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Will Republicans Blow Their Senate Chances One More Time?

Trouble brewing for GOP incumbents in Georgia and Kentucky.

by
Rich Baehr

Bio

August 15, 2013 - 12:41 am
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Generally, turnout is more GOP friendly in midterms in Georgia than in presidential years, though Democrats are trying to get black voters aroused about alleged voter suppression efforts. They are  trying to get the black voter share of all voters up to 2012 and 2008 levels again in 2014.  The Democrats have selected Michelle Nunn, the daughter of former four-term centrist Democratic Senator Sam Nunn, to be their standard-bearer in 2014.  It is a smart pick. Nunn will sail to her party nomination, while Republicans battle it out in a multi-candidate primary.  All the well worn “war on women” themes are certain to be rolled out to try to pick off suburban women who may be put off if the GOP nominee turns out to be a right-wing flamethrower in the Todd Akin mode.

Three current GOP House members are competing for the nomination, including Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun. Kingston is considered the most centrist nominee, and Broun the most conservative.  Broun has called evolution and the big bang theory “lies straight from the pit of hell.”  Gingrey and Broun are currently atop the polls, and Gingrey has raised the most  money ($2.6 million).  There are other candidates as well, including former candidate for governor Karen Handel and David Perdue, the son of the former governor. Handel is  attacking all three congressmen for their long years in Washington, providing general-election material for Nunn, much as Newt Gingrich set up the anti-Bain attacks on Mitt Romney for Obama’s general-election campaign.

Kentucky is a far different story. The state is one of the least diverse in America: 86% white and only  8% black. This should be far more favorable terrain for the Republicans than Georgia, particularly since the sitting senator, Mitch McConnell, is running for re-election. However, McConnell  has never won by huge margins, and held on in 2008 by only 6%, running  far behind John McCain, who won the state by 16%. The state was even less enthusiastic about Barack Obama in 2012, with Romney winning by 26%.

Democrats other than Obama have been very competitive and at times won statewide races in Kentucky. The governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear, is a Democrat who has won by big margins both times he ran.   McConnell is 71, more than twice the age of his  Democratic opponent,  Alison Lundergan Grimes, now 34, assuming McConnell survives a primary challenge from wealthy businessman Matt Bevin.

Mcconnell is favored to win the primary, but the general-election contest will  be close. McConnell is already trying to associate Grimes with Obama, Pelosi and Harry Reid, all of whom are very unpopular in the commonwealth. Grimes will use her youth and McConnell’s long history of what she calls  “obstruction” in Washington as evidence of the need for a change and a new generation of elected officials.  Grimes is a far stronger candidate than actress Ashley Judd would have been. Judd, who considered entering  the race for several months,  would have been the toast of the Matt Damon/Hollywood crowd, but her positions on the environment and women’s rights  would have been “out of step,” to use a New York Times expression, with most Kentucky voters.

Sean Trende, in a thorough analysis of the Kentucky race, argued that the state’s rural character will play against Grimes, especially given the president’s EPA war on coal — a big issue in eastern Kentucky.  McConnell will have all the campaign money he needs to attempt to tie Grimes to everything the state does not like about Obama’s policies. McConnell is a political survivor, but there have been other older GOP senators who have gone down in primaries or general elections in recent cycles in GOP friendly states — Ted Stevens and Richard Lugar, among them.

Both Georgia and Kentucky may be races decided by 5% or less.  Both races will suck up campaign cash that otherwise would be available in other states where there are good pickup opportunities. I think the odds of the GOP winning both Georgia and Kentucky are about 50-50. Losing one would require winning all seven of the pickup states, a pretty unlikely scenario, unless it is a massive wave year for the GOP.

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Richard A. Baehr is the co-founder and chief political correspondent for the American Thinker. For his day job, he has been a health care consultant for many years doing planning and financial analyses for providers.

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Top Rated Comments   
If all the Republicans will be doing is to endorse Democrat Ideas - Why bother having a Republican Party?
Or, as was said in 1975...

"I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, "We must broaden the base of our party” - when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government's coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

It is time to reassert our principles and raise them to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way."
...Ronald Reagan
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the main Republican initiatives, with the country on the brink of total collapse, is legalizing 30 million illegals and funding ObamaCare (which goes free to the 30 million new residents) then I really don't care if the Republicans win or lose a Senate seat. Why should I care when Republicans are simply doing all they can to implement Obama policies?
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stop perpetuating the same old myth. This is not a battle between Democrats and Republicans. It is a battle between an entrenched ruling elite (both Democrats and Republicans) vs We The People.

Think about the way the Democratic establishment treats the blacks: They talk a great game but never do anything about the plight of the blacks and their communities. The Dems want black votes and black donations but that's it.

Guess what: The Republican establishment treats us the same way. They want our votes. They want our money.

Both constituencies (Blacks and Conservatives) need to wake up and realize we are on the same side and our common enemy is the entrenched ruling class.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (58)
All Comments   (58)
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Maine was lost when Olympia Snowe retired.

The difference is only cosmetic...
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've never liked McConnell but at least he's our man. I never could understand the continued support by "those " who liked Angle and the witch from Delaware. Apparently they couldn't see the handwriting on the wall. They may be on target as far as finances are concerned but they are totally lacking in common sense.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some people would prefer to be stabbed in the front, rather than being stabbed in the back.
That isn't lacking common sense, that is understanding that electing people who dilute the message, makes the message muddled and therefore makes accomplishing anything impossible - hence a constant leftward shift regardless of who is in office.
Better to get democrat policies from democrats, than from republicans - it is that simple and that sensible.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I prefer not to be stabbed either front or back. The country does not function now and O and his administration win by default. The GOP should do a little forward thinking and cut him off. They always seem to be lacking in whatever it takes, whether new technology or public relations.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
If they continue to bang the "social" conservatism drum - yes, they are toast.

If they listen to the libertarian wing of the party - perhaps they have a chance. That is unlikely given the dirty tricks they used against Ron Paul at the last convention.

Here's my message to "Prince Reebus" - I will NEVER, I repeat NEVER vote for the likes of Chris Christy or Jeb Bush. Do you GET that?

49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
You people are all one note Sally's with the doom and gloom. Georgia will not go Dem and neither will Kentucky. This guy is talking out his ass.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Of course they'll blow it; lately, that's all they do.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
That's one of the most ridiculous questions of the year. Of course the Republicans will throw away the House and any chance of gaining the Senate by picking the most Democrat-like candidate they possibly can.

The base is getting fed up with voting for RINOs and backstabbers (those like Christie and Cantor who talk a good game but once elected prove to be Democrats) as the lesser of two evils. If they pull it again folks will stay home. As for myself it doesn't matter since I was recently gerrymandered from a strong Republican district to a Democrat one so my vote for the House is nullified. Senate? pretty much the same now. State elections may still be viable though.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Castle may have been more viable in DE, but that's because O'Donnell and the conservatives would have rallied behind him if he'd won the primary. He lost it, and he refused to endorse O'Donnell, let alone campaign for her. (And who needed the corrupt SOB? He got rich in the House. We'd have had to bribe him for every vote, and he'd likely have jumped like Jeffords and Arlen.)

Why not mention Carly Fiorina? Boxer was vulnerable to somebody conservative on immigration, and Carly wasn't that. She made fun of Boxer's hair, and she lost, lost, lost. How come that don't make the list?

Akin said something dumb, true. Mourdoch didn't. How come Dick Lugar didn't endorse and campaign for Mourdoch? We lost those elections because the establishment GOP cuts and runs from culture fights, and maybe because they'd rather spend money with Dems than cut budgets with conservatives.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
"How come Dick Lugar didn't endorse and campaign for Mourdoch?"

Because his first name says more about him than just being his first name.

"We lost those elections because the establishment GOP cuts and runs from culture fights"

No, sometimes we lose because they indulge the most extreme parts of the base in parts of the culture fight we cannot win. The GOP elite use those losses as excuses not to back the base's candidates in areas where we can win, like over-regulation and TEA.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let us form a CONSERVATIVE PARTY that will make our Beloved Ronald Reagan look like a Bolshevik. We'll have too do it sooner or later. The sooner the better.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
What Difference Does It Make? Donkey? Elephant? Just different poo producers.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Never believe for a moment that the point of the Republican Party is to win elections and to defeat Democrats. The point of the Republican Party is to participate in a fraud and to perpetuate the power-holding of RINO establishment members of their club. These people would rather lose an election than see Conservatives win and accomplish something real.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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