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.
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.
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.
Sorry about the delay in posting. It’s been quite a day indeed.
But let me sum up the main speeches:
- Harry Reid…sad little man.
- Ted Strickland is so partisan it hurts. I guess because he’s no longer in office and lost to John Kasich still tickles his britches because he’s so blindly partisan, it annoys me.
- Gov. Martin O’Malley (MD)….for being a “2016 contender,” he sucked.
- Lilly Ledbetter…annoys me.
- Corey Booker…Senate candidate 2014, “Book” it. Haha.
- Mayor Julian Castro….compelling life story and an up-and-comer “Hispanic Obama.” But look, he isn’t going anywhere really. Big-city mayors in Texas have little appeal outside of their cities (Kirk 2002, White 2010, Leppert 2012). If he runs for Congress and parlays it t the Senate, perfect. If he runs for state rep/senator and parlays it to Governor, even better. He won’t be the first Hispanic governor of Texas…in order: (1) George P. Bush; (2) Rafael Anchia; (3) Leticia van de Putte. But he’s a great speaker who can deliver a punch with a smile. Rare talent.
- Michelle Obama: fantastic. She makes Barack Obama look really good, but that’s what wives do. Great story, really brought people to tears, and inspired many. But enough of the Michelle/Ann 2016 crap. Spouses don’t translate well after speeches (read: Elizabeth Dole, 1996 -> failed presidential run in 2000).
Oh BEST PART of the night: Castro’s daughter.
So with the Republican National Conference over and the Democratic National Convention starting, one only has to look at the speakers to see who the rising stars (“the benches”) are for each party. Let’s put them in a depth chart
- First String: VA Gov. Bob McDonnell; WI Gov. Scott Walker; SC Gov. Nikki Haley; NJ Gov. Chris Christie; LA Gov. Bobby Jindal; SD Sen. John Thune; Former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice; WI Rep. Paul Ryan; FL Sen. Marco Rubio
- Second String: NH Sen. Kelly Ayotte; OK Gov. Mary Fallin; NV Gov. Brian Sandoval; KY Sen. Rand Paul; OH Sen. Rob Portman; PR Gov. Luis Fortuño; NM Gov. Susana Martinez; Former FL Gov. Jeb Bush; TX Sen. Ted Cruz
- Third String: ND Sen. John Hoeven; TN Rep. Marsha Blackburn; WA Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers; Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love; OH Gov. John Kasich; Former MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty
- First String: CO Gov. John Hickenlooper; Former VA Gov. Tim Kaine; MD Gov. Martin O’Malley; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer; MA Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren
- Second String: Newark Mayor Corey Booker; San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel; Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx; NC Sen. Kay Hagan; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; Vice President Joe Biden; MN Senator Amy Klobuchar; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Vilagarossa
- Third String: WI Senate Candidate Tammy Baldwin; House of Representatives Candidate Joaquin Castro; MA Gov. Deval Patrick; Former OH Gov. Ted Strickland; Houston Mayor Annisse Parker