2016 US Senate News- The June 2015 Edition

As we move along in this election cycle, things are starting to pick up a little on the US Senate side.

Arizona: On the Republican side, McCain’s numbers in Arizona remain miserable.  No doubt, some potential primary challengers see that as a weakness to be exploited.  One such person is [mc_name name=’Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S000018′ ] who said he would decide by August 15th whether he would challenge McCain.  The next question is whether any other candidates would get out of the way?  Salmon is no friend of the GOP establishment and a primary run against McCain would be a classic Tea Party versus establishment affair.

On the Democratic side, the announcement by [mc_name name=’Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000368′ ] that she would seek the Democratic nod caught 9th District Congresswoman Krysten Sinema by surprise as she was also eyeing a Senate run.  This led to some testy answers by Sinema.  Apparently, she believed that Kirkpatrick would withhold an announcement until after the Supreme Court’s decision on Arizona redistricting as it had the potential to alter the existing district lines and leave two House seats- Kirkpatrick’s First and Sinema’s 9th- vulnerable to a GOP takeover.

California:  State AG and Democratic hopeful Kamala Harris has picked up the support of SEIU.  Most of the intrigue in the non-partisan top-two primary in California is the possibility of two Democrats advancing to the general election- Harris and Sanchez.  Republican Rocky Chavez has the support of the GOP in the state assembly and advancing to the general election could be considered a victory for Republicans in this deeply blue state.

Colorado:  With [mc_name name=’Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’C001077′ ] now officially out of the running, the GOP is searching for plan B.  It seemed to be Ellen Roberts, a state senator, but there are some things in her voting record that raised eyebrows.  For example, she once described herself as pro-choice, then denied it, then walked back the statement when video emerged showing she had, in fact, described herself as pro-choice.  Regardless, it was a less than spectacular radio interview performance that convinced her against a run..  With  Tipton sounding reluctant to run, the Colorado GOP needs to get their ship in order.

Some have pushing state AG Cynthia Coffman (Mike’s wife) to run, but she sounds unenthusiastic.  But, her candidacy could open an ugly fight.  State GOP leader Steve House has accused her and Tom Tancredo of conspiring to oust him.  There are accusations of rumor spreading and counter accusations.  Like I said, they have to get their ship in order.

Florida: On the Democratic side, [mc_name name=’Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000556′ ] is apparently staffing up for a statewide race.  However, recent revelations that his hedge fund has operations in the Cayman Islands is raising some issues with the Florida press and Democratic operatives over the optics of a supposedly progressive populist having an account in a known tax haven.  [mc_name name=’Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001144′ ] is also creating a staff on the Republican side and recently hired a polling firm known for helping Republican senatorial candidates.  The good news is that George LeMieux has ruled out a run on the GOP side since he likely would not have received much support given his close connections to the well-tanned traitor, Charlie Crist.  Republican Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera- a close friend and supporter of Rubio- will make an announcement on July 15th about his intentions which appear to be he is in since he recently formed a PAC for those purposes.

Georgia: Republican incumbent John Isaackson recently revealed, with accompanying letter from a doctor, that he was in the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease, but will run for another term (likely his last- he is 70).  Expect the eventual Democratic sacrificial lamb to stoop to new lows and exploit this.

Hawaii:  The GOP chances here are nil, but it bears mentioning that Colleen Hanbusa, who lost a contentious primary against [mc_name name=’Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S001194′ ], will likely not seek a rematch.  She has returned to practicing labor law in Hawaii and the Governor recently appointed her to oversee a $6 billion rail project in the state.

Illinois:  It was reported that Dick Durbin had endorsed [mc_name name=’Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000622′ ], but he followed that up with a non-endorsement…sort of.  Seems he only lent his name to a Duckworth fundraising effort.  If it walks like a Duck(worth) and talks like a Duck(worth), it is likely a Duck(worth).

Indiana:  There is a fight brewing on both sides in Indiana.  With [mc_name name=’Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’S001188′ ] in for the Republicans, the Tea Party-backed Congressman has the name recognition and fundraising network available.  However, two state level GOP leaders were recently extolling the virtues of [mc_name name=’Rep. Todd Young (R-IN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’Y000064′ ] as an establishment foil against Stutzman.  For his part, Stutzman has recently raised some eyebrows by hiring some more establishment operatives in an effort to reach out to that contingent of the party. Regardless, Stutzman has picked up endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce and the Club for Growth.  We also know that [mc_name name=’Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’R000592′ ] has decided against a run.

For the Democrats, they would have loved to see Evan Bayh re-enter the political ring, but that is unlikely since he said he would concentrate on getting Hillary elected rather than run for the Senate.  That leaves Baron Hill although state senator Christina Hale is likely to enter the race.  She was a leader against the Indiana RFRA bill and has received the backing of EMILY’s List (a pro-choice group) and the Human Rights Campaign (an LGBT group).  That would likely pit her against Hill who is receiving the backing of people like [mc_name name=’Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H000874′ ] and [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ].

Kentucky:  Polls indicate that Paul would be headed back to the Senate.  The problem is if he ends up on a presidential ticket.  Legal experts are unsure what would happen if that happens, but it is unlikely the state GOP could just pick a replacement for Paul.  Even still, Democrats are having a tough time finding an opponent no matter who it is on the GOP side.  As a side note, [mc_name name=’Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001184′ ] is most mentioned as a Paul replacement.

Maryland:  [mc_name name=’Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’V000128′ ] is picking up endorsements in [mc_name name=’Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’E000290′ ]’ main political base- St. George’s County.  Like Edwards, the Democratic head in that county is black.

New Hampshire: This is one of those seats targeted by the Democrats with [mc_name name=’Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’A000368′ ] having a target on her back.  Most Democrats would like to see governor Maggie Hassan run against her.  That may explain why a conservative GOP group recently bought $1 million in advertising to attack Hassan.  This is pretty early in an election cycle to run ads of that magnitude against a non-candidate.  Either they are leaving nothing to chance, or they know something we don’t know.  In any case, a Hassan decision should be forthcoming soon as the legislative session is about to end.  Ending Spending, a conservative independent group, has announced whether Hassan runs or not they will be supporting Ayotte come 2016.

Nevada:  With the legislative session ended, what we all suspected became reality- popular GOP governor Brian Sandoval will not run for Reid’s open Senate seat.  That leaves Congressman [mc_name name=’Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001055′ ] as the next best choice, although he has yet to make a decision.

North Carolina: Former Senator Kay Hagan will not run this year although the DSCC had been heavily recruiting her.  Putting a smile on a pile of pig poop, they then said it was a blessing as they were really looking for a fresh face.  Yeah, right…

Pennsylvania:  Trying to portray it as a weakness, Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning outfit, recently showed Pat Toomey leading all potential Democratic opponents.  Remember that the Democrats are not exactly thrilled with Joe Sestak and other potentially stronger candidates are opting against a run.  Its sad when your candidate, whoever it eventually is, is losing in the polls, but you see “a bright spot” regardless.  Toomey  won a narrow victory in 2010 and will likely again in 2016.  The only poll that really counts in Pennsylvania is the one on Election Day.

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