Winning control of the Senate is a stretch for the Democrats. They must hold onto all their contested seats, as well as two seats where Dems are retiring, and win six of the vulnerable Republican seats. Minnesota has a vacant Senate seat because Democrat Mark Dayton is retiring. There was going to be a contested Democratic primary in September, however Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar proved to be such an impressive candidate that all her main competitors withdrew and she 's likely to win this senate seat. Democrats target Republican incumbents in Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Emily 's List attendees heard from the Missouri senatorial candidate, State Auditor Claire McCaskill . She 's running a strong race to unseat the ill-named Jim Talent.
Ultimately the November 7th election will depend upon which Party gets out its base. Emily 's List will focus its get-out-the-vote resources on five states: Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This effort will not only help Emily 's list candidates in these states, such as Murphy in Pennsylvania, but it will also have a salutary affect on other key races. In Pennsylvania, there will be a spillover to the senate race where challenger Bob Casey, Jr., is favored to unseat radically conservative Republican Rick Santorum.
The second aspect of Emily 's sophisticated get-out-the-vote program is targeting women voters. One pollster noted that public support for President Bush and the Republican Party is rapidly declining. However, this does not automatically translate into support for Democrats, as voters are turned off on politicians, in general. Therefore, support for Dems is only marginally better than it is for Repugs.
In the 2006 race, the GOP will count on their base turning out in force, particularly the Christian Right. Democrats must mobilize their base whose turnout typically drops 12 to 18 percent in an off-year election. Emily 's List will particularly focus on the eleven races where they have sponsored a candidate. Using sophisticated demographic analysis, they will identify likely supporters, even when they are in overwhelming Republican districts. Emily 's List operatives tried out their new approach in the May 2nd Ohio primary. It produced a victory for Emily 's candidate, Betty Sutton, running in Ohio 's 13th Congressional district, considered a safe Democratic seat in the fall.