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

Senate Democrats optimistic about 2010, targeting nine states

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/12/art.menendez.gi.jpg caption=" 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. J in NJ

    Rob should be fearful because it is he that will be looking for a job soon!

    February 12, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  2. Dan

    GOP must change its ideology to survive in American Politics.

    GOP’s philosophy is Feudalistic, which is, “Wealth only for few, rest all slaves”.

    This philosophy will fail and GOP will be Extinct in a few years.

    February 12, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. Ernie

    AS long as the Right keep Trying to smear Pelosi/Reid and nothing else to offer but the Fail Republican policies and messages of Hate of Rush Limbaugh, American may well loose the Republican Party. Come on True Republicans retake your party, America needs a two party system.

    February 12, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  4. elana

    The American people are more intelligent than the Repubs seem to think they are. So let's go get em! Vote Democratic in 2010!! The more Democrats in Congress, the better!!

    February 12, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  5. reggie

    I hate to say it, but he's wrong. The republicans will gain seats. With the dems in full control, they will have noone to blame when they screw everything up.

    February 12, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. jona

    This kind of silly prophecy should be IGNORED by the media and Democrats should be VERY careful about inviting Karma when they are doubling the National debt.

    February 12, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  7. Ritas

    Republicans have given us the worst economy since the depression and the biggest crooks in history with their deregulations (ie: license to steal by their rich friends) so it seems obvious that they are doomed. God help us if they're not.

    February 12, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Rachel

    Why aren't you targeting Arizona??? Please SOMEONE GOOD run against John McCain. And then against John Kyl in a few more years. When I listen to them talk, I feel like they are living in the 1950s-! They are not trustworthy-they are out of touch. They try to speak for what "Americans" want and most of the time they are WRONG

    February 12, 2009 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. MattM

    Why do this story, rather than reporting something about the changing politican environment? For example, a story that Rasmussen is reporting that Democrats are currently ahead of Republicans on a generic ballot by a whopping ... one point. Or the fact that 44% (a plurality) of US voters think that a name picked randomly out of the phone book could do a better job on the economy than our current Congress.

    Instead, we get yet another story about how Democrats are crushing Republicans?

    February 12, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Attention all Dems suffering foreclosure: MOVE TO A REPUBLICAN DISTRICT AND HELP GET RID OF THE GOP.

    February 12, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Bob

    Pelosi calls bill 'transformational'
    Nothing else needs to be said!

    February 12, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  12. chuckieZ

    By 2010, the majority of Americans who pay their mortgages will be aware that they have been screwed by the bailout and not supportive of Democrats.

    February 12, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Pat CA

    Who is Menendez? What has he done to impove this county?

    February 12, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Dave H.

    Is this guy that stupid ? after this Pork bill the Republicans will kill the dummycrats in 2010.

    February 12, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Rick

    Dan:GOP will be Extinct in a few years.
    I just love these stupid comments that some idiots make !!!
    Enjoy the show liberals and democrats your low ratings are showing !!!
    And by the way you can get off the Bush,Palin, McCain comments now your man is in the white house so you cant go about blaming them anymore makes you all sound like the sore whiners I mean winners that you really are !!!!!!

    February 12, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. mjm

    Let's see how the next two years go.

    February 12, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  17. John in DC

    Gotta love all the liberal lemmings. Unfortunately, as more and more people depend on the gov't for handouts, the democrats will soon have 80% majorities in congress. Socialism has failed everywhere – and now the US is embracing it as the next great hope.

    February 12, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. How ironic it is I'm a white man!

    How ironic it is that the Republicans are now the minority in this country. See kids, being ignorant biggots never got anyone anywhere!
    What goes around comes around, huh?

    February 12, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  19. Fan of Common Sense

    Yeah, right. People are already starting to wake up and see Obama, Pelosi, and Reid for what they are. In 2010 the Republicans will take back both the House of Representatives and Senate with seats to spare.

    February 12, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I have had my suspisions for a while that some of the "people" posting these hateful, tear-down Obama posts were actually:

    1. Staffers for Republican Senators and Congressman
    2. Being paid by the Republican party.

    My questions was answered the other morning. There were two postings back to back with different "names" on them. They were the same, word for word. I imagine it was a fluke.

    If you think that you will sway public opinion against Obama and the Republicans will regain control, you better think again.

    People have had enough of the NO party! They are against everything that is important in the average persons life. It is really showing more and more every day how truly out of touch the Republican party really is. They toe the line because they are scared to death of the wrath of Rush or O'Reilly. Both blow hards, who only want ratings. They don't care about the American public.

    It will be interesting who can hold their seat in 2010. It will take more than Rush, O'Reilly, Hannity and all the rest of the fear mongers working overtime to win.

    February 12, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. Marc

    Ok everybody... calm down.
    What else would you expect for him to say?
    The attempts of the government to 'reach across the aisle', 'to go bipartisan' and such are sinking fast. It's becoming clear for them that there won't be serious and mature talk with the Republicans, with notable exception.
    All this 'socialistic', 'radical' and other nonsense stuff, ESPECIALLY that ridiculous idea of Mr. Limbaugh about how the plan should be crafted, that Republicans are saying about the President... get a grip on yourselves! In your point of view the stimulus bill and other actions of the new government are wrong and bad for the country. Make your points without name calling, smearings and delusional views of what we have in Washington now.
    There's no need to dig and deepen further the division created by GWB's terms.

    TCM – I stand correct, you were right about the corporate taxes issue

    February 12, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. JB Cal

    I got news for you Jeff, the republicans spent your grandchildren's money a long time ago.

    February 12, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. LM

    Thank you to Collins, Snowe and Spector for being the intelligent, brave souls they are to walk the line of integrity and fairness without faultering. My hat is off to all of you!

    The rest of the repubs must really be scared–they sound just like it as you can tell from these defensive blog comments.

    And, rightly so. I have never seen such a bunch of selfish, self-serving, and brain-washed individuals in my life! They only think of themselves and what they can get from their political ineptness!

    Keep your head high, President Obama. You have a whole lot of country behind you who are rooting for you and your creative jobs program! The repubs are just worried that it WILL WORK and they know that they will lose even more seats in Congress since IT IS
    going to work!

    That is why they keep screaming so loudly that they want it to fail! That is like saying that they want not just this country to fail, but that they want all of us to fail and end up without the basics that we need to live! They don't care if we have enough to eat, or if we have health care so we can continue to live. They just want to RULE and keep their selfish power.

    Everyone who is behind President Obama!! Make it known!! I ask everyone reading this who is for B.O. to write in now!! We have got to stay together and lend the Dems our support!! We are the DECENT people in this country, and that is what this country needs to keep the American Dream alive!!

    Go Dems, Go America!!!

    February 12, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. George

    McCain is on Re-Election mode in 2010.

    NO, THANK YOU Mr. McCain. We Honor you as a Veteran for Serving our Country. We don’t need you in Politics. Please Retire.....

    Thank God we don’t have you as President. You want our Troops to be in Iraq for Ever. We would have respected your ideas, if you would desire our Businesses and Industries in Iraq for ever, rather than our Troop.

    You are a WARMONGER Mr. McCain.

    For the First time, we have both the President and V.P. who are Learned and Elite Lawyers and we Hope they will think Lawfully, Rationally and Prudently, and do the best for our country.

    February 12, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. William

    It amazes me to see all these people that want a one party democracy. IT WON'T work.
    Another thing is I hate how everything got blamed on Bush. First of all it was Clinton who signed the Modernization Act which allowed banks to get into "risky" deals like they did in the 20's. Because everyone in DC thought that this crisis couldn't happen again and now look at our banks, we had to bail them out, and they are still having problems.
    Another thing is Clinton was the one that signed the housing act, what ever it was called, which allowed people that couldn't afford that house to go ahead and get it. Lets see that didn't work it collapsed.
    One more thing, Clinton is the one that signed the Free-Trade Act which is allowing a lot of our jobs to go over seas. And who got blamed for this? Bush did, but whose signiture is on those bills, not Bush's but Clinton's. So before you go off and blame him. think about it. He did a heck of a good job with what he got delt.
    One more thing is everyone is blaming this collapse entirely on the GOP . I would just like to say it was a fairly balanced Senate and House until the Dems took over in 2006 and the collapse happened when they had the Majority.

    February 12, 2009 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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