February 16th, 2010
10:54 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Fact Check: Open Senate races

(CNN) - On Monday, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, announced that he will not seek re-election this year. With Democrats defending five open seats and Republicans with six open seats in the Senate, the CNN Fact Check Desk wondered how this election measures up to the past.

Fact Check: How many open-seat races have there been in the Senate in the recent past?

(Get the facts and the bottom line after the jump)

– So far, there will be 11 open Senate races this year.

– According to Congressional Quarterly's (CQ) Online Press Library, since 1980, only two election years had more open races: 13 in 1996 and 12 in 1992. Those were the only years in the double digits.

– 2006, 1984 and 1982 had the smallest number of open races, at four each.

– The other years ranged between five and nine open races.

Bottom Line: The number of open Senate seats is unusually high this year. In the last 30 years, only the 1992 and 1996 elections had a higher number.


Filed under: Evan Bayh • Fact Check • Senate
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    I think Americans are waking up to republican hypocrisy. Of the 200+ terrorists captured under the Bush /Cheney administration, all of them were mirandized. Don't forget, all you fact checkers, there were 219 acts of terrorism in the U.S. in Bush's first year as president, and 77 in 2002. No wonder 56% of Americans think Obama will keep us safer than republicans.

    February 16, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  2. Kevin in Ohio

    ....and all 11 open races will demonstrate a further rejection of Obama/Pelosi/Reid socialist policies...... the end of the nightmare is only months away.

    February 16, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  3. Obama mama

    Good, let's clear out all those that have lost interest in the good of the country and replace them with honest representatives (in reality, they are not our leaders).

    February 16, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Jane/Seattle

    Hopefully the Republican party will not continue to obstruct any progress in government policy. If the Democrats would just lead, we could get something done.

    But then again, is this not planned to assist the corporations in continuing to rule us, waste our Commons and resources, and steal our tax money for themselves? I have very little faith that most in government care about us – the common folks who pay for their continued largesse! WHERE ARE THE REGULATIONS TO STOP THESE FOLKS from PREDATING ON US AND STOP THE ROBBERY?

    February 16, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  5. Tim Duplanty

    Get rid of all the republicans let the dems do what they can. See if it works if it doesnt boot them. I would bet a years wages that they wont screw it up near as bad as the idiots that put us in this mess. The biggest problem is the american people they are to impatient

    February 16, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. The lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    They are quitting left and right (no Pun intended). More congressional members better follow their lead because come fall the voters will retire them all, no matter what party they belong to.
    Vote Congress out, “you are fired” if they are in. Vote them out this fall no matter what party they belong to, and in the next election and every election going forward until they become the servants of the people once more.

    February 16, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. tainopower

    ? 11 and counting democrats are falling like flies.

    February 16, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. Fair is Fair

    Fact check THIS CNN...

    The six open Republican seats will all remain in Republican hands, while 4 of the 5 democrat seats are going to flip (Connecticut being the exception). That's a net gain of 4 right there.

    Then there's several democrat seats (Blanche Lincoln and Harry Reid, to name 2) where Republicans will win.

    With any luck, Mitch McConnell will be the new Senate Majority Leader in January, 2011.

    February 16, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Albert R. K. . L.A., CA

    That Supreme Court opinion, "Citizens United Inc." allowing global corporations to “speak” their “political opinions” may have something to do with it. Consider that the method of “speaking” is with unlimited bundles of cash being used as their only words. Such a stimulating conversation could result in incumbents, who may have found such discussions to be personally rewarding and adding to their personal enrichment of political ideas, may decide to adopt the “opinion” of the global corporation who has “spoken” their language when telling them to retire so their guy has a better chance of winning the election.

    February 16, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Elle in WA

    And in my opinion, more SHOULD open up! I recently wrote my congressman a letter expressing my concern on their position on a few key issues in Washington. You know what I got back? A standard letter thanking me for my support of everything they're doing in Washington.

    WHAT A JOKE.

    My Senator won't listen to me – why should I think he or any other Senator is listening to the American people?? By the way, the Senator was Mike Crapo (R) and you can bet I won't be voting for him again. In fact, I'll be voting Democrat.

    February 16, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  11. BlackMANinterested..........

    OK, so what....................the remaining Sentor's still have a JOB to do and from the looks of things not one republican is even thinking about doing "THEIR JOB".

    February 16, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. My President

    And the point is?????

    February 16, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Vic of New York

    The real question is: How many voters are willing to follow "Wrong Way" Bush and the "Reckless" Republicans this year?

    Let's see:

    –Tax breaks to the Richest – at our expense

    –Wrong way war in Iraq that did nothing for Terrorism, killing hundreds of Americans and hundred thousands of innocent Iraqis

    –Wrong way financing that paid of two wars "under the table" so it never showed on the budget – that left us with Trillions in debt.

    - Wrong way economics with "free Market" approach that nearly led us to a depression. It's now only becoming evident the same reckless financing by Goldman Sacks is what's nearly driving Greece into the ground.

    Sorry, Wrong-Way Republicans is not in the picture for this voter!

    February 16, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. katiec

    With the irresponsible level the republican party has brought our political system down to, many are getting disgusted, discouraged and tired of the politics as usual.
    They are not above any sewer tactics, lying, distorting, obstructing, and trying to destroy any politician that does not agree with or accept their hypocritical behavior with whatever means possible.
    The republicans are a disgrace to the political system and our country. They have totally lost what entegrity, honor they had and sight of what they are elected to do.
    They are trying to destroy what our country has always stood for, and, have proven nothing is important to them but destroy our president, party first, big business and win at any cost.
    They are on their way to becoming our country's most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    February 16, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. hrmickelson

    I think most middle class folks are coming to the conclusion that government is irrelevant. Voting is a joke because the politicians are so bought and paid for by the wealthy and major wealth industries that it is what they want is what get done, if anything gets done. Money is the middle class power tool; if we will stop spending in strategic areas we could much more influence and control our own destiny. This is reverse capitalism, it is the purchasers that have the power: stop buying Chinese products, move money from large banks to local ones, stop investing, stop 401K plans, stop paying insurance- medical, auto, and life, go to doctors and hospitals that have the best prices, stop buying new autos. If a 5 % increase in unemployment can upset our economy just think how few people it would take to have a tremendous impact on a particular industry. FORGET the politicians, let’s take matters into our own hands and use the real power that we have.

    February 16, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Mike in MN

    With each passing week the prospects of the Republicans taking back the Senate in November is moving from a long-shot closer to a real possibilty. Republicans taking back the House is already considered a possiblity.
    A lot can happen between now and November to improve the outlook for the Democrats. We could get robust economic growth with millions of new jobs, but neither is predicted. Democrats could kill the current health care bills and start over and drop cap and trade, two things independents want to happen. But Obama and the Democrats are still saying they want to go forward with both.
    Unless Obama and the Democrats start doing things a majority of voters actually support instead of oppose, their prospects for November are not good. Since they show no signs of actually wanting to listen to the people and keep saying that voters just do not understand the bills, I don't see anything really changing.
    Pelosi's days as speaker appear to be numbered and Reid will soon no longer be a US Senator.

    February 16, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Gary's Opinion

    Evan should run for president....we need to get rid of Pelosi, Reid and Obama a get more centrist Democrats and centrist Republicans in office. It would make our country better.

    February 16, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  18. SSG. McGrath

    Sen. Evan Bayh is smart for his actions.

    Washington (DC) should stand for "Disfunctional Congress"...
    Why work somewhere, where nothing gets done?
    Truly,
    SSG. Deaf Lefty McGrath

    February 16, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. sammieb51

    The kicker with him is he dropped out only leaving the Dems 2 weeks to come up with a candidate ... sort of makes me wonder what 'demons' are chasing him.

    February 16, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Hows that nonunion made Toyota workin for ya?

    Im sure he will get a great job with Wellpoint Health Systems.They filled his bags with cash to kill the bill.

    February 16, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  21. Glennis

    I believe that we're going to lose one of our two worthless senators here in Pennsylvania, though not by HIS resignation. I think there are enough people who are so disgusted with him that he will be unceremoniously dumped in the next election. He's worthless as a Democrat, but then he was worthless as a Republican too. Sadly, both of them are nothing more than career political hacks.

    February 16, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The underhanded work of Republicans is very powerful, if it had not been for them the Supreme Court would have never ruled for overseas companies to contribute to campaign funding that benefited from shipping jobs abroad. President Obama has stated it's time to stop rewarding tax breaks to companies who have taken American jobs abroad. People need jobs but don't seem to see how Republicans have stopped job growth. Wakeup people, the Republican party is still in it for the rich and powerful and only you can stop them.

    February 16, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Ken

    Obama's ultra liberal big-governemnet policies have been a bad joke on the US. One must swallow alot of propaganda to believe the world would have eneded if not for Obama riding to the rescue to bail out his major campaign donors – Wall Street and Detriot Unions with the tax payers check book. Thankfully, more Americans are waking up, and this nightmare of a Democrat super-majority will end in November.

    February 16, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Conservative Voice

    It's time to get rid of ANY career politician.

    We need people who can read and understand the US Constituion. It's obvious this administration doesn't read or understand it or they would really quit pushing federal health care....a clear violation....

    DC better start listening to the independent voters. We are riled with both donkeys and elephants......

    February 16, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |