On the rude arch that spanned the flood
In the April breeze their flag unfurled
Here the embattled farmer stood
And fired the shot heard round the world
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
If Scott Brown wins the Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy, it means that any Republican can win at any time in any place. Such are the fortunes to which the Democratic Party has fallen under the ministrations of President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump will ramp up action on executive orders this week: reports French election: Le Pen, Macron will face off Congress must delay ObamaCare's health insurance tax immediately MORE.
But what it will do is bring good Republican candidates out of the woodwork to challenge incumbent Democrats who hold seats once thought to be unassailable.
Throughout the nation, the same pattern repeats itself: Democratic incumbents running in districts they had assumed to be safe but which are safe no more. But, again and again, there is no viable Republican who has, as yet, stepped up to challenge them. You can’t beat somebody with nobody. And the Republican Party has a candidate shortage.
As of this writing, there are no strong candidates to challenge Democratic Sens. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Healthcare: GOP healthcare talks stall | Ryan takes backset to Pence in new repeal effort | FDA nominee grilled over industry ties Senators battle over FDA nominee's financial ties FDA nominee won't commit to banning flavored e-cigarettes, cigars MORE (Wash.), Ron WydenRon WydenFive fights for Trump’s first year Wyden pushing to mandate 'basic cybersecurity' for Senate Consumer groups blast DHS head for seeking travelers' social media passwords MORE (Ore.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand Dems urge Trump to include Northeast Corridor tunnel project in infrastructure bill Dems petition FDA to ban potentially toxic chemical from shampoos, body wash Trump’s Army pick faces tough confirmation fight MORE (N.Y.), Evan Bayh (Ind.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.). Yet each of these senators is vulnerable. If Ted Kennedy’s seat can go Republican, so can theirs.
Right now, the Republicans will likely hold all their open Senate seats. Of the six seats held by retiring Republicans, only Missouri, Ohio and New Hampshire are really in play, and the GOP candidate in each of the three holds a strong lead.
Then there are five Democratic seats likely to fall to the Republicans.
* The Delaware seat vacated by Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren builds her brand with 2020 down the road AACR’s march on Washington Obama to attend Pittsburgh Steelers owner's funeral MORE will probably go to Mike Castle (R), the at-large congressman who has won 11 statewide races since 1980. Biden’s son, Beau Biden, has made noises about running, but he will probably read the handwriting on the wall and stay home.
* When Sen. Byron Dorgan (D) dropped out, he basically conceded his North Dakota seat to Gov. John HoevenJohn HoevenHeitkamp raises .6 million for reelection bid: report Combating opioid epidemic, repealing ObamaCare will hurt the cause Senate panel considers how to fund Trump’s T infrastructure package MORE, a highly popular Republican.
* Michael BennetMichael BennetDems knock Trump on Earth Day Dem pushed plan for both sides to admit to abusing Senate rules: report Senators aim to extend federal conservation fund MORE (D), the senator appointed to fill the Colorado seat held by Ken Salazar, faces a strong challenge from Jane Norton, the popular former lieutenant governor. She’ll probably win.
* Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) has defied her state one too many times when she voted for healthcare. She’ll pay the price in November.
* As will Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidWarren builds her brand with 2020 down the road 'Tuesday Group' turncoats must use recess to regroup on ObamaCare Dem senator says his party will restore 60-vote Supreme Court filibuster MORE (D-Nev.), who lags behind both of his possible opponents. With his son running for governor, Reid may not even run for fear of dragging his boy down with him. The family needs one of them to be in office. It’s how they make their money.
That brings the GOP to 45 seats.
Next are two races where the Republican has a good chance:
* In Pennsylvania, part-time Republican, part-time Democrat and full-time opportunist Sen. Arlen Specter is running for reelection in a primary against Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak. Don’t count on Specter staying in the race. And count on his losing the primary if he does. The Republican, Pat Toomey, should win the race in November easily against Specter, with more difficulty against Sestak.
* Obama’s Senate seat is up in Illinois and Mark KirkMark KirkThe way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump ObamaCare repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood Leaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood MORE, the Republican congressman who has taken the lead in pushing for vigorous sanctions against Iran, is tied with his potential Democratic rivals. We should pick up both seats. That’d be 47.
But then the Republican Party runs out of candidates. Anyone want a Senate seat? Gillibrand (or Harold Ford, if he wins the primary) will not be hard to defeat. Murray won with only 55 percent of the vote last time. Wyden attracted 63.4 percent. Bayh is from solidly Republican Indiana, and Feingold is too liberal for anyplace this side of Cuba.
Hopefully, the Brown race will kindle the fires of ambition in incipient candidates in these key states. They need to win at least three of the five to take control.
Morris, a former adviser to Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and President Bill ClintonBill ClintonLe Pen and the right wing hit a wall in French vote Bill Clinton jokes Clinton Center 'has been bugged' NYT: Comey distrusted Lynch on Clinton MORE, is the author of Outrage and Fleeced. To get all of his and Eileen McGann’s columns for free by e-mail or to order a signed copy of their new best-selling book, Catastrophe, go to dickmorris.com. In August, Morris became a strategist for the League of American Voters, which is running ads opposing the president’s healthcare reforms.
This column was updated on Jan. 20 at 1:25 p.m to correct the percentage of voters Wyden attracted in 2004.