Brownsox over at Daily Kos has an interesting Senate race summary, claiming 5 certain Democratic pick ups if the election were held today, with many races trending Democratic.
Alaska (Stevens – R incumbent): At this point, the only thing that can save indicted Alaska Republican Ted Stevens is an acquittal at his September 24 trial. Orange to Blue candidate Mark Begich, the Democratic Mayor of Anchorage, now sports an impressive 18-point lead over Stevens, per Pollster’s average. His leads over Stevens’ primary opponents are even wider, and since April, Begich has been outraising Stevens quite substantially.
It’s unlikely that Stevens will lose his primary, and almost certain that he will not remove his name from the ballot if he wins (thus enabling the GOP to nominate a potentially stronger candidate).
I do not expect Stevens’ reelect numbers to remain mired in the thirties, as they are now. Still, Begich has evidently taken control of this race, and he is sufficiently popular in his own right that he should be able to maintain his advantage over the coming months. Stevens is an Alaska institution and a 40-yar incumbent, but an outright acquittal may be the only thing to save his bacon. And even an acquittal may not be enough.
The Republican brand in Alaska is so badly damaged it’s doubtful even an acquittal would turn the race at this point. It would doubtless entrench the current Stevens supporters, and might net a bit of a pick up for him…but 18 points? Not going to happen. An acquittal plus the discovery that Begich is an axe murderer….maybe.
We should not rule out a 60-seat filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate, either. The only thing Dems should fear is a pickup that would net a 59-seat majority…allowing Lieberman to retain his power by threatening to withhold his vote. If it falls out with 58 seats or less, or over 59 without him he can be swiftly and joyously stripped of his committee positions and banished from the kingdom…