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Outlook: Likely Democratic

November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) won reelection over Mike McGavick (R) with 57% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) will win reelection over Mike McGavick (R). This great hope of national Republicans never materialized in the fall, as McGavick stumbled and the political atmosphere became only more hostile to the GOP, especially on the “Left Coast.” In any other year, McGavick would have an excellent chance to turn this into an even-money race, but Cantwell is likely to survive in spite of her unremarkable first term and underwhelming popularity. It’s a familiar storyline for so many weak Democratic incumbents this year.

September 28, 2006 Update:

Maria Cantwell‘s Senate seat is looking less and less vulnerable as the general election nears. That is not stopping Mike McGavick from pulling out all the stops, however. McGavick is constantly attending fundraisers in an effort to counter Cantwell’s cash on hand, which is double the challenger’s. Even Former New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani has agreed to appear at an event to increase support. Additionally, McGavick requested at least nine debates, only two of which the incumbent agreed to. A SurveyUSA poll from September 25 shows Cantwell with a twelve point lead, which does not appear to be decreasing.

Brenan Richards, Crystal Ball Pacific Regional Correspondent

September 21, 2006 Update:

As expected, freshman Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell and GOP SafeCo CEO Mike McGavick both captured their parties’ nominations by overwhelming margins in Tuesday’s primaries. But in an interesting twist, Cantwell actually captured a slightly higher share of her party’s votes than McGavick, 91 percent to 85 percent. At one point, all the talk in this race concerned Cantwell’s cool relations with anti-war Democratic elements and McGavick’s relatively united base. But Democrats appear to have closed ranks behind their moderate-to-liberal junior senator, and McGavick’s unconventional openness concerning his past personal shortcomings may have actually dampened GOP enthusiasm for his candidacy, at least in the short term. Where Cantwell was once considered the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in the Senate, such a distinction now almost certainly belongs to New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez.

August 2, 2006 Update:

This is a contest that everyone is beginning to watch; Mike McGavickis a comer, and he is impressive, and he has a real chance for what may be the Republican party’s only pick-up of a Democratic Senate seat. Yet it says a great deal about the year that we cannot even call this race a toss-up yet. For all of Senator Maria Cantwell‘s weaknesses, she must continue to be listed as a narrow favorite because of the Democratic drift of 2006. If Cantwell is defeating McGavick handily on election night, you’ll know Democrats are doing very well in the midterm elections.

June 1, 2006 Update:

Mike McGavick is doing well, but simply faces an incumbent Democrat in a Democratic state, in a Democratic year. But out mind is open, and we shall see.

March 27, 2006 Update:

Contacts in Washington State have told us that Mike McGavick is an impressive candidate, and his political background is serving him as well–or better–than his business experience. in another year, he might be the favorite, but in a Democratic year and in a Blue state, Senator Maria Cantwell is still rated a narrow favorite.


Here is one potentially vulnerable Senator–but “potentially” is the key word. In 2000, Democrat Maria Cantwell squeaked to victory over long-time Republican Senator Slade Gorton. She has not been especially popular in the “other” Washington, and if the Republicans had somehow been able to convince the almost-Governor Dino Rossi to challenge her, Rossi would probably have won. He was ahead by a wide margin in public and private polls. But, Rossi has firmly ruled it out, and instead, Rossi is already gearing up for a challenge to Governor Christine Gregoire. Our early money in that 2008 contest is on Rossi.

Now it appears that the Republican nominee will be Mike McGavick, the CEO of Safeco; McGavick also has political experience, having once worked for Senator Gorton. McGavick appears to be a moderate conservative, and he is obviously a self-funder.

Given the Democratic nature of the state of Washington, Cantwell starts out as at least a slight favorite. Still, watch this one. If there is an unexpected and surprising trend toward Republicans in November 2006, this could be one of the shocking surprise upsets.


Maria Cantwell (I) – Democrat – Second Quarter Raised: $2,041,253 | Cash on Hand: $6,434,994

Mike McGavick – Republican – Second Quarter Raised: $1,774,410 | Cash on Hand: $1,086,932

Bruce Guthrie – Independent – Second Quarter Raised: $10,886 | Cash on Hand: $7,487