The new cycle begins and it is necessary to look at it from an overall overview. As always.
Before to begin we must remember that:
- The US Senators that will run the for reelection come from the 2007-08 cycle. It was a favourable cycle.
- The Governors that will run for the reelection come from the 2009-10 cycle, except in the case of NH and VT that come from the 2011-12 cycle. It was a very unfavourable cycle.
- The US House Representatives that will run for the reelection come from the 2011-12 cycle. It was a cycle with a Democratic tilt.
- The Statewide Elected Officials that will run for the reelection come from the 2009-10 cycle, except in the case of VT that come from the 2011-12 cycle.
Without know still if the 2013-14 cycle will be a good or a bad cycle, we can tell that the cycle begins with a better chance to look at gains than the previous cycle. For 2012 the senate races were from 2006 and the big majority of the gubernatorial and statewide races were from 2007-08, all very good years for the Democratic party. It was difficult to improve in all these fronts. The races for the US House were from 2010, a bad year, but they were strongly affected by the Redistricting process, giving to the Republicans a lot better chance for the defense of many seats. This time is different.
This cycle we can expect that the Gubernatorial and the Statewide fronts will give the better options for new gains, and that the Senate front will be the most difficult prospect to keep the current number of elected Democrats. To keep the majority in the senate is surely the most important goal in the cycle.
The Democratic Party begins the cycle with 55 senate seats (53 Democrats + 2 Democratic leaning Independents).
That gives to the Democratic Party the chance of losing 5 seats without lose the majority.
The polling in the cycle is giving the first results, and after see polled the majority of the important races, the Republicans are not having enough gains to win the majority, even in a worst case situation, with the Republicans being successful in the recruitment for every race. Good news to begin.
To protect every incumbent would be very important for the Democratic Party. And also GA-Sen and ME-Sen are showing signs of weakness. I would fight both.
The Democratic Party begins the cycle with 20 governors (19 Democrats + 1 Democratic leaning Independent).
It is a low number. It is necessary to improve, and the cycle gives the chance for it. Only after a new bad wave the Democratic Party would repeat as low number, but until now, the first poll results show not a new Republican wave, and are giving a prospect of some gain.
Until now the biggest risk comes from Massachusetts, where the chance of S Brown running for governor would make the race difficult. For this race it is necessary a good recruitment, it is necessary that the potential candidates most loved by the people run strong and win.
The prospect for gains is giving the best numbers in ME, MI, FL, PA, VA and WI. Also SC and AZ can be competitive. But still IA, NM, NV and NJ seems more difficult than we would like, and this can open the door to strong Republican candidates for President in 2016.
US HOUSE LEVEL
The Democratic Party begins the cycle with 201 house seats.
The 2011-12 cycle was a favorable cycle with a little Democratic tilt, but it was not repflected in the composition of the US House. The Republicans keep a majority thanks to the Redistricting process.
As example, we see in the blue states, that while before the Redistricting process it were 71 house districts with worse PVI than CO, after the Redistricting process the number up to 83. For the red states, before the Redistricting process it were 44 districts with better PVI than VA, and after the Redistricting process the number up to 46. The difference is clear, because the Democratic Party is conceding to the Republicans a lot more seats in the blue states than they do in the red states, and because the Republican Redistricting increased more still the difference.
We can see that the Democrats hold very few R+5+ seats (MN-07, GA-12, NC-07, WV-03 and UT-04) and the Republicans hold very few D+ seats (CA-31, CA-21, CO-06, NY-19 and NJ-02). All these seats will be strongly targeted by the other party and the balance at the end can be very close to a tie. I would not be surprised if a good number of them in both sides get open this cycle.
But the fight for the majority will be in the range of seats between EVEN and R+5. And except AZ-09, AZ-02, TX-23, AZ-01 and NE-02 all these seats (a lot) are in Obama 2012 states. The open seats in this range will be key. I see a chance of winning the majority in a good year. We know not still if this good year would be 2014 or not. California and New York will be key states in this fight.
STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICES LEVEL
With the gubernatorial level this level is giving the best chance for new gains. A good number of weak Republicans wins in 2010 and this time will need to defend their offices.
The Republicans hold now 23 statewide elected offices in D+ states (CO is also D+ after 2012):
- 3 will be open (IL-ST, NV-LG and CO-AG), giving the easiest prospect.
- 3 are Lieutenant Governors that runs in the same ticket with the Governor and seems endangered (MI-LG, PA-LG and WI-LG).
- 13 would be Republican incumbents running for reelection (all in the poll).
- 3 are Lieutenant Governors that runs in the same ticket with the Governor but seems not enough endangered (IA-LG, NM-LG and NJ-LG).
- 1 is not for reelection until 2016 (WA-SS).
Also the Republicans hold interesting offices in the rest of the Obama states (VA, OH and FL):
- 2 will be open (VA-LG and VA-AG)
- 2 are Lieutenant Governors that runs in the same ticket with the Governor and seems endangered (FL-LG and OH-LG).
- 2 would be Republican incumbents running for reelection (OH-AG and OH-SA). And maybe more.
The Gubernatorial and the Statewide levels can make a difference for the Democratic Party this cycle. I think it would be interesting to look at these levels with positive spirit. The level of the statewide elected offices can give a good chance to young candidates that want to improve. I hope many of them consider it.
As a overall rule for all the levels, with very few exceptions, I feel very cold to fight for R+5+ offices without Democratic incumbent. In R+5+ constituencies I would fight hard the races with Democratic incumbents and only very few exceptions more that probe a strong chance of winning. As example, GA-Sen and SC-Gov, if there is a strong recruitment. SC-Sen(s), the former seat of J DeMint, can give a better chance than SC-Gov, but we have not polls still.
And as early conclusion, I think that it is difficult that the cycle in overall terms give loses to the Democratic Party. It can be some lose in the senate level, it can be a tie in the house level if the cycle is not good, but the gubernatorial and the statewide levels can give to the Democratic Party a good number of gains even in a cycle with a Republican tilt. Then the overal prospect is positive. The worst failure can come if the Democratic Party loses the majority in the senate, but the current numbers are not showing it.
PS: The last two options of the poll are check points to compare with the US House level.