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. arivera

    The republicans spent the last years calling democrats cowards and traitors and it did not pay off for them at the polls. Now they are trying to say the democrats are the ones bringing more bitter partisanship to D.C. These people are going to continue paying a dear price for their hatred of their fellow Americans. The majority knows this and will continue to hold a party that is 99% angry white males and their wives accountable.

    February 12, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. Jero

    I don't know if it is a good thing.
    at first you can say yes, because things will probably be done much quicker, this stimulus bill took another week because of the 60 votes you must have.
    On the other hand, it might cause abuse of power, but then again if the people don't like what they are seeing they can always vote them out of office in 2012.
    So somewhere one party power control scares me but thrills me as well. If things get done if they are over 60 it will be a blow away gig for the GOP!

    February 12, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Antonio

    When i say the minority i was talking about black spanish and a lot of different races, thru-out the history of the USA the Republican Party has always been racist. The black or Spanish that vote for any Republican should be ashamed of himself or herself.

    February 12, 2009 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Ah'mad

    The last blogger need to come to Newark, NJ and see nothing done, yeah right, Republicans did that.

    February 12, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Caligirl

    janet, ohio February 12th, 2009 7:55 pm ET

    They say a despot's greatest fear is his own subjects, so I guess it's Obama that should be afraid of the American people when enough of us begin to see through him.

    Truth of the matter is this. Americans are afraid of our government. It's not like France where the governement is afraid of the people. Which by the way is how it should be.

    February 12, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. Jimbo - st. louis

    Then MOVE there... please, move.

    February 12, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. grrrreg in jax

    florida will be getting a new democratic senator in 2010 replacing the neo-con bush wannabe mel . so there is one shoe in already 🙂

    February 12, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. David

    After reading all the posts; to all you right wingnuts, why don’t you go find your own country, leave, get out of the way please! You can have your own fascist country, you can have one idea that you all agree with, maybe RUSH could rule you; sounds like fun EH. The rest of us will go about cleaning up the enormous mess you’ve left us and we’ll put this country back together with a heart and soul!

    February 12, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. CAH

    It is no sure thing if the democrats keep plodding along like we've seen them do these last few weeks. I'm hoping president Obama can get a handle on things because it isn't quite looking like he said it would. I am rather disturbed about the level weakness and concession from the majority party. Bipartisanship is fine if it is two way. But what have we seen except a sandbagging every time? I hope this isn't standard operating procedure for them. They need to get it together.

    February 12, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Born in the USA

    All these fools should be subject to term limits.

    February 12, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Dee

    Of course they should fear 2010, since the Democrats are doing SUCH a great job of convincing us all that we're better off with more of THEM in charge...

    February 12, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    @ pointofview, who said "You all seem to forget 1994"

    HAHAHAHAHA. And you GOPers seem to be ignoring November 4, 2008. Wake up!

    February 12, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. The Great Karnac

    Dixiedogs and Custer?Answer,they were both born losers.

    February 12, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. the other Dan

    Carolyn,,, the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the production and distribution of goods. The collective nature of socialism, it is to be contrasted to the doctrine of the sanctity of private property that characterizes capitalism. Where capitalism stresses competition and profit, socialism calls for cooperation and social service. I think I'll divorce my wife, live in the same house together, let her collect all these great government services, I'll keep my >100k job and maintain the lifestyle we currently afford. I think I can cooperate and be social for a small time. I'm really tired of beating the bushes, I'll let someone else do it for me. One party, one government, one ruler,,,
    I'm really more optimistic about 2012,,,

    February 12, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |

    9 states are the only thing the dems will have in the senate when we are done with them this mid-term.

    February 12, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Lilly Rose

    You know, all of you people who keep complaining about the stimulus package seem to be devoid of any good ideas. Doing nothing is not an option. Those of you who think it is must still be working and feeling prosperous. Well a lot of people need this to happen. No action at this point would be criminal.

    February 12, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  17. Texas Jake

    Menendez needs to wake up and smell the coffee, Dems have had the majority for the last 2 years of the Bush term in office. Just enough time to let Barney Frank and Chris Dodd ruin Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with their insider deals and good buddy appointments to these agencies. Now they want this stimulus enema shoved up our #$%, when they can't even account for the first part that went to these banks. If they wanted to stimulate the economy, 1. Give all taxpayers depending on income a $10,000 to $20,000 voucher to go out and buy a new car. The size of the voucher will depend on vehicle type, fuel efficiency and income of taxpayer. 2. Give all taxpayers again depending on income up to a $100,000. voucher to re-finance or for some lucky enough pay off their mortgage. 3. For those taxpayers that are umemployed, a complete refund of all income taxes paid for 2008. This will stimulate the economy, by boosting car sales, heiping the housing market stabilize , and putting money back into the hands of the unemployed who need it badly and out of the grubby hands of the losers in Congress who want to control this money. I guarantee this will cost less than the current plan and you help out the three most in need, the automotive industry, housing, and the unemployed. That is how you stimulate an economy, its not rocket science and its the people's money anyway. our taxes we paid them we should decide how they are spent. Put that in your pipe Mr. Menendez!!!

    February 12, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  18. Tom

    If the democrats are so sure they are right on this plan. Why, are they running adds on the radion asking people to call republicans and tell them to vote for this BS plan.

    They're wrong and in two years the republicans will gain control and in 2012 this idiot Obama will be gone. This guy talks well but he has nothing upstairs. Just like the Hollywood actors.

    I would like to thank all the people who can not think for themselves and voted this team in. Don't get me wrong the republicans were wrong to select McCain. But he would be a lot better than Obama the dummy.

    February 12, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. Chris Mannoia

    Well, if these goofballs in the Republican party keep all this obstructionist stuff up, we are going to become a "one-party" nation after 2010.

    Obama 12'

    February 12, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. Hayden

    What we should fear even more is total lopsided one party rule. We saw what happened when the GOP was in power, unchecked. Even if the GOP doesn't fight the good fight some party needs to stand up to Obama and his "government knows best" philosophy.

    February 12, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Rob

    Yep, they have they voter turnout (fraud) units in place.

    February 12, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. True Conservative

    Dems are optimistic!...2010 is going to make 1994 look mild.
    Chris Dodd.......out
    Harry Reid......out
    Dems lose 6-10 seats in the Senate.
    Nancy Pelosi will no longer be speaker!

    February 12, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. Alan Deane

    Janet, how does it benefit you to think like that, to talk like that? What really is the advantage in feeling that Obama is a monster? I should feel sorry for you, but I don't, because if I win, we both win, and if you win, we both lose.

    February 12, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  24. Patriot

    Yea Jeff, just what we need....more Capitalism! I've had a gut full of Capitalism, and it's nothing more than Feudalism.....look at where it's got us now!

    February 12, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  25. PC


    February 12, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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