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. Moe Mullet

    I do not think I have ever seen so many ignorant, ill-informed comments in a single blog in my entire life. If you Obama Drones think the country is behind the Pelosi-Reid Congress, you are sadly out of touch. Who knows what will happen in two and four years? Surely not some Political Hack from either side.

    February 12, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. fred

    Not an Obama supporter but I keep my fingers crossed he does well...BUT the bottom line is, we ALL lose if any one party runs the show! If anything, you should have learned that in ealrly 90's CLinton and 2000-20006 Bush...only when we have TRUE checks and balances can we keep congress SOMEWHAT in check...

    CHANGE (to what?)2006 quote from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, "If you think redistricting is always partisan and political which it is...it's going to be on steroids this time."

    February 12, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Rick

    I think all those who voted to bankrupt our children and grandchildrren should fear for their reelections in 2010, because the peoples eyes will be finally opened and the smoke will clear and people will see what the demoncrates truely are and what they have done...........

    February 12, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Caligirl

    Patrick February 12th, 2009 7:25 pm ET

    "I have no desire to live the way they do in Cuba/China/France/UK"

    Funny China has an economy growing five times faster than ours… I wouldn't mind living there especially if I were employed and making good money.

    France/UK… both beautiful countries… friendly people who aren't obsessed with wealth or having the latest car. Streets free from cars in most places….

    Not a problem for me.

    Me neither, pretty sweet deals for the French and Brits. Now there are 2 governments that really care about their people.

    February 12, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. Denise

    Those "real Americans" with their great moral fiber and "fiscally conservative ideers" are so out of touch. Good thing we don't need them to take care of business. They are busy obstructing the necessary measures because the "economy is fundamentally strong". Maybe in their world.

    February 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Al

    Republicans should be concerned? How long do Democrats think they can hold the record for lowest satisfaction ratings for any Congress in the history of this country, and continue to hold power? Americans are short on patience. Two years from now when unemployment is twice as high, Democrats will be pointing fingers everywhere trying to deflect these the fall-out from the so-called stimulus folly. If you look closely, you can already seem Pelosi, Frank, Reid and others reaching for excuses...

    February 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. irishny

    Wouldnt mind living in China??

    February 12, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. irishny

    Wouldnt mind living in China??
    you do realise that the avergae wage there is about 1/10 what it is in America right??

    February 12, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Denise

    If Obama did not warn of the dire nature of the nation's economy, he would be criticized for not communicating.

    Why don't you neo-cons move to a country where you support the leadership? Perhaps Russia? Take Palin with you – she can show you where it is.

    February 12, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. Perusing-through


    [1.] – Find a way to keep nasty Airhead Diva Sarah Palin front & center. With Sarah out in front, the Democrats are guaranteed more seats in 2010 & 2012.

    [2.] – Maintain the political center and hold on to newly gained Independents. The Republican Party is NOT likely to regain Independents as long as Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Sean Hannity are running the Party.

    February 12, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  11. JW

    Carters economy was worse by any measurement,. Don't be so quick to say that every economist thinks the stimulus plan is needed. Over 100 economist, two of which have received the Nobel Prize in Economics, do not think the Obama sitmulus plan will work. They have all signed a letter to that effect, that was published in one of the major newspapers.

    February 12, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Denise

    Hate and ignorance lost.

    Time for the hope team to put the losers away. GOBAMA

    February 12, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. Rob

    Wow. The scariest part are the comments. The "them versus us" attitude from both political parties is absolutely sickening and a disgrace. The politicians in this country are the problem, regardless of party. Half of them aren't qualified to dig a ditch, let alone "represent" their constituents. If they represented us, there would have been no TARP and probably little or no stimulus.

    And for the person that said "every" economist supports the stimulus, you are crazy. Hundreds of econ professors and other scholars across the US signed a petition against the stimulus.

    February 12, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. lady in the know

    Yes, let's make this a one party country. All you people espousing the demise of the Repulicans need to stop being so hateful and saying such stupid things. Our country is built on a two party system to try and keep things in some sort of balance. For one party to have complete control changes the name from the United States to Russia. The Democrats are so drunk with power right now, they can't see the destructive path they are leading us down and with the blessing of our(?) President. He can't possibly be a President for ALL the people when he keeps bashing the Republicans with his continuous campaigning. I have never heard such disrespect for the other party by the President in my life and I think it's horrible on his part. His fear mongering talk has done nothing to make us feel like he has control of anything. And all these people he has brainwashed into thinking they are going to get their bills paid by the government, what a rude awakening they are going to have. As for his "transparency"-where the heck is that? No one has seen the stimulus bill or has any idea what it says. And he promised while campaigning that any bill would be visible on the internet for five days before he signed it. More of HIS rhetoric and lies. Get ready America, this is a blueprint of the next four years. This man has no experience and it is showing now. Everyone should be very afraid.

    February 12, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  15. Seen it all before

    Menendez is pissing in the wind. By this time next year it will be Obama's depression when the payola, I mean stimulus bill proves to be a bust. and his team doesn't have a clue what it takes to turn things around.

    February 12, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Kevin


    How dare you call anyone an idiot. I am appalled at your pathetic grammar and spelling. If anyone is an idiot, it is you. For you to suggest that anyone understand the subjects of something is a bit like the proverbial pot calling the kettle black when you clearly don't understand basic, third grade grammar.

    February 12, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  17. Caligirl

    Anonymous February 12th, 2009 7:29 pm ET

    Headline: Senate Republicans optimistic about 2012

    Oh... silly me, I thought that headline was a joke.

    They're serious? LOL 😉

    February 12, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Denise

    Senate Repugs optimistic? Please run Palin. She's the epitome of everything America hates. Ignorance and hypocricy.

    Please run Palin 2012 – it will seal the deal for the dream team Obama/Biden 2012 Yeah, baby. Go intelligence.

    February 12, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. Walter

    I can't believe what I'm reading, apparently eight years weren't enough. If I were President Obama, I would quit and give the well respected American electorate eight more years to see if they keep on thinking the same way. God forbid America of this so call well- educated voters and yes GOD BLESS AMERICA.

    p.s: I am a voter myself and I DON'T WANT EIGHT MORE YEARS OF THE SAME. "no matter what"!!!

    February 12, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  20. julie

    this is going to be messy. i have never seen so many politicians willing to sit back and complain or blame something that will not work without stepping up to the plate and work something out. the republicans keeping yelling how much the stimulus bill will not work, but will not spell out what they think will work.

    The ones that are trying keep getting put down. And then Gregg quits, I thought the republicans were fighters, it seems to me they are unwilling to help and are happy to sit back, do nothing, and wait 4 years. Trust me, as soon as they see what President Obama is trying to do, they will jump on the band wagon and try to take some of the credit.

    February 12, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. dave

    Enjoy your socialist country. You obama idiots have earned it.

    February 12, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Gur

    Never so any smart Dem in my live, are you?

    February 12, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. Apples for sale

    The republicans are going to know just how General Custer felt.

    February 12, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. Caligirl

    "I have no desire to live the way they do in Cuba/China/France/UK"


    That's too bad, the citizens of some of these countries maybe taxed more than us, but they don't have the homeless problems and medical debt we do.

    February 12, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. Larry

    --------Democrats are Dreaming---------

    February 12, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23