You may recall that I ran predictions in 2006, and I plan to do so again, even though I didn't do so great that year...
I'll start with this nifty little graphic I whipped up in about five minutes on Photoshop:
That's my prediction for the presidential race. That amounts to an electoral college vote of 291 to 142, with 105 tossups. I feel pretty good about that map (not least because it indicates an Obama victory). The tossups are another matter.
Now then, having stated the forgoing, here are my predictions, by closing time:
Kentucky: Mitch McConnell (R) re-elected, defeating Bruce Lunsford; in the second House district (hereinafter referred to by state postal abbreviation and the number, i.e., KY-2), David Boswell (D) defeats Brett Guthrie.
South Carolina: John McCain held to less than 55% of the vote. In SC-1, Henry Brown (R) survives a challenge by Linda Ketner, but is held to less than 52.5% of the vote.
Georgia: First tossup. Barack Obama takes Georgia, though the networks won't call that until after eight-thirty. Also, Jim Martin and Saxby Chambliss will go to a December run-off, neither one managing to win 50% of the vote today. In GA-8, Jim Marshall (D) wins re-election; in GA-12, John Barrow (D) also wins re-election.
Indiana: Second tossup. Actually supposed to be closer than Georgia, but I believe John McCain will win with less than 52% of the vote. Mitch Daniels (R) re-elected governor. IN-3, Mark Souder (R) defeats Michael Montagano. In IN-9, Baron Hill (D) defeats Mike Sodrel; for the first time since the districts were redrawn, this district will be represented by the same guy twice in a row.
Virginia: In VA-11, Gerald Connolly (D) defeats Keith Fimian. In VA-5, Virgil Goode (R) defeats Al Weed but is held to less than 55%. In VA-2, Glenn Nye (R) defeats Thelma Drake by less than 1%. For the Senate, it's Mark Warner (D) in a walk.
Vermont: Vermont is quirky. If no candidate for governor gets at least 50%, the state legislature (both houses meeting in closed session) elects a governor (by secret ballot). Because there are three viable candidates this year, it's possible incumbent Jim Douglas (R) won't get 50%, even though Douglas will win a plurality. The Democratic candidate, Gaye Symington, is the former Speaker of the House, and the legislature leans Democratic by a 116-56 margin (with 6 members of the Vermont Progressive Party and 2 independents. I told you Vermont was quirky). Independent candidate Alfred Pollina started the race as the nominee of the Vermont Progressives, but decided he'd rather go alone. He still manages a quarter of the vote in most polls. It's possible for Douglas to win outright but I'm betting against it. As for who the legislature will elect, well, we won't know until January. I'd guess Symington but I'm not calling that a prediction.
West Virginia: No surprises. No incumbent loses in the House.
Ohio: I'll go ahead and call Ohio for Barack Obama, though this is a tough one. In OH-1, Steve Chabot (R) holds his seat against Dave Driehaus. In OH-2, Mean Jean Schmidt (R) will hold her seat against Victoria Wulsin; this was probably the Dems' last chance to oust Schmidt on their own, and they'll have to count on a GOP primary opponent to knock her off in 2010 or beyond. In OH-15, Mary Jo Kilroy (D) defeats Steve Stivers. In OH-16, John Boccieri (D) will barely edge Kirk Schuring to become the first C-130 driver in Congress.
Alabama: In AL-2, Montgomery mayor Bobby Bright (D) will defeat Jay Love in an open contest, but it will be very close, and contest has had unpleasant racial tinges; let's hope Montgomery stays quiet whoever wins. In AL-5, somebody named Parker will win. I'll go with Parker Griffith (D) over Wayne Parker, but I would not be surprised if I'm wrong.
Mississippi: I think the GOP will hold both Senate seats here, sorry to say; Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker will both hang on, though Wicker will win by less than 5%. African-American turnout will be lower here than in any other Southern state, which is why Wicker will win. In MS-1, Travis Childers (D) will barely hang on to his seat against Greg Davis.
Oklahoma: Nothing of interest will happen.
Tennessee: No surprises here, either. The real surprise would be Obama losing by less than 10, but I'm not even sure that's going to happen. Tennessee should be more competitive than this and I'm wondering if this is an actual realignment year for the state.
Connecticut: I'd like to point out that I expected governor Jodi Rell to be nominated for VP by the GOP back in 2006, and continued to expect it right up until Sarah Palin in all her Caribou-Barbie (thanks Smittywife!) glory got the nod. Rell actually deserves a place on the national stage, an intelligent Republican woman and quite popular in her Democratic state. I hope and expect to hear more from her in the future. Anyway, in CT-4, Chris Shays, the last House Republican in New England, will somehow manage to hang on, just barely. But he'll run for Chris Dodd's Senate seat in 2010 and the district will go to the Dems.
Delaware: Jack Markell (D) defeats Bill Lee for governor. And somebody has to get appointed to Joe Biden's Senate seat. I won't guess at who, but there is a chance, I suppose, that Biden might manage to convince GOP Congressman Michael Castle to switch parties and accept the appointment. I doubt it though. Castle will probably defeat whoever does get the appointment in the 2010 election.
Washington, DC: No surprises here.
Illinois: In IL-10, Dan Seals (D) will unseat Mark Steven Kirk in his second try. IL-11 is a toughie; Debbie Halvorson (D) should defeat Marty Ozinga for the seat, but she is tied to the unpopular (widely suspected of corruption, as if such a thing could occur in Illinois or, heaven forbid, Chicago) governor. Plus Ozinga has that cool last name going for him. I'm going say IL-11 will go to Marty Ozinga in a very tight race. In IL-14, Bill Foster (D) will hold the seat against Jim Oberweis. In IL-18, Aaron Schock (R) will defeat Colleen Callahan to become the youngest Congressman (at 27). As a caveat to the above, Democrats expect to flip at least two Illinois House seats on Obama's coattails, with IL-10 and IL-11 their top targets. I can see that in IL-10, which is going to go huge for Obama, but Dems would do well not to forget their late leader Tip O'Neill's injunction that all politics is local. It's not, always, but in this case I think voters are going to peg Halvorson as part of the problem in Springfield and deny her the promotion she's seeking.
Maryland: In MD-1, Frank Kratovil (D) will defeat Andy Harris. Harris knocked off the incumbent in the GOP primary, and the incumbent turned around and endorsed Kratovil. If Kratovil does win, the GOP is going to hold an inquest and burn the Club for Growth at the stake; we can only hope.
Massachusetts: No surprises. John Kerry will win another Senate term for some reason, mainly because the state GOP is actually dwarfed by both the Libertarian and Green parties. I just made that up but it sounds plausible, which is scary. You might suspect that eventually, what the Democrats in control of everything in Massachusetts, eventually the people will get sick of it and vote in a Republican just to be contrarian (channeling favorite son John Adams perhaps). Won't be this year, though.
New Jersey: Frank Lautenberg (D) will hold on to his Senate seat. The real reason the Senate is the "deliberative" body is because all the octogenarians (Lautenberg is 82) move and talk so slowly. I'm kinda pleased about the 27-year-old Congressman (even if he is a Republican, and thus probably a prick), but could we maybe elect a few Senators who were at least in their 40s? Anyway, NJ-3 will go to Democrat John Adler over Chris Myers, and in NJ-7 Democrat Linda Stender will defeat Leonard Lance.
Maine: Susan Collins (R) holds her Senate seat. In ME-1, Chellie Pingree (D) will defeat Charlie Summers.
Florida: Oh God. What will go wrong in Florida this year? Something, I'm sure. I expect Floridians will pass the "defense of marriage" act by a narrow margin, for starters. I think the state will go to John McCain, too, but narrowly, by like half a percent. Won't be called until after nine. There will be recounts in several counties, possibly Hillsborough among them. Not everything will go wrong, though. I do hope in Hillsborough County that Phyllis Busansky will defeat Buddy Johnson for elections supervisor. I am even more hopeful that Bev Harris will defeat the disgusting Doug Belden for tax collector. But it's Hillsborough, and both the idiots will probably be re-elected. Grr. The House should be interesting, though. Until very recently, Florida's retiree mentality extended to Congress, where the districts were so gerrymandered that once elected House members could expect to keep their jobs for 10 or 20 terms until they died in office or were too feeble to continue on; that still goes on in some places, but this year incumbents are going to get the boot. In FL-8, Ric Keller, one of those few Republicans I still trust, will nonetheless be defeated by Alan Grayson. In FL-13, Vern Buchanan (R) will defeat Christine Jennings in their rematch; you may recall this one went on until January last time with Jennings claiming the machines in Sarasota County failed to register hundreds or thousands of votes. She was probably right and, if she'd won, she'd be a shoo-in for re-election. But I think voters will give Buchanan the benefit of the doubt this time... although that said he may be indicted before he can run again in 2010 for shady dealings at his (sound the horns of sarcasm) chain of car dealerships. In FL-16, Tom Rooney (R) (not Ed Rooney, my apologies) will defeat incumbent Tim Mahoney by better than 5%, possibly better than 10. FL-21 and FL-25 are represented by Cuban-American brothers Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart, both Republicans. Both are facing well-funded Cuban-American challengers with strong name ID, and both will be in the closest races they've ever run, as Cuban-American voters start focusing on the economy here at home and less on the Castro embargo. I expect at least one of them to lose; I'll put my chips on Raul Martinez to defeat Lincoln in FL-21, but Mario Diaz-Balart will cling to victory over Joe Garcia. Both of them are tossups so really I'm just flipping a coin here. In FL-22, Ron Klein (D) will easily defeat Allen West. In FL-24, crapulent jerk Tom Feeney (R) will finally get his due as he goes down to defeat against Suzanne Kosmas. That'll teach these bastards to draw districts for themselves when they're in the state House. Finally, in FL-12, incumbent Adam Putnam (R) will defeat Doug Tudor, probably by about 10. I could be wrong; a lot of my friends are fighting hard for Tudor, but the district is just so damn Republican. Also, Putnam will probably run for the Senate seat Mel Martinez is going to abandon in 2010. Putnam intends to run for President, and needs either a Senate term or time in the Governor's office, or both. I will be shocked if Martinez actually runs for re-election in 2010, and I fully expect Putnam to contest the seat, and possibly win. He'll have competition (Connie Mack IV, FL-14; Jeff Miller, FL-1; state house speaker Marco Rubio; Atty Gen Bill McCollum; state senator Jeff Atwater) in the primary but he could win it if the Dems put up a lousy candidate, which they generally do.
Pennsylvania: In PA-3, Kathy Dahlkemper (D) will defeat incumbent Phil English. In PA-10, incumbent Democrat Chris Carney will hang on against Chris Hackett. In PA-11, incumbent Democrat Paul Kanjorski should hang on against Lou Barletta, who is perhaps a bit too conservative for the district, but it's been a bad year for Kanjorski and he's been on the defensive a lot so it wouldn't be a big surprise if he lost. In PA-12, incumbent Democrat John Murtha is going down against Bill Russell. No matter how much you believe it to be true, you simply cannot call your constituents racists and get away with it. Note that if both Murtha and Kanjorski lose, Pennsylvania would probably be the only state in the country where the GOP actually nets seats.
New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen (D) will defeat John Sununu for his Senate seat, but she will do so unimpressively, by less than 6%, and she'll face a real fight in 2014. In NH-1, incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter will edge Jeb Bradley in their rematch.
Missouri: John McCain will narrowly carry Missouri. Jay Nixon (D) will be elected governor. Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes (D) will narrowly defeat Sam Graves in MO-6. In MO-9, Republican Blaine Leutkemeyer will defeat Judy Baker.
Arkansas: Nothing unusual here, although McCain will probably win by less than 10%.
North Carolina: Okay, these predictions are little better than coin flips at this point, this state is so close; since our local television stations also reach Asheville, we're getting all the advertising from all the races. Ugh. I'm going with Barack Obama, Kay Hagan (D) (Senate), and Pat McCrory (R) (Governor). In NC-8, it'll be Larry Kissell (D) over Robin Hayes by a nose. In NC-11, smelly jerk Pat McHenry (R) will defeat wounded veteran Daniel Johnson by claiming he read the Quran or something equally ridiculous. Really, McHenry is one of those I'd just like to be rid of. There are so many, in both parties. Why do these jerks get elected?
Arizona: Yes, John McCain is going to win his home state. Whether he does so in 2010 remains to be seen. In AZ-1, Ann Kirkpatrick (D) will defeat Sydney Hay. In AZ-3, GOP Incumbent John Shaddegg will hold on against Bob Lord. In AZ-5, Dem incumbent Harry Mitchell hangs on against Dave Schweikert. In AZ-8, I'm going to pick Republican Tim Bee over incumbent Gabrielle Giffords.
Colorado: Mark Udall (D) for the Senate in a landslide over Bob Schaffer. In CO-4, GOP incumbent Marilyn Musgrave scrapes by over Betsy Markey.
Louisiana: Mary Landrieu (D) holds her Senate seat against John Kennedy. In LA-4, they're holding the primary, because they delayed the scheduled primary for Hurricane Gustav. Networks may not cover it at all. The real election is December 6. In LA-6, incumbent Dem Don Cazayoux won a close race earlier this year to fill an open seat. He will not be re-elected, because he is facing two strong competitors, including former primary foe Michael Jackson (no, not that Michael Jackson) running as an independent. Jackson could easily win 20% of the vote, preventing Cazayoux or GOP competitor Bill Cassidy from breaking 50%. Cazayoux could win a runoff, but it's tough to say; there will be a runoff in LA-6 though. And finally we have LA-2, home of rotten blight Bill Jefferson, the man with the money in the freezer and the biggest embarrassment to the Democratic party currently in office (not that there aren't others). Jefferson will actually be re-elected again, like last time mainly because of race; his only real opponent, fellow democrat Helena Morena, is white, in a district that is nearly 2/3 black. Race does play a role in Louisiana politics and Moreno will not unseat Jefferson. The House of Representatives could refuse to seat him, though, and I wish they would... but I doubt it.
Michigan: In MI-7, GOP incumbent Tim Walberg is going down to challenger Mark Shauer. There's not much else going on. Chuck Todd notes that whatever happens in Michigan, state GOP director Saul Anuzis may run for chairman of the Republican National Committee, on a platform to move the GOP's center of power out of the South and away from the culture-warriors. I wish Mr. Anuzis well in what will be a difficult but very important quest.
Minnesota: I'd be a fool to even try to call the Senate election in Minnesota, and since I'm sure I'll be wrong whatever I say, I'm going to predict that Dean Barkley, of the Independence Party, will win, with about 38% of the vote. Minnesota does not require a runoff. In MN-6, Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) will relieve us of Michele Bachmann, thank goodness. In MN-3, I'm going to go along with the Barkley pick and say voters just want change, and they'll elect Ashwin Madia (D) over Erik Paulsen.
Nebraska: It would be a surprise in Nebraska if someone other than a Republican won something. There won't be any surprises in Nebraska.
New Mexico: Tom Udall in a landslide for the Senate over Steve Pearce. Martin Heinrich (D) over Darren White in NM-1. Ed Tinsley (R) over Harry Teague in NM-3.
New York: Oy vey. So many races. NY-29 has Eric Massa (D) over Randy Kuhl. NY-26 will see Chris Lee (R) over Alice Kryzan. And in NY-13 Mike McMahon (D) will win so big people won't remember the other guy's name (it's Stranriere or something).
Rhode Island: No surprises, Democrats walk.
South Dakota: The real race in SD is over a ballot initative about abortion, referred to as IM 11. It bans abortion in all cases except rape, incest, and to preserve the life of the mother (which as I once pointed out in a long post on the subject is so rare that we could assert it would never happen in a state as small as South Dakota). A similar but more restrictive measure failed in 2006; if this passes (I haven't seen polling, so I'm going to say IM 11 will fail), it sets up an immediate challenge to Roe v. Wade. Hm. Interesting, no?
Texas: The only interesting race in Texas is in TX-22, Tom DeLay's former seat, which went to Democrat Nick Lampson in 2006 because DeLay's stench was still on it (and the GOP picked an amazingly bad write-in candidate). Lampson's a good guy but the seat is going back to GOP; Pete Olson will win it.
Wisconsin: In WI-8, Steve Kagen (D) will hold his seat against John Gard.
Wyoming: Believe it or not there's a race in Wyoming for the open House seat. If the incumbent were running for re-election it would be an easy Dem pickup (the incumbent is an idiot) but as an open seat it will probably stay in GOP hands; Cynthia Lummis to win over Gary Trauner, but not by much.
Iowa: No terribly close races here, but with Obama winning the state in a landslide there could be an upset in IA-4. I still expect GOP incumbent Tom Latham to hold it against Becky Greenwald but we could get a surprise.
Kansas: In KS-2 I think Lynn Jenkins (R) will unseat Nancy Boyda.
Montana: What the heck, Democrats are going to win everything else on the ballot (governor, Senate, House), so Barack Obama will win Montana, too.
Nevada: I think Dina Titus (D) will knock of Jon Porter in NV-3; he's just not personable, and right now Nevadans are wishing they'd elected Titus governor in 2006 instead of scandal-prone Jim Gibbons. Nevada is going for Obama and the novelty of voting for a Democrat will probably extend down the ballot.
Utah: No surprises here.
California: CA-4 is a tossup; Democrat Charlie Brown could have beat the incumbent, so the incumbent retired and now Brown faces Tom McClintock, who moved up to the district just to run. McClintock is probably ahead. But I'm feeling generous because I watched the Peanuts Halloween special a few days ago and I want Charlie Brown to win. In CA-11, Dem incumbent Jerry McNerney will narrowly hold on to the seat he took from known jerk Richard Pombo in 2006 (his opponent is Dean Andal). The rest of the state holds no big surprises.
Hawai'i: Although reliably democratic at the Presidential level, Hawai'i does sometimes have interesting races down the ballot. Not this year, though.
Idaho: Actually there's a close house race here. The Senate race to succeed Larry Craig (he of the Minneapolis Airport bathroom incident) will go to Republican Jim Risch. But in ID-1, GOP incumbent Bill Sali has failed to endear himself to voters, and even got caught on tv heckling his opponent during a post-debate interview earlier this year. Sali is going down; Walt Minnick will become a one-term house member.
North Dakota: I'm inclined to give this state to John McCain, but who can tell? It's a tough state to poll. Still, it'll probably stay red, but don't go expecting North Dakota to always be reliable for the GOP the next few cycles.
Oregon: As much as I hate to do it, I predict Gordon Smith will lose his Senate seat to Dem challenger Jeff Merkeley. I like Gordon Smith; he has a very good last name, and he's a centrist like me. In a different reality, I could have called him "friend." Anyway, in OR-5, Kurt Schrader (D) will defeat Mike Erickson.
Washington: In WA-8, GOP incumbent Dave Reichert, long popular in the district, will hold on for the second time against Darcy Burner. He won't hold the seat for long as the demographics are trending the Dems' way, but he's well-liked by his constituents and hasn't given them any reason to fire him, which should allow him to ride out any wave. As for the governor's race... 129 votes separated Christine Gregoire (D) from Dino Rossi (R) in 2004. This race might be just as close. To Gregoire's shame she has done little in her term to convince voters that they made the right choice in 2004, so even though Barack Obama will win the state by 10+ points, I predict Dino Rossi will eke out the narrowest of victories.
And finally, at 0100 EST, tomorrow:
Alaska: Mark Begich (D) will oust felonious jerk Ted Stevens at long last, purging the Senate of one of its worst members. Meanwhile, Ethan Berkowitz (D) will defeat Don Young in the House. Furthermore, I predict these predictions won't be proven until the morning.
Well... That's a lot of predictions. 105 of them (or so, I may have miscounted). We'll see how it goes. Based on my numbers, the electoral college vote would be 344 to 194, for Obama. Polls start closing in Kentucky and Indiana in less than 3 hours, and coverage begins at 7. You still have time to vote if you haven't, and you'd better.