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Democratic Rep. Gary Peters (MI)
Gary Peters (D-MI) is the biggest mover in this month's power rankings.
As we slowly dispatch with the hottest time of the year in a literal sense, we are on the doorstep of the hottest time of the year in a political sense. Such is the run-up to Labor Day, the universally agreed-upon "kickoff" date for when the election season ramps up in earnest.

Here at Daily Kos/Daily Kos Elections, that means it's time to roll out the power rankings for the month of August, based (as they always are) on the previous month's activity.

One thing we notice right away: The "primary effect" that colored the rankings for the past couple of months is all but gone. Races ascending the ladder because a lot of polling and electoral interest existed for the partisan primaries was a phenomenon since the spring, but with the vast majority of state primaries now in the books, that phenomenon only manifest itself in the placement of our top race this month, which would've been in the top few, in any event.

Evidence of the dissipation of the "primary effect" comes in our biggest mover this month. Michigan vaulted from out of the top ten into the No. 3 position this month, despite the fact that the identities of the two partisan nominees (Democratic Rep. Gary Peters and former GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land) have been known since the beginning.

For the first time, half of the races topping the power rankings already had their primaries completed by the beginning of the focus month. By the end of August, it will likely be two states (and one of those isn't really fair, because Louisiana doesn't hold a traditional primary).

Head on past the jump to see who moved up, and who slid backwards, in heat of summer in the Daily Kos Elections Power Rankings for the U.S. Senate.

As always, anyone curious about the rubric used to determine these Daily Kos Elections Senate Power Rankings can see the description at the close of this piece.

One of the themes of this month was a gradual ramping up as the election season heats up. It wasn't quite as present in the top 10, where the point totals we saw this month were fairly comparable to last month, but it could be seen through the entirety of the 2014 U.S. Senate race roster. For example, after three months of rankings in which the number of states recording point totals in the double digits was in the teens (out of 36 total races), this month a total of 22 states hit that mark.

Part of that was due to the massive deluge of polling data from internet polling service YouGov, which landed with a thud in late July. Though our own Taniel pointed out some causes for concern with the polling, a vein of numbers that rich and that deep was going to catch a lot of attention. For our purposes, it meant that some classically under-polled U.S. Senate general election contests (Massachusetts and Wyoming immediately come to mind) finally got some hard numbers.

As a result of that YouGov onslaught of polling data, only a trio of states went unpolled and unsung in July: Alabama (where Republican Dick Shelby has no major party opposition), as well as Rhode Island and Delaware (where Democratic incumbents Jack Reed and Chris Coons are essentially unchallenged).

That meant that nearly two dozen states earned points, but missed the top 10. They were (in order from closest to the top 10 on down): Montana (sigh...OPEN SEAT—34 points); Kansas (Roberts—33 points); Tennessee (Alexander—20 points); Hawaii (Schatz—19 points); Minnesota (Franken—16 points); South Carolina "A" (Graham—15 points); South Dakota (OPEN SEAT—14 points); Virginia (Warner—14 points); Mississippi (Cochran—13 points); West Virginia (OPEN SEAT—13 points); Oregon (Merkley—12 points); New Mexico (T. Udall—10 points); Illinois (Durbin—8 points); New Jersey (Booker—8 points); Oklahoma "A" (Inhofe—8 points); South Carolina "B" (Scott—8 points); Idaho (Risch—4 points); Maine (Collins—4 points); Massachusetts (Markey—4 points); Nebraska (OPEN SEAT—4 points); Oklahoma "B" (OPEN SEAT—4 points); Texas (Cornyn—4 points); Wyoming (Enzi—4 points)

Now that the "second string" states have been dispensed with (football fans will appreciate the reference, and kickoff is looming, after all), here are the top 10 states that grace this "back to school" version of the Power Rankings:

#10—KENTUCKY (36 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Republican
(Last Month: 10)

Kentucky yet again hangs stubbornly in the bottom half of the top 10. If the most recent polling is to be believed, McConnell has bounced off the floor a little bit and re-established a slight edge over upstart Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. But if we know one thing about McConnell, he seems to have a distaste for electoral prosperity. He can be counted on to mess the bed with some regularity, as he may well have done last week when he (without exactly invoking the word) seemed to threaten another government shutdown as a bargaining strategy when negotiating with President Obama. With the ebb and flow between a tough state electorally for Democrats and a Republican incumbent who can't seem to get out of his own way sometimes, this one could be on the boards until November 4.

#9—NORTH CAROLINA (38 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 6)

North Carolina, as predicted in the inaugural power rankings back in the spring, is going absolutely nowhere. Even in its quietest month, it remained a top 10 race in the power rankings. Somewhat akin to Kentucky, North Carolina is a race of contrary impulses where voters have two things they're angry about, and are left to decide which one is the bigger factor in their vote. As in Kentucky, the president's numbers in North Carolina are not particularly strong. However, his numbers are practically golden compared to state's Republican majority in the state legislature. The state legislature's polling numbers are downright freaking dismal, and Tillis (as the state House Speaker) is bearing no small part of the brunt of that. As a result, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who was seen as among the most vulnerable Democrats at the start of the cycle, is still clinging to the narrowest of advantages.

#8—NEW HAMPSHIRE (38 points)—DKE Rating: Likely Democratic
(Last Month: NR)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. New Hampshire got a lot of attention this past week because of this poll. Of course, the pollster (University of New Hampshire) is so prone to wild swings in short time frames that they are reminiscent of that old cliché about the weather in the summer in the mountains: "if you don't like it, wait 15 minutes. It'll change." It also led to one of the more blunt, to say nothing of hilarious, tweets of the week from Princeton election researcher Sam Wang:

People. Please. If Jeanne Shaheen (D) loses to Scott Brown (R) in NH-Sen, I promise to eat a bug.
@SamWangPhD
We here at Daily Kos Elections may not be willing to join Dr. Wang on his insect-consuming pledge, but you will notice that our rating for this race did not change as a result of that most recent poll.

#7—LOUISIANA (40 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last month: NR)

Louisiana returns to the top 10, despite the fact that it has been a fairly static race throughout. July did see a mild disruption to the race, as Paul Hollis, a Republican state legislator, called it a day and dropped out of the race (remember that, in Louisiana, all candidates run on the same ballot in November, with a runoff between the top two candidates only being necessary if no candidates earns a majority). It's impossible to see that as much as a game changer, though; Hollis was polling in the mid-single digits, and it seems likely that any support he might have had was going to get hoovered up by Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy, in any event. Therefore, as it has been for a long while, this race boils down to Cassidy, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, and a likely runoff because neither candidate has been able to establish a lead greater than a point or two, and there are still several other minor candidates in the mix. A lot of outside money is liable to find its way into this one, and already has, as Americans for Prosperity began running a brutally negative ad here last month, which our own Joan McCarter did an excellent job of skewering when it came out in mid-July.

#6—IOWA (40 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 5)

We here at Daily Kos Elections moved this race to tossup earlier this month. And, while I would never speak for my colleagues, I was personally surprised that this race has degenerated into a coin flip. Democrat Bruce Braley has definitely taken some incoming in what has been a damned ugly race, but Republican nominee Joni Ernst seems like she is endeavoring to be the valedictorian of the O'Donnell-Angle-Akin (Mourdock... well, you get the idea) School of Toxic Republican Senate Candidates. The most recent example of her verbal exploits can be found in this piece by David Nir earlier this month. Iowa is not immune to flirtations with the GOP, but it's still a little hard to believe that a Republican who is "flattered" to be compared to Sarah Palin can get elected to the U.S. Senate from here. The polls, however, tell us it is absolutely possible.

#5—ALASKA (42 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 3)

Alaska was one of those late-breaking primaries, having just concluded last week. As a result, former state official Dan Sullivan earned the Republican nod to challenge Democratic Sen. Mark Begich. But, as DKE explored earlier this week, the fairly close second-place finish by 2010 nominee Joe Miller, another example of unelectable Republican toxicity, may have proven to be a little bit of a missed opportunity:

Surely it would have been worth attempting a Claire McCaskill-style ratfuck painting Sullivan and Treadwell as insufficiently purist while portraying Miller as the one true believer. As an added benefit, this would have been true! And it seems like a real missed opportunity, because Miller's performance against Begich in the polling averages was much worse than his two opponents'.
Don't misunderstand the message: Begich still is more than holding his own with Sullivan, and has already started hammering Sullivan with a strong ad echoing the best barbs flung at him during the GOP primary. Not only can Begich beat Sullivan, the polling averages to date show that, despite the red lean of the state, he has a slight edge over Sullivan. Miller would've been close to a sure thing, though, but the polling data pre-primary (all of which showed Miller as a no-hoper in a distant third place to Sullivan and state Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell) might have left a false impression that Miller's defeat was a given.

#4—COLORADO (44 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 8)

Colorado moves back up the ladder, propelled in no small part by the fact that it is just such a damned coin flip. To wit: Of the 16 polls in the race to date, precisely one of them (a July Marist poll) had one of the two candidates leading by a margin greater than four points (they had Udall +7). There were five polls taken here in July: Udall led in three of them, Gardner led in two of them. Befitting Colorado's status as a "swing state," this one is razor-thin. Cory Gardner tried to get some mileage by personalizing his opposition to Obamacare by saying he was a "victim" of the policy, but some of the charges he made have merited some scrutiny. Gardner is also still struggling with the personhood issue, but we've said that so many times at this point we could practically cut-and-paste that sentence into every edition of the power rankings.

#3—MICHIGAN (48 points)—DKE Rating: Leans Democratic
(Last Month: NR)

Michigan rockets back into the power rankings this month, and rises all the way into the top three. Part of the reason was polling: Michigan was polled seven times in July. Democrat Gary Peters (who was endorsed by Daily Kos back in July) led in six of them, the lone holdout being the aforementioned YouGov/CBS polling effort. Indeed, Peters has led in all but two polls in the state since April. Last week, the Kochs, who had been spending hand-over-fist in the state, scaled back their ad buy here. That could be a sign that they see better opportunities elsewhere, or maybe they are, as others have been, underwhelmed by the Land campaign. There is no cause for complacency, though: Michigan is a state that may be a blue state in leap years, but can certainly flirt with swing-state status during the midterms. Peters is the betting favorite, but no one on his team is resting easy.

#2—ARKANSAS (51 points)—DKE Rating: Tossup
(Last Month: 2)

Arkansas has been one of a small handful of races never to leave the top 10, and it has actually spent more months than not in the top four. It's not hard to see why: The race pairs a Democratic incumbent in a state that hasn't elected many Democrats to federal office in recent cycles against a "rising star" Republican candidate whose performance in the campaign hasn't quite measured up to the hype. It is a recipe for a tossup, which is exactly what we've had pretty much since Day One. Arkansas also is a laboratory for a very interesting swing in campaign tactics. Recently, the Democratic Pryror campaign launched an ad in which Obamacare is praised tangentially by pointing out the benefits it had for the candidate's own family, specifically his father, the uber-popular former senator in the state, David Pryor. It might not be a bad strategy in a state where, thanks to Medicaid expansion, the rate of uninsured was halved over the past year.

#1—GEORGIA (60 points)—DKE Rating: Likely Republican
(Last Month: 4)

Georgia vaults to the top spot, and might be the last beneficiary in the 2014 cycle of that "primary effect" we've written so much about over the past few months in the power rankings. Georgia was one of two states that had a high-profile U.S. Senate partisan runoff, which concluded in late July with former Dollar General head David Perdue seizing the Republican nomination from veteran Rep. Jack Kingston in a mild upset. That set up the November showdown between Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn, an attorney and the daughter of popular former Sen. Sam Nunn. Perdue, benefiting from a little post-primary unity, starts the general with a modest advantage. Perdue does have some vulnerabilities, and Nunn is one of the best-funded Democratic challengers in the cycle. This is yet another contest where the battle between candidate strength versus terrain is going to be the story.

THE RUBRIC: Three criteria were used to generate our Daily Kos Elections power rankings. One is competitiveness. This was done rather easily, utilizing our DKE Senate race ratings. If a race had been designated by the Daily Kos Elections crew as a "toss-up," that netted that race 15 points. If the race was designated as a "lean" D/R race, it was worth 10 points. If the race was designated as a "likely" D/R contest, it was worth five points. Since there are no longer any "races to watch" (a designation reserved for races that could hinge on competitive primaries), that category is no longer a part of our power rankings.

The second criteria is newsworthiness. Some races, for lack of a more elegant way of putting it, have more going on than others. The criteria here was also objective: a Senate race received a single point for every day in which it was mentioned in a Daily Kos Elections Daily Digest. This month, Alaska and Georgia shared the top spot, with fifteen mentions each.

The final criteria is "pollworthiness." Media outlets, campaigns, and polling firms are not going to poll a race for nothing. The more intriguing races are going to get more data points, typically. So, four points were awarded for each poll conducted (primary or general) in a given state's Senate race. Georgia led in this category as well, with ten polls conducted in the month of July.

The "tiebreaker", when races have the same number of points accumulated, is as follows: 1) The first tie-breaker is the number of mentions in the month ("newsworthiness"); 2) The second tie-breaker, should their number of mentions also be equal, is that the state that was lower in the rankings in the previous month gets the higher of the rankings among the tied races. If last month was also a tie, it goes back to previous months until the tie is broken.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 01:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good tight analysis. But with all those "tossups", (12+ / 0-)

    ... too darned tight!

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 01:32:23 PM PDT

  •  Campus Votin (6+ / 0-)

    All college campuses should be designated places to vote, real polls, not just absentee ballots.  We would get many more votes this way.

    Boycott WalMart-Papa Johns-BP-Steven Seagal movies- and Jack Welch is still a pr*ck

    by truthronin on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 01:41:53 PM PDT

    •  Duh. (9+ / 0-)

      Why do you think Republicans try so hard to get polling stations moved off college campuses?  Or make student ID ineligible to use as a photo ID to vote?

      As an aside, I met a former elected official from Waller County near Houston who told me that she lost reelection almost solely because the county removed the polling station from Prairie View A&M (an HBCU -- that's a double whammy as far as Republicans are concerned) and forced the students to go vote ten miles away.  And later the county got sued over that.

      30, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

      by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 01:54:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Like I said below, the GOP is in full stride... (6+ / 0-)

        They have been at this for months now...carpet-bombing the airwaves with ads and getting their ground game rolling.

        Our side? We're "rolling it out" now.

        Whoever is running DNC strategy had better get their heads out of their asses and engage this fight and FAST. We can't afford to wait until October to fight back.

        I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

        by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:06:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not so sure (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cocinero, ColoTim, askew, 207wickedgood

          the GOP has been carpet-bombing the airwaves with ads so much as the Koch brothers and all their minions have been.

          30, white male, TX-07 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

          by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:09:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What's the difference to the voting public? (5+ / 0-)

            Sure, we spell out the Koch brothers' crooked influence, but John Q. Public only sees the ads.

            We can't sit back and complain while they define the narrative. We have won presidential elections by beating this shit back, but we began those campaigns early in the season. We haven't even begun to fight in this one...and that makes me very, very nervous.

            I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

            by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:14:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You nailed it. Where is the Dem sense of urgency? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JGibson, mchestnutjr

          I haven't seen it in Illinois either.  The Republican multi-millionaire Rauner has been bombarding the airwaves for nearly a year in Illinois with attacks on our Democratic Governor Quinn. I stopped holding my breath waiting for the Quinn Campaign to respond. And now, it's way too late to play catch-up with the election a mere eight weeks away.  It's positively mind-boggling that so many Dems are just starting to "roll out" their campaigns now --whether in Florida, Iowa or Illinois.  There are major exceptions to this, of course, like Wendy Davis in Texas and Allison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, who have been utterly fantastic candidates and tireless fighters--no matter what the outcome of their elections turns out to be.

          I have been contributing to campaigns--especially Democratic Senate campaigns--across the country since the beginning of 2014.  What are so many of these campaigns doing with the money they receive if they are just starting to get their campaigns off the ground now? It is utterly devastating to watch this whole scenario unfold.

      •  Dear Duh (0+ / 0-)

        Bite me.

        Boycott WalMart-Papa Johns-BP-Steven Seagal movies- and Jack Welch is still a pr*ck

        by truthronin on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:26:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ernst is all over Iowa . . . signs, favorable LTE. (11+ / 0-)

    Just everywhere.

    Not a Braley sign nor sticker nor anything else to see.  Walked around the Des Moines market yesterday . . . nope, not there neither.

    Boggles the mind.

    A drowning man can not learn to swim. -- Chris Lonsdale

    by Rikon Snow on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 01:58:01 PM PDT

    •  I hear you...and I don't get it either... (9+ / 0-)

      I live in the Midwest. GOP ads are swarming the airwaves here...even in IL...and my sources confirm what you already know: They are kicking our asses in this early phase of the 2014 midterms.

      I logged on to RCP and saw the headline about Dems "rolling out the ground game".

      JUST NOW, we roll out the ground game? Republicans have been waging war for months now.

      Our side had better get our shit together...or else it won't be losing the senate by the slimmest of margins, but rather a 54-46 GOP senate when they sweep all the swing states.

      I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

      by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:03:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I avoid RCP myself as it's a GOP outfit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, terranova108

        And has been from the start.

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 04:54:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You guys have to do it. Your "Party (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Midwesterners, ColoTim

        Leadership" won't.  Yes, that means you have to set up your own phone banks...
        I know.  It sucks.  But, that is where our -ahem- "Leadership" is.  Leading from behind.  "We" have been building the "real" Dem party up here in my neck of the woods from the ground up over the past two years.  Since Feb., 2103.  Our Party "professionals" said "you don't need Lawn Signs - they're So last century... "  We made our own.  I know!  It sucks!  Most of the local yokel rank and file Dems look at us like we're from Mars - still do - but if we don't start building it it won't get done.  It's as simple as that.  The -ahem- "professionals" think it's simply about "who raises the most money."  Yes, we need to raise money, but it's not the most important thing.  Votes trump dollars.  Go find yourselves some votes.  The Party Pros won't help you.  You ae the Leadership.  I know....  that's what I thought too.  (you've got to be fucking kidding me)...  But you guys are it.  It's you guys or we lose Iowa.

        Follow Connect! Unite! Act! MeetUp events! For live podcasting of your Event contact winkk to schedule.

        by winkk on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:06:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not feeling the Ernst upset in Iowa. (6+ / 0-)

      1. Signs don't vote.
      2. The only polling in the last 2 months is the YouGov poll that had Ernst +1.

      I'm not claiming that Braley has it in the bag, and this is probably a true tossup right now, but I think Ernst has basically peaked.  Where is she going to get additional support from?  Certainly not the moderates.

      As an FYI, I think PPP is polling Iowa this weekend. While they are considered D-leaning, they didn't have a bias in 2012.  In fact, they underestimated Obama's edge in battleground states like CO, IA, NV to name a few.

  •  OK...sooooooo... (10+ / 0-)

    WV, SD and MT are lost...we knew that.

    That means the GOP needs to hold KY and GA (not a Herculean task by any means)...then pick up just 3 seats to win the senate among these states: LA, AK, AR, NC, IA, MI, CO and NH)

    I'm really nervous about our chances given where these races are right now. The GOP seems to have its shit together, but I see no sense of urgency or drive on the Democratic side.

    And that's what worries me the most. It's not the long odds...we have faced those before. It's the general malaise on our side that needs to shake loose...and fast since Election Day is a little over 2 months away.

    I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

    by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 01:58:39 PM PDT

    •  I just love it (3+ / 4-)

      when you know it all assholes write SD off without a thought. If you knew what the fuck you were talking about you wouldn't make that statement. We are busting our asses here with no help at all from the know it all national committee, not to mention the asinine things Sen. Reid had to say a couple months ago about Rick Weiland. Fuck all of you!

      If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes.

      by RepresentUsPlease on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:28:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think they need three of six tossups (7+ / 0-)

      I'm okay on NH and MI but the others?  Trouble.  And Braley ... OMG where did we get this guy?  That race has been my upset special since he stepped on his dick with the Grassley remarks.  Joni Ernst ... dear God.  

      I also think KY and GA are pipe-dreams along the lines of the GOP's endless flirtations with certain states in Prez elections.

      Hope it's just my pessimism talking.  It rarely shuts up.

      •  Mitch doesn't have a lock on KY. (0+ / 0-)

        He only won by 6 (53-47) in 2008 to a candidate in KY that did not have a high profile at the same time that Obama lost to McCain 58-41.  

        Hopefully, the anti-Obama strategy will not be successful because people were able to separate the president and senate races when they were on the same ballot.  This time, Obama is not even on the ballot.

        •  Lucy and a football come to mind... (0+ / 0-)

          We get giddy over states like KY and GA like the GOP does about PA.

          In the end, Lucy pulls the football...and we kick nothing but air.

          I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

          by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:45:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The demographics in Georgia... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GleninCA

            Are trending very favorably toward us. I don't know if that translates into a statewide win this year, and gun to my head, I'd say it doesn't. But if those Atlanta collar counties keep zooming our direction and the black and Latino populations continue to boom, Georgia will be in swing-state territory very soon.

            Kentucky...much less so. Even if Democrats pick up that seat this year, which won't be easy with President Obama still taking up real estate on Pennsylvania Avenue, it will probably be a six-year rental.

            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

            by SaoMagnifico on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:53:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh I agree they are TRENDING our way... (0+ / 0-)

              ...but this is still 2014...and THIS year, I'm not willing to die on hills in KY and GA when our chances of pulling those states out are slim. There are simply too many other places where races are very winnable with the right resources.

              I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

              by Love Me Slender on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:51:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I don't remember being giddy over GA or KY (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            katesmom

            in the past.  RCP polls have R+4 in GA and R+3 in KY.  If we don't spend resources on the close races, I'm not sure what we're doing.

            •  Like I said...it's like the GOP and PA in... (0+ / 0-)

              ...presidential elections.

              Every cycle they see polls showing them within 4-5 points of winning the state, spend a ton of money thinking they can win it, then lose by 10.

              Look, I suppose a miracle COULD happen in those states, but thee are genuinely razor-tight races in LA, IA, AR, AK and NC. Suppose we did manage to pull out either KY or GA. What good does that do if we lost most of the rest?

              The DNC has to put resources where they will do the most good. I think it is better strategy to fund victories in LA, IA, AR, AK and NC than to chase the fool's hope that when the dust settles, we will win the other two.

              I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

              by Love Me Slender on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 05:49:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Not pessimism...realism... (0+ / 0-)

        I mean really, those folks above us are talking like we can win SD.

        Are you fucking kidding me? We lose MT, WV and SD by 15 points each...they're gone.

        I can hardly believe how inept our side is when it comes to midterm elections. It seems as though we are built for presidential elections only and have no clue what it means to combat what we're facing in November.

        I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

        by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:47:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I predict West Virginia is within 10 points (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          askew

          Ditto Kansas, where I think Taylor or Orman actually have a real shot if one of them (probably Taylor, but preferably Orman) fades down the stretch. I see a real ME-Gov 2010 scenario as possible there...which, as we know from ME-Gov 2010, doesn't necessarily equate to a win over Team Red.

          Montana and South Dakota are goners, though, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Curtis and Weiland held below 40% in November.

          Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

          by SaoMagnifico on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:56:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh I agree that Kansas will be close... (0+ / 0-)

            I don't see us winning it, but it will be inside of 5 points.

            WV is trending heavily Republican. If it weren't for Joe Manchin (who may switch sides as this trending continues), we would have already lost that state entirely in the senate.

            But he walks and talks like a Republican, so he gets away with having a "D" by his name the way the Maine Republicans get away with having an "R" by theirs.

            I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

            by Love Me Slender on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 06:18:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Congressman Peters has lucked out with (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Midwesterners, GleninCA

    the republican's selection of Terri Lynn Land...an ineffectual, negative-charisma & disengaged candidate....and a puppet of Michigan Right to Life and the DeVoss' family.

    Land reminds me of the skit about "upper class twits" back from long ago Monty Python days.   The Occupy movement should probably take a new look at MP's approach...

  •  All of those... (6+ / 0-)

    "tossups" make me uncomfortable.
    However,
    Forewarned Is Forearmed...
    We MUST get out the vote this year.

    "These 'Yet To Be' United States" --James Baldwin-- -6.75, -5.78

    by kevinbr38 on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:02:17 PM PDT

  •  Sen (8+ / 0-)

    Way too many toss ups here...I am still calling final as D=52 and R =48.. Dems. will not lose NC,LA, AR, IA, CO or AK...copy and paste, bookmark, "like".....do whatever you need to do to take a look back here at about midnight PST on Nov. 4...that will show 3 r takeaways and no Dem. takeaways tho' I am not nearly as pessimistic as most are re: GA and KY

    •  You must be the eternal optimist... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell

      Eternal optimist, meet eternal pessimist :)

      In all seriousness, I really don't see how we keep Arkansas...and IA is trending really, really badly.

      That means the GOP would only need one seat from LA, NC, AK, or CO to take the senate.

      I sincerely doubt that we will keep every seat except the already-lost seats of SD, MT and WV, but I HOPE you're right.

      I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

      by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:29:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not D 52... (3+ / 0-)

      ...actually, it's D 50, and I 2 -- Sanders and Angus King.

      Sanders is safe. So that's effectively D 51, R 49, and a question mark.

      King is not. He's not running for re-election, and has announced already he's open to caucusing with the GOP, if they have a majority. There's no word on what he'll do if he has the ability to presonally deliver that majority.

      I also don't trust Joe "Nighthorse" Manchin as far as I can throw him -- given an oppurtunity to deliver an epic, and personal, screwing to Obama, whom he despises, I can see him bolting as well.

      The superfluous goods of the rich are necessary to the poor, and when you possess the superfluous you possess what is not yours." St. Augustine

      by Davis X Machina on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:31:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good God...I thought I was a pessimist... (5+ / 0-)

        You're an even bigger downer (though you may be correct about Manchin) than I am! Never thought that was possible.

        Seriously, though, I hope you're wrong. If it came out 50-50 and Manchin bolted, AK would caucus with the GOP...and boom: 52-48.

        I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

        by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:37:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Better men than either of them... (0+ / 0-)

          ...King, or Manchin -- I'm thinking of Jim Jeffords, who recently passed away -- have had their heads turned by the prospect of delivering a Senate majority.

          The superfluous goods of the rich are necessary to the poor, and when you possess the superfluous you possess what is not yours." St. Augustine

          by Davis X Machina on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 03:34:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  King (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Phoenix Woman

        Would be a fool. Even if the Republicans take a slim majority they'll be hard-pressed to hold it in 2016. King's up in 2018 in a state where Democrats are fairly popular and Dems would have four years to groom a candidate against his treacherous ass.

        “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

        by fenway49 on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 03:54:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Still... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JGibson

          Images of King with a trident, tail, and horns has been flitting in an out of my nightmares ever since people began thinking that a 50-50 Senate was "safe" with Biden.

          Didn't know about Manchin, that ups the odds that even without LA, control of the Senate may not be final by November 5th.

          Reid's a good fighter, though, so I'm sure he's been doing his homework.

          He's predicting that we'll hold the Senate. I know that's what he's supposed to say, but so far, his predictions have proved to be on target.

          What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

          by equern on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 06:40:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sen. King has voted with the Democrats... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stevenaxelrod

            On almost every contentious vote. What does he gain from joining up with a party with which he disagrees on practically every major issue? Even if the GOP wins a narrow Senate majority this year, Democrats are poised to pick up a slew of GOP-held seats gained in 2010 in blue states like Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and contest seats in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, and New Hampshire as well.

            Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

            by SaoMagnifico on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:37:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Angus isn't about issues... (0+ / 0-)

              ....Angus is about non-partisanship, the evils of party, the Third Way.

              He's all about process, not product.

              The superfluous goods of the rich are necessary to the poor, and when you possess the superfluous you possess what is not yours." St. Augustine

              by Davis X Machina on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:14:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  King's not running for re-election (0+ / 0-)

          ...he's 70, and is out of there afer his term is up.

          That's not a constraint on his behavior. To make his bipartisan point, he'll switch in a heartbeat.

          It proves he's above party.

          The superfluous goods of the rich are necessary to the poor, and when you possess the superfluous you possess what is not yours." St. Augustine

          by Davis X Machina on Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 03:17:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Has he said he's not running in 2018? (0+ / 0-)

            Plenty of people stay in the Senate way past their mid-70s.

            Is he planning to switch back in 2016, or will he be in the minority then? If he switches twice he doesn't like like a principled bipartisan leader, he looks like a front-running baby with no core principles. Which might be right, but...

            “Republicans...think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people... And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” Harry S. Truman

            by fenway49 on Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 08:48:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Say what you will about Sen. Manchin (4+ / 0-)

        He occasionally votes conservatively, but he's demonstrated himself to be a loyal Democrat, if not a big fan of President Obama. I don't see him switching parties.

        Pragmatic progressive. Oregonian, Cascadian, and American. Keeper of the DKE glossary.

        by SaoMagnifico on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:35:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Depressing (6+ / 0-)

    I was hoping that the states that Obama won that are close would be more of lean or solid Democratic. Think New Hampshire is still OK. If we have to battle for Michigan that does not bode well for the overall mission to keep the Senate. Like to get to the point that Michigan, New Hampshire and Colorado are lean to solidly Democratic. That gives us 47. Iowa was won by Obama and it seems to depend on whether the voters look at Ernst as charismatic or a nut job. North Carolina Obama won in 2008 and came close in 2012. North Carolina would give us 49. That means we just need 1 out of 5 of the solid Red States in the 10 to give us 50. 3 have incumbent Democrats. 2 are solid Democratic challengers. Just one out of 5. Hope that is not too much to ask.

    So election night will portend what kind of gridlock we will have. 2 years of GOP filibusters. Or 2 years of Obama vetos. Looking more like vetos. But there is plenty of hope.

    •  If we have to fight to keep MI... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leo Flinnwood

      ...our asses are kicked...and BIG.

      I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

      by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:30:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like your analysis (7+ / 0-)
      we just need 1 out of 5 of the solid Red States in the 10 to give us 50. 3 have incumbent Democrats.
      Incumbents are tough to beat, even in a wave year. I wouldn't be surprised to see Begich, Landreiu and Pryor all end up winning.

      Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

      by bear83 on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:32:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's tough about this year is the number... (4+ / 0-)

        ...of paths to a senate majority the GOP has.

        I agree that incumbents are difficult to beat, but these are some seriously red states we have to hold seats in. It will take perfect execution to hold them...and remember, the GOP only needs to hold dark-red seats in KY and GA...then win 3 seats not from SD, MT and WV (locks already).

        The work is there for us. The question is, will the DNC fight the fight? I haven't seen much evidence of that thus far.

        Here's something else to consider:

        As of now, HRC is set to steamroll the GOP candidate...whoever it is. This is THE chance for the GOP to stifle the progressive agenda. They are loaded for bear and swarming the airwaves (and have been for a while now). Getting the senate and wrecking the economy...then blaming it on Obama...is their only chance in 2016 and they know it. We cannot let that happen.

        I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

        by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:45:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You assume Obama is still popular (4+ / 0-)
      Iowa was won by Obama and it seems to depend on whether the voters look at Ernst as charismatic or a nut job.
      I don't get any sense at all that people are happy with anything going on in Washington or abroad and if you think Ferguson helps in a state that is 87% white, well you'd have something in common with the DSCC which seems to be under the assumption that all white voters died.  Oh, no, they live forever out here and are darn organized about keeping that voter registration up to date.  

      Democrats better watch Minnesota.  If voters want to send a message, I'd bet on their Senate ballot.  Republicans actually found themselves an Irish Catholic businessman who can say "Hockey" on the TV.  I wouldn't assume Franken has it in the bag because McFadden is a lot less wacky than Ernst and you see how well she's doing not because she is wacky but INSPITE of being wacky.  I repeat INSPITE of being wacky.  Voters appear to be in the mood to send a message.  

      •  I went to the MN State Fair yesterday (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stude Dude, LordMike, askew, GleninCA

        There was almost no activity by either the RPM (Republican Party of Minnesota) or the McFadden booths.  The total number of people at both was less than six.  The Libertarian booth had more people, though that probably was because they were offering free phone cell chargings.

        Meanwhile, the DFL pavilion was humming, with people constantly stopping by to buy pins and the like, despite the two drunk Republicans, probably walkovers from O'Gara's At The Fair (a GOP watering hole where McFadden played bartender last night), heckling people.  (The  MN GOP always seems to have a few drunk assholes stationed by the DFL booth for that purpose.  Usually they're College Republican types, but yesterday they were two fiftyish guys.  They also like to play little intimdation games - the whole reason O'Gara's At The Fair set up where it is in 2010 was to try to intimdate the DFLers and Minnesota Farmers Union folks.  Didn't work out all that well.)  

        Amy Kloubuchar's booth was quiet, but then again she's not up for election this year.

        But Al Franken? His booth had lines around the block, as he was there and posing for pictures with people.  Lots of energy and smiles all around.  I kinda doubt that happened with McFadden.

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 05:21:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Does 'DNC' stand for "Does Not Care"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Midwesterners

    I'm so darned frustrated, and have been for years now. My personal feeling is that the DNC is horribly incompetent when it attempts to do anything, and pretty darned satisfied to lounge around in air conditioned meeting rooms the largest percentage of the time. The case for saving the planet and humanity while acting decently toward all human beings along the way shouldn't be that hard to develop and convey as a message of democratic core values!!  My only recourse, and it tears me apart every time, is to put DNC fund raising letters in the recycle bin unopened, and to be snide and sarcastic with DNC phone solicitors the few times I actually pick up a call phone anymore.

    •  Does it almost seem to you that the DNC is... (0+ / 0-)

      ...looking to 2016? Because that's the sense I get listening to them this summer.

      We have a real chance to at least KEEP the senate (losing 4 seats overall is NOT out of the realm)...if only the actions matched the hopes. Thus far, I'm just not seeing it.

      I have never been fond of holding my nose and doing anything...even when someone farts in the elevator.

      by Love Me Slender on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 02:38:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know what to think. They are so low (0+ / 0-)

        profile on all things that really matter.  I can't put a name or a face to the organization. They have, in this world of incredible media sophistication, succeeded in confusing their most loyal friends and would-be supporters -- the ones they don't have to sell a message to. It's hard to think they willl be able to throw some magical switch and become a bunch of shooting stars capable of messaging miracles two years from now. Someone else will need to step up.

    •  Amen! Longing for Howard Dean! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kansas Born

      How I long for the days when Howard Dean headed up the DNC!

  •  Gary Peters will be a GOTV guest writer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, Stude Dude

    in September.  Sandra Fluke is next on deck and planning to publish after Labor Day.  

    Really looking forward to their contributions.  Currently planning to post the Peters diary  second week of September and tentatively title it  "Save the Senate".

    Which we had really, really, really better do.

    best/sh

  •  Begich is engaged-despite a crap load of non-AK$$ (6+ / 0-)

    And honestly, he has a big head start since he didn't get beat up in the primary or pulled into the Measure 1 fight. The ground game and engagement throughout the state has been impressive.

    I really wish more people would focus on talking to people who they know aren't partisan, and work on educating voters one at a time, rather than thinking most people make up their minds based on television ads. The only reason that happens is when we are not having conversations about what is at stake in the election. Here in Alaska, that means I share how much the ACA has helped need,  every chance I get. I wait for them to ask me what ACA means, after they have heard about the wonderful blessing it is to my family.

    We need all kinds of political involvement, but we need the kind that comes from one on one conversations the most. There are less than a million people in Alaska, and outside groups constantly put tons of money into the state. I have not been here for other off year elections, but I have been impressed with how targeted his campaign's message is, and how well he plays to his strengths that matter a lot to Alaskans.  

    (I also don't think Oregon is actually in play. I lived there for over 30 years, and still have family, friends and political connections. This year's Republican just isn't credible, and while no one is taking anything for granted, there just aren't credible Republican candidates for statewide office.)

  •  I am feeling very hopeful here in Michigan. Hav... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Phoenix Woman, Stude Dude

    I am feeling very hopeful here in Michigan. Having an open primary and living in a rural area means that there is one Democrat per position on the ballot so I almost always end up voting in the Republican primary.

    It doesn't hurt that I get to vote for my father for the county board, he may be the only Republican (one of the last sane ones) that I vote for and not against. I realized long ago through our many arguments that he's really just a conservative Democrat but he just doesn't realize it yet.

    I'll be voting straight Democrat this fall. I'm hopeful for Peters, maybe we can pick up the governer and keep Terry Land out of the senate, hopefully people remember how crappy of a sec of state she was out here.

  •  The Land ads are thick in Michigan (4+ / 0-)

    Being female has hurt her badly especially when she denied the GOP war on women existed.  I am feeling sure we will not have a Spencer Abrams moment again with our record of good Democrats Levin, Hart and McNamera with only that one term for the GOP.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 03:37:53 PM PDT

  •  Sen 2014 (3+ / 0-)

    What we have here is a classic case of the self fulfilling prophecy of defeat...I have never seen such defeatism in a year that is miles and miles away from 2010...keep it up and you can kiss the senate and an improved SCOTUS goodbye

  •  I was polled in the YouGov poll and they listed a (3+ / 0-)

    republican candidate, Clint Didier as a Democrat.  One can only wonder how many other mistakes they made?

  •  The problem in a nutshell... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Midwesterners

    OK, a big nutshell.

    The problem, as I see it, is that many Americans, but significantly white Americans no longer believe in government. Maybe that's not the best way to put it. Most white Americans think goverment SUCKS.

    I have no problem with our party focusing so much on poor people, minority and liberal women's concerns. But there's a large swath of the population that is beginning to feel disenfranchised by the Democrats -- mostly white voters who voted for Obama in either 2008 or 2012.

    On message board after message board, you can see it.

    Now I'm not advocating that our party start pandering to white voters. But I DO think it would be helpful for them to start talking about program(s), initiatives, or bills that help ALL OF US instead of just SOME of us.

    Things like:

    Jobs (re)training
    Closing the loophole for tax inversions (yes I know Obama is pressing for this, but more needs to be said)
    Maybe even a targeted tax holiday (tax receipts are above expectations)

    Maybe we can even get Warren to come up with a broad scale program that the other candidates can sign on to.

    But most important we need to REHABILITATE the notion that government is worth saving.

    We live in a very narcissistic era. Our shiny new devices let us live in a cocoon that protect us from any but the most epic intrusions into our own Private Idahos. And many of those intrusions are in the form of unpleasant governmental activities.

    People in these safe Idahos don't think they need government. What does government do except take money from their paycheck in taxes? Or are at the epicenter of some of the worst events of our time?

    So...why vote for a candidate that's just going to shove MORE intrusive government into their cocoon when they can vote for candidate that will try and keep it away?

    It is THE epic battle of our time, and it's one we're not even engaged in.

    Government is the GUARANTOR of civil and human rights. There is no "We the people..." without it.

    What separates us, divides us, and diminishes the human spirit.

    by equern on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:01:48 PM PDT

    •  That's the problem, though (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TrueBlueDem, Midwesterners
      Now I'm not advocating that our party start pandering to white voters. But I DO think it would be helpful for them to start talking about program(s), initiatives, or bills that help ALL OF US instead of just SOME of us.
      That's the rub. Too many white voters are just fine with programs that they feel benefit them and not anyone else. As soon as nonwhites get to take part, those same white voters don't like those programs anymore.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 08:02:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SaoMagnifico, Jorge Harris

    This is why I stick to DKE.

    No More Mikes: Eric Schertzing for Congress

    by MetroGnome on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 07:46:24 PM PDT

  •  In Alabama (0+ / 0-)

    it's Sessions, not Shelby, who runs unopposed this year..

    Very Independent minded. Moderate. Extremely cynical (main principle: don't easily believe anyone, but himself).

    by Ragmod on Sun Aug 24, 2014 at 09:41:24 PM PDT

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