At-risk Senate seats, 05/22/2013 assessment.

Here’s my current list: as always, this is a subjective take.  Brief explanations after the fold; I will note that candidate recruitment has its usual priority, but that it is perhaps time that we on the Right as a group start thinking about how to win with mediocre candidates, too.  God knows that our opposite numbers have learned to do precisely that.

Alaska Mark Begich Serious Risk
Arkansas Mark Pryor Serious Risk
Colorado Mark Udall Some Risk
Iowa Open Some Risk
Louisiana Mary Landrieu Serious Risk
Massachusetts Open Depends
Michigan Open Low Risk
Minnesota Al Franken Some Risk
Montana Open Serious Risk
New Hampshire Jeanne Shaheen Some Risk
New Jersey Open Depends
New Mexico Tom Udall Low Risk
North Carolina Kay Hagan Serious Risk
Oregon Jeff Merkley Low Risk
South Dakota Open Serious Risk
Virginia Mark Warner Low Risk
West Virginia Open Serious Risk

In order:

  • Alaska: Mark Begich is a member of a liberal party in a libertarian state who barely squeaked by last time.  His best hope right now would probably be to switch parties; people might even buy that.
  • Arkansas: Things haven’t changed too much for Mark Pryor; but then, things weren’t good before, either.  I’m going to up our chances to toss him.
  • Colorado: Mark Udall has some of Mark Begich’s problems, only at a much lower volume.  If there’s a backlash on gun control in Colorado, he will have a situation on his hands. This is also DEFINITELY one place where we need a good candidate.
  • Iowa: New entry, thanks to Tom Harkin’s retirement.  It’d be higher risk if there was a guaranteed good Republican candidate.  But it’s in play.
  • Louisiana: Mary Landreiu picked a bad election cycle to be a member of a party that hates oil production.
  • Massachusetts: Reply hazy: ask again later.  If Markey wins, take it off the board. If Gomez wins, it’s ground Zero for the Democrats in 2014 anyway.
  • Michigan: Carl Levin has retired, and Michigan has been fertile territory for Republicans lately.  Bump it up a notch.
  • Minnesota: I hate to downgrade our chances here, but a good challenger to Al Franken has not appeared yet.  Bump it down a notch.
  • Montana: Max Baucus isn’t just retiring: he’s poisoning the well for Democrats.  This is going to be a great pickup opportunity.
  • New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen is actually halfway between Some Risk and Low Risk at this point, which would be an improvement for her. We need a good candidate there.
  • New Jersey: A lot will depend on whether or not Cory Booker gets the Democratic nomination. But all scenarios where the Republican candidate wins are… well, some possibilities have to be lower-probability than others.
  • New Mexico: Nothing’s really changed for Tom Udall.  Which is what he’d want.
  • North Carolina: Kay Hagan will probably start getting calls soon from the national party asking her if she’d like an ambassadorship, or something.
  • Oregon: Jeff Merkley still stays on this list as only an outside chance to lose.  We need a good candidate there.
  • South Dakota: Tim Johnson’s retiring, and the Democratic leadership is having a fight over who gets the nod to replacement. Thanks, guys!
  • Virginia: Ask me again after this year’s Virginia gubernatorial election. Right now Warner’s not sweating things.
  • West Virginia: Open seat, the Democrats don’t have a good replacement, they’re not likely to get one.

As for the Republicans… right now the Democrats’ best hope for a pickup is in Georgia, which should tell you how bad it is for them right now. The Maine seat is bulletproof for us as long as Susan Collins wants to keep it.  Le affaire Ashley Judd over in Tennessee probably served as a salutary object lesson to anybody thinking of running against Mitch McConnell. And so on. All but one of the Republican-held seats this cycle are in states that we have a pretty good lock on; it’s the next Senate election cycle that will be the nail-biter. Frankly, I don’t know why the Democrats went to such trouble to win Red states in 2008 if they weren’t going to do the things needed to keep them.

My eyeball prediction for right now: +5 Republican, with +6 looking doable.  This will change, multiple times, between now and Election Day 2014.

14 thoughts on “At-risk Senate seats, 05/22/2013 assessment.”

  1. I’d say Kentucky is actually the Democrat’s best option, and only if Alison Lundergan Grimes runs and Mitch McConnell gets little support from the base. That means playing the blue dog game which Progressives swore not to do after 2010, Georgia was only in play because Paul Broun ( the most likely nominee) likes to mouth off, and John Barrow was a blue dog, Barrow has declined to run so Dems are going to run a Sandra Fluke wannabe. That dog don’t hunt in Georgia, even if her Daddy was once popular there.

  2. The Judd deal was in Kentucky, not Tennessee–I know you know that. I’m not saying anything, I’m just sayin’.

    1. Umm.. I *think* Moe was pointing out that Ms. Judd wanted to run her Kentucky campaign from her momma’s house .. in Tennessee.

  3. John E. Sununu would have been the best bet up in New Hampshire, my money is on Frank Guinta, but he might be too Conservative to win statewide in NH. Tea Party should focus less on GOP primaries against incumbents and more on the currently held Dem seats or Open seats in the South and Plain States, The GOP needs to focus on getting quality candidates in Colorado and New Mexico since Minnesota and Iowa didn’t pan out.

  4. This is just screaming to be visual, Moe .. a map, with the States where each of these Class II elections (plus special elections) are scheduled.
    Need to show the non-Class II Senators somehow .. maybe color-blend it? (i.e. Virginia, with Warner and Tim Kaine would be blue, but Illinois, with Mark Kirk and Eddie Haskell (erm.. Dick Durbin) would be purple…
    The logic piece is fairly easy, it’s gluing that to the graphical bits that are beyond me.

    1. Virginia is only in play if Bob McDonnell runs against Warner, nobody else is popular enough to knock him off.

      1. That’s the thing, though: there’s no earthly reason why McDonnell wouldn’t run against Warner. Running for VA-SEN is apparently what former governors for Virginia just do.

        1. McDonnell might not run because He thinks he can be President and doesn’t want to risk his image by losing a race in VA. My opinion is that he lost any chance at being President with his tax increase. He might get back into it if he knocks Warner out of the Senate. And Warner does need to be bloodied as he is a potential Dem candidate in 2016.

    2. Isn’t Illinois in play? I mean we could run Joe Walsh, he stands a chance right? 😉

      1. The way the 2014 race is shaping up, a fiscal conservative with some cred and a budget could make it competitive .. especially if Durbin left any pawprints on the current scandals.
        Given the state of the Illinois GOP, I’m not sure where they’ll find a fiscal conservative candidate whose record is socially moderate enough to not scare the single ladies, and who can self-finance quite a bit, and who can win statewide ..
        Love to see ’em find someone .. ideally a minority someone .. because Durbin. There’s plenty to go after with Durbin.

  5. I’d be happy to commit a few low-level crimes if it meant getting rid of Acting Senator Al Fraudken. Unfortunately, the Republican party is a bit of a mess, and there’s a third party that plays spoiler a lot. I think Pawlenty would be a good candidate, but no one else jumps out at me as realistic.

    1. Pawlenty, Coleman, and Paulsen all of the top tier candidates have declined as has Joe Kline, right now there are two declared candidates a Right Wing Talk Radio Host, and a CEO named Mike McFadden, though Bachmann could always jump in and implode for us…..seriously if there is one person Franken wants to run against its Bachmann.

      1. A CEO named Johnson jumped into the Wisconsin senate race a couple years ago …

        1. I noticed the similarities as well which is why he is my preferred candidate, but since I don’t live in Minnesota it doesn’t really matter.

Comments are closed.