It's Never Too Soon
RCP's got some early handicapping on the '06 midterms. Here's an excerpt:
On the Senate side, the playing field of competitive races looks a bit smaller, but the names that pop out are more problematic for the Dems. The GOP will likely target first-termers Mark Dayton in Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, as well as Maria Cantwell in Washington and Bill Nelson in Florida.
Other potential problems for Democrats include Robert Byrd of West Virginia who will be 89 years old in 2006. Aside from the possibility that age (and health) could become an issue, should Byrd choose not to run Democrats would face defending an open seat in a Republican-trending state.
Also, the latest word is that Jon Corzine is "inclined" to run for Governor of New Jersey in 2005 which would leave another open seat for the Democrats, though they probably have an edge in keeping it in the Democratic-leaning Garden State.
Finally, keep your eye on Ben Nelson in Nebraska and Kent Conrad in North Dakota. Both are relatively popular Democratic Senators in deep-red states, which is exactly what Tom Daschle was - and we know how that turned out.
Seems somebody around here was looking at Nelson and Conrad last week. ;-)