Democrats Face Uphill Battle in 2010

Talk of midterm elections show Democrats' fragile majority.

ByABC News
January 10, 2010, 6:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2010 — -- It's been a tough week for Democrats. First two Democratic senators, facing tough poll numbers at home, announced that they won't be running in the 2010 midterm elections, which in turn exposes those seats to Republican gains.

And this weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is under fire from Republicans who say he should step down after revelations that he made racially insensitive remarks about then candidate Obama's chances of winning the presidency as a "light-skinned" African American with "no Negro dialect."

Speaking today on "Fox News Sunday," Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele said Reid should go.

"There is this standard where the Democrats feel that they can say these things and they can apologize when it -- when it comes from the mouths of their own," Steele says. "But if it comes from anyone else, it's racism. ... Clearly, he is out of touch."

It's unclear what kind of political impact the remarks will have on Reid, but he's already struggling at home in Nevada where his poll numbers have been plummeting and his seat is at risk.

In 2009, Democrats enjoyed a filibuster-proof 60 vote majority in Congress that has allowed them to push forward with key Democratic issues including health care reform. But if they lose even one seat in this year's midterm elections, that power is dramatically diminished.

Democratic party leaders are poised for an uphill battle. Congressman Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says, "We recognize this is going to be a tough and challenging election cycle. The first midterm for new presidents historically has been a very tough time for the president's party and given the state of the economy, clearly there are challenges.

"But talk about the democrats losing control of the house or this being 1994 all over again are just a hallucination by some Republican friends," Hollen says. "That's just not going to happen."

The so-called Republican Revolution led by Newt Gingrich, which gave the GOP control of both the House and the Senate after sweeping victories nationwide, took place in 1994. But political analysts say it's too early to say how many seats the GOP will pick up this November -- but the Democrats are on the ropes.