Midterm Morsels

For all our current ratings please see our Crystal Ball website for Senate and Governor.


ALABAMA GOVERNOR: The Republican runoff, to be held July 13th, will be between first-place finisher Bradley Byrne and Robert Bentley, who edged Tim James by a handful of votes. It is now obvious that James is not going to pick up enough votes to vault into the runoff. The GOP winner—and it isn’t clear yet whether it will be Byrne or Bentley—is very likely to defeat Democrat Ron Sparks in November.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: Meg Whitman (R) has now topped $90 million—ninety million—in spending from her pocketbook, and it’s just mid-June. Her contest with Jerry Brown (D) will be the ultimate test of self-funding’s reach in contemporary politics. Brown is nervous, and should be.

FLORIDA GOVERNOR: The Republican nominee ought to be favored, but there’s something about AG Bill McCollum that just doesn’t sell well in the Sunshine State. A two-time statewide loser already, McCollum is no media candidate, and now he’s tied at best in the GOP primary with self-funder Rick Scott. The Democrat, Alex Sink, hasn’t taken off either, and Bud Chiles, son of former Gov. Lawton Chiles (D), will drain some votes from her column running as an independent. The Senate race featuring Gov. Charlie Crist (I) has captured the public’s imagination, and the gubernatorial battle will remain a lesser mess for the time being.

OHIO GOVERNOR: Gov. Ted Strickland (D) grabbed the NRA endorsement, and seems to have a bit of momentum in a tough reelection race. We’re not ready to change our designation of Toss Up quite yet, but Republican John Kasich (R) has his work cut out for him if he is to deny Strickland a second term. A big national GOP wave may be essential if Kasich is to win.

OREGON GOVERNOR: The more we see of this matchup between former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) and Republican Chris Dudley, the more we realize it really is a Toss Up. Kitzhaber was popular in his previous incarnation, but voters seem unsure he deserves another trip on the Salem merry-go-round. Dudley has some star power and it is keeping him competitive in a state that normally leans Democratic.

SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: With the endorsement of the third-place GOP primary candidate, AG Henry McMaster, Nikki Haley appears to have the Republican nomination in the bag over Congressman Gresham Barrett in next Tuesday’s (June 22nd) runoff. In this state, we always have to add, “barring further revelations.” Any Republican will be favored in November, but Democrat Vincent Sheheen is quite able.

TEXAS GOVERNOR: With the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R), Gov. Rick Perry (R) is looking more secure in November over Democrat Bill White. Hutchison must have had to swallow hard to do her party duty, given the nastiness of her primary battle with Perry. Republicans are also assisting the Green Party—not normally an ideological ally—to get a ballot line for November. The Greens may drain a few percentage points from White, who needs every vote he can get in Texas in a Republican-leaning year.


ALASKA SENATOR: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is a heavy favorite, but the Tea Party is taking her on with a candidate named Joe Miller. And Sarah Palin, who defeated Murkowski’s father for governor in the 2006 GOP primary, favors the Tea Party candidate. Oh, how delicious!

CALIFORNIA SENATOR: Carly Fiorina (R) did herself no good with her petty remarks about Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer’s hair. The best thing Fiorina has going for her is Boxer’s personality, and she managed to make Boxer into a sympathetic figure. Dumb, dumb.

FLORIDA SENATOR: Gov. Charlie Crist is increasingly looking like the cat that ate the canary. The Democrats have mainly come to realize that their nominee, whether Rep. Kendrick Meek or controversial self-funder Jeff Greene, will finish a poor third in November. Crist has done everything but jump in President Obama’s lap during Obama’s recent trips to the Gulf, as well as take issue stands on abortion and other topics very pleasing to Democrats. Is Independent Crist becoming the de facto Democratic candidate? If he can consolidate his backers and Democrats, Republican Marco Rubio is unlikely to win. We’ll see.

ILLINOIS SENATOR: If Illinois had a “none of the above” ballot line like Nevada, we’d bet on None. Mark Kirk (R) and Alexi Giannoulias (D) are running a race to see which one can become less popular. Even a Green Party candidate is registering in double digits. Both parties secretly wish they could start over, but they’re stuck. One of them has to win.

SOUTH CAROLINA SENATOR: It doesn’t matter whom the Democrats have on their ballot line. Sen. Jim DeMint (R) will win easily. But the saga of Democratic primary winner Alvin Greene has brought more embarrassment to the Palmetto State. Greene’s $10,400 filing fee is the key. Who paid it? And why is South Carolina now the home of the nation’s dirtiest politics?

UTAH SENATOR: We’re sure it matters who is the next senator from Utah, if you live in Utah. But if we could set up three parallel universes, and have ousted Sen. Robert Bennett (R), and the GOP contenders for his seat in the primary to be held June 22, Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater, cast Senate votes for the next six years, we’d wager that at least 95% of the votes would be identical. All this fuss over less than 5% of the votes.