Thursday, August 17, 2006

Indiana U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

August 17, 2006
82 Days Until Election Day

Indiana U.S. Senate

Status: Republican Incumbent
2004 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

As he completes an unprecedented fifth term in the U.S. Senate from the Hoosier State,Republican Dick Lugar may no longer have Presidential ambitions, but he does remain very popular at home and influential in Washington D.C.

A reelection challenge always would have been considered a very tough task for a Democrat but none is even running. That comes after there was a couple days worth of internet buzz last year when an internal Democrat poll was leaked showing former CongressmanTim Roemer within striking distance of Lugar. However, that poll turned out to be a push poll, a survey tactic that is considered highly unreliable and certain to skew data in a particular direction. Roemer decided not to challenge Lugar and numerous other Democrats also decided to take a pass. Without a Democrat opposing him, the only obstacle to Lugar’s reelection is a candidate from the Libertarian Party.

In any event, Lugar is a completely safe bet for reelection. While Indiana has always been a reliably Republican state, the state’s other Senator, Evan Bayh, is a Democrat with a history of easy elections in the state and somebody who has national ambitions of his own. Thus, it has to be considered somewhat unusual that a state party that has elected a U.S. Senator would not even take a chance of running anyone against the other Senator.

Perhaps this is a tactic that Indiana Democrats wish to utilize in the hope that epublicans will not feel as motivated to go vote and thus a favorable effect for them may be had on the four U.S. House seats (three of which are currently held by Republicans), that are competitive in the state. However, the popular Lugar will also be freer to hit the campaign trail to try to help those GOP House candidates.

The end result to all this is that Dick Lugar will be headed back to Washington for another six years without so much as even needing to mount a campaign. That fact alone tends to fly in the face of DNC Chair Howard Dean’s so-called “50 State Strategy.”

Lugar campaign link:

2006 Senate races predicted thus far: 5 D, 2 R
Predicted post-election balance of power thus far: 32 D, 42 R