I predict that Democrats will pick up eight Senate seats tomorrow giving them effectively a filibuster-proof margin on most issues when moderate Republicans like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Arlen Specter can be counted on to fill the gap.
The surest of sure things is in Virginia where there has never been any doubt that Democrat Mark Warner was going to sweep into office to replace the retiring Republican John Warner. Heck, John Warner has even endorsed Mark Warner over the hapless Republican opponent Jim Gilmore.
Next, the Udall cousins, Mark and Tom, are locks to take over open Republican senate seats in New Mexico (Domenici) and Colorado (Allard), while Democrat Jeane Shaheen looks like a sure thing to toss Republican John Sununu out in Blue New Hampshire.
Next, Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska had the good fortune to challenge Republican Ted Stevens just as he became a convicted felon.
Closer races are expected in Oregon where Democrat Jeff Merkely is trying to shake loose moderate Republican Gordon Smith (ironically also a Udall cousin) who has been desperately trying to attach himself to Obama’s coattails in the Northwest, and in North Carolina where Democrat Kay Hagan is poised to topple Republican Liddy Dole who recently resorted to one of the most despicable and pathetic attack ads in memory by trying to label her Sunday school teaching challenger as an atheist.
Finally, while Democrat Al Franken has run a very weak campaign in Minnesota, never attracting more than low-40s support in any polling, he still appears to be close to toppling Republican Norm Coleman whose campaign has collapsed in recent weeks along with support for McCain/Palin in general.
I think those eight races will go for the Democrats.
I am less optimistic about Georgia and Kentucky and even less still about Mississippi and Texas. While I would love to see Democrat Jim Martin cast out the despicable Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, it looks as if he may come up short. Same with Democrat Bruce Lunsford’s bid to unseat Republican Mitch McConnel in Kentucky. And Democrat Ronnie Musgrove seems to have lost traction sometime ago against Republican Roger Wicker in Mississippi.
And unless a miracle occurs on election day, Republican John Cornyn is likely to trounce Democrat Rick Noriega in the Lone Star State. Sigh.
Still, there is a lot here for Democrats to celebrate and we can always cross our fingers and hope for a 2006ish tidal wave that will sweep the Lunsfords, Martins and Noriegas into office the way it did Jon Tester, Jim Webb, Clair McCaskill and Sherrod Brown.