In South Dakota, former Governor Mike Rounds is entering the race to face Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) in 2014. Entering now dissuades other candidates from jumping in, namely Rep. Kristi Noem. Senator Johnson suffered a brain injury and has had past health problems and is 65. No word yet on whether he will run again or not. If he chooses to retire, the seat is safely in the hands of Rounds or whoever wins the primary.
Suffice to say, the GOP may have picked up two of the six seats they need in 2014 just this week alone. Even so, there’s chatter of Arkansas (definite pickup) and the Alaskan Lieutenant Governor jumping into that race (slight pickup).
Susan Rice is in a boatload of trouble if she think she’s the next Secretary of State. Despite allegations that her critics are racist and sexist Republicans (um, Colin Powell and Condi Rice, anyone?), she’s having a hard time gaining the necessary 5-7 Republicans she will need for Senate confirmation. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has vowed to put a hold, and she is one of the influential Three Amigos of the GOP Foreign Policy Team. As well, very moderate Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has a lot of questions. We just want real answers.
In one of the two 2013 races worth a hoot, Virginia LG Bill Bolling is stepping aside for Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli to run unabated for the nomination. In addition to stopping a nasty primary, it also allows Bolling the opportunity to jump into the 2014 Senate race if Governor Bob McDonnell chooses not to. Cuccinelli will run basically unopposed against former DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe.
West Virginia Rep Shelley Moore Capito, under fire from right-wing groups like the Club for Growth and Senate Conservative Fund after announcing her run for the 2014 Senate seat held by Jay Rockefeller, says the GOP had poor communication in 2012. I agree.
“We as Republicans have those solutions; we just have poorly communicated that,” she said on Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends.” “And that’s why I think I’m excited about being a woman running for Senate, but I’m proud to say I’m a great Republican that believes our solutions are what’s going to help women in my age bracket help those children and help those parents have a better life.”
It was not the message, but how we delivered it, and who delivered it. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to communicate our message because they are crazy whackadoodles.
Maybe Delaware isn’t as boring as we all thought?
Freshman Senator Chris Coons, who got so lucky getting to run against Christine O’Donnell in 2010, isn’t taking chances for 2016, in the event she runs again, or Beau Biden, son of VP Joe Biden, primaries him. My opinion: he’s safe.
In the most interesting news of the day: vulnerable Senator Saxy Chambliss, often targeted as being the most likely to be primaried in 2014, has picked up a potential rival: RedState.com founder Erick Erickson. He is very conservative, but it is Georgia, and would be a better Senator than Chambliss’ other declared opponent, Karen Handel. If Georgia wants him, I’m all for it.
Good guy who cares about the cause.
2014 Senators are already punting on their re-election decisions, though not all:
- Rockefeller (D-WV): vague statement on making decision
- Harkin (D-IA): vague statement on making a decision
- Enzi (R-WY): yes
- Roberts (R-KS): yes
- Cochran (R-MS): vague statement on making a decision
- Johanns (R-NE): most likely
- Hagan (D-NC): vague statement on making a decision
- Alexander (R-TN): yes
- Landrieu (D-LA): yes
- Durbin (D-IL): planning on it, but hasn’t made a final decision
- Johnson (D-SD): no idea
- Warner (D-VA): no comment
- Levin (D-MI): vague statement on making a decision
- Lautenberg (D-NJ): vague statement on making a decision
Of those, Rockefeller’s seat is a near-definite pickup, as is Hagan’s, Landrieu’s, and Johnson’s.
2016 isn’t too far off and hell, 2010 isn’t either. 2014 is crucial for the GOP to fill in its bench for 2016 and beyond. We have a great bench of governors for 2016: Fallin, Haley, Walker, Christie, Martinez. I’ve handicapped the 2014 Senate races where the GOP will make gains. Now the gubernatorial races:
Term Limited Republicans
- Arizona (Jan Brewer): AZ law limits office holders to two consecutive terms and Brewer served out the remainder of Napolitano’s term and then was elected to her own term in 2010. The Dem bench is terrible and Brewer is challenging “ambiguities” within that law. GOP should hold with Brewer or Sec. of State Ken Bennett.
- Nebraska (Dave Heineman): Easily GOP hold.
Term Limited/Retiring Democrats
- Arkansas (Mike Beebe): already going to be a great picking opportunity for the GOP.
- Maryland (Martin O’Malley): easily a hold for the Democrats. O’Malley will be a 2016 player for the Democrats if Hillary doesn’t run.
- Massachusetts (Deval Patrick): eligible to run again but has declared retirement. In an open race, if Kerry doesn’t leave for State or Defense, Scott Brown could be a player, as well as 2010 Republican nominee Charlie Baker.
Republican Incumbents Running Again (Declared)
- Florida (Rick Scott): not terribly popular, but his saving grace is his job approval is on the rise. Former Republican and now Democrat Charlie Crist will run for his old job. I’m not sure how popular Crist is as a party switcher, lots of oppo material here. Tossup.
- Idaho (Butch Otter): easily retained.
- Nevada (Brian Sandoval): Sandoval is pretty popular as a Republican governor in a blue state. He’s also a darkhorse 2016 candidate if he wins again and he should. Hold.
Republican Incumbents Eligible to Run Again
- Alabama (Robert Bentley): regardless of his decision to run again or not, GOP will retain.
- Alaska (Sean Parnell): if he runs again, he will hold. He’s a darkhorse contender to run against Dem. Senator Mark Begich as well. GOP should hold this seat regardless.
- Georgie (Nathan Deal): will hold regardless of decision.
- Iowa (Terry Branstad): no decision made yet, polls have him up 2-4 points over potential opponents but down to current Ag Sec Vilsack. Branstad is also a darkhorse 2014 Senate candidate. If Branstad jumps to Senate race, Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds would be the favorite. GOP hold until Vilsack decides what he wants to do, then tossup.
- Kansas (Sam Brownback): GOP hold. No more Sebelius’ coming around
- Maine (Paul LePage): in a three way race, he won; in a rematch three-way race, he would lose. If 2014 is 2010, he can win again but he’s not terribly popular. However, the Democratic party has a hard time putting up good candidates. If he runs again, its an Independent pickup; if he doesn’t, depends on how jumps in for the Republicans – Charlie Summers….or Olympia Snowe? Right now, Dem pickup
- Michigan (Rick Snyder): his popularity is on the rise, so I will assume if he runs again, he wins. GOP hold.
- New Mexico (Susana Martinez): most popular Governor in the country. Up 12-13 points on potential challengers. GOP hold.
- Ohio (John Kasich): his popularity is on the rise and the Ohio economy is getting better by the month. He can win again. GOP hold.
- Oklahoma (Mary Fallin): GOP hold regardless but it’s important she runs again as a female governor who is very popular. Darkhorse 2016 contender.
- Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett): not very popular and will probably lose if he runs again. Dem pickup.
- South Carolina (Nikki Haley): another governor we need to stay in office and I think she will run again. GOP hold.
- South Dakota (Dennis Daugaard): should run again barring a surprise entrance into the Senate race, but all decisions on that are based on former Gov. Rounds’ decision. GOP hold.
- Tennessee (Bill Haslam): GOP hold.
- Texas (Rick Perry): if he runs again, he’s very vulnerable to a primary challenge by AG Greg Abbot. If he wins that, he will win the race because the Dem party in Texas is in shambles, they can’t win statewide. GOP hold. A Governor Abbot could be a contender in 2020…A Governor Perry is a 2016 dud (again, haha).
- Wisconsin (Scott Walker): blue state governor who won, was recalled, won again, and should win again; the Dem bench is awful with Tammy Baldwin going to D.C. GOP hold for Walker
- Wyoming (Matt Mead): GOP hold regardless.
Democrat Incumbents Eligible to Run Again
- California (Jerry Brown): he’s old and California is a blackhole. There’s a lot of Dems gunning for this (Newsom, Kamala Harris, Antonio Villaraigosa) and on the Republican side, the big name is Condoleezza Rice – she is a Republican California could elect (minority, moderate, pro-gay marriage, pro-choice). If Condi jumps in, its a top-tier race she can win. Tossup with Condi, Dem hold without.
- Colorado (John Hickenlooper): he was a darkhorse 2016-er if Hillary stayed out, but his recent divorce would suggest he will stay out and run again. Dem hold.
- Connecticut (Dan Malloy): he’s not popular and a rematch with Tom Foley would probably swing the GOP’s way. GOP pickup for Foley
- Hawaii (Neil Abercrombie): Dem hold. No Linda Lingle walking through the door.
- Illinois (Pat Quinn): he’s very unpopular (most Illinois governors are); this is a prime pickup opportunity for Republicans – he’s unpopular and the state economy is in shambles. GOP pickup
- Minnesota (Mark Dayton): Dem hold. I’m sick of waiting for Minnesota to turn purple again.
- New Hampshire (Maggie Hassan): NH makes you run every two years rather than four; NH is prone to wild partisan swings in midterms so she isn’t safe. I will lean Dem hold as she hasn’t even taken office yet!
- New York (Andrew Cuomo): Dem hold. Look out 2016!
- Oregon (John Kitzhaber): probable Dem hold barring Greg Walden skipping the Senate race and gunning for governor. Dem hold.
- Vermont (Peter Shumlin): Dem hold regardless of decision.
Independents Eligible to Run Again
- Rhode Island (Lincoln Chafee): he’s very unpopular; if he runs again, GOP pickup; if he says out, Dems technically pickup
The GOP needs its stars like Haley, Fallin, Sandoval, Walker, and Martinez to run again and win. They are all favorites. There’s opportunities for new faces (Abbot, Condi Rice, Scott Brown) that we need to take advantage of.
The GOP screwed the pooch in 2010 and 2014. I hope – HOPE – they learned their lessons in time for 2014.
The entire House is up and 20 Democratic Senators and 13 Republican Senators are up for re-election. Let’s look at those.
- Alabama: R Jeff Sessions is up again. R LOCK
- Alaska: D Mark Begich is up again. Alaska is still a very GOP/Libertarian state. The right candidate can pick up this seat (SARAH?!?!). TOSS UP
- Arkansas: D Mark Pryor is up again. Arkansas is a state that has become very unfriendly for Democrats since 2010. No shortage of good candidates. R PICKUP
- Colorado: D Mark Udall is up again. A race with a moderate/libertarian-ish Republican can pick this up (a la Jane Norton, Bill Owens). LEANS D
- Delaware: D Chris Coons is up again. If Mike Castle runs again, maybe? STRONG D/LOCK
- Georgia: R Saxy Chambliss is up again. R LOCK
- Illinois: D Dick Durbin is up again. D LOCK
- Idaho: R Jim Risch is up again. R LOCK
- Iowa: D Tom Harkin is up again. There are some good Republicans that can run in this race – Latham, King, Brandstad. LEANS D
- Kansas: R Pat Roberts is up again. R LOCK
- Kentucky: R Mitch McConnell is up again. A strong D candidate could beat him, but I don’t think Kentucky has the bench. STRONG R
- Louisiana: D Mary Landrieu is up again. A state that has turned away from Democrats, I could see her losing this seat easily. TOSSUP/R PICKUP
- Maine: R Susan Collins is up again. If she runs (and no indication she isn’t), she wins. R LOCK
- Massachusetts: D John Kerry is up again. If he does not become Secretary of State, it remains his seat. D LOCK
- Michigan: D Carl Levin is up again. He will easily be re-elected. D LOCK
- Minnesota: D Al Franken is up again. Can the right Republican make this a race? Maybe, but doubful. STRONG D
- Mississippi: R Thad Cochran is up again. R LOCK
- Montana: D Max Baucus is up again. This won’t be an easy race for him, but he has been re-elected a lot. TOSSUP/D LEAN
- Nebraska: R Mike Johanns is up again. R LOCK
- New Hampshire: D Jeanne Shaheen is up again. It looked like she would not run again, but she will. The right R can win this race, such as a Charlie Bass? LEANS D
- New Jersey: D Frank Lautenberg is up again. The man is near 90. If he chooses to retire, could Chris Christie jump in? STRONG D
- New Mexico: D Tom Udall is up again. New Mexico is no longer friendly to Republicans. D LOCK
- North Carolina: D Kay Hagan is up again. This could be one of the best pickup chances for Republicans. The state is moving away from the Democrats. TOSSUP/R LEAN
- Oklahoma: R Jim Inhofe is up again. R LOCK
- Oregon: D Jeff Merkley is up again. Not terrible popular. If Congressman Greg Walden jumps in, could be a great pickup. D LEAN
- Rhode Island: D Jack Reed is up again. Depending on an appointment to the Obama cabinet or not, its still Rhode Island. D LOCK
- South Carolina: R Linsdey Graham is up again. Graham is not terribly popular in SC, but any R who wins that primary wins the seat. R LOCK
- South Dakota: D Tim Johnson is up again. Another seriously hard race for Democrats, Republicans have the history to beat him. TOSSUP/R LEAN
- Tennessee: R Lamar Alexander is up again. R LOCK
- Texas: R John Cornyn is up again. The state isn’t a swingy one yet. R LOCK
- Virginia: D Mark Warner is up again. If he runs again, it won’t be an easy race. No indication if he is running again or not. Term-limited Bob McDonnell could be a strong opponent. D LEAN
- West Virginia: D Jay Rockefeller is up again. This one is an easy pickup for Republicans. Congresswoman Shelley Capito Moore will jump in. R PICKUP
- Wyoming: R Mike Enzi is up again. R LOCK
Right now, the Senate is 55-45 in favor of the Democrats.
At a minimum, it will be 50-50 but the Republicans can pick up a minimum of 5 seats (Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, West Virginia). Other potentials: Iowa, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia to give the GOP the majority.