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2010 Senate Map May Not Be Much Better for the GOP

Democrats picked up one Senate seat in Missouri in 2006 and could try to take Sen. Kit Bond’s (R) seat in 2010. Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) would clear the Democratic field and give Bond a run for his money. Bond, too, could choose to retire. He will be 71 in 2010.

Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) won his first term by a single point margin, making him a likely target for Democrats in 2010. Democrats have touted the state’s chief financial officer, Alex Sink, and state House Minority Leader Dan Gelber, as possible challengers.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) almost drowned in bad press in 2007 after it was revealed that he solicited prostitutes in the infamous “D.C. Madam” debacle. Vitter could get a primary challenge as a result, but Democrats are also likely to target the seat, given Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s comfortable win in Louisiana on Tuesday.

But it isn’t all good news for Democrats in 2010. As the party in control of the Senate, Democrats will also have to play defense in a number of races. Out of a total 16 Democratic seats up in 2010, Republicans can easily target at least two Democratic Senators from competitive states.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to have a stiff re-election challenge for his fifth term. Rep. Dean Heller (R) could run for the seat, along with recently defeated three-term Rep. Jon Porter (R).

Sen. Ken Salazar’s (D-Colo.) 2004 win was a bright spot for Democrats in what was otherwise a bad cycle for the party nationally. Though Democrats have continued to make gains in the Rocky Mountain State, it’s unlikely Republicans will give Salazar a free pass this cycle. Retiring Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) may be eyeing a challenge to Salazar, though it’s unlikely national GOP leaders would consider him their preferred candidate.

In one unlikely scenario, Democrats could have a race on their hands in California. Though it’s only a remote possibility that term-limited California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) would challenge Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) in 2010, he hasn’t publicly ruled it out yet, either.

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