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Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
No, Jennifer, Sen. Jeff Merkley isn't going anywhere.
Jennifer Rubin, a week before the 2012 elections:
Romney rising, Obama overwhelmed

In sum, you have one camp where the message, the electorate and the news are all downers. On the other side, you have a positive message, new ad buys in the blue state of Minnesota and the potential for a huge turnout. Two campaigns, traveling in very different directions.

Keep that in mind as Jennifer Rubin writes about her super-optimistic chats with "GOP donors and operatives." You know, the same GOP donors and operatives who were convinced Mitt Romney was "rising" and Obama was "overwhelmed." All below the fold.

Donors and GOP insiders are pleased (ranging from relieved to delighted) with candidate quality, not only because there are no obvious clunkers such as Todd Akin but also because individual candidates such as North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and Monica Wehby in Oregon can impress crowds and donors alike while also being well received by the media.
The obvious clunkers like Akin didn't become obvious until the general election and its glaring spotlight began in earnest. "Legitimate rape" wasn't a thing until late August 2012. Tillis will likely prove a strong foe, but Wehby in Oregon? Incumbent Sen. Jeff Merkley will win by over 20 points. And he won't even need this to make that happen.
A medical child-abuse case brought by Multnomah County prosecutors accuses a Grants Pass woman of harming her children with unnecessary medical procedures, several of which were performed by pediatric neurosurgeon and U.S. Senate candidate Monica Wehby.
Accessory to child abuse? That's not pretty. In any case, back to Rubin.
Ed Gillespie in Virginia is a good example of a candidate who wins over donors and state activists who then are willing to take a chance on a race in which the Republican is still the clear underdog.
"Underdog" is an understatement. Gillespie is mired in the low-30s in a state that is no longer friendly to Republicans at the federal and statewide levels.
In the pleasant surprise category, Terri Lynn Land is proving to be an overachiever in Michigan.
Polling for the Republican Land in Michigan has been stuck in the high 30s to low 40s. In a Blue state, that's not anywhere she needs to be to actually have a shot this November. Not to mention, the lines are trending away from her despite millions spent by friendly conservative groups.
Likewise, Iowa may also be falling into the GOP’s lap. GOP insiders admit that they had largely written off the state. But Rep. Bruce Braley (D) is proving to be a problematic candidate
While undecideds are high in this race, Braley is hovering in the low 40s while his Republican opponents are in the 30s. Again, in a Blue-ish state, those numbers don't inspire confidence.
Finally, the Kentucky Senate general election will remain competitive, but Alison Lundergan Grimes is proving to be a less adept candidate, to both sides’ surprise
Utter fantasy land, given that Grimes is essentially neck-and-neck with the Senate Minority Leader in a Red State. Now Grimes' biggest challenge is the inverse of the above two situations: She's hovering in the low- to mid-40s in a state that is Red at the federal level. It'll be easier for McConnell to rally those undecided than it will be for Grimes. So yeah, she's got a tough challenge ahead, but it has nothing to do with her adeptness as a candidate, and more to do with her state's partisan lean.

There's also stuff in there about all that sweet, sweet Koch brother cash that is flooding the zone, though as we've seen the last two cycles, that money is being flushed down the drain.

It was telling, however, to see one name missing from Rubin's roundup: Scott Brown. It looks like even those hyper-optimistic insiders and donors have given up pretending New Hampshire will embrace that masshole carpetbagger.

Originally posted to kos on Mon May 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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