Simply put, it doesn’t look promising for Republicans to upend the present 51-to-49 seat Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate in 2008. Of 34 Senate seats to be decided by the voters (up from the usual 33 because of a special election to fill the seat of the late Republican Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming), 22 are held by Republicans and only 12 by Democrats. Of the 22, the following 10 are the most vulnerable to Democratic takeover.
Republican Sen. John Warner is retiring, and former Democratic Gov. Mark Warner (no relation) leads both possible GOP candidates by double-digit percentages in most polls.
Narrow ’02 loser and former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen holds a big lead over Republican Sen. John Sununu.
Democratic Rep. Mark Udall, son of late Arizona Rep. Mo Udall, is an early favorite over former Republican Rep. Bob Schaffer for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Wayne Allard.
GOP Sen. Pete Domenici’s surprise retirement could lead to a bloody primary between Republican Representatives Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson and to a Democratic pickup.
An ongoing corruption probe of 39-year Republican Sen. Ted Stevens gives Democrats a chance for a pickup after 28 years without holding either Senate seat here.
Republican Sen. Norm Coleman may face a well-funded fight from comedian Al Franken (see cover story).
A brutal GOP primary fight between state Atty. Gen. Jon Bruning and former Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel could help a Democrat gain the seat—especially if former Sen. Bob Kerrey makes a comeback bid.
Appointed Republican Sen. John Barrasso is sure to face stiff Democratic competition, possibly from Paul Hickey, son of a former governor.
The growing Democratic trend in Oregon makes Republican Sen. Gordon Smith vulnerable.
Scandal surrounding retiring GOP Sen. Larry Craig and his refusal to keep his promise to resign are sure to fuel a Democratic effort against any Republican nominee.