Steve Kornacki notes Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-ME) retirement was a huge gift to Democrats.
“A pickup in Maine would alter the playing field nationally, where Democrats can survive a net loss of three seats and still retain control of the chamber (if Obama is reelected, with Vice President Joe Biden breaking a 50-50 tie). The party is facing potential losses in Virginia, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico and elsewhere, with only two obvious pickup targets (Massachusetts and Nevada) — until now. If there is a second term for the Obama White House, Snowe may end up being a lot more helpful to it than she was in the first term.”
First Read says Snowe’s exit “gives Democrats a better than 50%-50% chance of holding the Senate in November. If Democrats win in Maine and Massachusetts, then they’ve moved the bar to Republicans needing to win five seats (if Obama loses) and six (if he wins). We can see how Republicans get to four (North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, and Missouri). And we can see how they maybe get to five (adding Virginia or Wisconsin or Ohio). But six? That would mean that Republicans would need to win in a New Mexico or a Florida or a Michigan.”