Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oregon U.S. Senate Race

Race of the Day

Oregon U.S. Senate

September 23, 2010
40 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2008 Presidential Result: Blue State (West)

Outlook: Likely Democrat

While Republicans are pushing hard to take the Governorship of Oregon for the first time since the 1980s, their hopes of scoring a Senate upset appear pretty dormant.

First elected to the U.S. Senate in a 1996 special election, Democrat Ron Wyden proclaims himself "different" than typical politicians, and that seems to have helped him solidify his political base in the Beaver State, which tends to be liberal leaning on social and environmental issues. Still though, some eyebrows were raised early this summer when a couple of polls showed Wyden's general election lead, surprisingly unsubstantial over his little known Republican opponent.

That GOP candidate is Jim Huffman, a professor and former university law school dean, who is making his first run for office. He was the easy winner in a crowded Republican primary field, but was not expected to present much of a hurdle for the incumbent.

It could be that an anticipated national wave on behalf of Republicans could keep Wyden's victory margin down, as voters could be apt to "send a message" to Washington D.C, especially in light of very poor economic conditions in Oregon. Most recently, the polls have shown Wyden moving further ahead and over 50 percent of the vote, while Huffman's numbers have not moved up very much.

In a more typical election year, Wyden could be counted to defeat this opponent by a landslide margin. He should still win comfortably, but the race could be expected to wind up closer than some would anticipate. Thankfully for the Senator, his opponent is not a top-tier challenger, and Republicans will be focused on more fertile Senate ground all over the country, including battleground races in the two neighboring states of Washington and California.

Huffman campaign link:

2010 U.S. Senate races predicted thus far: 8 D, 21 R
Predicted U.S. Senate Balance of Power thus far: 48 D, 44 R