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May 17, 2012 12:36 PM The Elderly Senate

By Jonathan Bernstein

The result of the Nebraska Senate primary was a real setback for those of us who want a younger Senate. The upset winner, Deb Fischer, was born in 1951, while Jon Bruning was born in 1969. That’s a big gap! Not only that, but in my view (and Nate Silver’s, for whatever that’s worth — he has a nice new Senate overview out) the chances of Bob Kerrey, b. 1943, have improved. I continue to believe that Kerrey is a lot weaker than a quick glance at his resume might suggest, but nonetheless it’s not as if he doesn’t know how to run a statewide campaign, which we’ve yet to see whether Fischer can. She’s the favorite at this point, and a GOP blowout is still very possible, but I think she’s less likely to win than Bruning was.

The next big swing primary, unless I’m missing one, is at the end of the month in Texas. The players? Frontrunner and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, b. 1945; Tea Party and Club-backed Ted Cruz, b. 1970; and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert, b. 1954. Any of them should have little trouble in November, although I suppose I would say that Cruz is slightly weaker than the other two…I’ve been talking about future GOP recruitment problems, but Texas is full of enormous Democratic failures at recruitment. Which is no surprise, since no Democrat has won here statewide for a long time. Anyway, that’s a 25 year gap between Dewhurst and Cruz, so I’ll be keeping my eye on it for that reason, if for no other.

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.
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