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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WHO IS GOING TO RUN ON THE COATTAILS OF THE PRESIDENT?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)

While the media and public have been focused on the presidential races, we must be cognizant there is more to the November 6th elections than just the White House, much more. There are 33 Senate seats up for grabs as well as all 435 seats in the House. Although we are currently paying little attention to these races, we must be mindful of their impact on the balance of power in the Capitol. Currently, the Democrats are in control of the Senate, and the Republicans of the House. Consequently, it is little wonder why we have gridlock in Washington which is something we all should have expected following the 2010 elections. Now we have a chance to change it.

There are many Democratic congressmen up for re-election and it will be interesting to see if they try to run on the coattails of a president with low approval ratings. Discussions about Obamacare and the president's Stimulus packages are currently treated like poison. Yet, they didn't get enacted by themselves, and certainly not by the Republicans in Congress. I'm betting the Democrats up for re-election will try to distant themselves from the president and disavow any knowledge of the role they played in the passage of his programs. It is up to the voter not to forget. In all likelihood, the president will not be asked to make too many personal appearances on behalf of Democrats. Basically, they are on their own.

In the Senate, Democrats are expected to have 23 seats up for election, including two independents who are aligned with the Democrats. Of these, seven are retiring, and 16 are seeking re-election, including:

Democrats/Independents retiring (7 seats)
- Joe Lieberman of Connecticut (Independent)
- Daniel Akaka of Hawaii
- Ben Nelson of Nebraska
- Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico
- Kent Conrad of North Dakota
- Jim Webb of Virginia
- Herb Kohl of Wisconsin

Democrats/Independents seeking re-election (16 seats)
- Dianne Feinstein of California
- Tom Carper of Delaware
- Bill Nelson of Florida
- Ben Cardin of Maryland
- Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
- Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
- Claire McCaskill of Missouri
- Jon Tester of Montana
- Bob Menendez of New Jersey
- Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
- Sherrod Brown of Ohio
- Bob Casey, Jr. of Pennsylvania
- Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island
- Bernie Sanders of Vermont (Independent)
- Maria Cantwell of Washington
- Joe Manchin of West Virginia

These all represent battleground elections which will be highly contested. In contrast, Republicans are expected to have only 10 seats up for election. Of these, two are retiring, and eight are seeking re-election, including:

Republicans retiring (2 seats)
- Jon Kyl of Arizona
- Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas

Republicans seeking re-election (8 seats)
- Richard Lugar of Indiana
- Olympia Snowe of Maine
- Scott Brown of Massachusetts
- Roger Wicker of Mississippi
- Dean Heller of Nevada
- Bob Corker of Tennessee
- Orrin Hatch of Utah
- John Barrasso of Wyoming

These too represent battleground elections.

Over in the House, all of the seats are up for grabs, thereby making every contest important. In particular, there are 19 Democratic seats becoming vacant due to retirement, including:

Democrats retiring (19 seats)
- AZ-8, Gabrielle Giffords
- AR-4, Mike Ross
- CA-6, Lynn Woolsey
- CA-18, Dennis Cardoza
- CA-51, Bob Filner - to run for Mayor of San Diego *
- CT-5, Chris Murphy - to run for the U.S. Senate *
- HA-2, Mazie Hirono - to run for the U.S. Senate *
- IL-12, Jerry Costello
- IN-2, Joe Donnelly - to run for the U.S. Senate *
- MA-1, John Oliver
- MA-4, Barney Frank
- MI-5, Dale Kildee
- NV-1, Shelley Berkley - to run for the U.S. Senate *
- NM-1, Martin Heinrich - to run for the U.S. Senate *
- NY-22, Maurice Hinchey
- OK-2, Dan Boren
- TX-20, Charlie Gonzalez
- WA-1, Jay Inslee - to run for Governor of Washington *
- WI-2, Tammy Baldwin - to run for the U.S. Senate *

* Voted for Obamacare

(Too bad we couldn't get Nancy Pelosi on this list.)

Republicans retiring (13 seats)
- AZ-6, Jeff Flake - to run for the U.S. Senate
- CA-2, Wally Herger
- CA-24, Elton Gallegly
- CA-41, Jerry Lewis
- FL-14, Connie Mack, IV - to run for the U.S. Senate
- IN-6, Mike Pence - to run for Governor of Indiana
- KY-4, Geoff Davis
- MO-2, Todd Akin - to run for the U.S. Senate
- MT-at large, Denny Rehberg - to run for the U.S. Senate
- ND-at large, Rick Berg - to run for the U.S. Senate
- OH-7, Steve Austria
- PA-19, Todd Platts
- TX-14, Ron Paul - to run for President

Although all of the House races are important, those where members are retiring usually represent important struggles. If your state and/or district is listed above, and you care about the future of your country, now is the time to get involved. The presidential race is but one part of the puzzle, winning both the Senate and the House are equally important. Just don't look for any of the Democrats to ride the coattails of the President to victory. If anything, the President will try to ride the coattails of the congressional candidates instead.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.