I usually refrain from writing about purely political issues in the blog, except when the issue is equally interesting to both political parties. Today’s topic clearly falls into that category. If you listen to the mainstream media, the Republicans have been banished to the political hinterland, indefinitely, because they have been labeled as “obstructionists” who oppose Obama at every turn, no matter the issue.
Likewise, if you only listen to the left-leaning media, you would assume that the GOP will not only lose seats in the Senate in 2014, they could also lose their comfortable majority in the House of Representatives as well. In short, the media would have us believe that the Republicans are dead for the foreseeable future, maybe for a generation or more.
Yet the media may well be wrong – imagine that – as there is growing evidence that the GOP will hold on to its House majority in 2014 and might even have a slim chance of regaining a majority in the Senate. Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, you should want to know why. That’s our topic today.
The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is now 234 to 201. Most everyone but the media agrees that the GOP cushion of 33 seats is safe for the 2014 mid-term elections. Maybe you believe otherwise, but today we’ll focus on the Senate elections in 2014.
Currently, the Senate is composed of 52 Democrats, 46 Republicans and 2 Independents (who usually vote with the Dems). Contrary to what we are told by the mainstream media, the Republicans have a slim shot at retaking the Senate majority in 2014. How can that be?
As it stands now, only 14 GOP Senate seats will be up for grabs in the 2014 mid-term elections, and only one of those 14 Republican seats is in a state carried by Barack Obama in 2012. That would be Maine (56% Obama), and three-term incumbent Susan Collins (a moderate Republican at best) looks unbeatable. So, the 14 Republican Senate seats up for re-election look fairly safe for the GOP in 2014.
In contrast, Democrats have to defend 21 seats in seven states carried by Mitt Romney and in four states that were close in the 2012 presidential election. And it gets worse as Republicans seem sure to win open seats in South Dakota (58% Romney) and West Virginia (62% Romney). Well-known Democrats are avoiding both races, and they look like certain Republican pickups. But there’s more.
In Louisiana (58% Romney), Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu seems to be running as a proud Obama candidate. However, her state has voted solidly for the Republican presidential candidate in the last four cycles (16 years). LA has the second largest African American percentage in the union, and Landrieu’s re-election strategy is to get a high black turnout and just enough white votes to give her a fourth narrow win. The point is, this race could go either way, especially if the Republicans have a good candidate.
In Arkansas (61% Romney), Senator Mark Pryor seems to be running as a Democrat “moderate” (read: liberal) in tune with local values. He was re-elected unopposed in 2008, but Republicans have since captured all of the state’s US House seats and majorities in the state legislature. Thus, Pryor could be in trouble too.
I could go on with examples where Senate races are no sure thing for the Democrats next year, but I think you get my point by now. The bottom line is that there are more Democrat Senate races up for grabs in 2014 (21 vs. 14). The GOP has a good chance of winning all of its 14 open seats and has reasonable possibilities of winning several open Democrat seats.
Let me be clear: I am not predicting that the Republicans will retake the Senate in 2014; that remains to be seen. What I am arguing is that there is a “possibility” in light of current polling numbers that the GOP could, might, maybe retake the Senate in 2014. (And this helps explain why the president postponed the very unpopular ObamaCare employer mandate to 2015.)
My point is, future prospects for the Republicans are not nearly as dire as the mainstream media would have us believe. Based on current numbers, the House majority should be safe for the GOP in 2014, and Republicans may even have a shot at regaining the Senate. It may be a long shot, but at least it’s a shot – and that’s something the media refuses to acknowledge.
Whether you are a confident Democrat or a worried Republican, this should give both sides something to think about. That’s what I try to do. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Senate Control in 2014 Looks Like a Tossup
07-23-2013 4:34 PM
Gary D. Halbert