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2010 Mid-term Elections

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The 2010 mid-term elections could be a make-or-break opportunity for President Obama’s agenda of change. 

With last week’s announcement that Democratic Senators Chris Dodd (CT) and Byron Dorgan (ND) will not seek reelection in November, some Democrats are increasingly concerned that they may not maintain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate after the mid-term elections.


Dodd’s decision not to seek reelection may have been expected by political pundits given his poor standing in the polls, but Dorgan’s announcement reportedly shocked many, including President Obama. 

Currently, in the Senate there are 40 Republicans, 58 Democrats, and 2 Independents who typically join with the Democrats on most votes thereby creating a 60-vote majority.

This 60-vote majority has been crucial in stopping filibusters by the Republicans – and in advancing health care reform in the Senate.  It also could be the only way to pass other White House / Democratic-supported measures in 2010.

Historically, the party in the White House typically loses a number of House and Senate seats in the first mid-term of a presidency. 

  • Republicans are defending 18 seats, 6 of which are open due to retirements.

  • Democrats are defending 19 seats, 5 of which are open.  New York has both a special election and a regularly-scheduled election, and Massachusetts will hold a special election in eight days – January 19 – to fill the late Democratic Senator Kennedy’s seat.  Also, Democratic seats vacated by President Obama in Illinois and Vice Present Biden in Delaware are up in 2010.

To get the inside story of what’s at stake, click HERE to view the SHRM-sponsored symposium focusing on the 2010 mid-term elections conducted last month in Washington.



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The next issue of HR Issues Update will be published on Friday, January 29, 2010.
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