Charlie Cook looks ahead to the 2012 U.S. Senate Elections. The basic maths is as follows:
1. Democrats must defend 23 seats,
2. Republicans must defend 10 seats.
3. Nine of the 23 Democratic Senators were elected in 2006, which was a banner year for the party.
4. Democrats currently hold 53 seats (51 plus two independents — Sens. Lieberman and Sanders — who “align” with the Democratic Party).
5. Republicans need to pick up 4 seats to regain control of the U.S. Senate. They can also recapture control by winning the presidency in 2012 and picking up 3 Senate seats (the newly elected Vice President would give them their decisive vote).
Cook notes that it’s far too early to make any kind of precise projection as to the partisan composition of the next U.S. Senate. But he anticipates a wave of incumbent retirements. Three sitting Senators — Conrad (D-ND), Hutchison (R-TX) and Lieberman (I-CT) — have already announced they will not seek re-election. There will likely be three or four more retirement announcements this year.
Mathematically, that probably bodes ill for the Democrats.
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