THE RACE FOR THE SENATE

 Like today’s NFL draft, where you see and hear, the so-called experts try to predict which player will be drafted by which team, a lot of attention will be paid to predicting which political party will have the most senators, when all is said and done, in November. There a lot of talking heads, but it is a fun exercise to try to predict what will happen.

Currently there are 55 senators who caucus with and pretty much vote as Democrats, while there are 45 Republican senators. There are 33 races, with Democrats having 22 seats up for election and Republicans have 11.

According to the so-called experts there are 8 toss-up races this fall. Off-year elections, or in other words non-presidential election cycles see the minority party pick up seats. This year may be different.

The last two election cycles saw the emergence of the Tea Party as a real force in American politics. Will the Tea Party, continue to be a major player in Republican Political circles?

Two things have happened that make one think that old political habits are returning. The public was not happy with the government shut-down and also the prospect of putting the credit worthiness of the dollar did not sit well with the voters either.

Before the advent of the Tea Party, a very high rate of incumbents were re-elected. It appears that we may be returning to that historical pattern.

The last two election cycles saw an amazing thing happen, a few senators could not even regain their own party’s nomination. Even though the Tea Party has tried to unseat Republican incumbents, they have so far met with no success. The remaining Mississippi primary is their last hope.

Wall Street money is going towards the election of more moderate, pragmatic Republicans, and so far, their money is making an impact.

But back to the actual senate races themselves! What are the prospects of the Republicans regaining the Senate. If this was a horse race, it appears to be nose to nose at this time.

At this time, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia appear to be certain pick-ups for the Republicans. The current conventional wisdom is that for states that went Republican in the President election would go Republican in the senate races up for grabs in 2014. Don’t bet the house on it. History maybe reverting back to historic patterns. Voters may gripe about Congress, but when it comes down to actual voting, it’s always someone else’s Senator or Congressperson who is to blame.

Let us look at the 8 races that are called toss-up elections. If you listen to conventional wisdom you would think that the Democrats, Senator Pryor and Landrieu would be certain losers in November, but that does not appear to be happening.

Pryor of Arkansas holds a solid lead over his apparent challenger. The south has become a Republican bastion, but the Pryor family in Arkansas has a proud history and despite Arkansas going heavily for Romney in 2012, it will take a big come-back for Republicans to defeat the incumbent if one is take any stock in polling at all.

In Louisiana, Senator Mary Landrieu is running in a state that is heavily republican, but she is respected and she holds an important position on the Senate, Energy committee. She brings home the bacon. Her family is held in high regard in Louisiana. Her brother, for example is the popular Mayor of New Orleans. She has a tough race but she is recognized as a tough campaigner and she will be tough to beat.

Both Pryor and Landrieu were expected to lose and they still might but if the Republican are to take the Senate they may need to look elsewhere. Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina are the other toss-up states. Kentucky is held currently by a Republican, Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, and he is in the political fight of his life.

Currently, Democrats are ahead in Alaska and in Iowa. Colorado has it’s incumbent, Udall, in front, but it is really a purple state where elections are really too close to call. Michigan is an open seat, with Democrat Peters slightly ahead in the polls. In North Carolina, incumbent Democrat Hagan is in a dogfight. The primary for her Republican challenger is in June, so we will have to wait to see how that stacks up, but since recent elections have been won by razor-thin margins, voter turnout will be the key to victory.

Georgia could be the sight of an upset. The Republican primary is up for grabs. The former governor Perdue is currently winning in the polls, versus two Tea Party Congressmen. Perdue when pitted against Nunn in polling is currently winning, but don’t count the daughter of the retired and formerly very popular Senator Sam Nunn out of it. Older white voters, still hold the former senator in high regard and some view Ms Nunn to be a chip off the old block.

With 3 clear wins for Republicans, the margin between the two political parties will be at a minimum very close by the closing of the polls on election day of November 2014.

We will have an exciting November that is for certain, the outcome is in doubt. It will be in the hands of the voters, and not the so-called experts. For all of the political junkies out there, this is going to be fun.

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