Although everyone will be focusing on the presidential election come 2012, the battle for the majority in the Senate will be at least as interesting.
In 2011, a surprising number of Senators announced they would not run for re-election. The last was Senator Ben Nelson — the Nebraska Senator who was criticized, here and elsewhere, for shabby politicking in connection with the passage of the “health care reform” legislation. In all, seven Democratic Senators will be retiring, along with two Republicans. The retirement decisions make the current Democratic majority in the Senate particularly perilous, because Democrats are defending 23 seats this election cycle, compared to only 10 Republican seats that are up for challenge.
The Washington Post‘s political blog, The Fix, rates the most interesting 2012 Senate races, and one of its top 10 is incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown’s battle to win reelection against the apparent Republican challenger, State Treasurer Josh Mandel. Ohio is always a bellwether, and the race between Brown and Mandel may tell us a lot about which way the country is leaning.
One thing is certain: there will be a number of newcomers in the Senate in 2013. This will be a good thing, because the current Senate has been an embarrassing, inert body that has virtually no accomplishments to its name.