Obama 332
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Romney 206
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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)
270 Electoral votes needed to win Map algorithm explained
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News from the Votemaster

Obama Names Max Baucus as Ambassador to China

President Obama has decided to send retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) to China as the U.S. ambassador. Since practically every decision made in Washington these days is fundamentally political, surely this one is, too. In 2014, there will be an open-seat election in Montana and Obama and the Democrats are clearly worried about holding the seat in such a red state (albeit with a strong populist bent). The Republicans see this as one of their best pickup opportunities. So what does this have to do with sending Baucus to China? Why the 72-year-old Baucus, who has never exhibited much interest in foreign policy, except for trade issues wants to go there is not clear. Maybe he likes Chinese food and there are no good Chinese restaurants in Montana. Of course, trade with China is an important issue and might justify Baucus' appointment, even if he is not especially interested in human rights or other foreign policy issues.

In any event, Baucus' successor for the remainder of his term will be appointed by Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT). Obama knows this very well. Having the Democratic candidate in 2014 be an incumbent senator probably gives him a leg up on his Republican opponent, since it gives him a year to become better known. Also, incumbent senators can raise money more easily than senator wannabes. Bullock can pick anyone he wants to, but the most likely candidate is Lt. Gov. John Walsh. The election rate for appointed senators is anything but stellar (about 50%), but the most recent appointed senator to run on his own, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), won, and that is probably on Obama's mind.

The Republicans have not settled on a candidate yet. The state's lone representative, Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT), is already running for an upgrade to the Senate, but so are four other candidates, which will lead to a nasty primary. An unopposed incumbent senator would clearly have the opportunity to look more senatorial than five candidates engaged in a big brawl. State Republicans are already asking Bullock to appoint a placeholder who would not run in 2014--a sure sign that they see an appointed senator who intends to run in 2014 as a real threat.

Democrats Sweep Virginia Statewide Offices

Yesterday, Virginia state senator Mark Obenshain (R) conceded defeat to state senator Mark Herring (D) in a bitter recount fight for attorney general of Virginia. After election night, Herring had a tiny lead over Obenshain of 165 votes, but as the recount proceeded, Herring's lead kept growing, and is now more than 800 votes and still growing. So Obenshain threw in the towel. The larger issue is not whether Herring will run for governor in 2017 (Virginia governors are limited to one term), but the symbolism here: for the first time in over 40 years, the Democrats control all five statewide elected offices. They also have both U.S. Senate seats. The implications for 2016 are clear: Virginia is no longer a red state. It is a purple state and rapidly becoming a blue state. In 10 years, Virginia could be indistinguishable from Maryland. This change is due to a tremendous influx of people in Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties in Northern Virginia, many of them college educated and relatively liberal. If Virginia becomes a Democratic state, the Republicans will have an increasingly difficult time assembling 270 electoral votes in presidential elections. The math just doesn't add up. While Obenshain's concession doesn't change the demographics at all, it brings to the fore the difficult situation the GOP is going to find itself in 2016.

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---The Votemaster
Nov23 The Senate Did Not Really Abolish the Filibuster
Nov06 Virginia is for Democrats
Nov06 Christie Wins Big in New Jersey
Nov06 The Establishment Strikes Back
Nov06 De Blasio Crushes Lhota in New York City
Nov06 Many Referendums on the Ballot
Nov05 All Eyes on Virginia and New Jersey
Nov05 Business Fights Back: Key Republican Primary to Be Held in Alabama Today
Nov05 Liberals Poised for Big Wins in New York City
Nov05 Key Ballot Measures Will Also Get Attention
Nov05 Bass Will Not Challenge Shaheen in New Hampshire
Oct17 Cory Booker Elected Senator from New Jersey
Oct17 Government Crisis Postponed for 3 Months
Oct01 The Blame Game Begins
Oct01 Primaries May Hurt Republicans' Senate Hopes
Sep19 Natalie Tennant To Run for Senate in West Virginia
Aug20 Ted Cruz Releases His Birth Certificate
Aug20 Lamar Alexander May Get Primary Challenger
Aug14 Booker on Track to Become Senator from New Jersey
Aug07 Kentucky and National Politics Get Intertwined
Jul23 Michelle Nunn Pre-Announces Senate Candidacy
Jul23 Liz Cheney to Challenge Sen. Enzi in Wyoming
Jul14 Schweitzer Won't Run for Baucus' Senate Seat
Jul14 Prospective Senate Candidate Sarah Palin Has Never Talked to State Republican Chairman
Jun26 Markey Holds Massachusetts Senate Seat for the Democrats
Jun26 Supreme Court Guts the Voting Right Act
Jun26 Is Ted Cruz Eligible to Be President?
Jun19 McConnell Threatens to Go Nuclear All the Time If He Becomes Majority Leader
Jun04 Lautenberg Dies, Christie on the Spot
Jun04 Rep. Carolyn McCarthy Has Lung Cancer
Jun04 Lautenberg Dies, Christie on the Spot
Jun02 Hagan Gets First Serious Republican Challenger
May19 Virginia Republicans Nominate Ken Cuccinelli for Governor
May19 Karen Handel Joins the Fray in Georgia
May04 Republicans Can't Find Senate Candidate in Iowa
Apr24 Sen. Baucus to Retire
Mar30 Republicans Gear Up for a Battle--with Themselves
Mar27 Sen. Tim Johnson Will Retire
Mar19 Head of the Republican Party Excoriates the Republican Party
Mar01 Latham Declines to Run for Harkin's Senate Seat in Iowa
Feb15 Democrats Avoid Bruising Senatorial Primary in New Jersey
Feb08 Braley Starts Running for Harkin's Seat
Feb02 Scott Brown Will Not Run in Masssachusetts Special Election
Jan27 Tom Harkin to Retire in 2015
Jan27 Rick Hasen: Republicans Won't Gerrymander the Electoral College
Jan27 Poll: Brown Leads Markey by 20 Points in Massachusetts Special Election
Jan26 Saxby Chambliss Won't Seek Reelection
Jan25 Republican-Controlled Blue States Considering Electoral-College Changes
Jan25 Are Robopollsters Cheating?
Jan22 Biden Inaugurated as Vice President Again