Republicans have found a glimmer of hope for the 2010 elections and it’s all thanks to one man: Barack Obama. In assembling his high-powered Cabinet, the president has plucked rising Democratic stars out of several now-competitive races, the LA Times reports. Ken Salazar’s appointment throws his Colorado seat up for grabs, and grabbing Kathleen Sebelius has vastly reduced Democrats’ chances for Kansas’ open Senate seat.
Democrats have also been deprived of Vilsack/Grassely and Napolitano/McCain throwdowns, and, thanks to bungled gubernatorial appointments, face embarrassingly tough races in New York and Illinois. “A number of opportunities exist that weren’t there several months ago,” says one Republican spokesman. Of course, Republicans are still defending 19 of 36 Senate seats. “Overall, it's not good for Republicans," adds an analyst. "It's just a little bit less bad because of some of Obama's appointments."