Good helpers from across the spectrum have helped the Parlor update our rankings of the state Senate races. Let’s jump in and look at ten races that we are moving from the last time we updated the races.
- SD 4 moves from Toss Up to Lean GOP – Senate Majority Leader and three term incumbent Zeb Little (D) has a fight on his hands with Republican challenger Paul Bussman (R). Will Little’s new ad addressing his DUI help him in the stretch run?
- SD 6 from Safe DEM to Likely DEM – In a year where the markers are lining up the Republicans’ way, few seats are safe – to the point that Republican Jim Bonner’s chances look some more promising than before in his challenge against six-term Democratic Senator Roger Bedford.
- SD 7 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – Dems expected former legislator Jeff Enfinger to mount a strong challenge against freshman Republican Senator Paul Sanford. With Enfinger’s campaign facing tough questions about years-old financial irregularity, his odds looks longer. (Kudos to Flashpointblog who was sniffing out this issue from the get-go.)
- SD 8 from Likely DEM to Lean DEM – When has the GOP had this good of a shot at the Senate Democratic veteran Lowell Barron? The seven term Senator faces Republican Shad McGill.
- SD 9 from Lean GOP to Likely GOP – Outgoing Democrat Hinton Mitchem was a prime example of how the Dems held the state legislature so long in a state moving right; he was a deep-rooted incumbent holding fast against shifting political winds. He’s gone, and Republican Clay Scofield looks primed to win the seat against Democrat Tim Mitchell.
- SD 10 from Likely DEM to Toss Up – Democrat Larry Means is strong in his district, but the recent indictment gives Republican Phil Williams an opening.
- SD 13 from Lean GOP to Toss Up – This is the only district moving in the Democrats’ direction in the estimation of our contributors. Democrat Greg Varner faces former Senator (and former Democrat) Gerald Dial in a race for the seat being vacated by Democrat Kim Benefield.
- SD 21 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – Republican state Rep. Gerald Allen is giving four term Democratic Senator Phil Poole a strong challenge.
- SD 27 from Toss Up to Lean GOP – Eight term (!) Democratic incumbent Ted Little has his hands full with former Dem Tom Whatley in a year when it’s good to have the R next to the name.
- SD 30 from Lean DEM to Toss Up – Democrat Wendell Mitchell is in his seventh term, but Republican Bryan Taylor hopes to make it Mitchell’s last.
Here’s what the chart looks like (red indicates a move to the right, blue to the left):
|Alabama State Senate Races|
|Safe DEM||Likely DEM||Lean DEM||Toss Up||Lean GOP||Likely GOP||Safe GOP|
If this chart is our starting place, then the Republicans’ chances of ending the Democrats’ 136 year reign of controlling the Senate are looking better and better. The Democrats aren’t out of it by any means; if they win all the toss-ups and the ones on their side of the chart, that represents 17 of the 18 votes necessary to claim a majority. They certainly could get to 18 if they pick up one from the right side or perhaps get erstwhile Republican Harri Anne Smith to caucus with them if she wins re-election as an Independent.
But it sure is easier to see how it works out for the Republicans. For example if they win just two of the four listed here as toss-ups, they could even lose one from their side of the chart and still win the Senate.