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Due to the Democratic annihilation in the 2008 Senate, the field looks pretty good for the GOP in 2014. But then again, we saw how well that worked for them in the 2012 elections. Republicans would need to gain six seats for a majority.

Safe Seats

These seats would take just about EVERYTHING breaking right for the opposing party to win.

Alabama- Jeff Sessions

Delaware- Chris Coons
Republicans had their chance here and blew it big time in 2010.

Idaho-Jim Risch

Well Republicans have Idaho and Utah to keep a presence in the west.

Illinois-Richard Durbin

Republicans DID have everything break right for them in the President's home state in 2010, but they have small hope for a repeat.

Kansas-Pat Roberts

Too red.

Massachusetts-John Kerry

If Kerry was nominated for a cabinet position (or retired for another reason), Scott Brown ran, and there was a bloody democratic primary, Republicans could have a shot but Kerry will probably cruise.

Mississippi-Thad Cochran

Cochran is getting old but the D's will have a hard time here no matter who runs.  

Nebraska-Mike Johanns

Nebraska was the lone GOP senate pickup in 2012.  

Oklahoma-Jim Inhofe

Red and getting redder, like the rest of the southern states on the list.

Rhode Island-Jack Reed

Deep blue.  

Tennessee-Lamar Alexander

Democrats had a good shot with the open seat and a strong candidate in a good year in 2006 and didn't contest in 2012.

Texas-John Cornyn

A couple more years of demographic changes and Texas could be in play.

Wyoming-Mike Enzi

Nothing to see here in the Equality State.

Likely Retention

The incumbent party is favored, but pickups here are possible without miracles being necessary.

Georgia-Saxby Chambliss

Borderline safe in a deep red state but Chambliss has underwhelmed.

New Jersey-Frank Lautenberg

The ancient Lautenberg keeps chugging along but you have to wonder if retirement is an option. The state has been fools' gold for the R's, with the exception of Christie's gubernatorial win. You have to wonder if it is worth their time and money to contest it if they don't get a very strong candidate.

New Mexico-Tom Udall

New Mexico has been getting bluer and Republicans have been disappointed in recent senate elections. Udall cleaned up in 2008. Still, Republican Susana Martinez did win the governorship in 2010 and could make it a race in the unlikely event that she runs. Otherwise it would take an unexpected scandal or retirement to make this competitive.

Virginia-Mark Warner

If Warner runs, he wins. But he is considering a gubernatorial bid and could also be a cabinet candidate. Republicans have a strong bench, headlined by Governor Bob McDonnell, and statewide races in Virginia tend to be interesting.

Leaners

Give the edge to the incumbent party here, but many of these seats should be in play, at least if the right candidates step up. Republicans will have to make some noise here if they want a majority.


Colorado-Mark Udall

Another swingish state democrats have done well in recently. Republicans shot themselves in the foot by nominating Ken Buck last time around. Still, Udall is a freshman and the elephants could make it a race with the right candidate.

Former governor Bill Owens, 2010 candidate and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, Attorney General John Suthers, and Congressman Mike Coffman are the GOP's strongest candidates here.

Iowa-Tom Harkin

This is bordeline likely, but if republicans got a strong candidate or if the aging Harking retired, or both, it could get competitive.

PPP showed Harkin with single-digit leads over Congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King and Governor Terry Branstad.

Kentucky-Mitch McConnell

As the one targeted republican who won, and the polarizing party leader, McConnell will have a big target on his back.

Lt. Gov Jerry Abramson, Sec. of State Alison Grimes, and actress Ashley Judd have been floated as candidates.

Still, with McConnell's resources and the state's lean, it will be an uphill climb.

Maine-Susan Collins  

This one is pretty cut and dried. If Collins runs and makes it out of the primary (no sure thing), republicans win. If she retires or is taken down by the right, democrats win.

Michigan-Carl Levin

Levin is aging (80 at the time of the election) and this would be a race only if he retires.

Off the top of my head, republican representatives Mike Rogers and Candice Miller and gubernatorial losers Mike Bouchard and Mike Cox. Assuming Pete Hoekstra has worn out his welcome.

Minnesota-Al Franken

Franken hasn't exactly been the heat-seeking missile republicans imagined when he narrowly won in 2008. Still, republicans would not be able to live with themselves if they gave him a pass on re-election in this bluish purple state.

PPP showed him with solid but surmountable leads over former Governor Tim Pawlenty and 2008 losing incumbent Norm Coleman. Coleman may be itching for a rematch after the super narrow contest that took months to decide, with independence party candidate Dean Barkely's 13% possibly changing the outcome.

Coleman, along with Pawlenty and Congressman Erik Paulsen form republicans' strongest challengers. Michelle Bachmann could throw a wrench in things though.

Montana-Max Baucus

Democrats have had some success in the Big Sky State of late and Baucus dominated last time. Still, it is a red-leaning state and Baucus has had some minor chinks in the armor.

Popular exiting Governor Brian Schwietzer has been mentioned as a primary challenger, and leads in PPP primary polling. Denny Rehberg has nothing better to do and would probably be republicans' strongest challenger.

North Carolina

Kay Hagan will be vulnerable if it is a strong republican year. Republicans do not have a strong bench though.

Oregon-Jeff Merkley

Portland has some of the strongest liberals and Eastern Oregon has some of the strongest conservatives. Their is a big struggle between traditional Oregon moderate republicans, and far-righters. Third parties have garnered a large percentage of the vote.

In a PPP poll, Merkley trailed perennial non-candidate Congressman Greg Walden (his chairmanship of the NRCC basically rules out a candidacy here) while holding single-digit leads against Senator Jason Atkinson, State Rep. Bruce Hanna, and perennial candidate and GOP Chairman Allen Alley. Gordon Smith could go for the grudge match.

South Dakota-Tim Johnson

Johnson has done well as a moderate in this red state. However, popular former Governor Mike Rounds is considering the race and would indeed make it a race. The political leanings of this state could make it a tough hold if republicans put up a good candidate.

Highly Competitive

These could go either way. Not necessarily in tossup territory, but likely to be competitive.

Alaska-Mark Begich

Begich was barely able to defeat ethically challenged Ted Stevens in a good year for democrats. This state is very republican and likely presents the best opportunity for a pickup.

Giving hope to democrats are some controversial potential candidates, including 2010 candidate Joe Miller and anyone last-named Palin. Among legit candidates are Governor Sean Parnell and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.

Arkansas-Mark Pryor

Pryor was unopposed in 2008. With the Republican trend here, that is not going to happen again. Congressmen Tim Griffin and Steve Womack are potential candidates for team R. This will be tough sledding for Democrats after Republicans' recent success here.

Louisiana-Mary Landrieu

The lone seat that Republicans contested last seat. Governor Bobby Jindal would be a field clearer for Republicans, and start out as the front-runner. In the likely case that he does not run, one of Congressmen Steve Scalise, John Fleming, Bill Cassidy, or Charles Boustany or Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne could run. Or they could just find some conservative democrat to turn and run.

New Hampshire-Jeanne Shaheen

New Hampshire has strongly reflected the national tide. If this is a good cycle for republicans, then this one will be in jeopardy.

Republicans don't have a deep bench. A repeat bid by John Sununu Jr. might be the best bet.

West Virginia-Jay Rockefeller

West Virginia has trended rightward quite a bit over the last several years. Democratic incumbents have done well still, but two polls have shown Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito leading Rockefeller. Also, Rockefeller will be 77 and could retire. If Rockefeller runs and Capito doesn't, this should be a leaner.

Of course, things can change in a hurry. And you never know how much havoc far-right candidates may cause.

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Comment Preferences

  •  merkley will be fine (9+ / 0-)

    he's low-key and under the radar, but walden can't win a statewide race and democrats don't lose them. i also think pryor will be okay. he's popularnin his state- last time, the gop didn't even field an opponent. landrieu is vulnerable, but is a fighter. same for tim johnson. begich could be vulnerable, but he's well-liked, and the gop doesn't have a strong bench, right now, in alaska.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:09:41 PM PST

    •  But it's a tough map (7+ / 0-)

      We can surely expect some Republican gains, though not necessarily six seats.

      A lot will depend on what Democrats in DC do between now and then. If they hold their ground on important issues (like defending the safety net) and draw strong contrasts, that will be a good basis for fighting even if we get some retirements on our side.

      "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

      by Demi Moaned on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:26:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oregon (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      Oregon is my home state so I tend to follow a little closer. Republicans are definitely hoping to make a play at it.

      We are definitely a Democratic state, but there are a lot of fierce independents and libertarians. Republicans don't tend to have as bad of primaries as other states, but Libertarian and Constitution parties tend to get a lot of votes. Merkley and Kitzhaber (who is the 2nd biggest name in state politics) got less than 50%.

      Walden obviously isn't running, but if Smith goes for the rubber match, it would be a tough race.

  •  The real issue is (9+ / 0-)

    if the Republican Party can somehow shed its tendency to nominate the least electable and most extreme candidates. I find it a tad hard to see them doing it in the next two years.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:28:00 PM PST

  •  North Carolina, Senate/House synergism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mbayrob, MichaelNY

    Hagan would benefit from a full-court press to pick up house seats. Seven districts elected reps despite the Dem challenger winning 42% of the vote. Unfortunately, there could be limited room for improvement in districts like the 5th and 13th where close to 400,000 votes were cast and the gap was upwards of 15%. The relatively competitive 9th (6% gap), and districts where aggressive registration drives and organization could mobilize greater participation (2nd, 8th, 10th and 11th) could be the most likely competive house races. Even if all seven of these races remain in Republican control in the midterm, efforts there could be instrumental in the Senate race, and set up Dem gains by 2016.

    •  Running well for the House would help a lot (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wmdrpa, MichaelNY, pademocrat

      indeed.

      It would also make it harder for the GOP to concentrate resources enough to overcome effective GOTV at that level.

      [I]t is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! -- Gail Collins

      by mbayrob on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:24:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  NC (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wmdrpa, MichaelNY

      Hagan could also benefit from a possible backlash against the Republican wingnut legislature who will now have a Republican governor to fully enable their efforts to send NC back to the stone age.  With no other statewide races in 2014 voting Democratic for the US Senate will be the only way voters have to show any displeasure.  It isn't a sure thing, but it is worth watching.

      “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

      by RoIn on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:02:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  NC GOP doesn't have a strong bench? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, JBraden, pademocrat

    I think Hagan will be fine as long as she takes the race seriously, but I'm going to have to disagree with the suggestion that they aren't spoiled for choice. The House delegation alone is all too full of options. (No chance McHenry will run, though, which is too bad - she'd clean his clock and we'd be rid of him in the House. But he's smart enough to know it.)

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:44:45 PM PST

    •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

      Respectfully, who do you think would be a legit candidate among Republicans in the House from NC?

      In my opinion, all of them are either too old or too new (just ask Rick Berg about running for Senate as a freshmen Rep.). Or Patrick McHenry or Renee Elmers, 'nuff said.

      •  Just ask Rick Berg? (0+ / 0-)

        Or Sam Brownback. It isn't so much that freshmen Reps never get elected to the Senate as it is that they rarely try. And this year, most Republican reps who ran for a promotion lost no matter how much seniority they had in the House. (Mr. Legitimate Rape had been in DC longer than Sen. McCaskill, for example.)

        Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

        by RamblinDave on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 06:39:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wyoming is the Equality State (5+ / 0-)

    Not Montana.

  •  Louisiana (4+ / 0-)

    Gov. Jindal has already said he won't challenge Mary. Rep. Cassidy, however, is definitely preparing for a run.

    I agree with your rating, it's toss up/tilt Dem. Louisiana is only one of four states that the President improved his 2008 margin in.

    Her family name alone is enough to turn out the black vote to at least 30%+, which is what LA Dems need to win. She also runs ahead of Dems across the state, but especially in the New Orleans metro area.

    That SMOR poll from October showed her to be THE most popular statewide politician.

    I have a feeling she'd beat anyone but Bobby (who is eyeing the Presidency) or  the Lt. Gov. (who is eyeing the governorship).

    21, Male, LA-02, LA-06 (former), TX-08 (home), SSP: sschmi4

    by Stephen Schmitz on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 11:01:57 PM PST

  •  WV (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, Zack from the SFV

    WV is only red at the presidential level. There are no statewide elected Republicans and Democrats have huge majorities in both houses of the legislature. Shelly Moore Capito is the only Republican that could win Rockefeller's seat, and in the past she hasn't made any attempts, knowing how hard it is for a Republican to win statewide. She has been the WV GOP's dream candidate for years and she never pulls the trigger.

    •  WV is getting increasingly Republican at the state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zack from the SFV

      level, though. For example, whereas there were for a long time 2 Democratic US Representatives and 1 Republican Representative, the ratio is now reversed (as of 2010). Also, Republicans, though still well short of majorities, gained seats in the Legislature. Most of us think it's only a matter of a few cycles at most before WV is as Republican locally as Arkansas. We shall see. I think Manchin will win as long as he runs for reelection, but whether he will truly be safe next time (in 6 years), who knows? Meanwhile, I doubt Rockefeller is safe anymore.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:40:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Capito could win (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY, pademocrat

    If Rockefeller retires she will romp. As long as obama is president WV is lost for the democrats. Obama lost every country in WV this election, all Capito has to do is run against Obama.
     

  •  Michigan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CookyMonzta

    Any chance that Jennifer Granholm would run if Carl Levin retires?

    “I believe all Southern liberals come from the same starting point--race. Once you figure out they are lying to you about race, you start to question everything.” ― Molly Ivins

    by RoIn on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:04:00 AM PST

    •  Too unpopular (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      I love Granholm but she left the state with some high unfavorable numbers. Sadly she get's blamed for not doing enough but the Republican State Senate stood in here way for 8 years.

      If Carl Levin retires... I guarantee Gary Peters runs for his seat.

      •  Peters (0+ / 0-)

        would be a good choice. He used to be my congressman (soon to be replaced by Sander Levin), and he's a good hard campaigner. In '10, running against the teabagger Raczkowski, he was on TV within a couple of days of the primary with ads defining Rocky for the district. Although it was close (it was 2010, after all, and the old MI-9 was a pretty marginal district), Rocky was never able to recover.

        I agree Granholm would be a disaster as big as when the Reps ran Lenore Romney against Phil Hart in '70 (hint: Lenore lost 67-33). I'd love to have Jen as my senator, but it's not gonna happen. And if Mark Brewer tried to engineer her nomination, I would know for sure he has a deathwish for the MDP.

    •  She might (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MichaelNY

      But don't overestimate Granholm's popularity here.  Personally, I like her and think she was a decent governor.  But statewide, a lot of people still seem to blame her for the economy she inherited from Engler.

  •  Question (0+ / 0-)

    What do you mean by

    'Michelle Bachmann could throw a wrench in things though.'

    Year of the Weakest Tea

    by 2014 on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:04:13 AM PST

  •  Dems are just lucky (0+ / 0-)

    to have done so well in 2012. A 55-45 majority will be considerably harder to derail than 53-47. Sure, Republicans will be well positioned in states where Democratic fortunes have collapsed in the past few years (Arkansas and Louisiana come to mind, and perhaps West Virginia), but incumbents like Begich, Harkin, and Hagan will be well prepared to defend themselves (especially Harkin, who was a top target in 1990, 1996, and 2002). The last approval numbers I saw for Baucus were brutal (though those came in the immediate aftermath of PPACA passing), so I almost wonder if Dems would be better off with Schweitzer in an open seat situation.

    The bad news is we will be playing almost exclusively defense. Maine is the only real opportunity, and then only if Collins retires/gets primaried. But it's hard to imagine a more furious GOP wave in 2014 than that we already survived in 2010.

    Also, looking way ahead, 2016 is going to be a fantastic year for Senate Democrats, possibly better than 2008.

    Have lived in (2012 districts): CA-28, CA-30, CA-24, IL-06, IL-14, IL-09, GA-01, GA-12, GA-10 (college), NY-09, and now IL-01 (law school).

    by Nathaniel Ament Stone on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:46:18 AM PST

    •  Just lucky? (0+ / 0-)

      Do you really believe it was just luck?

      Baucus' approvals recovered quite a bit since the last time you checked, but if he runs for reelection, I have no doubt it will be a difficult one.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 01:59:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shaheen isn't that vulnerable (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    She hasn't done much fundraising, but she was a popular governor, has been a reasonably popular senator without much negative press, the Republican bench is basically limited to just-defeated Frank Guinta, just-defeated Charlie Bass, and a flurry of nuts or lingering Sununus who can't believe the state isn't dark red territory anymore. The Republican brand in New Hampshire is deep in the crapper after a mere two years of Bully O'Brien's misrule, just like it was after a mere two years of Craig Benson. Dems reclaimed the state House despite Republican efforts at gerrymandering, and won the state popular vote for the Senate (though are down 11-13 thanks to that same gerrymandering), and won the Executive Council 3-2. At the very least Shaheen is leaning toward retention, and I'd put her into Likely territory instead.

    Also, Pryor has solid approval ratings in Arkansas; unless Beebe decides to challenge him, I think he starts out with at least being lean-retention. He saw how Blanche Lincoln wiped herself out and he's a much more savvy politician; he won't drive off his base the way she did, and won't set himself up in the spotlight either.

    NH4JL DIT '04, NHDP DIT '08!

    by realnrh on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:12:26 AM PST

  •  No mention of Libertarians ??? Begich, for one, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zack from the SFV, MichaelNY

    needs help from a Libertarian to make it through.

    That's also the case in Montana. There, in 2012, the Senate candidate for the Libbies made it a walk for Tester.

    -- We need to help them folks pull out 5% of the GOPer vote.

    -- Target anti-GOPer ads so's to hit their crazier pro-military schemes. The 30,000 domestic drones they sneaked into the F.A.A. bill is perfect. (Rick Berg is the big name there.)

    Don't be afraid of setting traps and false front schemes to move votes away from the GOPers.

  •  McCaskill for Democratic Senate Campaign Chair (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dude 415

    Put McCaskill in charge of the Dems Senate Campaign Committee.  She'll get wingnuts nominated all over the place, just as she did in Missouri with Akin, and then our wonderful wingnuts will be their magical special selves and blow all their races, as they always do!

  •  Norm Coleman joined a lobbying firm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    He's not running. He's also lost to a professional wrestler and a comedian, so his reputation is pretty much garbage.

  •  Rockefeller will keep his seat (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats are actually quite popular at the local level in West Virginia. They mainly hate Obama because he has been regulating coal emissions there. Polls are not a good meter for any race this early.

    It's Franken and Merkely I'm worried about. They only won their seats in 2008 because of third party presence. Same with Begich, who defeated a criminal in the general election.

    For Pryor and Landrieu, it's possible that a major factor will be progressives who sit out. Remember that in 2008 Pryor's main opponent was a Green party candidate. A lot of our work will come from convincing progressives to vote for conservative Democrats like these.

    Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

    by MrAnon on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:06:35 PM PST

    •  Progressives won't sit out (0+ / 0-)

      Only armchair purists online sit out, or loudly say they will. In actual voting, liberals always seem to turn out in good numbers for conservative Democrats.

      I'm unconvinced Rockefeller won't be threatened. He's had some tough things to say about coal recently.

      Formerly Pan on Swing State Project

      by MichaelNY on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 09:05:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  OR-Sen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MichaelNY

    Gordon Smith has given no indication that he's interested in returning to run for office.  In his most recent interview with Jeff Mapes, he said he had essentially said "goodbye" to state Republicans the last time he went to the Dorchester conference.

    Walden is rising in leadership, will chair the NRSC for 2014, and is too conservative to run statewide now.

    Atkinson has retired from politics for now.

    Kate Brown won 51-43% as a supposedly controversial Democrat against a supposedly more dynamic Republican candidate who outspent her, and he got essentially every major media endorsement in the state.  I don't expect Merkley to be as harshly treated as Kate was, and I doubt if someone better than Buehler or Bruce Starr could be found to run against him, and I doubt they could beat him if they were recruited.  Oregon has just become a stubbornly Democratic state in the past decade.

    I'd have Merkley at a Likely Dem retention.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:31:58 PM PST

  •  Can we stop worrying about Brown? (0+ / 0-)

    1) The guy just lost against a non elite campaigner (good Senator makeup but not strong on campaigning).
    2) If he ran for the Special election he'd have 4 MAJOR races in what 5 years? He ran in 2010 for the rest of Kennedy's term, 2012 for that seat's full term, then he'd run in 2012's special election and he'd have to run in 2014 for the full term. That's crazy. I think if anything he's going to wait for the Governor's race if he wants to run state wide again.

    (-6.12,-3.18), Dude, 24, MI-07 soon to be MI-12, went to college in DC-at large K-Pop Song du Jour: Miss A's "I Don't Need a Man"

    by kman23 on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 04:46:32 PM PST

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