Opinion

More GOP Senate gains in 2012, 2014 inevitable

Photo of Mark A. de Bernardo
Mark A. de Bernardo
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      Mark A. de Bernardo

      Mark A. de Bernardo is a Partner in the Washington, DC Region Office of Jackson Lewis, a preeminent labor and employment law firm with more than 650 employment lawyers in 46 offices.  He is a nationally recognized expert on workplace drug-testing and substance-abuse-prevention issues, and concentrates his practice in these areas.  He also represents employers on employment litigation and counseling, senior executive personnel actions, labor-management relations, legislative and regulatory issues, alternative dispute resolution, and management of employment-related class actions.
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      Mr. de Bernardo has testified more than 40 times before Congress and various federal and state regulatory agencies and legislative committees on employment and labor law issues.  He has submitted 11 amici curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court, and nearly 30 amici briefs overall to various courts on behalf of trade associations, business coalitions, and corporate clients.  He has provided legal representation to more than 30 Fortune 200 corporations; five federal executive branch agencies; the states of Kansas, Louisiana, and California; the governments of Japan, Spain, and the Bahamas; and nearly 20 national trade associations.
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      He was the founder (in 1989), and is the Executive Director of the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace, a national coalition dedicated to promoting and preserving the rights of employers and employees in effective substance-abuse-prevention programs, and is the founder (in 1995), and served as the President of the Foundation for Drug Education and Awareness.
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      Mr. de Bernardo is the author of four state drug-testing laws, and the only workplace drug-testing law endorsed by the President’s Commission on Model State Drug Laws.  Among the many clients he has represented on drug-testing issues are the National Basketball Association, the U.S. House of Representatives, and more than 20 <em>Fortune 200</em> corporations.
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      Mr. de Bernardo is the Practice Leader for the Jackson Lewis Practice Group on Drug Testing and Substance-Abuse Prevention, which includes nearly 15 lawyers in the Firm.
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      On the substance-abuse-prevention issue, Jackson Lewis drafts, reviews, and revises policies and attendant employer documents (including DOT-compliant policies); provides manager and supervisor training; designs and conducts employee education and awareness programs; represents employers in arbitration; litigates in defense of challenges to corporate policies and actions; negotiates collective bargaining agreement provisions; performs compliance audits; and advises employers on state and federal statutory and regulatory requirements.
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      He is the author or co-author of 18 books on employment and labor law topics, primarily on drug testing and substance-abuse prevention in the workplace, including the two-volume, 1220-page <em>Guide to State and Federal Drug-Testing Laws</em>, now in its 15th Edition.
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      He is a frequent speaker at conferences, and has appeared on the <em>Today Show</em>, <em>Good Morning America, Crossfire, Larry King Live</em>, and the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening news.  Mr. de Bernardo has been quoted in such publications as <em>Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, </em>and<em> The Washington Post</em>.
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      Mark is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell, and is listed among the best labor lawyers in Virginia by Chambers USA.
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      Mr. de Bernardo is active in a number of professional and community organizations.  He has served as Special Counsel for Domestic Policy and Director of Labor Law for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  He was appointed, and twice reappointed, by the Japanese government as the American management representative to the Japan Institute of Labour.  He is the founder (in 1998), and serves as Executive Director and President of the Council for Employment Law Equity.  He also has contributed a chapter to several ABA publications, and has been a guest lecturer at the U.S. Army War College, NYU, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, George Washington, American, and the University of Kansas.
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      Mark’s community activities include serving on the Board of Directors of the Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales.  He has been a member of the Gonzaga College High School Fathers’ Club, and has served on The Hunger Project’s Global Investment Committee, and on the executive committee of the Lido Civic and Community Club.
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      Mr. de Bernardo is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar, and has been active in the American Bar Association.
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      Mr. de Bernardo was awarded a B.A. <em>cum laude </em>from Marquette University in 1976, and a J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1979.
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      He, his wife Jennifer, and their sons Joseph, Matthew, and Jonathan reside in Vienna, Virginia.

The Democrats are in trouble in the United States Senate come November.

That is — November 6, 2012.

On that day, 21 Democratic Senate seats will be up for reelection, plus the two Independent Senate seats that caucus with the Democrats — Joe Lieberman (CT) and Bernie Sanders (VT). Only 10 Republican seats will be up for reelection. None of the 10 Republicans had a close race in 2006 (they were the fittest that survived handily in the reddest states in what was a disastrous year for Republicans), and none are considered vulnerable (although some are getting old and could conceivably retire). But does anyone really think that Thad Cochran (the oldest Republican up for reelection in 2012) retiring in Mississippi — if he did — would change that from being a red — really red — state?

The Republicans are not going to lose a single Republican Senate seat in 2010, and — at this early stage — the same seems to be true for 2012.

This is not about the economy, the legislative agenda, the president, or even who is running for president. It is about who is up, how many are up, what their parties are, how narrowly they got in, how long (or short) a time they have been in the Senate, and how vulnerable they will be.

In fact, things are also looking very good for Republicans in 2014, when 20 Democratic seats are up in the U.S. Senate, and the Republicans only have to defend 13 seats.

The Democrats did very well in 2006 and 2008, but — of course — more wins mean more seats to defend … and many of those seats will be held by first-termers who won very narrow victories, including many who won on President Obama’s very considerable coattails in 2008. The president’s current approval rating? An all-time low of 37 percent.

Moreover, in 2012 Democratic Senators Jeff Bingaman (NM) and Dianne Feinstein (CA) will be 79, Ben Nelson (NE) will be 71, and Bill Nelson (FL) will be 70. Sanders and Lieberman will be 71 and 70, respectively.

In 2006, Lieberman won with 49.7 percent of the vote, Claire McCaskill (D-MO) won with 49.6 percent of the vote, freshman Jon Tester (D-MT) won with 49.2 percent of the vote. Freshman Jim Webb (D-VA) won by 0.6 percent. Ben Nelson (NE) has a 42 percent approval rating after his badly mismanaged support for Obamacare (he had had the highest approval rating of any senator before that). Tom Carper (D-DE) has health problems and reportedly may not seek reelection. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Bob Casey, Jr. (D- PA) were all narrow winners in states that are now deeply troubled economically and will have had substantial Republican surges (and Democratic turnover) in 2010. Herb Kohl (D-WI) will be 67, and may face a challenge from very popular and high-profile Rep. Paul Ryan (D-WI) in a state that is suddenly and unexpectedly turning purple (just ask the soon-to-be-defeated three-term Senator Russ Feingold).

Already considered to be vulnerable Democrats in 2012 are Ben Nelson (NE) (Will he even run? Does the Democratic Party want him to?), McCaskill (MO), Webb (VA), Bill Nelson (FL), Brown (OH), Bingaman (NM), and Kent Conrad (ND). That’s seven. Add in Joe Lieberman in a possible three-way race. That’s eight.

  • johno413

    Given this administration’s demonstrated use of passing blame in an attempt to elevate their image, the GOP has its work cut out to make gains after this midterm, I think. Unless there is significant improvement in the issues causing such emotion today, all parties are at risk tomorrow (in two years). Gridlock will not help, and working towards change to only draw a final veto will not make the GOP look any better.