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. Going down in Ca.

    Best way to keep the Presidency ? Quit lying to us already !
    3 Bil for Science project in Ill. The home state of our President.
    1 Bil for NASA ? Maybe we can not send the shuttle up for a year or two until this is over ? Just a Wild thought !
    Obama tell us this has no Pork ,is like Clinton saying he didn't have sexual relations with that women?
    19 bil to modernize health records ? How hard is it to put it in on internet ,19 bil ? 21 Bil for Cobra for a 60% subsidy? Nobody can afford Cobra with 80% subsidy ? Govt health care will never work but thats on the way !
    Tax Breaks for auto sales and housing ? NY,Ca and Tx got scrwed on housing ! Great, nobody has money to buy but you get a tax break !
    I'm sorry I don't agree that speculators who have multiple houses should get help on all their houses ! Should be your Primary residence.

    I love the 40Bil to stay home longer on unemplyment ? How many jobs is that creating ? These people need jobs ,not incentive to stay home a few more weeks.

    AP doesn't have breakdown like the one I saw.

    Anytime we rushed to do something its always been a disaster !
    Veitnam and Iraq come to mind.

    I'm out

    February 12, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. Nancy B

    Kansas is not a swing state.

    February 12, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. 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 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Lori

    A one-party Congress is a terrible thing (either Democrats or Republicans).

    There needs to be a system of checks and balances in Congress–the Democrats having control of Congress, and the Presidency, is not good for this country.

    Whether you like it or not, Republicans are necessary in our political system.

    And by the way–just because someone disagrees with you does not make them an "obstructionist".

    February 12, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Antonio

    It has to be a bling person to vote for the Republican, they just think about helping out the reach and discriminate against the minority.

    February 12, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. JoJo

    If they Democrats and Obama consolidate total power in 2010 the Republic will collapse because the people in this country WHO WORK FOR A LIVING will not allow them selves to be raped by the Democrats and Obama.

    February 12, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Sarty

    The moron Repub not only ruined the economy for 8 years, but are obstructing the path to its recovery.
    Good riddens to Gregg.
    There is a limit to extending a bipartisan hand to these moranic

    February 12, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Ralph from NJ

    Why does the stimulus bill include almost $1,000,000,000 for STD education? Whether or not that is necessary, I think if the economy is this bad that money would be better spent on something else. For now, maybe they could just say, "Look, find yourself a good clean girl and settle down and you won't get an STD." Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, does this not make sense?

    February 12, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  9. barbara campbell

    Don't forget about North Carolina. We replaced Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole with Democrat Kay Hagan in 2008, and Richard Burr (who is farther right than Dole) is up for reelection in 2010. President Obama turned North Carolina from red to blue in the presidential election. Ousting Burr is hardly a long shot.

    February 12, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Ellie, MD

    My Fellow Americans....

    Don't get upset or pissed off.....because PAYBACKS are a bi–tch and 2010 will once again be a "defining moment". The GOP Party has turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the millions of families losing their jobs and homes while they focus on getting "RE-ELECTED" in 2010.

    That's what these jerks are focusing on, they don't care about YOU, the only thing they care about is "saving" their butts come 2010.





    February 12, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. RealityKing

    America's national debt will be at 90%+ in 2010. Who's afraid of the big bad wolf??

    February 12, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. Texas Teacher

    Surely the Republicans can't imagine that they have a prayers chance in hell to come out of this mess smelling like a rose? These bozos got us into this mess... and Rush Limbaugh and company are the only ones pushing for their agenda.


    February 12, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. sue Haught

    It seems I have heard all this BS before.When the gop was in charge they were so cocky. They sure didn't do any thing but ruin this country in the last 8 yrs. Now they were voted out in 2008 and they are still cocky and all they do is blame the Dem. The Gop is a bunch of little boys trying to be the big kid on the block. I am better than you idea. They have show all of America just how bad they worry about their party instead of their country. When this country needs to come together and help one another all they can talk about is the election of 2010. We need these idiots to get off their high horse and do their job for the rest of the country instead of the rich and big business. If this country gets worse in the next 4 yrs. I for one won't blame the Dem. It will be because it was in a much worst mess then any one thought. And even though the Gop thinks everyone thinks Obama is God we all know that even God probably won't get us out of the mess. It's time for the Gop realize they lost in Nov. And no matter how bad it gets we all know that Pres. Obama didn't make this mess .And we do know who was in charge when all this mess happened. And if you think that we are as stupid as we were 8 yrs. ago you are wrong. So either worry about this country and how we can work together or start finding yourself a new job. We are sick and tired of the same old policies that have gotten us where we are today. And if you don't think it's possible you better think twice. Yes we can, make sure you are not re-elected. And Yes ,we will never again let you take advantage of us again with your lies.

    February 12, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Peter

    Republicans can't win any elections without the blessings of their God Father Rush limbaugh!. PLease mr. President with all fairness stop appeasing them, you have done your best to extend your bi-partisan hand to them! they can't and will never understand because they only understand language, oil, war tax cuts and witch hunting!! for political gains!.

    February 12, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Paul

    So much for the politics of hope and change. Obama is the politician stoking FEAR and CATASTROPHE. The reality is that most Americans don't believe things are that bad. Anyone with half a brain knows that the early 1980's were worse than now.

    People don't believe Obama and the Democrats right now. People just don't believe that we need trillion dollar bailouts for this. This fake stimulus bill won't work and there will be hell to pay for the Democrats in 2 years.

    February 12, 2009 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Texas Teacher

    Republicans... go back into your caves! You do NOT have a leg to stand on! We got your number... bozos! Eight years of them!

    I tell you what... every time I hear some Republican say that this stimulus package is exactly what the People do NOT want, I have to laugh! It appears that We, the People, are just chopped liver to them. Along with Limbaugh they think we don't have a brain between our collectives ears! In fact, they are banking on it! *LOL*

    February 12, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. TRUTH

    bush was the first and palin the final nail in the death of the gop, DEMOCRATS should thank bush/cheney, the worst administration ever

    February 12, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. Larry

    I would love to place a wager with any of the hopeful Democrats,you see I have respect for the average American,and they are not going to make this mistake of voting for the destruction of our country again.Only the diehard left wing will stay the course of socialism.This CHANGE that we are getting is not what we voted for !!

    February 12, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. john

    GOP will be voted out i'll double my efforts from Delaware for other states!!

    February 12, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. No Money

    They have all the reason to be optimistics. These republican law makers think everybody is stupid in america.
    It's ok to spend billions of dollars on an endless war.
    It's ok to distribute tax payers money to sunites and chias leaders in Irak to buy temporarly peace.
    It's ok to let CEO's get away with tax payers money with outreagous bonuses
    It's ok to give tax break to companies that are laying peope off.
    It's ok to spend tax payers money on a shameless prison at Gitmo
    The list goes on and on and on and on.

    But it's not ok for democrats to spend the money building roads and bridges, high speed railroads and schools of the 21st century in USA.
    It's not ok for democrats to spend money fixing health care for their childrens futur in USA.
    Overall It's not ok for democrats to spend money FIXING AMERICA.

    WOW amazing. These republicans act like if Democrats just borrow the money and go to sky and spread it to people. By the way I will rather get my tax money used that way than to have somebody go and give it away to people in other countries for a dumb war.

    February 12, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Steve

    People are impatient today. If this thing isn't fixed by 2010, the Republicans will sweep the house and senate. People voted Obama in to fix things. They won't be happy with the democrats if things aren't . I noticed many of his supporters were peace activist. They won't accept a big war to pull us out either.
    I'm starting to hear lots of grumbling from the new poor. They paid for other people's entitlements all these years, now that they need it, it's not there!

    February 12, 2009 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  22. David in West Virginia

    If this the way Republican intend on legislating, they may not have a single Senator in office that runs in 2010, especially if the Stimulus Plan turns the economy around. The Bush Administration with great Republican support has placed our Country in dire straits, as well as the rest of the civilized world.

    February 12, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. Terry

    Guys like this should worry about their jobs if everyone understood that all this stems back to the Clinton years when he signed NAFTA,the unions warned them of this but still all went along and now everthing comes from China or other parts of the world not in the good ole USA

    February 12, 2009 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Ah'mad

    Menendez should "NOT" have taken that post, he's yet to do anything of value for people of color in the tenth congressional district that his residing over at present. Meanwhile, little do he know, irregardless of money raised and the support he's going to need to return, he won't have. Newark (PHOTO-OP)Mayor, Corey Booger and the north ward of Newark slave (MASTER) of the so-called His'Panics Steven Aduboto will "NOT" be able to cheat and deliver the votes nescessary for him to return.

    February 12, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  25. John

    Keep up the fear tactics. Keep thinking the people of this great country are stupid. Keep going on the tract that you are going democrats, and the ones who will be scared will be you. You will loose in 2010. Those of you looking for a free ride from This administration, I have only one question. How's that going for you? Not to good huh. Take a close look at the stimulus people, most of the money is not going to create one job. Not one. It does however pay back a lot of lobbyists and their cronies for getting him elected. Keep being in denial. Someday your eyes will open up. I will be here. to tell you that I told you so. If I can still afford my computer. Oh wait, I will go on welfare and get plenty of money.

    February 12, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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