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Hi, everybody. This started as a response to SCDem4's "Complete Analysis of the 2014 Senate Elections" diary, but it got too long, so I started a new diary. All of these are quite preliminary thoughts, for whatever they're worth, and I'll look forward to clarification about whether Republican primaries in South Carolina have runoffs or not. More below the squiggle.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

AL-Sen: Uncontested R win.

AK-Sen: Tossup, and I'm not willing to tilt it right now. I also don't trust any Alaska polling after they muffed the Stevens-Begich race so badly.

AR-Sen: Tossup/Tilt R. Cotton is vulnerable, and Pryor, despite his mistake on the minimum wage (probably thanks to Walmart) is a very good politician, effective campaigner, and personally conservative Christian, but the heavy red shift of the state may be too much for him to overcome. However, if the climate shifts Democratic, not only could he win, but the Democrats could pick up one or two House seats in the state.

CO-Sen: Likely D: A wave would be needed to defeat Udall, and even that might not be enough, as Buck, who seems to have the inside track so far on the Republican nomination, was defeated by a little-known only semi-incumbent senator in 2010.

DE-Sen: Safe D. What a difference from the likely outcome at the beginning of the 2008 Delaware Senate election!

GA-Sen: Lean-R. One of the most interesting races in the country. It's hard to rate until the Republican primary is over, but on a preliminary basis, on the fairly likely chance that Broun or Gingrey win the primary and say a bunch of crazy shit, I get the sense that Nunn is a very smart candidate and likely to get crossover votes from moderate conservatives. However, she is also a rookie candidate, so on the face of it, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is a more seasoned and proven winner. Nevertheless, Nunn's non-partisan private sector leadership and still highly respected name carry a lot of weight across a significant swath of Georgia politics and political contributors. So on a preliminary basis, I rate this Lean-R, just out of an abundance of caution, but as the campaign develops, this might be as good a shot for a Democratic pickup as KY-Sen.

HI-Sen: Safe D, Lean-Hanabusa in the primary. Hawaii polling sucks, but it tends to understate the votes of Japanese-Hawaiian women, and while this primary is not mainly based on ethnicity, it does stand to reason that Hanabusa will get greater support from fellow women of Japanese descent. And the latest poll I saw showed her up by 8. So I think she has a good chance to win. I won't lose sleep either way, and it would make sense for whoever loses to run for another position in the future, especially if the loss isn't ignominious (if one candidate loses by 20%, that's probably the end, but I doubt that will happen; however, with Hawaii elections, you really never know).

ID-Sen: Safe R.

IL-Sen: Safe D.

IA-Sen: Likely D, verging on Safe. The only way a Republican wins this seat, short of some unforeseen disaster from Braley, is if conditions in the country turn calamitous. Otherwise, I really don't see it.

KS-Sen: Race to Watch. I'm predicting a Likely loss in the primary for Roberts, but that won't necessarily make the race Safe-R, because his main opponent is quite extreme, and there are a lot of moderate Republican voters in Kansas who have in the past been willing to support a moderate Democrat against an extreme Republican. I will watch this race with a lot of interest, to see if the unpopularity of Governor Brownback ever gets mirrored in the Senate race. So far it hasn't, but the elements are there to make this perhaps the only possible shocking Democratic Senate turnover in the country (because I think that wins in KY and GA would not be shocks).

KY-Sen: Tossup/Tilt R. I'm still tilting this race slightly Republican because of the lean of the state in Federal elections and the fact that McConnell is Minority Leader and has more money than Croesus. But this may be an almost 50/50 race. If McConnell were to lose the primary, I'd re-rate it Likely-R and then watch for further data, but Lundergan Grimes is such a good and appealing candidate - seemingly with no personal weaknesses that can be exploited, other than the fact that she is a Democrat and can be tied to that extent to the locally unpopular President Obama, but also to the extremely popular Governor Beshear - that I definitely wouldn't count her out, regardless of who wins that Republican primary. I rate the Republican primary Lean-McConnell, anyway, because of money (even though Bevin is personally wealthy), the power of incumbency, and some exposure of hypocrisy by Bevin.

LA-Sen: Tossup/Tilt D. Landrieu is a great campaigner, and I think there probably will be just enough Louisiana voters who believe she's working on their behalf, but a lot is dependent on how the economy does between now and November.

MA-Sen: Safe D.

ME-Sen: Safe R. Bellows has absolutely no chance of beating an incumbent Republican who is perceived by Maine voters to be moderate and enjoys the majority support of Democrats, independents, and Republicans. It doesn't matter how much you or I like Bellows' politics (and hell, I'm personally a real ACLU type, except on Citizens United, for whatever that's worth - nothing, really, in this context); she can't win and deserves credit for deciding to run at all.

MI-Sen: Lean D. Michigan polling tends to be pretty bad, but the lean of the state is Democratic, and Land has some weaknesses that can be attacked. In the end, I doubt this will be that close. Peters by a margin of 5-8.

MN-Sen: Safe D. What a difference 6 years make!

MS-Sen: Safe R with Cochran and Likely verging on Safe-R with McDaniel - and unfortunately, I rate the Republican primary Likely-McDaniel. The Democrats' only chance is to run a really good candidate and hope that McDaniel wins the primaries and then says things that really offend white women, because merely being a neo-Confederate racist is not sufficient to make a candidate lose in Mississippi.

MT-Sen: Tilt to Lean R. I have trouble rating this one. I think that Walsh is a very good candidate, and MT is surely capable of electing another Democratic senator; it's just that, all things being equal, I have to at least tilt this race toward Congressman Daines, who as the At-Large House Rep for the entire state probably has more name-recognition than the Lieutenant Governor (correct me if I'm wrong). But to a large degree, I think both candidates control their own fates, and if either one messes up, the other will win. However, if both run excellent campaigns, you have to respect the overall Republican lean of this highly ticket-splitting state. Debates actually could make some of the difference in this race (not merely the debates themselves, of course, but how sound bites from them are reported and used in ads after the fact).

NC-Sen: Lean D. My rating may be a bit optimistic, but while the president is not currently popular in NC and didn't win there in 2012, the Governor and North Carolina Legislature are even more unpopular, so that may be a wash. NC has a slight Republican lean, but incumbency counts for something. If Hagan's opponent is State House Speaker Thom Tillis, this race will probably end up as Likely D, because I think it's quite unlikely that North Carolinians will vote this guy in.

NE-Sen: Safe R.

NH-Sen: Lean D with Brown, Likely D with anyone else. I take polls showing Brown as popular in NH somewhat seriously, but if the Democrats are losing this race, they have probably already lost the Senate.

NJ-Sen: Safe D.

NM-Sen: Safe D. I'm having trouble seeing this Udall lose in a state that leans harder D than Colorado.

OK-Sen, A and B: Safe R.

OR-Sen: Safe D.

RI-Sen: Safe D.

SC-Sen, A and B: Both Safe R. I predict that Lindsey Graham will lose in a primary runoff (they have those, right? please correct me if I'm wrong), and if so, I will be unhappy, because whoever replaces him will be worse.

SD-Sen: Safe R. What a disappointing Democratic candidate, but it might not have mattered who ran against Rounds.

TN-Sen: Safe R, and also Likely verging on Safe-Alexander (remembering all the previous instances, I can't quite count out freak Tea Party victories in primaries).

TX-Sen: Safe R. The Republican primary is a Race to Watch, but no longer for disappearing weirdo, Stockman. Other candidates are worth watching to see if anyone consolidates the crazy anti-Cornyn vote and catches fire. But a party that thinks Cornyn is not conservative enough is really insane, and I think Cornyn is likely to win the primaries, even though this is the state that elected Ted Cruz last time. Even if Cornyn loses the primary, though, the state leans hard Republican, nowadays, so kudos to the Democrats giving it a good try, but surely, none of them is expecting to win, and none of them will.

VA-Sen: Safe D. There is no evidence whatsoever that Gillespie has a chance. Warner by 10-15.

WV-Sen: Lean R, and I want to see more polling data.

WY-Sen: Safe R.

I'm having trouble seeing a chance for a Democratic pickup anywhere other than Georgia or/and Kentucky, both of which I am still leaning at least somewhat toward the Republicans for now. If there's a surprise Democratic pickup anywhere else, believe it or not, I think it could be in Kansas, either because Roberts wins the primary and the voters punish him for not living in the state, or because Roberts loses and his opponent turns out to be a freak and sound like one. I give this no more than a 10% chance of happening, and probably more like 5%, but it's not impossible.

On the other hand, I'm predicting Republican pickups in SD, WV, MT, and AR (probably in that order of likelihood, at this point), with a straight Tossup in AK and a very slight Tilt D in LA.

So as things stand, I rate 6 Republican pickups as more likely than a push or net Democratic pickup of 1. I am not predicting at this stage that the Democrats are likely to lose control of the Senate, but there are several elections that are so close right now that what happens to the economy between now and November, and also how successful Democratic Get-Out-The-Vote efforts are (because we know greater percentages of eligible Republican voters than Democratic voters usually vote) could determine the fates of 6 or so seats.

And that also means money. Candidates need to have talent and smarts to run good campaigns, but if they have no money to advertise, they can only take it on the chin so much before they run out of chances to win. I have not yet sent money to Democratic candidates, but I think I will start doing so soon, and surely Begich and Walsh in cheap AK and MT will get some of my money, but Hagan has been taking it on the chin too long and will need plenty of money to blitz the eventual Republican winner in the primaries with deadly commercials and a great GOTV effort. And anyone who can possibly overlook Landrieu's home-state advocacy of oil should absolutely send her money because she is almost too liberal to win in her state and is a really loyal Democrat in the Senate, to her potential downfall.

If you want more advice on where your contributions will go farthest, please read Stephen Wolf's wonderful diary, "Where do your political donations do the most in furthering progressivism in 2014? Let's find out."

Extended (Optional)


Who do you think is the most vulnerable incumbent senator?

3%6 votes
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9%15 votes
4%7 votes
3%6 votes
7%12 votes
5%8 votes
2%4 votes
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| 156 votes | Vote | Results

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