy TANKS! Anyone who believes differently is uneducated and uninformed. Do research, the facts speak for themselves!
Who cares. Lets focus on the now. And for all of you people who believe this is the begining of the end. This is just the begining from the end of the last 8 years which were the worst time in our history.
He really should be thinking about today. Tomorrow is not a guarantee, and 2010 is a long way off. If the Lord is willing there will be a country here then.
Another gutless, clueless, obstructionist Republican bites the dust!!! Let him crawl back in his partisan hole where he belongs!!!
For all the repug TOOLS in the GOP shed, the crap that Gregg just pulled will put an even bigger target on them.
best way to keep gaining seats is to not screw us
transparency about the bailout
get our boys home
clean up this mess Bush left
Expat in Canada
2000 was the last recession...
Do a little history lesson...
2006 Highest GNP in US history
Greatest housing boom in US history
255,000 new jobs in third quarter alone
Dems won congress... all gone
Man! the dems came in and shut the repigs down, good for them the repigs suck big time.
Should you guys be focusing on what is in the stimulus bill that will affect our future generations? Do investigation on what part of the bill does the stimulus.