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2012 was supposed to be the year the Republicans regained the Senate.  Just a year ago, with the retirements of Democratic Senators in Hawaii, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin, and potentially vulnerable Democratic Senators in Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, Republicans were seen as the favorites to gain the four seats they needed to win back control of the Senate. Some pundits were even suggesting, as far back as two years ago, that Republicans were a lock to win the Senate in 2012.

Then, things happened.

Olympia Snowe retired in Maine. Republicans failed to recruit  top-quality candidates against Senators Bob Casey, Debbie Stabenow, and Joe Manchin. Republican candidates underwhelmed in states like Hawaii. Democrats scored major recruitment victories in all of the open seats they had to defend, as well as in Indiana and Massachusetts. Oh, and Republicans nominated candidates who stuck their feet in their mouth (Todd Akin, Pete Hoekstra, Richard Mourdock, and who could forget George Allen?).

Now, instead of being in the minority and facing near-impossible odds of gaining back the majority,  Democrats will enter the 2014 campaign with an even bigger majority then they had in 2012. Instead of looking to expand a majority, Republicans now must face an even steeper climb en route to a majority in 2014. They need to gain six seats - a feat which is rare outside of wave elections. Only 8 of the last 35 elections saw a swing of 6+ seats in the Senate: 1946, 1948, 1958, 1980, 1994, 2006, 2008, and 2010.

No doubt, the Republicans have a chance. In the wave election that was 2008, Democrats gained eight seats; only a handful of vulnerable Republican-held seats stayed in Republican hands. Those Senators elected in 2008 will now have to face re-election in 2014. If Republicans win every Senate seat in every state that Romney won in 2012, they will win the six seats they need. Put another way, Democrats need to win two seats in states that Romney won. Plus, historical precedent tells us that midterm elections are, in general, bad for the party that holds the White House.

There are a number of other factors which could affect things. In 2014, all of the Affordable Care Act will be in effect, and support for it will likely grow. Also, will the economy continue to rebound? Will each party do what they need to do in terms of recruitment? To what degree will OFA be more involved in 2014 than they were in 2010? The effort and resources that are put into various states will also depend, in part, on competitive races for Governor and Congress in those states; as I will explain in a later post, states like Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, and New Mexico might have some hotter-than-Hades races for Governor. Oh, and how many Republicans will come down with Foot-in-Mouth Disease?

I have taken the seats each Party will defend in 2014, and I have divided them into two groups: "Safe" and "Maybe." I use the word "maybe" because it is too early to tell whether there will be any significant chance of these seats flipping to the other party. Some of them will end up as toss-ups by November 2014; others will turn out to be duds. Counting the seats I list here as "safe," Republicans can count on 42 seats in the 114th Congress, while Democrats can count on 40. That would leave 18 seats that could go either way - but don't expect all of those seats to actually be very competitive. As the next year unfolds, it will be clear which seats will be hotly contested, and which ones will be safe.

Republican "safe" seats:
Alabama - Jeff Sessions - 1997
Jeff Sessions has had a relatively easy time getting elected and re-elected. That won't change.

Georgia - Saxby Chambliss - 2003
The primary here could be interesting, as Karen Handel may challenge Chambliss, who has renounced Grover Norquist's tax pledge. Still, Democrats' best hope is for the Republican nominee to be caught in a major scandal. And even then, said nominee may fare as well as David Vitter in Louisiana.

Idaho - Jim Risch - 2009
There's a joke about Idaho: "There's only one thing in Idaho: potatoes!" Actually, there are two things: potatoes and Republicans.

Mississippi - Thad Cochran - 1979
Cochran is the most senior Republican whose seat is up in 2014. Even if he does retire, expect the real battle to be in the Republican primary

Nebraska - Mike Johanns - 2009
Johanns is a popular former Governor who served in the Bush Administration.

Oklahoma - Jim Inhofe - 1994
This is Oklahoma. Enough said.

South Carolina - Lindsey Graham - 2003
Graham has made a name for himself as a Senator.

Tennessee - Lamar Alexander - 2003
Alexander is very popular, as is the Republican Party in Tennessee.

Texas - John Cornyn - 2003
Republicans do well statewide in Texas. Perhaps by 2020, Democrats will make a play for this seat and/or for the state's 38 electoral votes. But we're not there yet.

Wyoming - Mike Enzi - 1997
Even if Enzi retires, Republicans shouldn't have any trouble with this seat. Former Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) could make things interesting, but it's doubtful he would run.

Republican "Maybe" seats:
Kansas - Pat Roberts - 1997
Expect Roberts to be a lock if he runs for re-election. Otherwise, Democrats have two candidates who could make things interesting: Former governors Kathleen Sebelius and Mark Parkinson.

Kentucky - Mitch McConnell - 1985
McConnell, who squeaked into a fifth term in 2008, will be 72 in 2014, making it an uncertainty whether he will run again. Even if he does, Democrats may want to put up a serious challenge to him, if for no other reason than to avenge his actions during the Obama era. Word is that Ashlkey Judd is weighing a challenge to McConnell. Even if she doesn't, Rep. John Yarmuth, recently defeated Rep. Ben Chandler, and Gov. Steve Beshear would all be formidable contenders for Democrats in a state which, despite its Republican lean in presidential contests, has elected Democrats statewide.

Maine - Susan Collins - 1997
If Collins runs again - and if the Tea Party doesn't do to her what they did to Dick Lugar this year - she is a very good bet to win. Despite a wave election and a relatively strong challenge from Tom Allen, Democrats were unable to defeat Collins in 2008. If Collins follows Olympia Snowe into retirement, the Democrats have a golden opportunity here. Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree (the latter of whom ran against Collins in 2002 and succeeded Allen in 2008), along with former Governor John Baldacci, could have an excellent chance of winning this seat for Team Blue. They may also be interested in knocking off that state's conservative governor, Paul LePage (who himself could run for Senate, especially if Collins retires).

Democratic "safe" seats:
Delaware - Chris Coons - 2010
Coons was elected in 2010 to fill the remaining four years of Joe Biden's term. Expect Coons to cruise to re-election, just like Biden and Tom Carper.

Illinois - Dick Durbin - 1997
Senate Majority Whip Durbin was elected in 1996 and has yet to face a credible challenger in this Democratic-leaning state.

Minnesota - Al Franken - 2009
First-term Sen. Amy Klobuchar didn't garner significant opposition in 2012; there's little reason to think the better-known Franken will have a tougher race in 2014 than did Klobuchar in 2012.

Oregon - Jeff Merkley - 2009
Make no mistake: Oregon is a blue state. Obama won it handily twice, and Democrats have held the governorship since before I was born. Don't expect a high-profile challenge to Merkley; relative to other US Senate races, this certainly won't be low-hanging fruit for national Republicans. Moreover, the Republican bench here is thinner than a supermodel.

Rhode Island - Jack Reed - 1997
Jack Reed is a popular Senator who may be in line to succeed Carl Levin as Armed Services Chair if Levin retires. Reed was considered by some to be a potential running mate for Obama in 2008.

Democratic "maybe" seats:
Alaska - Mark Begich - 2009
Begich was elected in 2008 on the back of three things: A Democratic wave; Presidential turn-out; and discontent with incumbent Senator ted Stevens. Those latter two factors (and probably the third) won't benefit Begich this time. That makes him one of the incumbents most likely to face a tough challenge.

Arkansas - Mark Pryor - 2003
The son of another former Senator, Mark Pryor has been rather popular in Arkansas. In 2008, he didn't even garner a challenge. 2014 could be different for Pryor, now the only Democrat in the Arkansas congressional delegation. In 2010, Republicans knocked off Sen. Blanche Lincoln; they will hope to do the same with Pryor. Still, Pryor's popularity will give him better odds.

Colorado - Mark Udall - 2009
Udall is part of a very well known political family. The elections of Udall and his cousin, Tom, in 2008 were not foregone conclusions, especially since they were Republican-held seat. Still, Democrats have done rather well in Colorado in recent years. Not only did Obama win the state twice, but Democrats have won every Senate and gubernatorial race since 2004 - including hotly contested races for Governor and US Senate in 2010, of all years. Of the Democrats who could be vulnerable, the Udalls are probably most likely to hold on to their seats for another term.

Iowa - Tom Harkin - 1985
Both Harkin and the state's other Senator, Republican Chuck Grassley, have been fuxtures in Iowa politics since before I was born. Harkin won close races in 1984, 1990, 1996, and 2002, but he got more than 62% in 2008. If Harkin, then 75, runs again, he will be the prohibitive favorite. If he retires, however, expect a wide open race.  Potential Democratic candidates include Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; US Representatives Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley, each of whom have often done better in their districts than other Democrats; and Leonard Boswell, whose 'lucky streak' of winning close-fought races came to an end this year. Republican contenders could include Representatives Tom Latham and Steve King. Expect a lot of visits from 2016 contenders to this state.

Louisiana - Mary Landrieu - 1997
The Landrieu family is quite popular. Still, Landrieu hasn't had an easy time of it in her previous races. Republicans have a deep bench from which they can draw a challenger to Landrieu.

Massachusetts - John Kerry - 1985
If Kerry is still in the Senate (he is named as a possible Secretary of State or Defense in Obama's second term), and if he runs for a sixth term in 2014, he should be a lock. If Kerry joins the Administration or retires, Republicans will be clamoring for Scott Brown to get back in. If he does, he will be quite formidable. Even so, the state's entire Congressional delegation is Democratic, as is Gov. Deval Patrick (who some mention as a possibility for President in 2016).

Michigan - Carl Levin - 1979
What can I say about Levin? He's funny, he's dedicated, and I look up to him. Unfortunately, he will be 80 in 2014, so he may retire. If he does, Democrats have some possibilities, most notably Rep. Gary Peters. Other contenders include former Rep. Mark Schauer, outgoing Rep. Hansen Clarke (who may run for Peters's House seat if Peters himself runs for Senate), Rep.-elect Dan Kildee, and state Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. All of these individuals' names have also been bandied about as candidates for Governor in 2014. Furthermore, Democrats will hold a combined 24-8 majority of seats on statewide education boards (State Board of Ed, U-M Regent, etc). Of those individuals, Regent-elect Mark Bernstein is perhaps best known across the state. Republicans have a deeper bench, which might include Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, Attorney General Bill Schuette (who ran for the same seat in 1990), and Reps. Dan Benishek, Bill Huizenga, Justin Amash, and Tim Walberg.

Montana - Max Baucus - 1979
Democrats are coming off a banner year here. Other than losses in the Presidential and US House races, Democrats swept the other statewide contests in Montana. If Baucus retires, expect a wide-open race that could go either way. Sen. Jon Tester won a hard-fought re-electon race in 2012; expect outgoing Rep. Denny Rehberg, who lost to Tester, to have another go at it. Other candidates may include former US Rep. Rick Hill, who lost the 2012 governor's race in a heartbreaker; Rep.-elect Steve Daines; and former Governors Marc Racicot and Judy Martz. Brian Schweitzer, the populist Democrat who is stepping aside, may run if Baucus retires. Other candidates may include Auditor Monica Lindeen; Superintendent Denise Juneau; and Secretary of State Linda McCulloch.

New Hampshire - Jeanne Shaheen - 2009
New Hampshire is the only state whose entire Congressional delegation is female. Shaheen was the first Democrat to win a Senate race in New Hampshire since John Durkin's two-vote win in 1974. The state was won by Clinton twice, Bush in 2000, Kerry in 2004, and Obama twice. Democrats have won eight of the last nine governor's races in New Hampshire. In 2012, Democrats won both of New Hampshire's competitive congressional races. Either of the state's now-ousted members of Congress, Frank Guinta and Jeb Bradley, could make a run for Senate in 2014, though they may be interested in winning back their House seats. John Sununu, who beat Shaheen in 2002 and lost to her in 2008, might also want this seat back.

New Jersey - Frank Lautenberg - 2003
Lautenberg was first elected in 1982, retired in 2002, and came back in 2002 to replace scandal-plagued Robert Toricelli on the 2002 ballot. Don't be surprised if Lautenberg re-retires. Overall, New Jersey is a Democratic-leaning state; Democrats have won the state's Presidential electoral votes in each election since 1992, and not since 1972 have Republicans won a Senate race here. Still, this is the home of Chris Christie, and the state's House delegation in 2013-2014 will include six Democrats and six Republicans, any of who could run if Lautenberg retires.

New Mexico - Tom Udall - 2009
Udall is the other of the two Udall cousins who were elected in 2008. The state Tom Udall succeeded longtime Republican Sen. Pete Domenici, and just four years later, Democrats held the state's other US Senate seat, as Martin Heinrich easily won the right to succeed Sen. Jeff Bingaman. Given that Udall is now an incumbent, and given the state's growing Latino population, Republicans may not want to put too much effort into this race. Still, it is worth watching, since Bush won New Mexico in 2004 and Gov. Susana Martinez is a Republican.

North Carolina - Kay Hagan - 2009
Hagan won one of the most high-profile races in North Carolina in 2008, defeating Sen. Elizabeth Dole. Since the well-known Dole was unable to defeat a lesser-known Hagan in 2008, Hagan may be in good shape in 2014. Still, the state has a Republican lean. Romney won the state; the other Senator, Richard Burr, is a Republican; and they just elected their first Republican governor in 20 years.

South Dakota - Tim Johnson - 1997
Johnson famously survived a health scare in 2006 - a massive brain hemorrhage which left many Democrats on edge just weeks after Democrats won back control of the Senate in the 2006 elections. Johnson recovered and won 62% of the vote in 2008. Johnson will turn 68 just before his term expires, making it possible that he will decline a fourth term. Gov. Mike Rounds has already announced that he will run for this seat, but Johnson hasn't announced a decision. Regardless, this is poised to be one of the higher-profile races in 2014. Democrats' best hope may be Johnson, but if he retires, former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin could also make it a race.

Virginia - Mark Warner - 2009
Virginia has shifted Democratic in the past several years, starting with Warner's 2001 election as governor of Virginia and continuing with Tim Kaine's election as Governor in 2005; the elections of Jim Webb, Warner, and Kaine to the US Senate in 2006, 2008, and 2012, respectively; and Obama's wins in 2008 and 2012. Governor Bob McDonnell is known to have higher ambitions, many expected him to be on Romney's vice-presidential shortlist. Still, the popular Warner is in good shape in this state, and he  would start the 2014 campaign as a favorite.

West Virginia - Jay Rockefeller - 1985
Rockefeller has enjoyed relatively easy wins in his races, winning more than 60% of the vote. With the entrance of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito on the Republican side, and with Rockefeller's retirement a distinct possibility, that might change. Capito could capitalize on anti-Obama sentiment in West Virginia. It is worth remembering, however, that even as Republicans have been doing better in Presidential elections here, Democrats have dominated statewide races. winning the governorship in six of the last seven elections. The last time a Republican represented West Virginia in the Senate was 1958. Given this, it is possible that Capito may be the Tom Allen of 2014, Allen having been a Congressman from a small state who, despite his popularity, couldn't make much of a race against the popular incumbent.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We must not let our guard down, but we certainly (16+ / 0-)

    begin in a favorable position.

    "(We need) a government of the many, not a government of the money." - Nancy Pelosi

    by ScottyUrb on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:53:50 AM PST

  •  So, the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, docmidwest, akze29, DB55, JBraden

    "maybe" seats are 15D, 3R? (sounds about right to me. I don't disagree with any of your analysis.)

    How do you go from that to "favorable position"? Granted, gaining 6 seats in a single cycle is extremely difficult. But this is the worst Democratic exposure we've ever seen (the downside of kicking ass in 2008). Add to it the fact that midterms are seldom kind to the president's party, and we'll need to muster all of our resources to hold par.

    Grew a mustache and a mullet / Got a job at Chick-Fil-A

    by cardinal on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:02:20 AM PST

  •  Or to put it another way (7+ / 0-)
    Only 8 of the last 35 elections saw a swing of 6+ seats in the Senate: 1946, 1948, 1958, 1980, 1994, 2006, 2008, and 2010.
    make that 3 of the last 4!
    •  Exactly. Things are different now. Mr polarized.nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roadbed Guy

      Have a flagon and discuss the news of the day at the sign of the Green Dragon, or hear me roar on Twitter @MarkGreenFuture

      by Dracowyrm on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:25:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those three were (more or less) borne out of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBraden, Roadbed Guy

      frustration with the party holding the White House at the time:

      2006: People were angry at Bush over Iraq.

      2008: People were angry at Bush over the economy.

      2010: People were angry at Obama over the economy - which is improving. Oh, and Democrats were not enthusiastic that year. Even after this election, OFA has been working to change that.

      "(We need) a government of the many, not a government of the money." - Nancy Pelosi

      by ScottyUrb on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:12:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And you think people are going to be less (0+ / 0-)

        angry in two years?

        In any event I don't think people were all that angry over Iraq, methinks Katrina was the real eye opener that kinda exposed the entire Bush Presidency for what it was on multiple fronts.

        •  2014 will not see Democrats napping a la 2010 (0+ / 0-)

          OFA has learned its lesson.

          There will obviously be some anger on the conservative side, but while 2010 saw a lot of disillusionment toward Obama, people have woken up. They will not let what happen in 2010 happen again.

          Katrina definitely played a role in 2006, but Iraq was the focus of a lot of attention. Either way, people were dismayed at the overall incompetence of the Bush administration and saw a need to rectify that.

          "(We need) a government of the many, not a government of the money." - Nancy Pelosi

          by ScottyUrb on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:04:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hagan is toast (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    NC has swung sharply red since 2008, and now the governorship and state house are under R control.  Hagan has acted the part of the iconic Blue Dog and has done nothing to excite her base.  She's a goner.

    Probably only chance we have of winning that election is to primary her.

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

    by Brian A on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 11:24:46 AM PST

    •  Depends on her challenger. (12+ / 0-)

      I said the same thing about Claire McCaskill. Then the GOP went and nominated a lunatic.

    •  The state house was gerrymandered (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brian A, Cederico, Lujane, JBraden

      into oblivion. So R performance in seats doesn't mean their popular vote win was decisive in any way. And actually, I believe Democrats won the popular vote for the U.S. House from NC while only winning a small minority of seats. And Obama came within almost two points of winning the state -- not bad at all.

      Also, we could see a reaction among swing voters against Republicans in the state in 2014. There very well could be frustration with one-party rule.

      From my perspective, Hagan is in a tossup situation at worst. She's done a solid job so far, without controversy, and there isn't a strong bench to challenge her.

      •  No Strong Bench (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, 207wickedgood, JBraden

        Thats true actually, something I didnt think of.  While the Republican brand is pretty strong in NC right now, the actual party really isnt well organized or cohesive.  Maybe thats a byproduct of the extreme cultural differences in different parts of the state.

        "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." -The Buddha

        by Brian A on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:35:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most of the Potential Challengers (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, 207wickedgood, JBraden

          are going to be freshmen GOP Reps who just won this year with the highly gerrymander House map.  In fact the only congressman who might be viable would be Congresswoman Renee Elmers or Patrick McHenry...and neither of them are very imposing.

          GOP State Speaker Thom Tillis is her likely opponent as he has been gearing for a run.  A PPP poll this year however has Hagan leading him 46% to 34%.

      •  Great Points (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, metal prophet, itskevin, JBraden

        The "goner" comment is way off.  See my post below.

        Here is the gist:

        1) Hagan has 40% to 39% job approvals.  Not great, not bad.  She does lead a potential GOP challenger Thom Thinnis 46% to 34% in a matchup per a PPP poll earlier this year.

        2) Obama nearly won NC again losing only 48% to 50% after he basically didn't campaign in the state in the last two months.  Of course he won the state in 2008 50% to 49% when Hagan was winning in a landslide over Liz Dole.

        3) Gov. Bev Perdue horrible job ratings is why the Governorship went GOP after 5 straight wins by Democrats.  That doesn't mean that Democrats are weak statewide.

        4) Like you mentioned the GOP gerrymander was amazing and resulted in their gaining big control of the legislature along with the drag from Gov. Perdue.

        5) Of the 10 statewide offices on the ballot this year, Democrats won 7....they came this close to winning 8.  Democrats won the races for AG, SOS, Auditor, Treasurer, Ins Commissioner, Ag Commissioner and School Superintendent.   They lost of course the Governor's race, the super close race for Lt. Gov and the GOP incumbent Labor Comm Cherie Berry won re-election.

        That last point is key.  Even with Romney winning the state narrowly, Democratic candidates dominated the statewide races.  That would bode well for Hagen especially since most of the Democratic statewide winners fit her profile....white female.

        Hagan will face a tough challenge but she is even money ar worst right now.

    •  Totally Wrong (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, 207wickedgood, JBraden

      The latest poll of the state has her approvals tied at 40%.  She bests the only tested candidate Thom Thinnis 46% to 34%.   She is most assuredly not gone!

      North Carolina only barely went Romney 50% to 48% after going Obama 50% to 49% in 2008.  The state is home to a conservative leaning Democrat majority and has a solid base of minority voters which works to Democrats advantage.  Democrat may have lost the governorship this year due to the unpopularity of Gov. Bev Perdue, but they ended up winning contests for AG, SOS, Auditor, Treasurer, Ag Commissioner, Insurance Commissioner and School Superintendent.  A black female Democrat came this close to winning the open race for Lt. Gov.

      The best part is the Democrats who won are mostly white females like Sen. Hagen.  Apparently that is a winning profile for North Carolina Democrats and it works big time in Hagan's favor.  So again Hagan is an even money bet to retain her seat.  It will be very competitive of course but she is by no means a goner.

    •  On a statewide level.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBraden

      .....Democrats did pretty well and I think Hagan can garner more white votes than Obama did. The Democrats only lost the gubenatorial race because they ran a weak candidate who was the Lt. Gov. for an unpopular Governor.

  •  Da House is what matters - 4 years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, akze29

    of temper tantrums isn't going to help anyone.

    Especially since the Dems for whatever reason refuse to confront the GOP head-on.

    The next two years should be a concentrated discrediting process of the House GOP.

    Nothing is going to happen until that happens.

  •  Capito may not even win the Republican primary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, JBraden

    if Club for Growth fields their own challenger.   Capito being the Republican nominee will make West Virginia a tough race.

    South Dakota and Georgia could hinge on the Republican being extremely anti-choice(In SD, Rounds is very much like Berg or Mourdock there and in GA, Handel is very anti-choice).

    I think we'll lose seats in 2014, it just depends on various circumstances like a O'Donnell-type candidate, incumbent retirements, and unexpected Tea Party wins.   The national mood also matters.  If the Republicans stick to being anti-women and only for the Top 2% and act like they're acting now, the public could make it so the GOP loses seats in the House, and they may only gain a seat or two in the Senate(which could be offset if Collins retires and McConnell and/or Chambliss are Lugared)

    •  It's Not Guaranteed We'll Lose Seats (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, 207wickedgood

      Yes we have 7 seats in Red States which means there is potential trouble.  But many of those seats are held by relatively popular veteran Democrats.....Johnson (SD), Rockefeller (WV), Landrieu (LA), Pryor (AR) and Baucus (MT).  Only 2 of the 7 vulnerable red state seats (Hagen in NC, Begich in AK) are occupied by rookies.

      Here are the latest approval ratings for the Senators running in the 7 red states:

      WV - Rockefeller  47% to 41%

      SD - Johnson  47% to 41%

      LA - Landrieu  53%

      AR - Pryor  51% to 20%

      NC - Hagan 40% to 39%

      AK - Begich  57%

      MT - Baucus  37% to 54%

      All except Sen. Max Baucus have decent to good job approvals and Baucus has no real strong challenger on the horizon.  He also has plenty of money (3.1 million) already raised to scare off a strong opponent.

      •  Thanks for this info! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        207wickedgood

        Not bad approval ratings for incumbents. That said, when the 2014 election is in the history books, I expect that we will have lost one or two. (But you never know...!)

        "(We need) a government of the many, not a government of the money." - Nancy Pelosi

        by ScottyUrb on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:39:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Minnesota (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    Your argument on Franken isn't very good.  Klobuchar is more popular because all she does is smile and never, ever, under any circumstances take a position on anything more controversial than apple pie.  

    She also had a totally unknown totally clueless opponent and the state Republican Party was in total disarray.  That might not be true next time.  Hard to know now.  

    We'll see if Al follows the same totally risk averse course or if he ever stands up for any issue that will motivate the base in 2014.  

    •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      Agreed on Franken and Klobuchar.  Even though MN leans blue in Presidential years, Franken is potentially vulnerable, depending on the Republican candidate and relative strength of the parties in 2014.  I would say the same about Merkley in Oregon.  Neither Franken nor Merkley have the broad appeal of their states' respective senior Senators, Klobuchar and Wyden.  

      •  also (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane

        Diarist also omits any analysis of Durbin's possible retirement in IL, presumed interested by Booker in the NJ seat, a Republican primary fight for Capito in WV, and the possibility of a primary in MT between Baucus and Schweizer.

    •  Franken's biggests assets (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, akze29, 207wickedgood

      are
      1) Franken's dedication. His steady, head-down concentration on the work of being a Senator (contra the expectation that he would be a clown prince on the Senate floor or the Senate answer to Alan Grayson, neither of which has happened.) MN voters look for a certain level of competence and dedication at actually, you know, DOING THE JOB, and Franken has delivered.

      2) The state of the MN GOP.  They are (literally) a bankrupt gang with debts outweighing assets by 10 to 1 or better. Their current chair (Pat Shortridge) is stepping down as chair, since even a former senior lobbyist for ENRON (srsly!) could not do anything with this disaster of a state party.
            In the GOP primary last Spring, Santorum won, Romney finished 2nd (beginning the Sweater Vest boomlet) and Ron Paul came in 3rd at about 24%. On the other hand the Paul-ites followed all the party rules and out-sat all their opponents at the county, district and state level, so of the 40 delegates MN sent to the GOP convention in Tampa, 36 (!) of them were pledged to Ron Paul.
           The Paul-ites are the ones who nominated one of their own (Kurt Bills) to run a hopeless/hapless campaign against Klobuchar. But with Shortridge leaving they may want one of their own to be party chief.
            They also lost control of both houses of the legislature in November. Their elected Senate Minority Leader (Hahn) has serious ethics problems that are thick on the ground.

      3) The GOP bench is weak. They have lost all the statewide offices (governor, state treasurer, attorney general, secretary of state) the last 2 rounds running. Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty are the only 2 with any real statewide name recognition. Given the state of the GOP it is an open question whether a)either one could get the nomination and/or b)whether either one wants to campaign statewide with the rotted barrel of lutefisk that IS the MN GOP chained to their ankle.
           But if it's not Coleman or Pawlenty, then who?
           The 3 R congress critters are unlikely:
                Bachmann has profile but barely survived re-election and has been damn quiet since Nov. 6 (QUITE unlike her.) It's doubtful her brand of crazy would play well outside the environs of her 6th district (reddest in the state.)
                Kline is in his 5th term and rather enjoys his position on the House Education committee (where he can destroy American education on a national level). There he can remain his anonymous, if nasty, self.
                Paulson is only starting his 3rd term so he's green and has very little to show for his time in Congress. He DOES have a voting record that mirrors Bachmann's 94% of the time, which is something he has been able to finesse so far. In a high-profile, statewide campaign against a known opponent (the opposite of his campaign experience) he would be quickly exposed for the poseur that he is.

      So, when it comes to Franken's re-election campaign in 2014, I will ask about his opponents what I asked about Obama's opponents the last 24 months:
      "Who do they got??!!"

      1st rule of politics: You can't beat somebody with nobody.

      FWIW.

      Shalom.

      "God has given wine to gladden the hearts of people." Psalm 104:15

      by WineRev on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 02:17:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually Franken is Favored Per Polls (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, akze29, 207wickedgood, JBraden

      according the latest PPP polls of MN.  His job approval rating is 49% to 38%.  He leads potential opponents:

      Franken 55%, Bachmann 37%

      Franken 51%, Pawlenty 42%

      Franken 51%, Coleman 41%

      Franken has done a good job of improving his numbers statewide.  And Democrats are one a roll in MN.  Obama won the state 53% to 45%.  Sen. Klobuchar won massively 65% to 31%. Gov. Dayton sports an awesome 53% to 33% job approval rating.  Democrats won back big majorities in the state legistature.

      Democrats also hold all the statewide elected offices so there is no strong bench of GOP newcomers to pull from.

    •  If they couldn't recruit a top-notch candidate (0+ / 0-)

      against first-term Klobuchar, I wouldn't expect them to do so against Franken. They could find someone, but at this point, it's hard to see them posing a serious threat to Franken (who already had over $1 million on hand as of September 30).

      "(We need) a government of the many, not a government of the money." - Nancy Pelosi

      by ScottyUrb on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:32:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wouldn't be surprised if Democrats lost 3 seats, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, akze29, growingMajorityMN

    Alaska, NC, and Louisiana, with a shaky pick-up attempt in Maine.

    But 51-53 after 2014 leaves Democrats well positioned in 2016 to get close to 60.

    "A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere ". C. S. Lewis

    by TofG on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:30:13 PM PST

  •  Math -- Big swings are now the norm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, docmidwest, akze29

    Thank you for listing the elections with swings of 6 or more seats. The amazing thing is that you've drawn exactly the wrong conclusion. Swings are becoming so common they are now the norm. 3 of the last four elections, and 4 of the last eight. Based on recent history -- which seems far more relevant that what happened 50 years ago or even 150 years ago -- the odds of such a swing would seem to be between 50% and 75%.

    Don't count the chickens too soon. We have a huge task ahead, given that a bunch of those Democrats were elected in the Obama landslide. Obviously, we do well when he's on the ticket. We'll see if we can do better than we did when he was not on the ticket in 2010.

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:32:38 PM PST

    •  Six seats is certainly possible, but unlikely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FischFry

      As noted in a comment above, waves usually happen when people are unhappy with the party holding the White House - Bush in 2006 and 2008, Obama in 2010, and even Carter in 1980 and Clinton in 1994.

      For this reason, wave elections are still an aberration, not the norm. Unless things are as bad as they were in 2010, Republicans will need to rely on luck to get six seats in the Senate.

      I doubt we will see a repeat of 2010, however. The economy will almost certainly be better in 2014, and OFA has learned its lessons from 2010.

      We are still 23 months away, and anything is possible, which is why I agree that we will need all hands on deck.

      "(We need) a government of the many, not a government of the money." - Nancy Pelosi

      by ScottyUrb on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:21:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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