Senate still in play
At the beginning of the election cycle, there was no formulation that had Republicans gaining a majority in the U.S. Senate without winning Delaware’s open Democratic seat — the one formerly held by Joe Biden and occupied since Biden’s elevation to vice president by caretaker Sen. Ted Kaufman. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Castle was seen as a lock to move the seat into the GOP column, but after Christine O’Donnell’s upset victory in the Republican primary last week, Beltway wise men (and women) said the pickup opportunity in Delaware was gone — and with it GOP hopes of capturing the Senate.
Not so fast. Though O’Donnell faces long odds in the general election because of Delaware’s overwhelming Democratic voter registration, Democratic seats in other states suddenly have become competitive. Republicans still might have a shot. A new PPP poll in West Virginia shows Republican John Raese with a three-point lead over Gov. Joe Manchin in the race to replace the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Significantly, it’s Raese’s first lead, and the lead is registered in a Democrat-sponsored survey. Elsewhere, Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (California), Russ Feingold (Wisconsin), Patty Murray (Washington) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nevada) are in tight races. Granted, a number of the Republican leads are within the statistical margin of error as well. But given the strong GOP tide this fall, Democrats can’t like the numbers they’re seeing.
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