What happens when two Udalls and a Shaffer (sic) walk into a bar…

Salon recently gathered a bunch of big brains to talk about how Democrats may expand their majority in the U.S. Senate by half a dozen seats — including the prospects of Mark Udall here in Colorado, and his cousin Tom, who’s running in New Mexico. The Colorado-specific portion appears after the jump.

The players:

• Thomas Schaller, author of the Salon piece

• Jennifer Duffy, senior editor of the Cook Political Report

• Nathan Gonzalez, political editor of the Rothenberg Political Report

• Amy Walter, editor of the Hotline

The New Mexico/Colorado track:

Schaller: Let’s fly down to the Rockies. There are Mormon cousins running in two Southwestern states. You’ve got representatives Mark and Tom Udall vying for the open seats respectively in Colorado and New Mexico, made available by the retirements of Wayne Allard and Pete Domenici. (Note: Mark Udall, from a long line of Mormons, was raised Presbyterian.) If I told you it’s Wednesday, Nov. 5, the day after the election, and there’s one Sen. Udall and one failed Udall candidate, who is the Sen. Udall most likely to win in those two states?

Duffy: That’s an easy one. That’d be Tom Udall in New Mexico. I moved that race today to leaning Democratic. The Republican, Congressmen Steve Pearce, really starts this race as the underdog and probably does not have the time or the means to catch up in an environment like this.

Walter: Totally agree. I would argue that it’s more likely than not that [both Udalls] end up serving together.

Gonzalez: The most likely scenario is that they both win. I think that Tom Udall is running a great campaign. His ads are particularly good in my opinion, but the only case I can make to, be the contrarian, [is] that because of the Democratic attacks and the amount of information they have against Bob Shaffer (sic), former congressman, who’s the Republican nominee in Colorado, I wonder if Steve Pearce has a better chance in New Mexico because he isn’t saddled with some of the baggage that Democrats are going after Shaffer (sic) with.

By the way, one of the funniest lines from the four-way exchange comes just after the Colorado/New Mexico discussion, when Schaller heads over to Idaho, which, he notes, "became interesting this year because of Larry Craig and his personal problems in the Minneapolis airport." 

Moving right along…