Thursday, September 22, 2016

Race of the Day- Vermont U.S. Senate

46 Days Until Election Day

Status: Democrat Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Blue State (East)

Outlook: Safe Democrat

While the Vermont Gubernatorial election may wind up being close, the U.S. Senate contest will not. It was clear in the state's Presidential primary, that Vermont Democrats thoroughly rejected Hillary Clinton, despite her front-runner status and she lost in a landslide to home state Senator Bernie Sanders, who is not even technically a Democrat. That just goes to show how overwhelmingly left-wing Vermont can be at the federal level. Clinton will carry the state in the general election at least and incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy, the most enduring political institution in his state's history, will win an eighth term in the U.S. Senate. If Democrats manage to win a Senate majority, not only will he take over the Judiciary Committee, and get to usher in new liberal judicial nominees, he will once again be third in line to the Presidency, by virtue of the position he would hold as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

In some ways, the 76 year old Leahy, an ardent fan of Batman and the Grateful Dead, is facing a nominally tougher opponent than he has in recent reelection efforts. Scott Milne, now 57, came from a very politically active Vermont family, but was a mostly unknown  businessman, with a State House loss under his belt, when in 2014, he came surprisingly close to getting the most votes for Governor against a Democrat incumbent assumed to be safe. The Republican appealed to the Democrat majority State Legislature to select him regardless under the state's constitution, but they did not do so and Milne began an effort to seek the Governorship again in 2016. Those plans changed though when the damaged incumbent decided to not seek reelection, and the incumbent GOP Lt. Governor was available for the race. Milne stepped aside as a Gubernatorial candidate but as a consolation prize, had the Republican U.S. Senate nomination to himself.

Despite his surprising showing in 2014, and having a significant number of supporters, the situation this year, against Leahy in a Senate race will be far different and not as apt to an unexpected result. Leahy will win easily, and with his name recognition now, Milne will probably look at a future state-level race.

Milne campaign link:

 Senate races predicted thus far:
  9 D (7 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
23 R (9 Safe, 5 Likely, 5 Leans, 4 Tossup)

Overall predicted thus far: 45 D, 53 R