Republicans not likely to take Senate
With a slew of vunerable incumbents, it was thought that the GOP would have a fairly easy time in fashioning a Senate majority in 2012.
But poor candidates, well funded Democrats, and an electorate who appear to be happy with divided government, has probably derailed GOP chances for a victory.
The Democrats have incumbents running in traditionally GOP-friendly territories Missouri and Montana, as well as incumbents and challengers for open seats competing in swing states Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. And because of retirements by Democratic lawmakers, the Democrats have also had to compete in states like Nebraska and North Dakota, which had been held by a Democratic senator despite being red-leaning states.
In contrast, the only GOP incumbent in a blue state seeking re-election was Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, while Sen. Dean Heller is seeking his first full term in the swing state of Nevada.
But then Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine said she was retiring, putting her blue-leaning state in play, while candidates for open seats in Indiana and Arizona haven't run as strongly as some had anticipated.
Real Clear Politics, the political-aggregation website, said that according to its polls of polls, Democrats are leading in all of these races except for Arizona, Nebraska, and Nevada, while the race in Montana between incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester and challenger Rep. Dennis Rehberg is a virtual tie.
If Republicans fail to regain the majority, blame could fall on candidates backed by the tea-party movement. Similarly, tea-party victories in GOP primaries two years ago were widely seen to have cost the party winnable Senate races in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada.
There's plenty of blame to go around, I assure you. Some candidates like Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin ran lackluster campaigns against a very beatable opponent. A couple of candidates - Josh Mandel in Ohio comes to mind - could have benefitted from earlier national party support. But the GOP didn't think Mandel had much of a chance until the last month and he may come up a little short.
This was clearly a lost opportunity and the masterminds in Washington who are responsible should step aside and allow someone else to run the Senate committee and RNC.