Chris “thrill up my leg” Matthews recently pointed out that Democrats will consider 2014 a good election if they only lose five seats, but that they could potentially lose 10 seats.
If Matthews is bringing this up, you know it’s bad news for the Democrats. So let’s have a look at how 2014 is shaping up:
- In 2014, there are 21 Democrat races to only 14 Republican races
- Only one Republican race is in a 2012 blue state (Maine), while seven Democrat races are in 2012 red states
- Two of the Democrat races in 2012 blue states are open (no incumbent running)
- In 2010, Democrats lost three seats in blue states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Illinois), while only holding one seat in a red state (West Virginia). It’s worth noting that one seat was Joe Manchin, who some would certainly call Democrat-lite.
It’s no wonder Matthews said losing five seats is a good outcome for the Democrats. As of this moment, it certainly looks like Republicans will net at least six seats. If you look at RCP’s breakdown, you might even say Republicans should easily pick up 8 seats simply due to the nature of a midterm election.
But with anti-Obama sentiment (and anti-Obamacare sentiment) growing steadily, the economy still sluggish, our labor force participation rate at the lowest level in decades, and another year of lame-duckery due to Obama’s unwillingness to actually negotiate with Republicans, I think 10 or possibly even 11 seats are certainly achievable.
This hinges heavily on the Republican ground game, starting with good candidates. In 2010 opportunity was missed thanks to weak Republican candidates in Nevada and Colorado, and insufficient support from the respective organizations in order to counteract the candidates’ weaknesses.
Republicans can still blow it. They need to net six seats to retake control. Considering the races, six seats should be easy. But many expected better Republican performances in each of the last two elections and were surprised at the outcome. Republicans will need to play much smarter than they have in the past in order to secure the Senate in 2014.
© 2014, Robert James. All rights reserved.
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