The West will be a major battleground for the two parties in the 2010 midterm elections. After years of Republican dominance in many states, Democrats made inroads since the start of the new century. This year, Democrats are playing defense, even in California. But, the Republican Party is involved in a major upheaval as several incumbents have lost primaries.
The following table displays twelve western states and the major midterm elections in each. The chart is divided by a northern tier that tends to be the most Republican, the southern tier the most competitive and the western tier the most Democratic.
Races of Interest
• Wyoming – Matt Mead (R) is frontrunner to be governor.
• Utah – Tea Party helped dump long-term Republican Senator Robert Bennett. Republicans dominate.
• Idaho – Democratic congressman Walt Minnick fighting for re-election. Republicans dominate.
• Alaska – In an upset, Lisa Murkowski loses her primary to Tea Party candidate who Sarah Palin endorsed, Joe Miller. Republicans dominate.
• Arizona – Jan Brewer (R) has strengthened her re-election with immigration legislation. John McCain’s primary win over anti-illegal immigration opponent shows limits of the issue. Three Democratic congressional seats rated toss-ups.
• Colorado – John Hickenlooper (D) is frontrunner for governor due to Republican scandals and infighting. Senate race should be close, expensive and negative. Plus one endangered Democratic Congresswoman, Betsy Markey.
• Nevada – Nevada governor likely Republican. Senate race close with Majority Leader Harry Reid burdened by Washington reputation, but Tea Party opponent making mistakes.
• New Mexico – Governor’s race is a toss-up. Parties’ nominated two women. A Democratic congressional seat in play.
• Oregon – Oregon’s governor race leans Democratic, but rated competitive. The senate incumbent appears safe.
• Washington – Senate incumbent Patty Murray in tough re-election battle.
• California – California Democrats’ hold on statewide offices is endangered. Both governor and senate races are rated toss-ups.