Back in February I wrote about how the Republicans weren’t likely to take back the Senate this cycle. In order to really come within striking distance of the Democrats’ 10-seat advantage, I wrote, they’ve have to not only hold all their own seats and take Delaware, North Dakota, Nevada, Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Indiana but they’d also have to win three of these four seats: New York, California, Wisconsin or Washington.
Three months and the landscape has shifted a bit. Back then Connecticut looked safe with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ahead in the polls by more than 20 points. But that race has now been thrown into the toss up column after the New York Times reported Blumenthal exaggerated his military service record. And today Washington State Senator Dino Rossi indicated he’ll challenge Washington State’s Patti Murray. Rossi is a strong candidate for the GOP. He’s known statewide from his two failed bids for the governor’s mansion in 2004 and 2008. In 2004 he was actually certified the winner before a hand recount proved Christine Gregoire the winner by 133 votes. On the other hand, he’ll face a primary challenge from former NFL player Clint Didier who last week won Sarah Palin’s endorsement.
These two developments inch the GOP closer to taking back the Senate but they’d still need to not only capture those two seats but also win either California — where Barbara Boxer leads all three of her potential GOP challengers in polls (the primary is June 8th); or New York or Wisconsin – which given the lack of strong candidates in either of those state isn’t looking too likely right now.