Senate Back in Play: Washington, California Senate Seats Now Toss-Ups

By Jenny Schlesinger

Oct 21, 2010 6:14pm

ABC News' Amy Walter reports: The new firewall for Senate Democrats is the West Coast. New polls out this week show Senate races in California and Washington tightening. In Washington, a recent survey showed 18-year incumbent Democratic Sen. Patty Murray ahead of Republican Dino Rossi by just one point, 48-47 percent. While two new polls in California show Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), also elected in 1992, only slightly ahead and well under 50 percent.  As such, it shouldn’t come as much of surprise to see President Obama stumping for both candidates this week in an effort to turn out Democrats in these traditionally blue states. Meanwhile, the race for the open Alaska senate seat is looking more unsettled. New polling by CNN showed Republican Tea Party favorite Joe Miller tied with the woman he beat in the primary, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, at 37 percent. Democrat Scott McAdams is at 23 percent. Of course, polling a write-in candidate is very tough to do. That said, given the amount of money that outside groups and the National Republican Senate Campaign Committee are now pouring into this race on Miller’s behalf, it’s fair to assume that this race is tightening. But, for this seat to flip to Democratic control, McAdams needs Murkowski and Miller to aim their fire at each other which would allow him to fly under the radar. That’s not happening at this point, but the contours of this race are fluid enough to move this seat from Solid Republican into Lean Republican.  Bottom line: Democrats now have 11 seats in serious jeopardy (either Toss-Up or leaning Republican). Republicans have just one seat in Toss-Up (KY) and none that lean Democratic.  The Math for Control: Of the 21 seats in the Lean or Solid Republican category, four are currently held by Democrats (Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin, and North Dakota). If Republicans win those four seats and lose none of their own, they'd need to win all seven Democratic seats now in the Toss up column: Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This won’t be easy. New polling in Pennsylvania shows Democrat Joe Sestak closing the gap with Republican Pat Toomey and Democrats are feeling better about their prospects in West Virginia. If Republicans don’t win all seven, it would mean they’d need to win in states like Connecticut and Delaware. Both of these seats are currently listed as leaning Democratic.  

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