In Parts 1 and 2 of the Make Change Happen series, we looked at the Senate races coming up, and of the 36 races, saw that we only need focus on 18 of them. Let’s start looking at those in more detail, and start with the easy ones first!
In general, the current GOP Senators are in good shape, and as Obama’s approval rating drops, our lot improves, but there ARE a few of our guys that need some attention, and one conservative state with a long serving Senator who is retiring, so it’s technically up for grabs.
Republicans at Risk
The states lean R, so it shouldn’t be too much of a lift to ensure R victory, but losing these could hurt on multiple levels. We’d have to gain TWO from the other lists rather than one to make up for the loss of an existing R. Also, there’s a negative down ballot effect on established GOPers in the rest of the state if we are to lose at the top.
- Mitch McConnell (R) vs. Alison Lundergan Grimes (D)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/ky/kentucky_senate_mcconnell_vs_grimes-3485.html
- This shouldn’t really be anything we have to worry about, but state politics and a grassroots lack of enthusiasm for McConnell after the primary make this one that we can’t take for granted. It’s currently looking OK, but definitely needs to be watched – the Dems could start throwing resources at it at the last minute. Watch THEM – if they abandon Grimes, then we’re ok.
Georgia R-Chambliss (retiring)
- David Perdue (R) vs. Michelle Nunn (D)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/ga/georgia_senate_perdue_vs_nunn-4040.html
- Momentum is on Perdue’s side, Georgia is a basically conservative state and might be recovering from the bruising GOP primary. It is expected that as the likely voters start paying attention to the race being Perdue v. Nunn, they’ll come down on the side of Perdue, even if they aren’t huge fans of his in general. Keep a close eye on this one.
- Pat Roberts (R) vs. Greg Orman (I)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/ks/kansas_senate_roberts_vs_orman-5216.html
- This was not supposed to happen, and is a case study in the damage that 3rd parties and vicious Democrats can do. The D candidate was bad, so they deep-sixed him and recruited Orman. Orman IS a Democrat. He will be a Democrat vote, make no mistake. But the voters are being misled that he is a fresh new outsider-y face compared to the old guy Roberts.
- Currently the Democrat-fake-Independent is ahead by 5 points and a lot of GOP resources are being poured into this state.
- It might make more sense for US to let the big name and party resources work to save Roberts while we put our efforts towards shoring up the likely pickups and maybe grabbing a couple of possibles.
- From a psychological standpoint, I’d trade a loss of Roberts for a couple of Dem pickups. Saving Roberts at great expense isn’t a big victory, that’s an expensive draw. But sending a few more Democrats home, and having states get stronger GOP infrastructure by virtue of having a GOP Senator – that’s a legitimate win.
So…as long as we can hold on to those three states, we only have to add seats, we don’t need to make up for any losses. Those states are important, but also…not as much fun, because we don’t get to take a Democrat and knock them off the hill. Let’s look at the places we are likely to squash the Dems like bugs. These are the FUN states. But just because it’s fun doesn’t make it optional. We HAVE to win these races. HAVE to. They will get us 2/3 of the way there.
We really have to have these states. Make sure we have these sealed up before putting ANY energy on the “possible” or “remote chance” states.
West Virginia D-Rockefeller (retiring)
- Shelly More Capito (R) vs Natalie Tennant (D)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/wv/west_virginia_senate_capito_vs_tennant-4088.html
- Capito doing really well, she’s currently a GOP Rep, so gets the incumbent-like advantage. Polling is so clearly in Capito’s favor that this can really be considered a lock at this point
Montana D-Walsh (not running)
- Steve Daines (R) vs. Amanda Curtis (D)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/mt/montana_senate_daines_vs_curtis-5190.html
- Steve Daines is the Republican, and the incumbent Walsh dropped out of the race due to a plagairism scandal. At this point, it looks really good for Daines to pick up the seat. Walsh was just appointed in January, there isn’t a long history of this being a Dem seat.
South Dakota D-Johnson (retiring)
- Mike Rounds (R) vs. Rick Weiland (D) and Larry Pressler (I)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/sd/south_dakota_senate_rounds_vs_weiland-4091.html
- Rounds considered basically a lock, this is the MOST likely GOP pickup
- Bill Cassidy (R), Rob Maness (R) vs. Mary Landrieu (D)
- RCP analysis: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/louisiana_senate_race.html
- Louisiana doesn’t have a party primary. All three candidates run on Nov 4, and if none get over 50% of total vote, it goes to a runoff. Cassidy is expected to beat Maness, giving us a Cassidy v. Landrieu race in December.
- Due to the nature of Louisiana politics, we can actually ignore this one until after the mid-term election, let Louisiana determine their GOP candidate, and then we can help make sure Landrieu is defeated in the December runoff
Alright, that’s 7 races we stand a decent chance of winning, there’s really only one real danger there. If we can get all 7 of these, we’ll only need 2 more to take a bare, risky, scary majority. So we should…get these 7 DONE, NOW, and then we can focus our efforts on the next groups.
Why is a bare majority so scary? Because that creates the situation of a Senator crossing the line to vote with the Dems and becoming famous and beloved for doing so. Don’t think that that media and the Dems (BIRM) don’t know that. We really need a comfortable majoirty with 2 or 3 spare just to keep our team in line. Really we do. We know this. Don’t complain about it, just elect more GOP and take the issue off the table.
My next post will cover our possibles, and our remote chances. Then, once we’ve got the whole list done, we’ll start talking about WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHEN.