November 17, 2012
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE: In response to my question below: Moe Lane: My quick handicapping of Democratic at-risk Senate races in 2014.
UPDATE: Reader David Rosenfeld writes:
For 2014, I looked at Democrat senators from states that went for Romney in the presidential election. Mark Begich (AK), Mark Pryor (AR), Tim Johnson (SC), and Kay Hagan (NC) fit that description. So do Max Baucus (MT) and Jay Rockefeller (WV), but their long-term incumbency makes them seem somewhat less vulnerable to me. I’m also tempted to say that Al Franken is vulnerable, because he was elected so narrowly.
It all comes down to candidates, doesn’t it? The Republicans need to find smart, well-spoken candidates who can clearly and unashamedly articulate conservative economic principles and explain why those principles are good for the country. Less Todd Akin, more Marco Rubio.
It is worth remembering that Claire McCaskill boosted Todd Akin in the primary (by running attack ads against his stronger opponents) to give herself the weakest possible opponent in the general election. Alan Grayson did the same thing in my majority-Hispanic congressional district in Florida, running attack ads against a Hispanic Republican candidate during the primary, which resulted in him facing a much weaker opponent in the general election. I expect that we’ll see more of that tactic in the future, because it works.
Maybe the GOP could learn something here?
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:
These are the states where there is an incumbent D senator with a 2014 election, where the Romney ticket won in 2012:
* Montana ( Max Baucus )
* South Dakota ( Tim Johnson )
* Arkansas ( Mark Pryor )
* Louisiana ( Mary Landrieu )
* West Virginia ( Jay Rockefeller )
* Alaska ( Mark Begich )
And these are the main 2012 battleground presidential states, where there is a 2014 U.S. Senate race and the incumbent is a D:
* Colorado ( Mark Udall )
* Iowa ( Tom Harkin )
* Michigan ( [Carl Levin] )
* Virginia ( Mark Warner )
* North Carolina ( Kay Hagan )
* New Hampshire ( Jeanne Shaheen )
So, those are the most likely states for an R pick-up in 2014.
Here it is in map form. The four states with a red + are states where there is a state government GOP trifecta…the GOP controls the governorship, state senate and state house.