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Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:45 PM

Handicapping the 2014 Senate Elections



Thirty-three seats are up for election in 2014:

Seven Democrats are seeking re-election.
Another thirteen Democrats may seek re-election.
Five Republicans are seeking re-election.
Another eight Republicans may seek re-election.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_senate_elections

Safe Democratic:
Delaware
Illinois
Massachusetts
Michigan
New Jersey
Oregon
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Leans Democratic:
Alaska
Colorado
Louisiana
Minnesota
Montana
New Hampshire
New Mexico
South Dakota
Virginia

Toss-Up
Arkansas
North Carolina

Leans Republican:
Maine
Kentucky
Georgia
Nebraska

Safe Republican:
Alabama
Idaho
Kansas
Mississippi
Oklahoma
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Wyoming

Notes: I give weight to length of incumbency (for example: Jay Rockefeller in West Virginia isn't going anywhere if he runs), try to consider demographic/political shift, and reserve the right to change my forecast if incumbents retire/pass away or experience major scandal.

As you can see, a lot of defense, few true battlegrounds, and limited chances for takeaways.




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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Handicapping the 2014 Senate Elections (Original post)
ellisonz Nov 2012 OP
democrattotheend Nov 2012 #1
ellisonz Nov 2012 #3
Daniel537 Nov 2012 #13
JustAnotherGen Nov 2012 #2
ellisonz Nov 2012 #4
JustAnotherGen Nov 2012 #12
Hokie Nov 2012 #5
ellisonz Nov 2012 #7
Filibuster Harry Nov 2012 #15
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Nov 2012 #17
RomneyLies Nov 2012 #6
Proud Public Servant Nov 2012 #8
ellisonz Nov 2012 #9
Proud Public Servant Nov 2012 #10
ellisonz Nov 2012 #11
dsc Nov 2012 #14
geek tragedy Nov 2012 #16
dry99 Nov 2012 #18

Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:47 PM

1. Not sure I would call Alaska leaning Democratic

That one is going to be hard to hold, IMO. Doable, but I say it starts as a toss-up.

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Response to democrattotheend (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:54 PM

3. Begich is a fairly strong incumbent...

...familiar to Alaksa voters, likely to be well-financed, and a divided GOP will probably struggle to produce a credible candidate.

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #3)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 03:40 PM

13. Is he really that strong?

I mean he only beat Stevens by 1% in 08, granted Stevens was like a semi-god in Alaska, but its a pretty red state. And his vote for the health care law could become a problem depending on the mood of the electorate in '14, when the law fully kicks in. I'd say right now there's no real way to handicap these races, the economy is a wild card and i have a feeling the GOP isn't done nominating Akin/Mourdock type candidates just yet.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:51 PM

2. NJ might not be a sure thing

Love love love Senator Lautenberg - but he's up there . . . I don't think I've seen a statement that he's definitely running.

Now since Chris Christie's shot at being the Presidential Nominee for Republicans at a FEDERAL Level (meaning outside the state of NJ) - what happens if he runs?


I think even without Republican support out of state - he could win. It might actually be a BONUS to him if he's got snark from TEAPublicans. Even in a match up against Booker - he could win.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #2)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:55 PM

4. Christie doesn't want to be a Senator, he wants to be President. n/t

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #4)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 03:27 PM

12. But CAN he be President?

He's going to go down in Republican history in much the same way we on the left view Ralph Nader. Nope - he didn't run - but it appears he is their whipping boy on some level on this one.

And he is nothing if not pragmatic underneath alllllllllllllllllllll of that bluster. I know too many liberals and progressives that would vote for him as Senator. . .

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:55 PM

5. Al Franken is up in Minnesota

I think the names being tossed out are Pawlenty, Coleman and Bachmann for the Repugs. I cannot see Franken losing to any of them. I saw some polling data that showed Franken was at least +6 on Pawlenty and more on the others. Franken has been a great Senator.

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Response to Hokie (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 01:18 PM

7. Only T-Paw is remotely credible...

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Response to Hokie (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:27 PM

15. Let Michele run

She won't run. she'll lose and be out. And maybe we can take her house seat.

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Response to Hokie (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:31 PM

17. I could see Pawlenty beating him

But Al has been a great Senator.....and Bachmann? That would be awesome. She'd lose 80-20.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 12:57 PM

6. Susn Collins will face a bagger challenge in the primaries

 

Bank on it.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 01:29 PM

8. Probably just stating the obvious, but

First, while I'm all for optimism, let's remember that the midterms of a president's second administration are, historically, the election that leaves the president's party most vulnerable. Add to that the fact that we're structurally more vulnerable here, defending 50% more seats than the GOP, and you'll see that we may face a challenge just holding the Senate.

What's the challenge? Most obviously, blue dog Dems will be vulnerable to challenges from "real" conservatives in red states. That's bad news for Begich, Pryor, Landrieu, Johnson, Hagen, and possibly Baucus (though Montana's less red these days). That's 6 vulnerable seats for us -- enough to shift the Senate,

Second, there are states in which we'd be vulnerable if the incumbent Dem retires. Lauterberg will turn 80 in 2014; Rockefeller will turn 77, Harkin 75. Any of their seats could be up for grabs if they don't run.

Third, let's face it: the MN GOP really, really wants Al Franken's hide, and his 312-vote margin of victory in 2008 (a wave election) isn't very comforting to remember.

And where are our pick-ups? Good question. I don't think any sitting GOP senators are vulnerable to Democrats, Ashley Judd fantasies notwithstanding. I do think 3 are vulnerable to teahadist primary challenges: Collins, Graham, and Alexander. A Collins loss to a teahadist would hand us Maine; with Graham and Alexander, it would depend on how awful the teahadist is.

So, we could end up trying to defend 6-10 vulnerable seats while contesting 3 GOP seats if we get lucky. The one thing we can celebrate is that our unexpected pickups this round make this harder on the GOP than they had anticipated.

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Response to Proud Public Servant (Reply #8)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 01:41 PM

9. You're making good points (esp. about GOP primaries)

I think there's a good chance 4 or 5 out of those 6 end up facing Teahadist challengers (who go down in flames): I think Begich, Landrieu, Johnson (if he runs, he might retire), and Baucus all win because they are strong incumbents. If Johnson doesn't run that's a tossu-up, and Hagen and Pryor are both very vulnerable as Dems in increasingly Red States.

I think Lautenberg is the most likely to retire due to health problems, but short of Hurricane Christie, the GOP cannot win that seat. I think Rockefeller and Harkin are both going to stick it out until health forces them out. I think both are basically Senators-for-Life and in both states a successor would be heavily favored.

Point of Order: Franken's margin was only close because the Reform Party Candidate pulled down 15% (Dean Barkley)

I think we're going to need really strong candidates to have a shot at any pick-ups. We should try to hold hold hold.

P.S. I like my Ashley Judd Fantasies.

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Response to ellisonz (Reply #9)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 01:56 PM

10. Hey! I like my Ashley Judd fantasies, too!

I just don't think the fantasy of her taking down McConnell is any more likely to happen than, well, any of my other Ashley Judd fantasies.

I confess I don't have a strong sense of Begich or Johnson, so I have no idea how secure they might be; I hope you're right. Landrieu seems more vulnerable, though; two of her three elections have been very close, and she's such a shill for the energy industry that its hard to imagine rank-and-file enthusiasm for her. If I were the GOP (and I am an old white guy, so I'm halfway there ), she'd be on my top-3 list for a takedown, after Pryor and Hagen.

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Response to Proud Public Servant (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 02:05 PM

11. I think obviously we have to factor...

...continuing demographic shifts in Louisiana. I don't think Landrieu goes though without an especially strong GOP push.

I think if Ashley Judd were to run, that we should pour money by the ton into defeating McConnell. I remember when Daschale lost, it stung. If Ashley Judd were to run I think it could very easily move from a Lean GOP to a Toss-up. McConnell is not an inspiring candidate.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:07 PM

14. I disagree with a few of your placements

I think Hagan is lean Dem since we have no GOP challenger for her yet. I think that WV is at best lean Dem since Rockefeller is down in polling to his potential challangers. I think that MN is safe dem since Franken is ahead of all his challengers and has met the bar of being a serious Senator.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:30 PM

16. Warner in Virginia is one of the safest seats on that list.

Alaska, Louisiana and Arkansas and West Virginia are all very possible victories for the Republicans.

Begich BARELY beat an indicted Ted Stevens in the 2008 wave year.

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Response to ellisonz (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 04:39 PM

18. If the Democrats in Kentucky can convince Crit Luallen to run

The turtle is toast!

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