Considering the beating that President Clinton's stimulus program is taking in the Senate, it's ironic that the White House may someday regard early 1993 as a golden age on Capitol Hill. But chances are that it will be all downhill for the Democrats, who now hold a 57-43 Senate edge. The most immediate threat is the potential loss of the Texas seat of Treasury Secretary Lloyd M. Bentsen, now held by appointed Senator Bob Krueger. The first-round primary will be held May 1 with a June runoff likely. But the real danger is the 1994 midterm election. Thirty-six seats will be up, and 22 of them are now held by Democrats, making Democratic losses likely.
Both parties have some serious vulnerabilities. To start with, John C. Danforth (R-Mo.) and appointee Harlan Mathews (D-Tenn.) have announced they won't run. Minnesota Republican David Durenberger hasn't announced his intentions, but his recent federal fraud indictment leaves him in limbo. And 75-year-old Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) may well retire. Eleven new senators were elected last fall, including five who beat incumbents.