Hutchison, Conrad, and Lieberman
In the last week, three Senate veterans announced their retirement after the 2012 elections – Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
Of these three, Conrad’s will cause the most stir – a Democrat hailing from a traditionally conservative/populist state, Conrad’s retirement makes North Dakota a prime target for the GOP. The Democratic bench is extremely thin there, so expect a crowded GOP primary. The winner there will likely serve in the Senate for decades to come.
Texas and Connecticut are also likely to have heated primaries – Hutchison’s seat already has several prominent Republican contenders, and Democrats angling for Lieberman’s seat have begun declaring their candidacies.
Assuming that John Ensign (R-NV) steps aside (given his general unpopularity) for Congressman Dean Heller (R- NV 1), right now the GOP is looking at 2 likely Senate pickups in 2012 – Nebraska and North Dakota. They need 4 to win outright control of the Senate.
Also, good luck to newly elected RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. He faces a difficult task in combating President Obama’s talented fundraising machine, which will raise in excess of one billion dollars in 2012, given the power of incumbency and a united Democratic base.