Behind the scenes, the chances of a GOP takeover of the US Senate increased in the past two weeks with key developments in pivotal states.
Already, Republican candidates are ahead in eight states now represented by Democrats: Delaware, North Dakota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Arkansas and Nevada. And, in California, Senator Barbara Boxer is polling in the low 40s just barely ahead of her Republican challengers.
But nine seats won't give us control since Biden would break the tie for the Democrats. We need ten.
Enter Washington State where a large field of Republican candidates have failed to dent the lead of three term incumbent Senator Patty Murray. But now it appears that Dino Rossi, the former Republican candidate for Governor, is likely to get into the race. Rossi, in fact, won the election for governor in Washington only to have it stolen from him by 200 votes after multiple recounts. Rossi trails Murray by only 48-46 even though he has yet to announce his candidacy. The vital tenth seat may well be Washington.
Or will it be Wisconsin where Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold is seeking re-election. Feingold is so far left that he wouldn't find any district this side of Havana safe. And he has now drawn two top tier Republican opponents: Beer mogul Richard Leinenkugel and conservative activist Ron Johnson. Feingold scores below 50 percent of the vote in trial matchups, a sure indication of vulnerability.
Leinenkugel has good credentials for a race having served as state Commerce Secretary albeit in the current Democratic Administration of Governor Doyle. Johnson brings a compelling speaking style and solid conservative credentials -- and a boatload of dough -- to the race. Feingold won't sleep well tonight.
And bear in mind New York where three good candidates -- David Malpass, Joe DioGuardi, and Bruce Blakeman -- are vying to take on vulnerable appointed incumbent Kristen Gillibrand. Read our book, "2010: Take Back America: A Battle Plan," to see how weak Gillibrand is.
And Connecticut where Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has slipped to 52 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Rob Simmons (he leads by 52-38). Blumenthal runs stronger against Linda McMahon of wrestling fame (he beats her, according to Rasmussen, by 55-35). If Simmons wins the primary, he has a good chance of knocking off Blumenthal.
So among Washington, Wisconsin, New York, and Connecticut, we are looking increasingly likely to find a tenth Republican victory.
© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann