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The Senate Democratic Races of 2010

Citizens, your role in the 2008 elections is done. Electoral College delegates will go through the motions, and judges will administer the Oath of Office for new public officials, but you have no more choice in the matter. Your role now is to pay attention to what your elected officials are doing, and to think ahead to the next election.

In the case of Congress the next election will be in 2010. Every one of the hundreds of members of the House of Representatives will face re-election, but only one third of the hundred senators will do so. Fourteen of the current senators who will have re-election campaigns in 2010 are Democrats.

We have been keeping track of the significant legislative activities of these Senate Democrats, with a scorecard over at Progressive Patriots. Sorted according to their percentile scores, which show how often they’ve supported important progressive legislation, we get the following list:

The cream of the crop:

Patrick Leahy of Vermont 81
Russ Feingold of Wisconsin 81
Barbara Boxer of California 75
Christopher Dodd of Connecticut 75

Not great, but tolerable:

Barbara Mikulski of Maryland 56
Charles Schumer of New York 56
Ron Wyden of Oregon 56
Harry Reid of Nevada 50
Patty Murray of Washington 50

Disappointing Democrats:

Byron Dorgan of North Dakota 38
Daniel Inouye of Hawaii 38
Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas 31

Desperately Needing Primary Opponents:

Evan Bayh of Indiana 19
Ken Salazar of Colorado 13

There will also be U.S. Senate races for the seats in Delaware and Illinois, to fill the vacancies left by Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. We have yet to see the quality of their temporary replacements, much less whether they’ll actually be running for re-election in 2010. Now is the time, however, for progressive Democrats in the states of Colorado, Indiana, Hawaii, Arkansas and North Dakota to begin to organize challenges to their disappointing incumbents in the Senate.

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