2010 promises to be a busy political year. As President Obama enters his second year of office, he/ Congressional Democrats will be ultimately be graded on their performance. Because of the magnitude of filing deadlines and/or primaries, we have developed a spreadsheet to track what’s going on in each of the 50 states.
Currently, we are in the “calm before the storm.” The filing deadlines have passed in Illinois and Texas, and later this month, West Virginia and Kentucky’s filing deadlines will have passed as well. Here’s what we know so far:
Illinois (February 2 primary):President Obama’s open Senate seat has created competitive Senate and Governor’s races. We are watching the Republican primary, as it will be the first of many “battle of the soul of the party” primary contests nationwide between the pragmatic wing of the party and the more hard line conservative element. The pragmatist in this case is Congressman Mark Kirk, who managed to win re-election in an elite Chicago district, despite Barack Obama’s receiving 61% of the vote there, and despite the fact it hasn’t voted Republican for President since 1992. Additionally, it’s worth noting that since filing has closed, we know that in two inner city Chicago districts, a Democrat is guaranteed to win.
Texas (March 2 primary, April 13 runoff):The “battle royale” here is another competitive GOP primary between 10 year incumbent governor Rick Perry and his “moderate” opponent, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. While Perry only won re-election with a 39% plurality in 2006, he has been outspoken on matters important to conservatives recently, and will definitely give Senator Hutchison a fight, despite the face that she has always been re-elected by substantial margins. Additionally, it’s worth noting that since filing has closed, we know that the GOP is guaranteed victory in seven congressional districts,in two inner city Chicago districts, a Democrat is guaranteed to win.
Massachusetts (January 19 special election for the Senate seat held by Edward Kennedy):This race will be a early gauge of the popularity of President Obama’s agenda in general and health care in particular. Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley faces a stiff challenge from Republican State Senator Scott Brown. While a Republican hasn’t been elected to the Senate from Massachusetts since 1972, this promises to be a competitive race to the end. We have written about this race in more detail here