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It is a tough map, but I consider us a favorite to hold the chamber in 2014 and an overwhelming favorite to hold it in 2016.  SD is the only state where I am not at all sanguine about Democratic chances due to the unique strength of former Republican Governor Mike Rounds as a candidate.  Beyond that, there are some bright spots in deep red states where our incumbents have high approval ratings - AK (Begich), AR (Pryor), and LA (Landrieu).  Max Baucus in MT benefits from a strong state party brand and a weak Republican bench, while Kay Hagan in NC benefits from strong demographic trends and also a weak Republican bench.  And we could luck out with a Tea Party opponent in WV.  So with that in mind, here goes:

DEMOCRATIC SEATS

1. SOUTH DAKOTA - TIM JOHNSON

Rating with Incumbent: Lean R
Rating if Open: Likely R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to High
PVI: R+10
Job Approval: 47-41 (PPP 1/30/11)
My two cents: If Mike Rounds still enjoys the high approval ratings he did when he left office as Governor, he is likely too strong for any Dem in South Dakota.  In the event of an open seat, Herseth-Sandlin would be at least as strong a candidate as Johnson.

2. WEST VIRGINIA - JAY ROCKEFELLER

Rating with Incumbent: Lean R
Rating if Open: Lean R
Likelihood of Open Seat: High
PVI: R+13
Job Approval: 47-41 (PPP 10/2/11)
Head-to-Head: 44-48 vs. Capito (RL Repass 8/25/12); 44-48 vs. Capito (PPP 10/2/11)
My two cents: The race is Lean R with Capito, but a tea-flavored candidate would be no better than even money against a strong Democrat, of which there are many to choose from in West Virginia.  Secretary of State Natalie Tennant looks strongest.

3. ALASKA - MARK BEGICH

Rating with Incumbent: Pure Tossup
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+12
Job Approval: 57-33 (Dittman 3/17/11)
My two cents: Not nearly enough information.  If Begich's job approval really was and remains at 57%, he will be difficult to beat.  Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell is all but in the race, and he is a wealthy self-funder.

4. LOUISIANA - MARY LANDRIEU

Rating with Incumbent: Tossup/Tilt D
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+12
Job Approval: 62-28 (Southern Media 9/20/12); 50-39 (Clarus 10/12/11)
My two cents: The Southern Media poll had Romney up only 6 on Obama.  Even if we "unskew" that, Landrieu would be about +23 in approval.  She will be difficult to beat, and Obama's improved performance in the state in 2012 was heartening.

5. NORTH CAROLINA - KAY HAGAN

Rating with Incumbent: Tossup/Tilt D
Rating if Open: Pure Tossup
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+3
Job Approval: 44-43 (PPP 12/9/12)
Head-to-Head: 45-44 vs. Myrick; 45-39 vs. Ellmers; 48-40 vs. McHenry; 48-39 vs. Foxx; 48-39 vs. Holding; 48-38 vs. Tillis (PPP 12/9/12)
My two cents: PPP's recent poll is encouraging, although Myrick is a bit close for comfort.  Hagan performed very strongly against Elizabeth Dole in 2008, winning the state by roughly 9%.  Slight edge to Hagan.

6. MONTANA - MAX BAUCUS

Rating with incumbent: Tossup/Tilt D
Rating if open: Lean R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to Low
PVI: R+7
Job Approval: 41-44 (PPP 11/3/12)
Head-to-Head: 45-42 over Generic R (PPP 11/3/12)
My two cents: Montana Democrats are on a roll.  They have their own brand that is pretty popular in the state.  Baucus's approvals are trending upward, and the Republican bench in the state is unimpressive.

7. ARKANSAS - MARK PRYOR

Rating with Incumbent: Lean D
Rating if Open: Lean R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+14
Job Approval: 53-21 (Univ. of Ark. 10/14/12); 44-30 (Hendrix Co. 9/17/12)
My two cents: Seemed an encouraging sign that Tim Griffin chose not to take a run at Pryor, who did not even have an opponent in 2008.  Even with the strides Republicans have made in Arkansas, there are still some Dems you don't want to mess with.

8. IOWA - TOM HARKIN

Rating with Incumbent: Lean D
Rating if Open: Pure Tossup
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate
PVI: D+1
Job Approval: 41-40 (PPP 11/4/12); 52-33 (Selzer 2/15/12)
Head-to-Head: 48-40 vs. Generic R (PPP 11/4/12); 45-42 vs. Latham; 49-42 vs. King (PPP 10/10/11)
My two cents: The only thing that scares me about Iowa is Tom Latham.  He is a monster fundraiser and a nearly ideal Republican candidate for Iowa.  He held a D+ district for years.  Harkin would have only a narrow advantage over him.

9. COLORADO - MARK UDALL

Rating with Incumbent: Lean D
Rating if Open: Tossup/Tilt D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+1
Job Approval: 36-33 (PPP 11/4/12)
Head-to-Head: 45-38 vs. Generic R (PPP 11/4/12); 48-39 vs. Coffman; 49-39 vs. Tancredo; 48-38 vs. Norton; 48-38 vs. Suthers; 49-36 vs. Lamborn; 50-35 vs. Buck (PPP 6/17/12)
My two cents: Colorado is trending our way, and an uncontroversial incumbent like Udall should have a solid edge here.  The Republican bench is not overwhelming either.  If Michael Bennet could pull off 2010, we should hold this seat.

10. MINNESOTA - AL FRANKEN

Rating with Incumbent: Lean D
Rating if Open: Lean D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+2
Job Approval: 47-39 (PPP 11/3/12); 52-40 (Star-Tribune 9/19/12)
Head-to-Head: 48-42 vs. Generic R (PPP 11/3/12)
My two cents: Franken has reinvented himself from talk radio host to earnest, workhorse Senator about as well as we could ask him to.  Minnesota has retained its light blue hue, and Franken should have a definite edge.

11. MASSACHUSETTS - VACANT

Rating: Lean D
PVI: D+10
My two cents: Lean D only because of the possible entry of the still fairly popular Scott Brown.  I do think Brown is weaker after being "undressed" by Warren, and there are several Mass. Democrats - including some named Kennedy - who should beat Brown.

12. NEW HAMPSHIRE - JEANNE SHAHEEN

Rating with Incumbent: Likely D
Rating if Open: Tossup/Tilt D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+1
Job Approval: 51-36 (PPP 11/15/12)
Head-to-Head: 53-42 vs. Sununu (PPP 11/15/12); 49-39 vs. Generic R (PPP 11/4/12)
My two cents: Former Governor Shaheen will be a very difficult out in New Hampshire.   If she is really up double digits on Sununu, she likely would be so against just about any Republican in New Hampshire.

13.  MICHIGAN - CARL LEVIN

Rating with Incumbent: Likely D
Rating if Open: Lean D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate
PVI: D+4
Job Approval: 42-35 (PPP 11/3/12)
Head-to-Head: 50-38 vs. Generic R (PPP 11/3/12)
My two cents: According to PPP, Levin is not as overwhelmingly popular as I might have expected in Michigan.  I would not, however, necessarily expect him to be a target, and the state still leans blue in the event of an open seat.

14. NEW MEXICO - TOM UDALL

Rating with Incumbent: Likely D
Rating if Open: Lean D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+4
Job Approval: 45-37 (PPP 7/13/12)
My two cents: Udall's job approval is surprisingly low according to PPP, but there is absolutely no reason to believe a Democratic incumbent will lose in New Mexico, a state moving quickly in the right direction.

15. OREGON - JEFF MERKLEY

Rating with Incumbent: Likely D
Rating if Open: Lean D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+5
Job Approval: 44-29 (PPP 12/5/12)
Head-to-Head: 47-43 vs. Smith; 47-42 vs. Walden; 53-36 vs. Alley; 52-34 vs. Hanna; 52-32 vs. Starr
My two cents: Oregon is still trending our way and is pretty blue now.  Smith and Walden do not seem to be overly likely candidates.  My expectation is that Merkley will draw second rate competition and win by low double digits.

16. VIRGINIA - MARK WARNER

Rating with Incumbent: Safe D
Rating if Open: Pure Tossup
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to Low
PVI: EVEN
Job Approval: 60-25 (Quinnipiac 11/12/12); 50-27 (PPP 11/4/12)
Head-to-Head: 54-36 vs. Generic R (PPP 11/4/12)
My two cents: Warner sits on huge approval ratings and will easily dispatch anything that gets in his way.  There have been some concerns that he might vacate the seat Jim Webb-style, but I took his statement declining to run for governor as a good sign.

17. NEW JERSEY - FRANK LAUTENBERG

Rating with Incumbent: Safe D
Rating if Open: Likely D
Likelihood of Open Seat: High
PVI: D+6
Job Approval: 43-36 (PPP 11/28/12); 44-36 (Quinnipiac 9/2/12)
Head-to-Head: 48-33 vs. Guadagno (PPP 11/28/12)
My two cents: New Jersey is trending our way, and Lautenberg would hold it comfortably as New Jersey Dems tend to do.  If Lautenberg does not run for the seat, Corey Booker likely will and will win even more comfortably.

18. DELAWARE - CHRIS COONS

Rating with Incumbent: Safe D
Rating if Open: Likely D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+8
My two cents: The only person I can think of in Delaware who could give Coons a run for his money is Mike Castle, and he may be the least likely person to ever run for Senate again in the entire United States.

19. ILLINOIS - DICK DURBIN

Rating with Incumbent: Safe D
Rating if Open: Likely D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate
PVI: D+8
Job Approval: 51-34 (PPP 11/28/12)
Head-to-Head: 52-38 vs. Generic R; 54-33 vs. Dold; 53-31 vs. Hughes; 54-29 vs. Wals (PPP 11/28/12)
My two cents: Durbin is extremely safe, and I cannot imagine any Republican who would win an open Senate seat in Illinois at the moment.  It took a perfect storm in the biggest Republican year in modern history to do it in 2010.

20. HAWAII - VACANT

Rating: Safe D
PVI: D+20
My Two Cents: Mazie Hirono's 25 point blowout of Linda Lingle in 2012 has to dispel any hope Republicans have of winning a Senate seat in the Aloha state.  Hopefully Abercrombie will appoint a strong successor for Inouye - i.e. not Colleen Hanabusa.

21. RHODE ISLAND - JACK REED

Rating with Incumbent: Safe D
Rating if Open: Safe D
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: D+11
Job Approval: 59-34 (Brown 10/5/12); 60-27 (PPP 2/22/12)
My two cents: Reed is extremely safe, and I cannot picture a Republican taking an open seat in Rhode Island right now either.

REPUBLICAN SEATS

1. KENTUCKY: MITCH MCCONNELL

Rating with Incumbent: Likely R
Rating if Open: Likely R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+13
Job Approval: 37-55 (PPP 12/9/12); 51-42 (Survey USA 9/13/12)
Head-to-Head: 47-43 vs. Abramson; 47-43 vs. Conway; 47-43 vs. Judd; 46-41 vs. Fischer; 47-40 vs. Grimes; 48-38 vs. Yarmuth; 48-37 vs. Barzun
My two cents: PPP shows modest McConnell leads built primarily on name recognition, which is perplexing given Survey USA's favorable job approval poll from September.  Democratic bench is very strong in Kentucky.

2. MAINE - SUSAN COLLINS

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Lean D Pickup
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to Low
PVI: D+6
Job Approval: 65-22 (PPP 11/2/12)
Head-to-Head: 62-24 (PPP 11/2/12)
My two cents: Collins is extraordinarily popular, and Maine does not necessarily seem like the type of state where she would be particularly susceptible to a teabagging.  Best hope may be she up and retires like her colleague Snowe.

3. GEORGIA - SAXBY CHAMBLISS

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Likely R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate
PVI: R+6
Job Approval: 38-41 (PPP 12/2/12)
Head-to-Head: 45-45 Cleland / 48-40 Barnes / 50-37 Barrow / 52-37 Reed / 52-34 Carter (PPP 12/2/12)
My two cents: Chambliss looks like a 50-50 possibility to survive the teabagging that he is likely to receive.  Trouble is, candidates like Tom Price and Karen Handel, who are talking about teabagging, would be perfectly palatable statewide in Georgia.

4. SOUTH CAROLINA B - TIM SCOTT

Rating: Safe R
PVI: R+8
My two cents: Scott was a good pick for the seat, and it would not surprise me if he carried this seat by more than Lindsey Graham carries his.

5. SOUTH CAROLINA A - LINDSEY GRAHAM

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Likely R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to Low
PVI: R+8
Job Approval: 47-39 (PPP 12/9/12)
My two cents: Any Republican with positive approval should be in great shape in South Carolina, and PPP shows Graham in a strong position in the primary as well.

6. MISSISSIPPI - THAD COCHRAN

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate
PVI: R+9
Job Approval: 57-22 (PPP 11/6/11)
My two cents: Cochran is extremely safe, and I do not foresee Republicans having much difficulty here in a mid-term even if he retires.

7. TEXAS - JOHN CORNYN

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
Job Approval: 40-37 (PPP 4/22/12)
My two cents: Even middling approvals should be sufficient in Texas, which is still a long way from being "there" for Democrats.

8. KANSAS - PAT ROBERTS

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to Low
Job Approval: 43-34 (Survey USA 4/23/12)
My two cents: Safe whether he retires or not.

9. TENNESSEE - LAMAR ALEXANDER

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to Low
PVI: R+12
Job Approval: 51-27 (Vanderbilt 11/5/11)
My two cents: Tennessee is trending the wrong way very quickly.

10. NEBRASKA - MIKE JOHANNS

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
LIkelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+12
Job Approval: 55-30 (PPP 3/25/12)
My two cents: Johanns is very popular and Nebraska is very red.

11. ALABAMA - JEFF SESSIONS

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+14
My two cents: Sessions would be a lightning rod in most places, but he fits right in in Alabama.

12. IDAHO - JIM RISCH

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Low
PVI: R+17
My two cents: Idaho is oh-so-reliably red.

13. OKLAHOMA - JIM INHOFE

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate
PVI: R+19
My two cents: And to think Democrats held all those statewide offices in Oklahoma just a few cycles ago.

14. WYOMING - MIKE ENZI

Rating with Incumbent: Safe R
Rating if Open: Safe R
Likelihood of Open Seat: Moderate to High
PVI: R+22
My two cents: With Romney's Utah strength out of the equation, Wyoming will be the reddest state going forward.

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