September 10th, 2010
05:01 PM ET
12 years ago

Special elections could give GOP seats in this Congress

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" Special Senate elections in several states could weaken the Democrat's majority during the final months of the 111th Congress."]
Washington (CNN) – Republicans might not have to wait until the next Congress to pick up seats on Capitol Hill.

Due to certain states' election laws, three Senators who were appointed to their seats this year will have their terms end after the November 2 midterm elections. Illinois, Delaware, and West Virginia are all holding special elections this November, and none of the appointed Senators currently holding those seats are on the ballots.

Republican wins in any of these races could weaken the Democrats' 59-seat majority in the Senate if the current session of Congress continues past Election Day or is re-convened before the new 112th session is sworn in this January.

Currently, the Senate will reconvene on Sept. 13, and is expected to remain in session at least through the month but the end of the session is contingent on legislative negotiations still underway.

In Illinois, two Senate races will appear on the ballot this November – one for a special election to fill the seat for the remainder of the current Congress, and another for a full six-year term.

The seat is currently held by Democrat Sen. Roland Burris, who was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to finish out the last two years of President Obama's Senate term. However, federal judges later ruled that the appointment only lasted until November 2, and a special election was scheduled.

Burris's tenure as Senator has been marked by controversy. The Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter last November admonishing Burris "for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate" in connection with his controversial appointment by the embattled Blagojevich. Burris announced in July that he would not run for a full term.

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a Democrat, and five-term Republican Rep. Mark Kirk are locked in a tight battle for the seat for both special and full terms.

The winner of the special election is expected to be certified shortly before Thanksgiving, according to an Illinois State Board of Elections official.

Delaware is also holding a special election in November to determine who will serve the remaining four years of Vice President Joe Biden's Senate term.

Sen. Ted Kaufman, Biden's former chief of staff, was appointed to replace Biden after he became Vice President.

Many consider Delaware a prime potential pick-up for the GOP this November. The Republican primary, set for Sept. 14, has drawn national attention in recent weeks as the moderate Rep. Mike Castle seeks to stave off an upset by Tea Party-favorite Christine O'Donnell. The winner of the primary will face Democrat Chris Coons in November. The Delaware State Board of Elections will certify the winner of the special election on November 4, clearing the way for a new Senator to be sworn as early as mid November.

Sen. Carte Goodwin of West Virginia became the Senate's 59th Democrat early this year after the death of long-time Senator Robert C. Byrd. Gov. Joe Manchin appointed Goodwin to fill the seat until the special election, which will also be held on November 2.

Manchin, a popular two-term Democratic governor, decided to run for the seat himself, and easily won a special primary this August. He now faces Republican businessman John Raese in the special election. The winner of that election is expected to be certified by mid November, and will serve the remainder of Byrd's term.

Filed under: 2010 • Congress
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Glenn Koons

    Let us pray that after this press conference today where Obama appeared to be not only inept but out of anybody's league economic understanding that not only these 3 states, but as many as 14 states elect non tax and spending Pubs to replace the socialists to make sure that in any Dem scam in between terms, they cannot pass even more horrid progressive legislation and unfunded mandates such as Cap and more Obamacare baloney.

    September 10, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  2. Keith in Austin

    Special Elections not withstanding, the voice of Americans will triumph in November by voting Democrats into obscurity in November!

    September 10, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Yates

    Lets hope so for our own good.

    September 10, 2010 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. tcaros

    The GOP will have less seats after November.

    CNN is a corporate owned shill for the conservatives.

    September 10, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Duck Fallas

    Good point, Koons. Well spoken. Well said.

    Anyhoo, remember September 11, 2001, AND September 12, 2001....

    Bless y'all.

    September 10, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. GI Joe

    Hey folks – Glenn Koons wants this to be a fascist country. NO THANKS. Corporations will never own me.

    September 10, 2010 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Grayson's got to go

    Hopefully Republicans win these races. Democrats have killed any long-term recovery with their dimwitted attempt to kill the economy.

    September 10, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. T'SAH from Virginia

    DREAM ON Glenn Koons – the problem with the poll numbers is that democrats or people of color DO NOT get polled!!! YOU are in for a RUDE AWAKENING come November!!!

    The only 'baloney' is what the RepubliCAN'Ts are spewing out!!! The SAME MESSAGE from the past and NOthing NEW!!

    DEMOCRATS – MAKE the CASE – UNITE the BASE and WIN this RACE in November!!! We are FIRED UP and registering more and more DEMS every day!!! Yes We Can!!

    September 10, 2010 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Rick McDaniel

    Good. Taking away the power of the Dems to throw away money and pass legislation against the will of the people, is essential to getting us back on the right track.

    September 10, 2010 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Rickster

    It must be tough to be a democrat these days knowing that in January of 2009 all of your dreams came true and everything that you ever believed in was finally going to be put in place. Now, just 20 months later you have been witness to the fact that everything that you always believed was wrong and all of your ideas are miserable failures.

    September 10, 2010 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. EBC

    Think AGAIN. Republicans talk a good game, but the fight has just begun.

    September 10, 2010 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. barry

    Thank God. Hopefully it will keep Democrats from passing anymore legislation that has created the Obama Recession, ran unemployment up to historic levels, and tripled the deficit. It is time to get the children out of the way so the adults can clean up The Grand Social Experiment gone a wry.

    September 10, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. EBC

    Anyone who quotes a bunch of bogus polls is an idiot. They only poll a selected group of people and majority the poll results are designed around the folks they choose to poll in the first place!! It's a RIGGED game that is played during elections.

    It NEVER reflects what MAJORITY of Americans think or feel. Funny that huh?

    September 10, 2010 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. Pragmatic

    Maybe ... then again ... maybe not!

    Democrat Ted Deutch won a special election for a Florida congressional seat in the nation's first federal election since the passage of the Democrats' health care plan. Deutch supported the Health Care Bill: His opponent, Lynch said he wanted to repeal the new law. Deutch had 62 percent of the vote compared to Lynch's 36%.

    The GOP's only plan? Freeze taxes & spending at the 2008 levels ... you remember 2008 – when the recession really started to roll? Ask the GOP about JOB CREATION, IMMIGRATION & AFGHANISTAN!!!

    Ain't got no answers – ain't got no plans!

    September 10, 2010 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. Dave

    The change promised by democrats has become the old new deal that has boosted recession and unemployment in the country. Since liberals need unemployed suffering people to support in order to keep office and to scare them that the other party will take their "benefits" this seems to be the capitalization on crisis by the left (from the Saul Alinsky school of community organization). With new congress shifting more to the middle and keeping an eye on the executive branch corruptions, we will be better off by far as a country marching toward economic gains! Partisanship is not my issue (I am not a Republican), just governing based on principles like the balance of power.

    September 10, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Shibumi

    @ T'SAH.....Your tin hat must be on crooked. Maybe have it cleaned and pressed before you vote (how many times is that?). Dimbocrats only salvation in November is to vote early and vote often. President Dingle Barry (slang for a small, brown, smelly turd) has single-handedly destroyed the Democrat Libtard Party.
    BRING ON NOVEMBER!!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. CutTax

    Libs to much cry in comments, dreamers

    September 10, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  18. Vet

    I would like to know where they keep getting these polls, I have never been polled and I have voted in every local and statewide election since I have been eligible to vote. I believe there will be a lot of suprises in the mid-term election, not all Americans have blinders on while sipping that koolade they have been passing out!

    September 10, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. Grayson's got to stay . . . Keith in Austism

    O'Donnell will win the g.o.p primary and lose to Coons in DE
    W.VA is a lock for the Dems
    And Kick the congenetal liar looks like he will snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory in Illinois.

    But hey Keith in Austin, there's a cure for your ODS (Obama derangement Syndrome): Take a blue pill, wait til 2017 and it will all be over.

    September 10, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. Stymie

    Actually T'SAH, it will be worse for dems in November. Most people polled are either dems or people of color. You just have it backwards.

    September 10, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. harold

    You people are funny.. Can't get enough of republicanitis can you? Its a virus or bug or something .. Why would people un-employed for a Republican who does not want to extend un-employment insurance......... and put food on their table?

    September 10, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Apparently there aren't any middle-class Republicans who use the internet or read CNN's blogs. Otherwise we wouldn't have so many Republicans eager for the GOP to regain control of Congress.
    After what the Republicans did to the economy and the nation's financial situation, which we are still trying to dig out from, why would anyone who isn't one of the rich want the GOP back in charge?

    September 10, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Cynthia

    If Republicans can't win, they buy. Anyone who thinks that the Repubilcans represent them are smoking something. Unless you are rich or a corporation, you are a fool!

    September 10, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    All Republican Senators need to resign their post and find a new line of work because they don't understand that America wants all party groups to come together to provide solutions; NOT politics. THe only good Republicans to keep are Scott Brown, Susan Powells, and Olympia snowe which are the ones that I allow to stay. These are Moderate Republicans that work together with Democrats to provide solutions; NOT politics.

    Scott Brown should have been Republican leader because he lead 2 moderate republican women to join Dems in passing a strong Financial Reform Bill that ends the great depression which also put Wall Street in their place by NOT letting Wall Street tax middleclass people for their own bailouts.

    Mitch McConnell and full Republicans on the right are anxious to win so that they can take America back to Bush policy which is the deep hole again.

    September 10, 2010 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. obamasupporter21

    Scott Brown should have been Republican leader because he lead Olympia Snowe and Susan Powells to put politics aside and work on solutions to pass a strong Financial Reform Bill. Full Republicans like Mitch McConnell need to resign and Mitch McConnell need to give up the leadership because he only knows to go back to Bush agenda that lead America to the deep hole.

    September 10, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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