Category Archives: 2014 Senate

Senate: ROUND 2

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).

That Rice is Cooked and Other Thoughts

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.
Chris Christie is like, omg, so popular! 72% approval rating for a Republican in New Jersey is pretty remarkable.
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.

Punting on Plans

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.

The First Domino to Fall

To no surprise, West Virginia Representative Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) is jumping in  the 2014 Senate Race against incumbent Democrat Jay Rockefeller. Moore Capito is in her 7th term as US Representative for the 2nd district of West Virginia; Rockefeller is in his 5th term as West Virginia’s now-senior Senator.

After deciding to skip the 2012 race against the highly popular Senator Joe Manchin, Moore Capito is jumping into a race seen as a pickup opportunity, ripe as either knocking off an unpopular liberal incumbent in a deep red state or an open race. Rockefeller, who says he is running, is seen as one of the most likely to retire before 2014.

A PPP poll had Moore Capito at 48% to Rockefeller’s 44% in 2011 — Moore Capito had a 53/28 favorability and Rockefeller had a 47/41 job approval rating.

2014 is not that far off

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.

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