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First thing I'm going to say is, no, it's never too early. Now onto business.

Everyone is focused on the 2014 elections, and for good reason - they're happening in just a few months, and we have our work cut out for us. We have to hold at least two of the Endangered Seven (AK, AR, NC, WV, SD, MT, LA), or, failing that, take GA and/or KY to make up the deficit. I personally believe that we are in a good position to do so, and I wrote a detailed analysis as to why. But that is not the focus of this diary.

The focus of this diary is to look ahead to the 2016 Senate. Some things, even at this point, are certain. Others can be considered reasonably likely. This diary will attempt to discern some of these things and paint a picture for what things are going to be like in two years.

*Note: This diary assumes that Hillary Clinton will be our nominee in 2016, for the sole reason being that she's the most likely person right now. You will not, under any circumstances, debate the 2016 presidential primary in this diary. Take that shit elsewhere.

Everyone here remembers 2010, likely with PTSD. Republicans took six seats in the general, and another one earlier in the year. It was a blowout of epic proportions. Well, that class is up for reelection in 2016 - a presidential year. 2016 is likely to see the entry of the Hillary Clinton juggernaut, who is currently polling well over 50% in several swing states and even appears competitive in deep-red states like Arkansas, Kentucky, and Georgia. Assuming the polls are even reasonably accurate here, we could see quite a blowout in her favor. Such blowouts at the presidential level often translate to victories downballot.

But what's not as widely known is the history of this class. Class III has encountered the following election years: 1992, 1998, 2004, and 2010. Of these, only 1992 could be considered a Democratic wave year. 2004 could be considered a modest Republican wave - they picked up a net of four seats, all in the south or rural prairie states. 2010, as mentioned, was their best year since 1994, which this class did not experience.

So let me repeat: This class of senators has not seen a Democratic wave election since 1992.

As a consequence, there are 10 Democrats and 23 Republicans who will be running for office in 2016. Of the ten Democrats, eight are in 100% safe seats: WA, OR, CA, MD, NY, VT, CT, and HI. The two left are in Dem-trending states: NV and CO. Both are in swing states that Hillary Clinton will target. This means we will be almost completely on offense in this cycle, with very little need to play defense - particularly in a presidential year with presidential level turnout. (Note: The one person who could make NV-Sen competitive, Gov Brian Sandoval, has not expressed any interest. This analysis assumes he does not run.)

Of the 24 Republicans, 4 are completely, 100% safe, no questions asked: AL, OK, KS, and SC.

Of the remaining 20 Republicans, 9 are very likely to be safe, barring retirements or particularly strong candidates: AK, ID, UT, ND, SD, LA, AR, IN, and GA.

This leaves 11 Republicans whom we can target and expect a competitive race: AZ, IA, MO, FL, NC, PA, NH, OH, WI, IL, and KY. This diary will focus on these races.

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Arizona: Right now, McCain has the seat locked down. However, there have been warning signs that McCain will either retire or will lose in a primary. McCain is currently the least popular senator in the nation, and his favorables with Republicans are in the gutter. If a well-funded challenger smells blood, that challenger is very favored to knock McCain out of his seat.

Therefore, we can reasonably treat the seat as open. In 2012, in a fairly neutral environment nationwide, Richard Carmona ran against sitting congressman Jeff Flake in a dem-trending state. He lost by a mere 3%, 49/46. While Richard Carmona had some serious money to put the seat in play, Jeff Flake still outraised him by three million dollars. Should Carmona decide to run again, I believe he would have a very serious shot at taking the seat in a more favorable climate for Democrats. A preliminary rating of Lean or Tilt R is warranted.

Iowa: Iowa is another instance where a Republican incumbent is currently locking up a seat that could easily go our way otherwise. Ever since Obama's two victories in this state, Iowa has become one of our safest sources of electoral votes among the swing states. It's difficult to say that the state is Dem trending; rather, it's better to say that the state already has a slight lean towards Democrats at the federal level, particularly in presidential years. But Chuck Grassley is a long-term incumbent without any personal popularity issues. Should he decide to run again, the seat will start off as likely-R.

However, it's difficult to see Grassley running again. The man will be 83 in 2016, and I would say he's very unlikely to go on for another term. Thankfully, he decided to run again in 2010 when a victory in Iowa was all but impossible even in an open seat contest, and so will most likely leave the seat open in 2016.

Our bench in Iowa is pretty deep. We have several candidates who could easily take the seat in an open race. Former governors Chet Culver and Tom Vilsack would be our best chance at taking the seat. Republicans, on the other hand, do not have anyone besides the popular Tom Latham, who would put up a very good fight. But Latham chose to pass up the open seat this year when the environment will be more favorable to Republicans compared to 2016. Steve King, the only other "traditional" choice for a senate race, would be demolished just by repeating "cantaloupe calves" over and over on the airways. And should Governor Branstad win in 2014, as seems likely, it's unlikely he'd be willing to leave his governor's seat to run for the senate. I would start off an open-seat Iowa race as lean-D.

Missouri: Roy Blunt will most likely run for a second term. His position as an incumbent in a fairly red state means he'll start from a position of strength. But here's the ace up our sleeve: Jay Nixon. Nixon is a wildcard. He's already run for the Senate twice, losing both times. But since then, he's carved out a position as an incredibly popular figure in the state. Should he decide to run in a presidential year in which Hillary Clinton will probably be competitive in the state, he too will also be competitive. It's difficult to see us eliminating a Republican incumbent in a Republican-leaning state without him, so if he doesn't run, it'll start out as a lean-R race. But if he does, I'd be happy with any rating between tilt-R and tilt-D.

Florida: We'll most likely be facing Marco Rubio in 2016. The fact is, we have a very thin bench in Florida. Patrick Murphy is the only name that springs to mind when I consider who could challenge an incumbent senator in a red-tilting tossup state. However, Rubio is the poster child of how not to behave as a politician, and the seat will be competitive so long as we nominate someone capable of running a decent campaign and articulating a message suitable to Floridians. I'd start off a rating as tilt-R.

North Carolina: We'll most likely be facing Richard Burr, a relatively inoffensive incumbent first elected in 2004 and easily reelected in 2010. Given that NC is still a reddish state, I don't expect this seat to be among our top targets. However, 2008 has a recent parallel in which an incumbent Republican was defeated during a Democratic wave year. It is possible to defeat Burr, but it will likely require a solid candidate.

Our bench is spread pretty thin here. The Republican gerrymander of the state was brutal - it reduced NC's 7D-6R US House delegation after 2010 to a paltry 9R-4D, one of which we will be losing this year upon Mike McIntyre's retirement. I believe our best shot is Brad Miller, a former Congressman who was turfed out by the very same gerrymander. He's a solid Democrat, and apparently he even blogs here on DKos on occasion. Still, Burr's an incumbent in a reddish state, so I'd start this off at lean-R.

Pennsylvania: Pat Toomey's going to be in trouble in 2016. While he hasn't done as bad a job at moderating himself as Ron Johnson in Wisconsin (notably in pushing for the Manchin-Toomey amendment), he's still a very far-right politician in a fairly blue state. With turnout at presidential levels, Toomey's going to need to get lucky to survive this one. Our bench is deep in Pennsylvania, and we have several who could dispatch Toomey. Those who failed in the governor primary this year will be some of our top recruitment opportunities, but there's also Kathleen Kane and Matt Cartwright, the latter of whom is a solid progressive. I'd start off the race at lean-D.

New Hampshire: Kelly Ayotte is also likely to face a tough reelection. While New Hampshire is one of those weird New England states that loves to proclaim its independence and lack of partisan affiliation, the fact is, the state has been trending towards us ever since Kerry won it in 2004 despite Gore losing it in 2000. The Democratic party is on the ascendancy in the state, and it has several very good candidates who could take on Ayotte. A challenge from current uber-popular governor Maggie Hassan, who has drawn only token challenges for the governorship this year, would be our best candidate. Ayotte is from the Lindsay Graham, John McCain wing of the party with strong ties to hawkish foreign policy. That isn't going to play well in NH. A race against Hassan would start out at tilt-D in a presidential election - indeed, multiple polls have shown Ayotte vulnerable to a challenge from Hassan.

Ohio: Rob Portman's an interesting fellow. He's certainly done more than most of the class of 2010 to moderate his positions. He's even taken the rather extraordinary step of being the first Republican senator to endorse gay marriage. Unfortunately, we do not have a strong base in the state, and our strongest candidate, former governor Ted Strickland, has already decided against running (although, as with all things in politics, this may change). Given that Ohio is red-tilting, I'd put a Portman bid at lean-R.

But Portman's stance on gay marriage may prove fatal in a Republican primary. Should the Tea Party still be on the rise in 2016, he may face a challenge from 2012 senate candidate Josh Mandel, who was crushed by Sherrod Brown in that election. If that happens, the senate race moves to tilt-D.

Wisconsin: This is probably our strongest pickup opportunity outside of Illinois. Ron Johnson is a wealthy Tea Party fellow who was first elected in 2010 over the wonderful Russ Feingold. Since then, he does not seem to be aware that he comes from a blue-leaning state, and that his next election will coincide with presidential level turnout. He has done nothing to moderate his positions, and has largely been a reliable Tea Party vote in Washington.

We have several candidates who could easily defeat him, including fmr senator Russ Feingold and congressman Ron Kind. No, unless we screw the pooch on this one, Johnson is going to be a one-and-done senator. I'd start it off as lean-D until Feingold or, more likely, Ron Kind enters the race, at which time it'd go to likely-D.

Illinois: Illinois is a pretty deep-blue state, but it's filled with a corrupt and incompetent Democratic Party. As a result, Mark Kirk won an open seat race in 2010 for Obama's former seat. In 2016, we'll almost certainly take it back. Now, Kirk has done more than most at moderating his positions, but he's still to the right of even Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. There's just no room for a moderate Republican these days who could survive reelection in such a deep blue state during a presidential election.

Some of our best potential candidates include Lisa Madigan, IL Attorney General; Congresswoman, Iraq Veteran, and double amputee Tammy Duckworth; and even Michelle Obama. Any of these individuals would easily defeat Kirk. It would take a level of serious incompetence to lose this seat. I'd start it off at likely-D.

Kentucky: This seat's competitiveness hinges on several factors, the most important of which is whether Rand Paul decides to run for reelection. If he does, the seat is no longer competitive. If he instead chooses to run for the presidency as expected, he will be faced with a Kentucky law forbidding a candidate from running for both the senate and the presidency at the same time, and will have to give up his seat. The seat will therefore be open. Another factor is whether Hillary can pull in some of the old Demosaurs in eastern Kentucky. These people are socially conservative but fiscally populist ancestral Democrats. They drove both of Bill Clinton's victories in the state. Without them, we're not competitive in the state.

The biggest problem is our bench. We have a couple candidates, but so do Republicans. For our side, Lt Gov and former Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson looks like our best bet. Alternatively, former congressman Ben Chandler, a conservadem, could make the seat competitive. For their side, relatively inoffensive incumbent congressman Andy Barr would probably be favored. An open seat Senate election would start out as likely-R. One with Paul starts out as safe-R.

Some honorable mentions:

-Idaho might become competitive should Raul Labrador, a fire-breathing congressman, decide to run for the senate and primary out Mike Crapo, who recently achieved fame for driving while drunk. The state would be only marginally competitive, and we'd need a perfect candidate combined with a large wave to take the seat. For that, I'd recommend former one-term congressman Walt Minnick, who's about as conservative a Dem as they come, but who kept his loss in 2010 to within 10% despite the district being insanely conservative.

-Utah is a possibility if soon-to-be-former-congressman Jim Matheson chooses to run for senate instead of governor. Mike Lee is not particularly popular in his state, while Matheson has a knack for pulling off absurdly close races time and again.

-South Dakota could become competitive if John Thune chooses to make a surprise retirement. Former congressman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin would be very competitive here, and with presidential turnout and without a popular former governor like Mike Rounds running against her, she might be more willing to take the plunge.

-Louisiana is going to be an interesting case. David Vitter plans to run for the gubernatorial election in 2015, and is very favored to win. That leaves the seat open. Louisiana requires a special election to be held outside of the normally scheduled election, and so we're not likely to pick up the seat in a special. However, with presidential turnout in november, that might be a different story. We'd need a perfect candidate running a perfect campaign against an imperfect incumbent, however, which means the seat is only on the verge of competitiveness. Still, it's something to think about.

-Arkansas is an odd duck. While seemingly fast becoming one of many southern states where Democrats survive only through the power of incumbency, Hillary Clinton is polling quite well in the state. We have a deep bench, as well. If governor Mike Beebe chooses to run, he'd make the seat very competitive, although it's doubtful he'll choose to do that given his age. Two former congressman turfed out in 2010 also hold potential: Vic Snyder and Marion Berry. However, defeating an inoffensive incumbent Republican in a state as red as Arkansas seems like a tough sell. We'll know more about how competitive the state is after 2014 - we're currently competing for both the governors and senate races and we also have two very competitive congressional elections in AR-02 and AR-04. If we run the gamut on those, we'll be able to say that Arkansas Democrats aren't as dead as previously thought.

-Indiana is an ancestrally Republican state, but it's open to Democrats as well. Current senator Dan Coats is making strong indications that he's going to retire in 2016, paving the way for an open seat race. Now, we don't have a huge bench here, but we still have some candidates who could give it a run for their money, including former senator Evan Bayh. Sadly, it looks like Bayh wants the governorship instead of the senate seat, but we won't know what's really on his mind till he announces for one or the other. With Bayh, this instantly becomes a dem-favored race and one of our top pickup opportunities.

-Georgia's Johnny Isakson may hang up his hat in 2016 rather than face a Georgia that is rapidly becoming blue. He'll be almost 72 in November of that year, after all. Should Michelle Nunn lose this year, she could go in for a rematch in an open seat in 2016 and be very favored to win. Jason Carter may also turn a losing gubernatorial bid this year into a winning senate bid in 2016. John Barrow, another conservadem of the Jim Matheson "I can survive anything" mold, would also be very competitive. Still, Isakson isn't a bad incumbent, he isn't likely to be primaried, and if he runs, he's definitely very favored to win.

Summary:

My current projections for 2014 are a 53/47 Democratic senate. Going into 2016 with those numbers, we'll need an additional seven seats to take a filibuster-proof majority. We're currently favored to pick up four seats that cycle: IA (presuming a Grassley retirement is likely), WI, PA, and IL. Thus, we must flip three more seats. Take your pick among the many potential targets I've outlined. With good candidates, a strong national ticket, and presidential turnout, I'd say we stand a solid chance at coming into 2016 with the same kind of crushing majority that Obama had in 2008.

Originally posted to Le Champignon on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Joe Sestak will be the Dem in PA, and he'll win (9+ / 0-)

    great diary, thanks.

    Take the fight to them. Don't let them bring it to you. - Harry S Truman

    by jgoodfri on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:20:43 AM PDT

  •  Minnick? (0+ / 0-)

    You would recommend that Walt Minnick run in Idaho.  Seriously?
    In his last House race when Labrador trounced him Minnick couldn't even bring himself to say whether he would vote for Nancy Pelosi.  I understand the need to have a majority but Minnick didn't support most major pieces of Obama's agenda when he was in the House.  His voting record was as conservative as Idaho's Republican House member Mike Simpson.  Why would we encourage him to run?

    •  That's not true (8+ / 0-)

      He voted with us 72% of the time, including key pieces of contested legislation like the Lily Ledbetter Act and the DADT repeal act that were absolutely not supported in his district.

      The question is, do you want someone who'll vote for us 70% of the time, or someone who'll vote for us 0% of the time? It's a worthy goal. And people who become senators tend to mellow out and become more left wing. Take a look at Kirsten Gillibrand for instance.

      This is Idaho, probably the third most conservative state in America. Walt Minnick is the best we'll get.

    •  Minnick won't be the 60th Dem Senator (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex, JackND

      But he could be the 61st or beyond.

      I'd take him under those terms, since if he was one of 60, he would actually hurt us by joining in filibusters against his own party (Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad and a couple of others are the ones who really cost us our supermajority in 2010, since their failure to back their own party gave the impression that ALL of the Democrats were uninterested in changing the same-old. We had a filibuster-proof majority, and failed to do anything with it!)

      But as a step toward eliminating the Republican party entirely, he'd be good. Certainly better than any Republican.

      "The law, in its majestic equality, allows the poor as well as the rich to donate unlimited funds to the politicians of their choice." ---attributed to Anatole France

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:07:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Given his district (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      amyzex

      - he voted more then enough (may be too much, hence he couldn't be reelected in 2010) with the party. No one more liberal will get elected there in foreseable future. So, the question is - whether you get a candidate, who sometimes votes with Democrats on some issues or you get.. Labrador. No one will elect a semblance of "progressive" there..

  •  T and R (2+ / 0-)

    Thanks.

    And thanks for the 2014 prediction. I like it.

    Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

    by pucklady on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:35:25 AM PDT

    •  I live in Neo-Con world... (0+ / 0-)

      But have too many debts (like mortgage) to escape. To leave, one needs to get what the HOA demands property sell for. I live in Wyoming, but with the politics surrounding me, it's to far on the right! Even though he is pretty far to the right, my senator (Mike Enzi) is facing challenge from his RIGHT if that's even possible, this guy, Thomas Blemming, says everyone should smoke pot, even children! Gay marriage is fine with him (because everyone should suffer like he did). He has Gadsden flags on his Facebook page, signs claiming democrats want to welcome illegal immigrants with all kinds of social welfare just to name a few. Anyone want a great property right on a popular fishing river, water rights, fenced on 6.5 acres? All serious buyers can reply!

  •  you really think (6+ / 1-)

    the senate will be 53/47 after the midterms?  That is quite optimistic given that we are pretty much guaranteed to lose   SD, MT, and WV, and AK, LA, AR, and NC look no better than 50-50 at this point.  KY and GA are possibilities but I wouldn't think we're better than 50-50 there either.  I would be happy to just keep 50 seats after 2014.

    •  Well.. (7+ / 0-)

      I think AR is more like 65/35 at this point. Pryor has had a massive string of good polls lately, a few of them even showing him up by double digits. The general consensus is that Pryor is definitely favored, although to what degree depends on the person you ask.

      I believe we're slight favorites in both KY and GA, and stand a very good chance of taking at least one. Republicans are only favored in SD, MT, WV, and narrowly NC as well. A lot of people suspect that NC will move into our column as time goes on, and Begich has been making some good ads in AK that really highlight his appeal. LA is something I'm starting to worry about, but before the shutdown and the Obamacare rollout last year, she was polling near 50%. I think she's still narrowly favored.

      I agree the balance of power could be 50-50 after the election, but the polls have shown us doing well in three of the Endangered Seven, and we've led or tied polls in GA and KY as well. All told, that yields a projection of 52/48 or 53/47. There's more about this in my 2014 diary (see the diary linked in my sig, which is admittedly a few months out of date), if you want to see where I'm coming from on all this.

      •  Maybe NC isn't so pessimistic? (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

        by pucklady on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 01:57:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wishful Thinking (5+ / 1-)

          GOP will control the Senate 51-47-2 after 2014.  I don't doubt that Dems can pick-up 6 seats in 2016, IF Hillary is the nominee and wins.  She is polling well now, but,...remember 2008.

          The GOP will win SD, WV, and MT for sure.  They will hold KY and GA.  They will likely win LA.  That means they need two more for control out of Ark, NC, IA, MI, Alaska.  I don't know what polls you've seen lately, but I've seen several polls out of Ark, NC, and IA that don't look good for Dems.  I expect the following:

          1.  Red State voters will come home by November - polls will get worse, not better.
          2.  These GOP candidates won't self destruct like 2010/12.
          3.  The VA scandal hurts in red states more than in blue states.
          4.  Iraq and the middle east is not going to get any better between now and November.
          5.  Obama isn't going to get any more popular between now and November.

          I'm not disputing anything you say about 2016, but I think the Dems will be under water in the Senate going into that election.  And, even if she is the nominee, Hillary proved with her book, and her "we were broke" TV gaffes last week, that she might not win as convincingly as you expect, if at all.

          •  See, that's just not what I'm seeing (4+ / 0-)

            There's zero evidence for most of this, especially the KY and GA prediction. SD, WV, and MT are doomed, but we're favored (to varying degrees) in five of the remaining six competitive states. That's what the polls say now. I'm not in the business of predicting how polls themselves will change. I'm in the business of looking at what the polls are saying now.

            Red state voters are going to come home ... for their incumbents. Just like they always have. Just like the polls are saying. Similar things happened in MT and MO in 2012. Incumbents are just plain hard to beat, which is the only reason why I'm rating OH, FL, NC, etc as Republican-favored. Open seats in those states during a projected Dem wave would yield easy Democratic pickups. But incumbents take a special effort - just like ours will.

            By the way, you should note that IA, MI, and lately AR have been diluted by pollsters with very poor track records. I'm not in the business of unskewing, but I am in the business of looking skeptically at polling firms who routinely blow race predictions - like the ones in those states.

            •  Just curious, but in the 2014 prediction, did you (0+ / 0-)

              make adjustments for low turn out in a midterm and also a non presidential election year?  Simply because this is likely and historically happens during a year like this.

              •  Yes, of course (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bailey2001

                If it weren't a midterm, we'd be very favored to win GA this year, for instance. As it is, I'm only willing to say that, if I had to make a bet, I'd say Nunn will win. But she's only a very narrow favorite right now.

                But I'm not at all convinced that there's a "midterm curse" for Democrats. In 2006, we won in a huge wave. In 2010, we didn't. That's not evidence of Democratic collapse in a midterm, but rather evidence that sometimes an election doesn't go your way. 2014 may just surprise us in terms of turnout.

            •  How is there zero evidence? (0+ / 0-)

              Nunn is losing most recent polls.  
              Most KY Polls have been toss ups with most undecideds being Republicans.
              Pryor did good in polls a month ago, but the past 2 weeks have been pretty bad for polls for him.

              33/D/M/NY-01/SSP&RRH: Tekzilla

              by Socks The Cat on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:12:09 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Le Champignon

              I can't comment on some of the states, but Pryor has been showing 10-15 point leads and occasionally above 50% in a series of polls, some of them from Right leaning polling orgs, some from moderate ones.  In KY, a race that we have been watching and donating to -- Grimes went from dead heats to being modestly ahead of McConnell and in several recent polls very near 50% despite millions spent against her by 527s orgs.  Begich will, I think, hold on as well -- Alaska is not all that "red" -- it is more self-interested, and that isn't always a bad thing.  I would be surprised if Begich didn't hold on.

              Just my thoughts.

          •  I am just uprating because I can not for the life (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            serendipityisabitch, cardinal

            of me figure out why this comment and the comment about were HR'd.

            We might disagree but HR should not be used here.

          •  If I were 10 million in the hole, I'd consider (0+ / 0-)

            myself "broke".

            I just don't get all the "gaff" accusations. There really was a right-wing conspiracy. She and Bill really were broke. And there really are 57 states (and territories, where a candidate has to campaign in, which is what Obama was talking about). Righties (and  you?) keep saying GAFF where there is no such thing.

            Yes, DailyKos DOES have puzzles! Visit us here Saturday nights @ 5:00 PDT (easier puzzles) and Sunday nights @ 5:00 PDT (more challenging) for a group solving. Even if you just pop in and comment while watching the fun, everybody is welcome. uid:21352

            by pucklady on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:17:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Except that (0+ / 0-)

            if you actually look at their finances, they WERE broke.  They owed millions more in legal bills than they had in assets.  That's the very definition of broke.  It has fascinated me that the media is so elitist that it thinks Americans are too stupid to understand that having more bills than assets is the essence of being broke. I don't consider that a gaffe - and for the record, I brought this up with our D and D group - which varies from scientists (he there) and professionals across retail, and warehousing -- and everyone understood what Hillary meant and was amused by the media attempting to make it a "thing."  I think that general reaction is why it died so quickly.  

    •  Republicans may have to fight for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      Mississippi of all places if McDaniels gets through.  IA may also stumble them with Ernst.

      Things this year could be far crazier than people expect.  Milton Wolfe could still shock Pat Roberts in KS of all things.

      Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
      Follow @tmservo433

      by Chris Reeves on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:13:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  uprated because it was HR'd and can not figure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serendipityisabitch

      out why

    •  I think We Win Senate 51-49 in 2014 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      buffie

      SD, MT, and WV are likely going to the Republicans and it is probably likely that KY and GA will tilt Republican as well, which means that Dems will need to win 3 of the 4 in AL, AR, LA, and NC.  And actually, I think we can do that, and even have an outside chance of taking all four.   All four Dems in these states are receiving my political donations and will continue through the fall.  While their votes/stands on the issues are way to the right of me, at this point, all I care about is them winning their seats and maintaining control of the Senate.

      "The quote on the Statue of Liberty doesn't say 'give me your english-speaking only, Christian-believing, heterosexual masses'

      by unapologeticliberal777 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:12:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      I strongly suspect that we will not lose NC or AR, I think LA is very competitive and I am fairly certain that in the end Alison Lundegren Grimes is going to beat Mitch McConnell.  They have thrown millions and millions at her already in every media form and she has held steady and slowly advanced.  Remember, she won the Secy of State for KY with something on the order of 70% of the vote against the GOPer.  I think 53 or even 54 is possible.  The pundits in major media are PAID to create a vision of the country moving Right, I honestly don't think it is moving anywhere much.  All politics is local.  

  •  hmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Le Champignon
    This class of senators has not seen a Democratic wave election since 1992.
    I think you mean 1986, I find it hard to call 1992 a wave in the senate (the Democrats failed to net any seats).

    "There are three basic types: the Wills, the Won'ts, and the Can'ts. The Wills accomplish everything, the Won'ts oppose everything, and the Can'ts won't try anything"

    by lordpet8 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:59:44 PM PDT

  •  I'm going to make a bold prediction - AZ:Sen 2016 (6+ / 0-)

    McCain won't retire, he's too crotchety to sit around in a rocking chair,  and his sense of self importance is too strong. He may get primaried out, you're right, he's very unpopular.

    But the above is not a bold prediction. This is: our Democratic Senate candidate in 2016 will be Gabrielle Giffords. She was strongly leaning toward a senate run in 2012 before being shot, it must still be on her mind as an unfinished goal.
    And talk about an upgrade!

    Good diary, tipped & rec'd.

    David Koch, a teacher and a Tea Partier sit down a table with a plate of a dozen cookies. Koch quickly stuffs 11 cookies in his pockets, leans to the bagger and says "watch out, the union thug will try to steal your cookie".

    by Dave in AZ on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:09:27 PM PDT

  •  Hillary is a doo doo head! (4+ / 0-)

    There. That is all anyone cares about...

    Seriously, as I say to the HilRox/HilSux discussions, let's kick some ass THIS YEAR before we worry too much about 2016.

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes! Progressive Blogging New York: Write Now NY Find me on Linkedin.

    by mole333 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:09:54 PM PDT

  •  The one big question hanging over 2016 (3+ / 0-)

    Whither the GOP and the Tea Party?

    Will the GOP come to their senses and start moving, Beyoncé-style, "To the left, to the left," or are they going to keep galloping to the right?

    If the latter, they might lose winnable races in red states (see Mourdock, Richard).

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:40:05 PM PDT

  •  What about Alvin Brown in Florida? (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know much about him, but he won a long-time Republican held office in 2010.

  •  Watch this name: Jason Kander, Missouri (5+ / 0-)

    In 2016

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    War hero. Won in his state when Obama lost by 15.  Great speaker, young, energetic.  If he makes a senate run he'll be hard to beat

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
    Follow @tmservo433

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:16:10 PM PDT

  •  and now, to be realistically honest.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Notreadytobenice

    about Illinois: not so much deep-blue as people think. You must be from up north?
    Proof: Bill Brady came within a nose-hair of defeating Quinn, and Rauner is going to win the governorship.

    My opinion: Mark Kirk has just as much or better chance of retaining his seat than those others you mentioned do of winning. C'mon, Michelle Obama as Senator from Illinois? not gonna happen.

    •  Illinois is straightforward. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Notreadytobenice

      There are three political regions in Illinois.

      Cook County - the city of Chicago + some suburbs.  Reliably and deeply Democratic.  5M people.

      The 5 traditional Collar Counties - Lake, McHenry, DuPage, Kane, and Will.  Note that Dupage was once part of Cook County before they seceded.  3M people.  Reliably Republican, but an urban Republican.

      The other 96 counties.  "Downstate".  4M people.  Reliably Republican but a crazy Republican.

      Let's look at my ancestral county for an example.  This county voted 57-40 Keyes in an election when Obama won statewide by 70-27.  This county voted 67-31 McCain when Obama won statewide 62-37.  And this county voted 75-23 Romney when Obama won Statewide 58-41.  Downstate is different than the Collar Counties.  Keyes took no more than 33% in any collar county, McCain took not more than 46% in any collar county, and Romney carried one of the 5 collar counties with 53%.

      I hope to God Rauner loses.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:02:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for the stats (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        207wickedgood, Willinois

        and obviously as I stated, Illinois is NOT deep-blue. Cook County is the only reason Quinn won in 2010, and it's just not going to be repeated this year. His disapproval numbers combined with Rahm's numbers are just too low to lift the Dems.

        I'm downstate and people are energized here to vote R. Rauner is going to win, and the diarist's analysis is outdated by about 6- 8 years.

      •  Ill. statewide seems generally solid blue (esp. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Allen

        presidential elections), so I don't see how the math above is accurate:
        Chicago---5mD
        suburbs---3mR (moderate R?)
        dounstate---4mR (crazy R)

        Adds up to 7R 5D---which should mmake Illinois a red state.

        •  Lol yeah (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          James Allen, sacman701

          Cook: 5.3 mill, 75% Dem
          Burbs: 3.4 mill, 50% Dem
          Outstate: 4.2 mill, 45% Dem

          We don't even need central Chicago in a normal election. While there are plenty of crazies in the outstate, Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington, Springfield, Champaign and St. Louis burbs provide quite a few Dems.

          ME-01 (college) ID-01 (home) -4.75, -2.10

          by GoUBears on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 03:41:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Democrats have to shoot their own foot to lose. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Allen, GoUBears

      Quinn is in danger because he's pissing off core Democratic constituents like public employees and everyone else downstate.

      Kirk one in a fluke low turn-out year against a Democratic banker with a financial scandal.

      A generic liberal Democrat with no scandals who doesn't shoot her/himself in the foot will beat Kirk.

      Look at Dick Durbin. He's from downstate so he has a base of swing voters there. He's rarely does anything that pisses off the Democratic base. He'll cruise to re-election and probably get around 70%.

      That's all it takes for IL Democrats to win. Be a standard liberal Democrat, get at least a fair share of the suburban and downstate vote, and don't have any stupid scandals. Kirk will lose unless Democrats beat ourselves.

  •  Wonderful advance look n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice
  •  Your projection of a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Notreadytobenice

    53/47 Senate after the 2014 elections seems very...optimistic...to me. Right now, Democrats are trailing badly in three seats that Democrats are defending (SD, WV & MT). That would leave us with 52 seats, assuming there are no more losses. However, at least one more Democratic seat looks very iffy at this point (LA, where Landrieu's been polling behind her Republican opponent lately), and the Democrat is in extremely competitive races in two other current Democratic seats (NC & CO). Even if Democrats can overcome odds and take one of the two Republican seats that are currently competitive (GA or KY), that still looks like Republicans could well pick up a total of four or five Senate seats, giving Democrats either a 51-40 majority or a 50-50 tie (which could easily become a 49 D-51 R Republican majority if Angus King follows up on his previous threat to switch to caucusing with Republicans if Republicans do well this November).

    In any case, the chances for a fillibuster-proof Senate majority in 2016 seem...pretty slim to me. Democrats should  keep or regain control of the Senate in 2016...in my opinion.

    •  oops... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that should read....giving Democrats either a 51-49 majority...

    •  My forecast is stable (0+ / 0-)

      Between 49-51 and 51-49 (counting Sandes and King as Democrats, where they belongs essentially)

    •  Feel worse about NC than LA (0+ / 0-)

      I think the runoff actually helps Landrieu there in the sense that it moves the real general election away from the context of the November election. That allows her to isolate the race in a way someone like Hagan can't.

      Hagan's problem is that she never really moved beyond generic North Carolina moderate D, except for her gender, which in this case tends to remind people too much of a certain ex-Governor. The consequence has been that she has been incredibly vulnerable to being defined.

      Nunn's problem is going to be facing an inoffensive(by the standards of Bush/McCain/Romney voters) opponent.

      •  You think that North Carolinians (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        James Allen, wdrath

        care more about Perdue than the McCrory-Tillis duo? I feel like Tillis gives Hagan a very obvious way to separate her election. Landrieu's advantages are simply her last name and Cassidy's blasé nature, the latter of which may actually be her downfall.

        ME-01 (college) ID-01 (home) -4.75, -2.10

        by GoUBears on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 04:02:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've been wrong one time in the last 6 elections. (5+ / 0-)

    In 2016 Democrats will end up with 61 seats in the Senate and retake the House. Can you say President Clinton ? I know you can. Watch the Governors races too. Democrats will win almost everything down ballot as well in 2016. There are NO safe Republican seats. I hope the Koch brother spend their entire fortune on a bunch of losers.
    Democrats will even take back Texas with our Hispanic brothers leading the way and look how Republicans are going to lose Georgia. You are too pessimistic my friend. We have the Young, we have women, we have gays and Hispanics along with Asians, Blacks and 40% of White Men and we have those with college degrees. Do you really think Republicans can win with a majority of their voters being old uneducated White men ? I DON'T THINK SO !

    •  I like your style. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG
    •  Keep smokin' it. (0+ / 0-)

      Whatever it is, it must be good.  And, I can't bring myself to say "President Clinton", unless we're still talking about Bill.

      •  I tend to agree with him (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG

        and I don't smoke anything, or use alcohol in any form - ever - and I never have, so it can't even be a return/relapse/whatever they call it.

        I only see 51 in the worst situations, and I think 52 or 53 is very possible this year.  (There are races that are unthinkable that may become competitive, for the same reason they have the last 2 senate elections).  The tea party really ISN'T over yet, as they have suddenly proven right after the media declared them dead and even in blood red states, their level of crazy may well make them vulnerable.  I think McDaniels beats out Cochran in the runoff and I would not be surprised to see that seat become competitive (I cannot believe I just said that).  Likewise, their candidate in IA is... off the wall -- and I would not be surprised to see bleed over from the insanity that is Cantor's "replacement"  effect races in other states.  The man just breathes ... I don't even know what to call it ... he is another one that tries to combine Ayn Rand's "philosophy" with Christianity...  I don't know why his head doesn't explode from the  level of compartmentalization required for that.  Ultimately I do think we pick up KY, I know much less about the GA race.  Don't say its over until it is -- and I think we exit this year's races with a continuing majority and I think we sit very well for a blowout in 2016.  The only person I can see being our nominee other than Hillary (if Hillary declines) is Elizabeth Warren, and she also polls as insanely popular nationally - so in either case I think we pick up several seats then as well. I don't know if I see 60, but I see it as possible.

        The GOP is limiting itself increasingly toward being a rump party - I was once a member of the conservative movement, back before it went crazy - now I work very hard for the Left, which is America's best hope when looked at rationally and dispassionately.  Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think I am -- we will see.

  •  New Hampshire 2000 election wiki: (0+ / 0-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    A major contributing factor to Bush's victory is that 5% of the state voted for a third party candidate, mostly for left-leaning Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, who took votes away from Gore. (Interestingly, there has been much focus on the Nader vote in Florida as the determining factor in swinging the election to Bush, but a much smaller number of Nader voters in New Hampshire made a difference in the state's electoral vote going to Bush. If less than half of the approximately 22,000 Nader votes in New Hampshire had been cast for Gore, he would have received the state's electoral votes and been elected President.)
    emphasis added

    An interesting factoid with reference to diarist NH comments. Bush didn't beat Gore in 2000. Nader did.

  •  Too optimistic IMO (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JackND

    I know I get dinged for being too pessimistic but this is too far the other way.

    Grasserly will not be retiring.  He has stated several times he will run, he seems to really be energized by his hatred for Obama, I don't think he retires.

    In Missouri I believe Nixon has repeatedly said he's not interested.

    In Florida Kathy Castor would likely be the nominee.

    PA and NH would not start out as Lean D, even in a Presidential Year.  Neither state is Navy Blue and both have repeatedly shown they are willing to elect and re-elect republicans.  Hillary winning both states will obviously help but we also don't have any guaranteed winner candidates in either state in the waiting (Unless Lynch in NH changes his mind).  Kane has been badly damaged by the recent scandal and Sestak isn't the best possible recruit.

    Portman would likely start out as Likely D.  The Democratic bench in Ohio is abysmal.  Tim Ryan was once a possibility but his indiscretions likely put a stop to that.

    Illinois, yes its a blue state, but Likely D is going too far.  Madigan is likely running for Governor in 2018, I think someone like Duckworth is likely.  I think Tilt D would be much more appropriate.  Kirk is not a pushover.

    KY we agree.

    ID would not be competitive even with Labrador.

    IN and GA we agree fully.

    I think most likely we go into next cycle down in the Senate 52-46-2 or 51-47-2 but even with my changes to your ratings we would still likely pick up enough for a majority at minimum with a Hillary win at the top.  I doubt we hold enough this year and win enough in 2016 to get to 2009 levels though.

    33/D/M/NY-01/SSP&RRH: Tekzilla

    by Socks The Cat on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:20:15 AM PDT

    •  "PA and NH would not start out as Lean D, even in (0+ / 0-)

      a Presidential Year.  Neither state is Navy Blue and both have repeatedly shown they are willing to elect and re-elect republicans"
      ===========

      Totally disagree about Pa. Toomey barely won in offyear republican wave, Pa. trending a bit bluer, HRC will run.
      Pa. has also shown it is willing to unelect Republicans (including this November).

  •  This Seems Right To Me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoUBears

    But Nate Silver has got us losing a lot of seats we seem to be polling well in.  

    I think he's basing too  much on Obama approval.  As Chuck Todd pointed out this morning, Americans have moved on.  I think HRC's polling in a state has a lot more to say about how people feel about Democrats.

    No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. - Edward R. Murrow

    by CrazyHorse on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:49:29 AM PDT

    •  I like Nate but he has been wrong before. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GleninCA

      Didn't Nate post Democrats would lose the Senate in 2012 ?  We didn't ! He says it will be harder this time, it won't be. I was wrong in 2010 because I underestimated the turn out of the stupid's and overestimated the turn out of the Left. I think the left has learned it's lesson on sitting home and not being involved. I DON'T think 2014 will be anything like 2010.

  •  Predictions (0+ / 0-)

    100%: CA, MD, NY, VT, CT, HI
    98%: WA, OR
    CO: 90%
    IL: 85%
    PA: 85% with unlikely retirement, 80% without
    NV: 85% without unlikely Sandoval, 60% with
    NH: 80% with unlikely retirement, 55% without
    IA: 80% with likely retirement, 10% without
    WI: 70%
    NC: 65% with likely retirement, 35% without
    FL: 60% with unlikely retirement, 40% without
    OH: 60% with unlikely retirement, 35% without
    AZ: 60% with likely retirement, 30% without
    GA: 55% with likely retirement, 5% without
    MO: 30% with unlikely retirement, 15% without
    KY: 25% with likely retirement, 5% without
    3% (better under ideal conditions): ID, UT, ND, SD, LA, AR, IN
    0%: AL, AK, OK, KS, SC

    If my likely scenarios play out, I believe we are favorites for 18 seats. Playing Silver's usually skewed multiplication odds, we would win 17 (16.52) seats.

    ME-01 (college) ID-01 (home) -4.75, -2.10

    by GoUBears on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:22:20 AM PDT

  •  Good Diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoUBears

    I am glad someone else is taking a look at these races.  I have a few observations and comments on the races.

    I agree that the 10 Democratic seats are fairly safe as all are in states Obama won twice and we could expect the 2016 Democratic nominee to be favored or at least very competitive.  I see the Democrats having three open but still safe seats in MD (Mikulski), CA (Boxer) and VT (Leahy).

    The GOP is very exposed with 7 seats in states Obama won twice...IL, WI, PA, NH, OH, FL and IA.  These should be top Democratic targets

    IL - run Lisa Madigan against Kirk (pollls 41% - 41%)

    WI - run former Senator Feingold (polls 47% - 41%)

    PA - run state AG Kathleen Kane (polls 42% - 40%)

    NH - run very popular former Governor John Lynch

    OH - run Rep. Tim Ryan

    FL - run Rep. Patrick Murphy

    IA - run former Gov. and AG Secretary Tom Vilsack especially if Grassley retires

    I agree with many of your other targeted races.  I think in

    MO - run Gov. Nixon

    IN - run former Sen and Gov. Evan Bayh.

    AZ - McCain likely retires so run Richard Carmona again

    UT - run to soon be ex - Rep. Jim Matheson against Lee.

    KY - run former State Aud. Crit Luallen or Gov. Steve Beshaer against Rand or for the open seat.

    GA - re-run Nunn or Rep. Barrow when Isakson retires.

    NC - run someone like former Rep. Schuler.

    •  I'm fine with conservaDems in states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG

      where we need a conservaDem base in order to win (i.e. UT, KY (where Edelen should run), IN and MO), but not in states where they would be a detriment to our chances (e.g. NC and GA). Our bases in those two states are largely mainstream and liberal Democrats and only becoming moreso. Miller should definitely run in NC, but I also like Janet Cowell and Wayne Goodwin. In GA, I hope Carter will run, but Cathy Cox, Thurbert Baker and Michael Thurmond are all vastly superior candidates to Barrow.

      ME-01 (college) ID-01 (home) -4.75, -2.10

      by GoUBears on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:31:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  John Thune (0+ / 0-)

    I'm pretty sure John Thune said he would only run for Senate twice because of his support for term limits, but we'll see.  

  •  Good take on 2016, totally agree except (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, GoUBears

    How could you leave Adm. Joe Sestak out of the 2016 PA race? He just narrowly lost in a wave Republican year and seems to be campaigning for this seat ever since 2010.

  •  One good thing about the elections (0+ / 0-)

    Mitch McConnell is keeping his mouth shut most of the time.

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