Today we have the forth diary in this little series, that want to talk and to find the path for a Democratic majority in the US Senate after 2018 elections. If you wish, you can know more about the previous steps, reading the previous diaries:
To think and to talk about the overall picture is not only good. It is necessary. Only by this way we can know as example what kind of effort we need today in order to have success in the mid-long term. Sometimes the effort in the short term required for a success in the mid-long term can be bigger than the effort for a success in the short term. We can see interesting details about all this in this little series.
Also, we have in our community a common knowledge that is valious and need to have ways to go out. This can be one bid for it, with the tools that we have here.
Taking into account the strength of H Clinton in early stages of the presidential election of 2016, and analizing the prospect for the following years, in previous diaries we come to the conclussion that the most likely scenario would be:
-2014: Neutral year with a number of difficult seats to defend for the Democratic Party.
-2016: Good year with a number of favourable seats to pursue.
-2018: Bad year with a number of difficult seats to defend.
With that in mind, and with the help of the readers that are voting in the proposed polls we are defining the path for a Democratic majority after the 2018 elections. In the polls the readers are voting to the races that can give easier victories to the Democratic Party in order to see what seets can be easier to win en every case.
Like you will see later in this diary, we are creating a rank, and we have now a good number of positions defined by the results of the polls of the previous diaries. And I see a lot of logical results with maybe some not big surprise. In overall terms the ranking is looking right.
Today's diary will define approximately the first half of the remaining positions. There are very important positions to define the path for a Democratic majority taking into account that the majority will be reached by the 50 or 51 seats (50 if there is a Democratic Vicepresident after 2016).
This is a short introduction about the races that are in today's poll:
WV-Sen 2018: Despite WV is becoming a difficult state, the Republican bench is so short. WV-Sen 2014 (Open by D) and WV-Gov 2016 (Open by D) are making this bench shorter. Still some serious candidate can be ready for this race. I think the Republicans will fight the race like they are fighting every race in R+ territory. But it seems the easier option of the group at this point.PROVISSIONAL RANK OF RACES IN THE PATH TO A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY AFTER THE 2018 ELECTIONS
NV-Sen 2016: This seat can be a lose if H Reid retires. At this point only three politicians can keep B Sandoval out of the senate seat. H Reid, Robert (Bob) Miller, the former Democratic governor, and B Sandoval himself, running for President or for Vice-President in 2016.
IA-Sen 2016: The race for this seat can be competitive for the first time in decades. T Vilsack, the former governor and current Secretary of Agriculture in Obama's cabinet and H Clinton are putting enough pressure over C Grassley to retire. But even if C Grassley retires not the race can be competitive with T Vilsack.
MT-Sen 2018: J Tester is not in his firts term but after two narrow dictories, this race can go by the same way also in 2018. The situation can be very close to the previous cases (MO, ND or IN). It would be a Toss-Up if the Republicans have a decent candidate. The Republican bench in Montana is the shortest of the states in this situation, but they also have the strongest potential challenger in all these states with M Racicot, who can be favored over J Tester.
NV-Sen 2018: D Heller won in 2012 underperforming M Romney in a state that M Romney lost. He is fairly weak. The strongest potential challenger for him would be the former governor R (Bob) Miller. Running with the best the race would not be worse than a Toss-Up, and even more potential challengers can make it a Toss-Up.
AK-Sen 2014: M Begich, the young Democratic senator from AK, is becoming surprisingly resistant to the Republican challenge. At this point my rating gives Lean D to this race. But still there he will need to fight very much until november.
NH-Sen 2016: The prospect of a gain for the Democratic Party is serious here. M Hassan and J Lynch can make this race a Toss-Up. K Ayotte is seriously endangered.
AZ-Sen 2016: The first polling numbers are showing J McCain very weak. G Giffords is performing the best between the potential Democratic candidates, leading over him, in a situation that can be a Toss-Up. In states like Arizona it is not easy ton know if is better to have a dammaged incumbent or to have an open seat.
FL-Sen 2016: M Rubio is flirting (too much) with a bid for president in the year when he should run for reelection. At this point the chance of an open seat seem low, but M Rubio is weak enough to be considered a good goal for 2016. The Democratic bench in Florida is not too strong. In the last years the strongest Democrat (after W Nelson and C Christ) running for high level office was B Castor. A Sink, considered one of the strongest potential challenger lost recently a race of a lot lower level.
NC-Sen 2016: R Burr is not a specially weak incumbent but NC is not as hostile state. Taking into account the prospect of a favourable year in 2016 with H Clinton as candidate, we can not forget this seat. The Democratic bench is good. There is a decent number of Democratic statewide eleccted officers, but in NC there is not a local strong star like in other states (Beebe, Bayh, Bredesen, Beshear,...).
NC-Sen 2014: There is a tough outside campaign since the begin of the cycle against K Hagan. Until now this campaign of outside money has not been enough contested. I hope it changes, and with a more balanced spending this race can be a pure Toss-Up until the end, just like NC was in the lasts presidential campaigns.
LA-Sen 2014: M Landrieu also is being strong enough to keep the race very competitive. She is also in Toss-Up in my numerical rating. The electoral system of LA with the run-offs and the need to come very close to a 50% in order to win the seat, makes she needs an aditional effort, but at this point it seems that she can do it.
AR-Sen 2014: The last polls of the race improved the prospect for M Pryor and is making many people to reconsider this race. In my rating this race reached a Lean D rating (I have a narrow range for the Toss-Ups). It will be necessary to fight very hard to keep the seat, but also it will be necessary to fight very hard to to defeat the incumbent.
MO-Sen 2018: In 2012 C McCaskill proved to be a smart woman and it is not easy to defeat her despite to be not the most popular politician. Her chance for the re-election will depend of how bad can be the environment in 2018. The bench of potential candidates that have the Republicans is enough to make the race competitive.
ND-Sen 2018: H Heitkamp one of the group of Democratic senators that win in 2012 in R+ states by narrow margin. No doubt, this will be a difficult race. The environment in 2018 can be worse than in 2012 but the they will be incumbents. Surely the best case that we can expect is a AK-Sen 2014 situation with M Begich stronger than expected. The bench of Republicans in ND is so big and strong thanks to a good number of statewide elected offices in Republican hands. E Schafer can be the strongest of them.
After the results of the polls of the previous diaries this is the provisional Rank:
38.- 38 seats with D incumbent in the area of relative comfortIn the rank still we have 18 spaces, but in today's poll only can be included 15 races. It makes necessary a poll in the last diary. The races that are not in the rank and can not be included today are MO-Sen 2016 (R Blunt), GA-Sen 2014 (Open by R) and KY-Sen 2016 (R Paul). If you get interested about to see the final results of this series, you can find them in some days in the right side of frontpage of DailyKos Elections. In fact, if you are intereseted about election talking, information and analisys, you always will find interesting things there.
39.- IL-Sen 2016: M Kirk seems one of the most endangered Republican incumbents and will need to run in a unfavourable state in a likely unfavourable environment. Between the potential Democratic challengers according to some polls M Obama would have the best results. More likely candidates like L Madigan are also polling well. Still the race can down to a Toss-Up situation with lower level Democratic challengers.
40.-WI-Sen 2016: R Johnson is also very endangered. In the last days we even read about him involved in some scandal. Between the potential challengers R Feingold is polling the strongest, and the race can become easily a rematch. Again, in this race the Democratic Party would be favored (a Lean D situation) but if weaker candidates run in the Democratic side the race can also enter in a Toss-Up situation.
41.- WI-Sen 2018: T Baldwin is not specially weak, but her home state was the alone D+ state where a Democratic incumbent (R Feingold) has been deafeated in the last years (in a Republican wave). If the environment of 2018 becomes as hard as in 2010 this race can become a Toss-Up if the strongest Republicans run. At this point her strongest potential challenger can be the current governor S Walker.
42.- VA-Sen 2018: The Republican bench in Virginia is getting smashed in the last years, and in part thanks to T Kaine. Someone like J Kilgore can make the race competitive, but I'm not sure that he can make the race a Toss-Up.
43.- OH-Sen 2018: S Brown can be challenged again. The Republican bench is stronger in Ohio than in Virginia, but maybe only the term limited governor J Kasich or a recovered M DeWine can make the race a Toss-Up.
44.- KY-Sen 2014: The Republican leader in the Senate, M McConnell is showing weakness to win in his home state. He has a serious primary challenge (in 2010 the Republican stablishment lost the primary vs the Tea Party style candidate) and also has a serious challenger from the Democratic side. I would not tell A L Grimes is favored, the race was rated as LeR in my rating chart, but in the last days moved again to Toss-Up. This race can be a big headache for the Republican stablishment all the year.
45.- FL-Sen 2018: W Nelson proved to be strong in Florida in 2012. The last year only J Bush polled enough well vs W Nelson to make the race a Toss-Up. If the Democratic senator retires not it seems difficult to see him endangered, even in a political environment worse than in 2012. The Republican bench in Florida is long but not too strong, because only a few of them have a statewide profile.
46.- PA-Sen 2016: The bench of potential challengers for the Republican incumbent P Toomey is very strong, including E Rendell, J Sestak and K Kane, and the Republican incumbent is polling weak. The race is a Toss-Up and it is a serious chance for another gain in 2016 for the Democratic Party.
65.- OH-Sen 2016: The last case of this list of potential options for the Democratic Party in R+ states (PVI), would be the seat that today hold R Portman. Some of his recent positions can make him vulnerable in the Republican primary, but still, with T Strickland ruling out the race, the Democratic bench can be a little weaker than in other commented states. In the other side the nature of the state is more favourable.
66.- IN-Sen 2018: Again the same history for J Donnelly but in a little more favourable state. Indiana is the kind of state where an incumbent not unpopular cand defend himself. The most likely situation would be a Toss-Up race. Also the Republican bench is so strong in Indiana with M Daniels as the most difficult potential challenger for J Donnelly.
67.- IN-Sen 2016: This is another seat that can be endangered for the Republicans if a strong Democratic challenger emerges. D Coats seems not too strong, but habitually a Republican is favored in Indiana. Until now, the strongest Democratic challenger in Indiana seems the former senator E Bayh, despite to be unpopular in other places.
68.- MT-Sen 2014: The last Democratic incumbent, and surely the most endangered, J Walsh, has a serious challenger this year, and until now he seems not favored in the race. This race is rated as Lean R in my rating chart but with worse numbers than GA-Sen 2014. J Walsh is also the alone Democratic incumbent that is not leading the fundraising side of the race.
69.- AR-Sen 2016: At this point surely only M Beebe can endanger the re-election of the Republican senator J Boozman. We know not exactly if M Beebe is popular enough to defeat him, but I would not rule out it. Also H Clinton running for President can help to the Democratic prospect in this race.
70.- AK-Sen 2016: The last election for this seat makes see all the weakness of L Murkowski in a Republican primary in her home state. It is possible to see another similar situation in 2016. The race at this point is so unpredictable and L Murkowski can even switch party. In the last years, M Begich proved that a success of the Democratic party is possible. After him, Clark Gruening is the former candidate to high level elections with better performance in his last race.
71.- TN-Sen 2018: The weakness of B Corker and the strength of the Democratic former governor P Bredesen can give to the Democratic Party some chance for this seat in 2018. The environment will be worse than in 2012, but still maybe possible to bid. If P Bredesen rule out a bid, the chance of the Democratic party decreases strongly.
72.- 29 seats with R incumbent in the area of very low hope (including ME-Sen 2014).