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Democrats did an amazing job this year. We took back the majority in both houses of Congress, a majority of our nation's governors, a majority of state legislatures, and a majority of state legislators for the first time in twelve years. It was a massive victory and we have a lot for which to be proud.

But in 2008, we risk letting our majorities decline or weaken if we are aggressive about pursuing every single Senate, House, and Governor's race in the country as if they were top tier races.

You're crazy, Adam. Come on, challenge every seat?! We'll never be able to win every seat in the House and Senate and every governorship, so why waste our limited resources? Because it works.

Take this year. Jeb Bradley (NH-01) was an entrenched incumbent who had little chance of losing this year. Had we let this seat go unchallenged, we would not have been able to take advantage of the massive wave that hit the House of Representatives this year, electing Carol Shea-Porter to Congress, who, if she works hard, should represent this swing district for years to come. Had we not put up a challenger in FL-16, because Rep. Mark Foley consistently won with over 65% of the vote, we would not have elected Tim Mahoney to Congress after the Foley scandal.

So challenging every seat is critical. Waves, scandals, and personal gaffes (take Allen vs. Webb) can make long-shot races seem extremely plausible and easily winnable in most circumstances. So while I call on whoever is chosen to head the DCCC and the chair of the DGA to recruit great candidates for House and Governor in 2008 in every available seat, where we need to focus our recruitment focus is the United States Senate.

In 2008, Democrats are extremely lucky. Republicans have 21 seats to defend, including 7 freshmen (the easiest to knock off). Democrats have 12 seats to defend (with only one freshman). The picture gets better when you look at blue states versus red states. If you look at states where Democrats control at least three of the following (the Governorship, the majority of the Congressional delegation, at least one Senate seat, the State Senate, and the State House), there are nine states with a Republican Senate seat up in 2008 that meet that criteria, indicating that it is a states with much Democratic potential. Those states are Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, and Tennessee. By comparison, there are only 2 Democratic Senate seats up in 2008 that have Republicans holding three of the criteria. In other words, Democrats are running in Democratic territory and a lot of Republicans are not running in Republican territory.

Considering that there are expected to be very few open seats on our side in 2008 (Kerry, Biden, Lautenberg, and Rockefeller are the only possibilities, and none are guaranteed) and the GOP is expecting quite a lot of retirements (Allard, Hagel, Warner, and Stevens are all expected to retire and Cochran, Domenici, Collins, Craig, Inhofe, and Roberts have all been rumored to be thinking about it), it seems likely that the Senate field will be extremely favorable to Democrats in 2008. Assuming we have a strong Democratic nominee at the top of the ticket (my favorite is Senator Obama, but whomever you want), we should be able to hold almost all of our 12 seats, and pickup close to half of the 21 GOP seats, if we run strong challengers in every state.

So why don't we take a closer look at the Senate picture in 2008? Here's a state-by-state analysis.

Frank Lautenberg (NJ) will be one of our hardest incumbents to defend come 2008. Even though New Jersey is a reliably Democratic state that demonstrated that to us once again in 2006, Senator Lautenberg is the most unpopular Democratic Senator in the US Senate and one of the most unpopular overall. Assuming he runs, he'll face a stiff challenge from either 2006 GOP nominee Tom Kean, Jr., or US Attorney Chris Christie, or possibly a comeback from Christie Todd Whitman or Tom Kean, Sr., or any other of a number of GOP wannabees. I think Lautenberg will be able to hold them off and he'll certainly be better funded, but watch out for a close race. If Lautenberg retires, our chances of holding the seat depend on the Democratic nominee, who will almost surely be one of the six veteran Democratic congressmen in the state (my personal favorite is Rush Holt of NJ-12). If the Democratic nominee runs a strong campaign, and the Republicans don't nominate their best candidate, Dems should hold this seat easily.

Mary Landrieu (LA) will certainly be hard to defend, as she barely won reelection in 2002, and her approval rating is below 50%. Hurricane Katrina further jolted her popularity, and a sizable portion of her Democratic base has left the state fleeing Katrina. If the Republicans run a strong candidate, who is well-funded, Landrieu will be in the race of her life.

John Kerry (MA) may retire, in which case one of the 10 Democratic congressmen in the state will easily replace him. If he doesn't retire, he'll easily win. This is Massachusetts after all.

Mark Pryor (AR) won an upset in 2002 and is moderately popular with a 54% approval rating. If the GOP doesn't find a strong candidate to run against him (and in Arkansas, Democrats control everything, so it will not be easy), Pryor will easily retain his seat.

Dick Durbin (IL) is moderately popular and lives in an extremely Democratic state with no serious Republicans to run against him. He won handily in 2002 and should have no problem winning reelection.

Carl Levin (MI) is popular, won't be seriously challenged, and will win reelection handily.

Jay Rockefeller (WV) is extremely popular, and will likely not face any serious opposition in a state with few Republicans in elective office. If he retires, expect this to be hard to keep from Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R), but if he doesn't, this is a breeze.

Joe Biden (DE) is running for President, and if he retires, his son, Beau Biden, newly elected Delaware Attorney General, is likely to hold the seat. If he doesn't retire, the older Biden will win handily.

Tim Johnson barely won reelection in 2002, winning by about 500 votes. However, he is extremely popular now, with a 67% approval rating. Unless Gov. Mike Rounds (R) runs, he'll breeze to reelection. Even if Rounds runs, Johnson is favored to hold the seat.

Jack Reed (RI) is a Democrat in Rhode Island, and popular to boot. 'Nuff said.

So there you go, even in the worst case scenario, only six Democratically held seats will be remotely competitive in 2008, and the Democrat is favored to win all of those races except maybe Louisiana and West Virginia if Rockefeller retires.

The GOP is not so lucky. But I'll save that for a later post. Stay tuned!