Senate races 2014

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Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Ok, just FYI, from polling numbers, we all hate Congress. So, next year is an election year. Most of us will have the opportunity to vote for someone.

I’m not a supporter of that old phrase “If you don’t vote you can’t complain.” I’ll complain if I damn well please, whether I voted or not. However, I ritualistically vote, because it’s your opportunity to have your voice. In reality, there are many ways to have a voice in America. Voting is just one.

It just seems to make sense that if we don’t like the job they’re doing, we would impact the outcome. Apparently not so much. Read this previous blog post about our dissatisfaction with Congress. Apparently, we’re reluctant to send them all back. Next year’s election has some serious implications. We talked about it on the podcast, Episode 26. It’s not too early to start thinking about it.

There are 33 Senate seats up for grabs in 2014. Of those, 13 are currently held by Republicans and 20 are held by Democrats. Potentially, there’s a big swing involved. Not to go 101 on you, but obviously there are 100 senate seats, so 33 up for grabs is significant. The current Senate is made up of 51 Democrats, 2 independents who vote with the Democrats, and 47 Republicans. If the Republicans win the Senate, that will change things for sure. There will be some interesting races. These are the ones that currently catch my eye.

Kentucky (R)

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell will face a primary challenge, and, surviving that (which would be considered a huge upset if he didn’t) he’ll face a democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who could give him a little bit of a run.

Currently, McConnell is the eight most-senior senator, and the fourth most senior republican. While Grimes is a bright up-and-comer, McConnell’s been around a while. Grimes is bright and articulate. But she’s already gone negative, the ads are already starting to run. This will be interesting.

Louisiana (D)

Sen. Mary Landrieu is the current Democratic senator from Louisiana.  Leading Republican candidate Bill Cassidy is close according to polls, but it was recently revealed that he once contributed to Landrieu’s campaign. Well, yes, that could come back to haunt him.

Louisiana has an open primary. Landrieu has never received more than 52%. Recently, she met President Obama off the plane for an appearance, but didn’t appear with him otherwise. Some push-back there from the President.

Louisiana regularly votes Republican in presidential years, and Landrieu’s support of the Affordable Care Act has not helped boost her popularity. Her opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, staunchly opposes the law although he introduced health care legislation while a state senator in Louisiana.

Georgia (R)

Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss is retiring. It could be a difficult primary, with half dozen candidates competing for the nomination.  On the Democratic side, Michelle Nunn, daughter of longtime former Georgia Senator San Nunn, looks like she has an open road to the Dem nomination.

The leading candidates, Reps. Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, are both staunch conservatives, and they’ve both occasionally made some controversial statements. They face a primary with perhaps a half-dozen other candidates.

Arkansas (D)

There’s an open race for the Republican nomination. Mark Pryor is a moderate Democrat hoping for a third term. He has supported the Affordable Care Act in a state that’s increasingly conservative. Tom Cotton is a young freshman congressman and will present a challenge. There could be a lot of money spent on this race from both sides.

South Dakota (D)

The Republicans have an opportunity to pick up a seat here from the one that will be open by retiring Sen. Tim Johnson. Former governor Mike Rounds has been building a war-chest.

Wyoming (R)

This primary may wind up being the most contentious. The incumbent is Sen. Mike Enzi. Liz Cheney is running. Recently, Enzi suggested that him and Liz’ father (Dick Cheney) were fishing buddies. Dick said “never happened.” Early numbers say the Liz Cheney has a lot of work to do to defeat the incumbent. Fran has represented her father, Dick, in this blog as Darth Vader. He’s not the one running, but let’s face it, the force is strong in this one.

North Carolina (D)

Sen. Kay Hagan won the swing state in 2008, running on the same ticket as President Obama, who won the state. In 2012, the state went for Mitt Romney, and Hagan has been taking lumps for supporting the health care law. On the Republican side, a primary battle is brewing between state House Speaker Thom Tillis and the Rev. Mark Harris. Hagan is pretty solid, but as Obamacare continues to take a beating, we’ll see.

Got a race you think we’ll be interested in? Let us know on the comments, or tweet us at @unfilunfet.

We’ll be glad to check it out and talk about it.

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