Obama 332
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Romney 206
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Senate
Dem 55
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GOP 45
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  • Strongly Dem (191)
  • Likely Dem (72)
  • Barely Dem (69)
  • Exactly tied (0)
  • Barely GOP (15)
  • Likely GOP (16)
  • Strongly GOP (175)
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New polls: (None)
Dem pickups: (None)
GOP pickups: IN NC
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News from the Votemaster

Senate Races 2014 - Part 2

Here is the second part of our preliminary discussion of the 2014 Senate races. The previous one dealt with the Democratic-held seats. This one looks at the Republican-held seats.

Alabama

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jeff Sessions
Jeff
Sessions

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III is about as Southern as they come and also about as conservative as they come. He voted for everything George W. Bush put in front of the Senate except TARP and opposed everything President Obama wanted passed. He got 63% of the vote in 2008, although that was against an unknown black woman whose son was currently serving time in federal prison. If the Democrats can come up with a white man with a solid track record, they might be able to keep Sessions below 60%.

Georgia

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Saxby Chambliss
Saxby
Chambliss

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Although Saxby Chambliss is a conservative Republican, he is at least willing to talk to the Democrats from time to time. However, that is enough of a sin to make it all but certain he will face a primary in 2014. He might face one of more of Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), or former Secretary of State Karen Handel. In a one-on-primary, he could easily lose to one of these or any other candidate on his right flank. In a multiway primary, he would probably come out on top, though. In the general election, almost any Republican would be the heavy favorite.

Idaho

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jim Risch
Jim
Risch

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Jim Risch has had an interesting history, running for lieutenant governor at a time when he was actually governor (as a result of a gubernatorial vacancy when then-governor Dirk Kempthorne resigned the governorship to become George W. Bush's Secretary of the Interior). In 2008, he ran for the Senate and won. He is expected to run for reelection in 2014 and win easily.

Kansas

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Pat Roberts
Pat
Roberts

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Pat Roberts has run for Congress six times: three times for the House in KS-01 and three times for the Senate. The worst he has even done is 60% of the vote, which he got in 2008, when he beat the Democratic candidate by 24%. He is running in 2014 will probably do at least as well, no matter who the Democrats choose as their sacrificial lamb. Kansas is so Republican that running for the Senate probably isn't even worth the trouble in order to get statewide exposure for a future run at some other statewide office, all six of which are currently occupied by Republicans. Nevertheless, occasionally a Democrat does get elected to statewide office in Kansas: Kathleen Sebelius (D) was elected governor in 2002 and reelected in 2006. However, Kansas has elected only three Democrats to the Senate in all of its history, most recently in FDR's landslide victory of 1932. Roberts is about as safe as a senator can be.

Kentucky

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mitch McConnell
Mitch
McConnell

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Being minority leader puts Mitch Mcconnell in a tough position. If he just digs in his heels and opposes everything President Obama proposes, it will only strengthen the popular view that Republicans are for nothing and against everything. If he tries to work out a compromise with the Democrats, he is likely to be primaried. Kentucky is a red state, but actually has a fair number of Democrats in high office, starting with Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY), Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson (D-KY), and Attorney General Jack Conway. However, none of them has expressed any interested in challenging McConnell, which would surely be an uphill fight. The Democrats best shot is a repeat of the Indiana and Missouri 2012 elections: a crazy tea party candidate wins the Republican primary and then says something stupid in the general election, allowing an underdog Democrat to pull off an unexpected victory.

Maine

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Susan Collins
Susan
Collins

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Susan Collins belongs to a vanishing breed that once roamed New England like the buffalo in South Dakota: a moderate Northeastern Republican. She is personally popular in the state, but moderates are always subject to tea party challenges, even when the tea party candidate knows that the challenge could cost the Republicans a Senate seat. But even without a primary fight, Collins is probably the Democrats' best pickup opportunity, albeit not a bright one. If Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) decides to challenge Collins, Collins will have a serious fight on her hands. Pingree won her 2012 race by a 28% margin, but her problem will be getting enough votes in northern Maine (ME-02), where Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) won by only 16%. Obama won both districts, by margins of 22% and 7%, respectively. The northern part of the state is more conservative than the southern part, and furthermore, Collins hails from the far north.

Mississippi

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Thad Cochran
Thad
Cochran

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran will be a seven-term incumbent in Jan. 2015. The Democrats did find a challenger in 2008, Erik Fleming, but he got only 38% of the vote to Cochran's 62%. The 2014 results are likely to be similar.

Nebraska

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mike Johanns
Mike
Johanns

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Mike Johanns has served two terms as governor or Nebraska, 4 years as George W. Bush's Secretary of Agriculture, and now one term as a U.S. senator. He will be very difficult for the Democrats to dislodge as he is well known and popular in this very red state.

Oklahoma

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
James Inhofe
James
Inhofe

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
James Inhofe has been active in Oklahoma politics since 1967, when he was first elected to the state House of Representatives. He is extremely conservative, even voting against a 2005 bill that prohibits the U.S. government from torturing people in its custody. He also has a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign. But the people of Oklahoma seem to like him: he has gotten 57% of the vote in each of his most recent three Senate elections and is likely to get about the same percentage in 2014.

South Carolina

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tim Scott
Tim
Scott

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
After former senator Jim DeMint's surprise resignation from the Senate to run the Heritage Foundation (and possibly prepare for a 2016 presidential run), Gov. Nikki Haley appointed Rep. Tim Scott to fill out DeMint's seat until a special election in Nov. 2014. Scott is black. If the Democrats nominate a white person, we could have the unusual situation of a black Republican against a white Democrat. This would put racist Republicans in a real pickle. Some of them might not vote or go for the white person. It could become a competitive seat if the Democrats can come up with a top-flight candidate, which won't be easy given how thin their bench is in South Carolina.

South Carolina

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey
Graham

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Lindsey Graham is an outspoken conservative, but that may not be enough to save him from a primary against a tea party candidate. Conceivably, the former senator from South Carolina, Jim DeMint could even finance the tea party candidate, which would be quite a sight. However, even if Graham is defeated in a primary, the Democratic bench in South Carolina is so thin that any Republican who doesn't claim rape is God's will could probably win.

Tennessee

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Lamar Alexander
Lamar
Alexander

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
By Tennessee standards, Lamar Alexander is something of a moderate. Nevertheless, in 2008, he carried 94 of Tennessee's 95 counties, losing only in majority-black Haywood County in Western Tennessee. He racked up 67% of the vote in the process. It is hard to see the Democrats coming up with anyone who could knock him off.

Texas

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
John Cornyn
John
Cornyn

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
As the Latino population of Texas continues to grow rapidly, some day it may become a purple state, but that day won't be in 2014. Consequently, John Cornyn shouldn't have a lot of trouble being reelected. If San Antonio Mayor, Julian Castro, is the Democratic nominee, Cornyn will have to actually campaign hard and put some effort into his reelection campaign, but he'll probably still win.

Wyoming

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Michael Enzi
Michael
Enzi

(R)
Candidate unknown
 
 

(D)
Wyoming is one of the most Republican states in the country. Michael Enzi could probably be reelected even if he is caught in bed with both a live boy and a dead girl.


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---The Votemaster
Nov30 Senate Races 2014
Nov23 How Well Did the Pollsters Do?
Nov23 The Season's Almost Over
Nov22 Happy Thanksgiving
Nov21 Iowa Governor Wants to Kill the Ames Straw Poll
Nov21 Jim Messina Tells How Obama Won
Nov21 Massachusetts Democrats Panicking over a Special Election
Nov20 Conservative Republicans Fight Back
Nov20 Saxby Chambliss May Face a Primary Challenge
Nov20 West Tosses in the Towel
Nov20 Eliminating Loopholes Won't Get Us Off the Fiscal Hill
Nov19 Obama's Pollster Dumps on Gallup
Nov19 Rural White Voters Having Trouble Understanding the Election
Nov19 Republicans Want to Avoid More Bitter Primaries
Nov19 Republicans Are Attacking Charlie Crist Already
Nov19 Even after Recount, Allen West Refuses to Concede
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Nov18 Marco Rubio Now Campaigning in Iowa
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Nov17 Congressional Gender Gap Grows
Nov16 Republicans Condemn Romney's Remarks about Gifts
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Nov16 Bennet May Take Over DSCC Chairmanship from Patty Murray
Nov16 How Did the Democrats Make Gains in the Senate?
Nov16 Five House Races Still Undecided
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Nov14 Jerry Moran Expected to Lead NRSC
Nov14 Final Senate Results
Nov13 Polling for 2014 Gubernatorial Races Has Started
Nov13 Polling for 2016 Democratic Caucuses Has Started
Nov13 Polling for the Iowa Republican Caucuses Has Also Started
Nov13 Goode Didn't Swing Virginia
Nov13 Final Election Results
Nov12 Fight Breaking Out Between Conservative Pundits and Republican Politicians
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