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Due to the Democratic annihilation in the 2008 Senate, the field looks pretty good for the GOP in 2014. But then again, we saw how well that worked for them in the 2012 elections. Republicans would need to gain six seats for a majority.

Safe Seats

These seats would take just about EVERYTHING breaking right for the opposing party to win.

Alabama- Jeff Sessions

Delaware- Chris Coons
Republicans had their chance here and blew it big time in 2010.

Idaho-Jim Risch

Well Republicans have Idaho and Utah to keep a presence in the west.

Illinois-Richard Durbin

Republicans DID have everything break right for them in the President's home state in 2010, but they have small hope for a repeat.

Kansas-Pat Roberts

Too red.

Massachusetts-John Kerry

If Kerry was nominated for a cabinet position (or retired for another reason), Scott Brown ran, and there was a bloody democratic primary, Republicans could have a shot but Kerry will probably cruise.

Mississippi-Thad Cochran

Cochran is getting old but the D's will have a hard time here no matter who runs.  

Nebraska-Mike Johanns

Nebraska was the lone GOP senate pickup in 2012.  

Oklahoma-Jim Inhofe

Red and getting redder, like the rest of the southern states on the list.

Rhode Island-Jack Reed

Deep blue.  

Tennessee-Lamar Alexander

Democrats had a good shot with the open seat and a strong candidate in a good year in 2006 and didn't contest in 2012.

Texas-John Cornyn

A couple more years of demographic changes and Texas could be in play.

Wyoming-Mike Enzi

Nothing to see here in the Equality State.

Likely Retention

The incumbent party is favored, but pickups here are possible without miracles being necessary.

Georgia-Saxby Chambliss

Borderline safe in a deep red state but Chambliss has underwhelmed.

New Jersey-Frank Lautenberg

The ancient Lautenberg keeps chugging along but you have to wonder if retirement is an option. The state has been fools' gold for the R's, with the exception of Christie's gubernatorial win. You have to wonder if it is worth their time and money to contest it if they don't get a very strong candidate.

New Mexico-Tom Udall

New Mexico has been getting bluer and Republicans have been disappointed in recent senate elections. Udall cleaned up in 2008. Still, Republican Susana Martinez did win the governorship in 2010 and could make it a race in the unlikely event that she runs. Otherwise it would take an unexpected scandal or retirement to make this competitive.

Virginia-Mark Warner

If Warner runs, he wins. But he is considering a gubernatorial bid and could also be a cabinet candidate. Republicans have a strong bench, headlined by Governor Bob McDonnell, and statewide races in Virginia tend to be interesting.

Leaners

Give the edge to the incumbent party here, but many of these seats should be in play, at least if the right candidates step up. Republicans will have to make some noise here if they want a majority.


Colorado-Mark Udall

Another swingish state democrats have done well in recently. Republicans shot themselves in the foot by nominating Ken Buck last time around. Still, Udall is a freshman and the elephants could make it a race with the right candidate.

Former governor Bill Owens, 2010 candidate and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, Attorney General John Suthers, and Congressman Mike Coffman are the GOP's strongest candidates here.

Iowa-Tom Harkin

This is bordeline likely, but if republicans got a strong candidate or if the aging Harking retired, or both, it could get competitive.

PPP showed Harkin with single-digit leads over Congressmen Tom Latham and Steve King and Governor Terry Branstad.

Kentucky-Mitch McConnell

As the one targeted republican who won, and the polarizing party leader, McConnell will have a big target on his back.

Lt. Gov Jerry Abramson, Sec. of State Alison Grimes, and actress Ashley Judd have been floated as candidates.

Still, with McConnell's resources and the state's lean, it will be an uphill climb.

Maine-Susan Collins  

This one is pretty cut and dried. If Collins runs and makes it out of the primary (no sure thing), republicans win. If she retires or is taken down by the right, democrats win.

Michigan-Carl Levin

Levin is aging (80 at the time of the election) and this would be a race only if he retires.

Off the top of my head, republican representatives Mike Rogers and Candice Miller and gubernatorial losers Mike Bouchard and Mike Cox. Assuming Pete Hoekstra has worn out his welcome.

Minnesota-Al Franken

Franken hasn't exactly been the heat-seeking missile republicans imagined when he narrowly won in 2008. Still, republicans would not be able to live with themselves if they gave him a pass on re-election in this bluish purple state.

PPP showed him with solid but surmountable leads over former Governor Tim Pawlenty and 2008 losing incumbent Norm Coleman. Coleman may be itching for a rematch after the super narrow contest that took months to decide, with independence party candidate Dean Barkely's 13% possibly changing the outcome.

Coleman, along with Pawlenty and Congressman Erik Paulsen form republicans' strongest challengers. Michelle Bachmann could throw a wrench in things though.

Montana-Max Baucus

Democrats have had some success in the Big Sky State of late and Baucus dominated last time. Still, it is a red-leaning state and Baucus has had some minor chinks in the armor.

Popular exiting Governor Brian Schwietzer has been mentioned as a primary challenger, and leads in PPP primary polling. Denny Rehberg has nothing better to do and would probably be republicans' strongest challenger.

North Carolina

Kay Hagan will be vulnerable if it is a strong republican year. Republicans do not have a strong bench though.

Oregon-Jeff Merkley

Portland has some of the strongest liberals and Eastern Oregon has some of the strongest conservatives. Their is a big struggle between traditional Oregon moderate republicans, and far-righters. Third parties have garnered a large percentage of the vote.

In a PPP poll, Merkley trailed perennial non-candidate Congressman Greg Walden (his chairmanship of the NRCC basically rules out a candidacy here) while holding single-digit leads against Senator Jason Atkinson, State Rep. Bruce Hanna, and perennial candidate and GOP Chairman Allen Alley. Gordon Smith could go for the grudge match.

South Dakota-Tim Johnson

Johnson has done well as a moderate in this red state. However, popular former Governor Mike Rounds is considering the race and would indeed make it a race. The political leanings of this state could make it a tough hold if republicans put up a good candidate.

Highly Competitive

These could go either way. Not necessarily in tossup territory, but likely to be competitive.

Alaska-Mark Begich

Begich was barely able to defeat ethically challenged Ted Stevens in a good year for democrats. This state is very republican and likely presents the best opportunity for a pickup.

Giving hope to democrats are some controversial potential candidates, including 2010 candidate Joe Miller and anyone last-named Palin. Among legit candidates are Governor Sean Parnell and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.

Arkansas-Mark Pryor

Pryor was unopposed in 2008. With the Republican trend here, that is not going to happen again. Congressmen Tim Griffin and Steve Womack are potential candidates for team R. This will be tough sledding for Democrats after Republicans' recent success here.

Louisiana-Mary Landrieu

The lone seat that Republicans contested last seat. Governor Bobby Jindal would be a field clearer for Republicans, and start out as the front-runner. In the likely case that he does not run, one of Congressmen Steve Scalise, John Fleming, Bill Cassidy, or Charles Boustany or Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne could run. Or they could just find some conservative democrat to turn and run.

New Hampshire-Jeanne Shaheen

New Hampshire has strongly reflected the national tide. If this is a good cycle for republicans, then this one will be in jeopardy.

Republicans don't have a deep bench. A repeat bid by John Sununu Jr. might be the best bet.

West Virginia-Jay Rockefeller

West Virginia has trended rightward quite a bit over the last several years. Democratic incumbents have done well still, but two polls have shown Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito leading Rockefeller. Also, Rockefeller will be 77 and could retire. If Rockefeller runs and Capito doesn't, this should be a leaner.

Of course, things can change in a hurry. And you never know how much havoc far-right candidates may cause.

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