The Secure Republican Senate

Back in November when it appeared that the Republicans might narrowly win the Senate, there was a theme in the liberal press that any victory would be short-lived as the Republicans would have to defend 24 seats in 2016 and the Democrats only 10. Since then Republican prospects have increased measurably: the Republican majority is 54-46, and, while early, the 2016 prospects look good in most of the competitive states.

While there are minor differences, the general consensus of Kyle Cheney of Politico, Charlie Cook, and Larry Sabato would be as follows for the 34 seats in play:

 Safe Democrat (8)

California (Boxer); Connecticut (Blumenthal); Hawaii (Schatz); Maryland (Mikulski); New York (Schumer); Oregon (Wyden); Vermont (Leahy); Washington (Murray).

Likely/Lean Democrat (1)

Colorado (Bennett).

Toss-up (5)

Illinois (Kirk – R); Nevada (Reid – D); New Hampshire (Ayotte – R); Pennsylvania (Toomey – R); Wisconsin (Johnson – R).

Likely/Lean Republican (7)

Alaska (Murkowski); Arizona (McCain); Florida (Rubio); Iowa (Grassley); Kentucky (Paul); North Carolina (Burr); Ohio (Portman).

Safe Republican (13)

Alabama (Shelby); Arkansas (Boozman); Georgia (Isakson); Idaho (Crapo); Indiana (Coats); Kansas (Moran); Louisiana (Vitter); Missouri (Blunt); North Dakota (Hoeven); Oklahoma (Coburn); South Carolina (Scott); South Dakota (Thune); Utah (Lee).

Of the four Republican tossups, Kirk and Toomey do not face known strong opponents, but are in states which favor Democratics; [mc_name name=’Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’A000368′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’J000293′ ] are in swing states, and might face proven competitors in Governor Maggie Hassan and former Senator Russ Feinstein respectively. The greatest risk among the seven Likely/Lean Republicans rests with a potential yet unannounced retirement (McCain; Grassley) or a run for president (Rubio; Paul). To the extent that there are Tea Party insurgents, they are in states where Democrats would have little chance of winning anyway. Net, net unless the presidential election is a Democratic landslide or the Republican Senate proves to be destructively inept, the likelihood is good that Republicans will retain control.

And a longer term view is more encouraging.

In 2018 the Republicans will have to defend only 8 seats while the Democrats will have 23, plus their two Independents.

With each state having two senators the 38 million people of California have only [mc_name name=’Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B000711′ ] and Diane Feinstein while in the rest of the country there are a few more Red states than Blue states. Charlie Cook’s “Partisan Voter Index” has 26 Red states, 23 blue states, and one tie. While Mitt Romney lost by 5 million votes nationally against the incumbent President Obama, he still carried 24 states.

The Republican farm system is also much better stocked than its Democrat counterpart with 31 governors, 31 lieutenant governors, a 247 to 188 advantage in the House, and control of 69 out of 99 state legislative chambers. These folks are getting name recognition, building supporter networks, and learning how to govern. The chaff will get sorted out and there will be plenty of future Republican stars.

Tides ebb and flow and Republicans will need to be conscious of demographics as well as policy, but the legacy of Barack Obama will not be found in the remnants of Obamacare. Rather he has been able to establish what could easily be a lasting Republican majority in both houses of Congress.


The most appropriate video for beginning a new year is a repeat of this statement by state Senator Elbert Guillory of Lousiana.

www.RightinSanFrancisco.com –  1/2/15