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
New polls: (None)
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GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

Perdue and Kingston Advance to Runoff in Georgia Senate Race

The Republican Party had a great day yesterday. The establishment struck back, and hard. In two states, Georgia and Kentucky, the Republicans were potentially at risk of losing Senate seats if tea party candidates won primaries against establishment candidates. It didn't happen. In Georgia, seven people ran for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who is retiring. Three were out-and-out tea party candidates, former secretary of state Karen Handel, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), and Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). They came in third, fourth, and fifth, respectively. The top two finishers were wealthy businessman David Perdue, first cousin of former governor Sonny Perdue, and Rep. Jack Kingson (R-GA), who has represented southeast Georgia in the House for 11 terms. Two unknowns also were in the mix. In the final tally, Perdue received 31% of the vote with Kingston trailing at 26%. Handel, Gingrey, and Broun got 22%, 10%, and 10%, respectively. Perdue and Kingston will go man-to-man in the July 22 runoff. The winner of that contest will face Michelle Nunn, daughter of legendary Democratic senator Sam Nunn, in November, who won her primary easily,

The Georgia result mirrors the North Carolina Republican senatorial primary of two weeks ago. In Georgia, the three tea party candidates collectively got 42% of the vote. If two of them had dropped out in favor of the leader (Karen Handel), they would have had a candidate in the runoff. But since ego trumped ideology, they have nothing. In North Carolina it was the same story: the tea party candidates got 45% but because the vote was split, the establishment candidate, Thom Tillis, won outright and will not have to compete in a runoff. In past years, the tables were turned in many races, with a single tea party candidate winning races with multiple establishment candidates. This year the establishment tried very hard to avoid that fate in multiple states. The tea party, which is more loosely organized than the Republican leadership, has not yet learned that lesson. Besides, they do not have anyone like RNC chairman Reince Priebus who can call the shots.

The polls show that if Perdue wins the runoff, he would probably beat Nunn by 4 or 5 points and hold the seat for the Republicans. Kingston vs. Nunn would be closer. Against any of the tea party candidates, Nunn would actually have been a slight favorite. A key question now is what the 44% of the voters whose first choice didn't make it into the runoff will do. Will they vote with their hearts or with their heads? (Actually, they will vote with their hands, but that is just a detail.) Kingston is far more conservative than Perdue, but he also has a greater chance of losing the general election. Will the voters gamble and go for the guy they like, with the chance of losing the seat altogether, or play it safe with Perdue? No doubt this theme will dominate in the next two months.

McConnell Whips Bevin in Kentucky

The other state where the Republicans initially feared a tea party challenge was Kentucky, where minority leader Mitch McConnell is up for reelection. Here only one tea party candidate, Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, filed to run in the primary. McConnell, who is universally known in the state (but not so popular) and who has close to infinite money, crushed Bevin 60% to 36%. The Democratic nominee will be secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes, who got 76% of the vote in her primary.

Virtually all polls of McConnell vs. Grimes have shown it to be very close, largely because McConnell's personal approval rating in Kentucky is even lower than President Obama's. Also, Kentucky is not as Republican as states in the Deep South: six of the seven statewide officers, including the governor, are Democrats. The Democrats would dearly love to defeat McConnell, in part to get revenge for the Republicans breaking the gentleman's agreement the parties had about not going after each other's leaders. In 2004, the Republicans attacked and ultimated defeated minority leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota in a very bitter contest. The McConnell-Grimes races is going to be extraordinarily expensive, with tens of millions of dollars in outside money pouring into the state.

One peculiar aspect of the race is that the Affordable Care Act is unlikely to play any role in the general election because Gov. Steve Beshear (D-KY) set up one of the best-functioning exchanges in the country and also expanded Medicaid in the state. Over 400,000 Kentuckians signed up for insurance via the state' exchange, Kynect, and another 330,000 people qualify for the expanded Medicaid program. McConnell can hardly make the centerpiece of his campaign telling 700,000 voters he wants to take away their health insurance.

Other factors will play a role in this race. Grimes is young and relatively unknown. McConnell has connections all over the state, but so does Grimes' father, Jerry Lundergan, a former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party and good friend of Bill Clinton. McConnell currently has more money in the bank ($10 million to $5 million), but last time Bill Clinton showed up, Grimes raised $600,000 in one evening. Also, there are 500,000 more registered Democrats in Kentucky than registered Republicans, which explains why Democratic candidates for state office do much better than Democratic presidential candidates, who tend to be more liberal than state candidates. Finally, a big question is what Bevin's voters will do. Many of them hate McConnell bitterly. Will they stay home (thus helping Grimes) or will there be a massive nose-holding event on Nov. 4? All in all, it is going to be a brutal general election campaign and it might go down to the wire.

Wehby Beats Conger in Oregon

Another annoying defeat for the tea party came in Oregon, where a pediatric neurosurgeon, Monica Wehby, beat a tea party favorite, state representative Jason Conger, for the Republican Senate nomination. Wehby's victory has to be classified as "annoying" rather than "painful" because in November Wehby will face popular a popular incumbent, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Merkley is clearly the favorite in this blue state, even though Wehby has the catchier slogan: "Keep your doctor, change your senator."

Chelsea Clinton's Mother-in-law Loses in Pennsylvania

Chelsea Clinton is not running for anything (yet), but she may have to wait a bit before any family members again hold public office. It is widely known that Dad was President and Mom served in the Senate, but less well known that both of her husband's parents served in the House. Her mother-in-law, Marjorie Margolies, tried to make a comeback yesterday by running in the PA-13 district vacated by Allyson Schwartz, who made an unsuccessful run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Pennsylvania. Margolies lost to state representative Brendan Boyle, who will likely win in November in this very blue district. Schwartz was beaten by businessman Tom Wolf. In November, Wolf will face Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA), probably the nation's most vulnerable governor.

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---The Votemaster
May18 How Republican is the South?
May07 Tillis Wins North Carolina Primary
May07 Boehner Renominated Easily
May07 Long View of the Senate
May07 Future Voters May Use iPads
Apr23 Summary of the Prognosticators on the 2014 Senate Races
Apr23 North Carolina Primary is Next
Apr23 Other Southern Races Tight
Apr07 Scott Brown Makes Freudian Slip
Apr07 Republican Poll Shows Landrieu Ahead in Louisiana
Mar24 Methodology Matters
Mar24 Rand Paul May Have to Make a Choice in 2016
Mar11 Version 1.0 of the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries
Mar11 Tier 1 Candidates
Mar11 Tier 2 Candidates
Mar11 Tier 3 Candidates
Mar11 Hotly Contested Special Election in Florida Today to Fill GOP House Seat
Mar05 Cornyn Renominated in Texas
Mar03 Ohio Eliminates Early Voting on Sundays
Mar03 Travis Childers to Run for the Senate in Mississippi
Feb26 Primary Season Begins Next Week
Feb08 Lt. Gov. John Walsh Appointed to Replace Baucus in the Senate
Feb03 Christie and 2016
Feb03 Update on the Key 2014 Senate Races
Dec19 Obama Names Max Baucus as Ambassador to China
Dec19 Democrats Sweep Virginia Statewide Offices
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