Rundown: Control of the Senate in 2014

I’ll do a basic rundown of all the U.S. Senate seats up next year and my personal ratings. Safe, likely, leaning and tossup. Let’s get started (I apologize ahead of time if it’s a little long).

Alabama: Jeff Sessions is seeking a 4th term and there’s no reason to doubt he’ll get it. He’s most well known for his staunchest opposition to immigration amnesty in particular the Senate bill which passed the chamber overwhelmingly this past summer (though is DOA in the House indefinitely based on Boehner’s recent statements). He outperformed John McCain on the ballot winning 63% of the vote so he should easily win upwards of 65% next year. Not even an announced Democrat opponent yet. Safe R

Alaska: Mark Begich the Democrat incumbent is a fluke based on Ted Stevens prosecution by the Justice Department under George W. Bush (later the prosecution was thrown out after his tragic death). Begich up until recently has been lock stock barrel in defending Obamacare which is very unpopular in the state. The GOP candidates running are Joe Miller the 2010 GOP nominee, Lt. Gov. Matt Treadwell and former Attorney Dan Sullivan. At the moment, I don’t know which candidate to support (very hesitant to support Miller based on his very poor poll numbers though). Though Begich looms in large danger of losing his political life. Tossup

Arkansas: Mark Pryor better have a prayer cause he has a very good chance of losing job next year. Arkansas over the past decade has grown increasingly seeing it’s voted Republican in every presidential election since 2000. In particular, Republicans have made tremendous gains in the House delegation going from 3-1 Democrat to 3-1 Republican in 2010 and then 4-0 in 2012. Also the GOP made tremendous gains at the state level picking up many seats in the state Legislature in 2010 and gaining control of it for the 1st time since Reconstruction. Pryor’s top Republican opponent is freshman Rep. and Iraq War veteran Tom Cotton who’s a favorite of Club for Growth. The poll numbers have them in close proximity of each other. Putting all this together, very hard to see Pryor coming out of this alive (politically speaking). Leans R

Colorado: Up until recently, Mark Udall who was elected in the Obama wave of ’08 appeared safe for a 2nd term next year. Then the Obamacare insurance cancellations and healthcare.gov crashes started. I’ve mentioned before recent Quinnipiac polls showing him running under 50 percent against all possible challengers. I’ve already endorsed state Senator Owen Hill. Family relatives of mine live here so it’ll be interesting to watch. Leans D/Tossup

Delaware: Chris Coons has no reason to fear losing next year. Republicans up until 2008 held control of the state House, but that time is over. Delaware is almost as Democratic as California. Safe D

Georgia: Incumbent Saxby Chambliss is retiring. Currently there’s a whole crop of candidates running. Most prominently Reps. Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun. Dems have united around Michelle Nunn who’s the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn and they’re excited. Georgia has been said to be moving more purple like Virginia has only at a much slower rate. Likely R

Hawaii (SP): Since the tragic death of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, it’s been bit of a rift in the state Democratic Party. Inouye at his last request wanted freshman Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (who’s as wacky left as you can get though I’ve said that numerous times about other people) to replace him. But Neil Abercrombie the state Governor who has a scorned history against Inouye decided to appoint Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz as the interim. Colleen Hanabusa has decided to challenge him for the Democrat nomination which will likely be the most interesting thing to watch in a state leaning so heavily Democrat there’s literally only one Republican in the state Senate. General election – safe D; Primary – leans Schatz

Idaho: Incumbent Jim Risch has nothing to worry about in a state this red. Safe R

Illinois: Assistant Democrat Leader Dick Durbin should pull through to a fourth term with no problem. It’s 2016 and Mark Kirk that’ll generate interest on both sides (though that’s another subject for another time). Safe D

Iowa: Incumbent Democrat Tom Harkin is retiring opening this up to the GOP for the taking. Dems though already have united around Rep. Bruce Braley and the GOP is still sorting through a crop of candidates. Iowa is split down the line from the Congressional delegation to the state Executive offices and Legislature so the GOP has a strong chance to take it under a strong candidate. For now Dems have an edge with a candidate already chosen. Leans D

Kansas: Pat Roberts is running for a fourth term and has got a primary challenger in form of Milton Wolf who’s Obama’s third cousin I believe. While Roberts has done a decent job in the Obamacare fight, his overall record is very poor being only one of 2 Republicans who voted for Kathleen Sebelius (the other being now-former Sen. Olympia Snowe). I support Milton Wolf for Senate in making a truly pro-liberty caucus. Regardless though it’s impossible to see the GOP lose the state. The last Democrat Senator was elected in 1932 and not once has there been two serving at one time. Safe R

Kentucky: I’ve lost any tangible respect for Mitch McConnell. He’s done nothing helpful of late for the pro-liberty cause and in fact only tried to hinder its efforts. Matt Bevin is the candidate to support. Poll numbers show McConnell performing very poorly against supposed Democrat nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes. I do think regardless of who’s the GOP nominee this state should still remain in Republican hands. This is a state in which Mitt Romney won 60% of the vote and lost only 4 counties (mainly centered around Louisville which is to Kentucky what Austin is to Texas). Leans R (with McConnell); Likely R (with Bevin)

Louisiana: Mary Landrieu is in DEEP trouble and she knows it. Recently introduced legislation which requires insurance companies to keep people on their current policies despite Obamacare’s requirements. I hold problems with this approach, but that’s another issue. Some polls recently released show her well below 50 in the blanket primary. The top GOP candidate is Rep. Bill Cassidy though I’ve heard from here and other places some red flags about him. Another candidate running is former Air Force Colonel Rob Maness who has the endorse of Senate Conservatives Fund. I think regardless who the GOP candidate is Landrieu has warrant to be worried. Tossup

Maine: For those who want to oust Susan Collins remember what I said earlier. She should be running for reelection (unless she makes a surprise retirement like Snowe which would essentially give the seat to Democrats). But as long as she runs it should be a very boring race. The Governor’s race though is the complete opposite though that’s for another time. Safe R (as long as she’s running)

Massachusetts: Scott Brown (we’ll get to his possible comeback in New Hampshire) was a rare blip in one of the most Democratic states in the nation and Ed Markey has no reason to fear reelection next year. Safe D

Michigan: As soon as Carl Levin retired, this seat was all for the taking for both parties. Dems have settled for Rep. Gary Peters and the GOP for former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. While I was very disappointed Justin Amash decided against running, Lynn Land appears to be a strong candidate as far as credentials go. Interestingly the only Republican Senator who’s been elected in the last 30 years was Spencer Abraham. Either party can win this seat. Tossup

Minnesota: Why doesn’t the GOP yet have a strong candidate against the guy who literally won by cheating? I hope they get their act together cause Franken should be much more vulnerable than this. Likely D (only for now hopefully)

Mississippi: Thad Cochran has yet to announce his reelection. State Senator Chris McDaniel has announced a challenge against him and has been endorsed by FreedomWorks. Cochran is a big pork barrel guy and has been there FOREVER. Support Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate from Mississippi. Regardless seeing Democrat win here is like seeing a Republican winning in Rhode Island. Safe R

Montana: Max Baucus the original author of Obamacare has declined to seek reelection (for obvious reasons). The GOP just barely failed to oust Jon Tester so they should be able to take this seat regardless who the candidate is (though don’t take it for granted like what happened in 2012). No Republican interestingly has won this seat ever since Montana entered statehood. Likely R

Nebraska: Mike Johanns only spent one term as Senator and decided against running for a 2nd term. What’s fascinating is that two of the candidates in the GOP primary have been separately endorsed by 3 of the big 4. Ben Sasse has been endorsed by Club for Growth and SCF, while Shane Osborn has been endorsed by FreedomWorks. Odd seeing these organizations endorsing separate candidates, though regardless it’s safe to say Ben Nelson will be the last Democrat that’ll be elected statewide for the next 20 years. Safe R

New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen has started to panic of late. From what I’ve heard her and her fellow colleagues in the House have gotten a lot of pissed off constituents coming to them about Obamacare cancellations. New Hampshire is a very strange swing state. It’s perhaps the most genuinely libertarian leaning state in the country. It’s one of seven states with no personal income tax, has very little regulation (though it does lack a right-to-work law surprisingly) and has this attitude of liberty. I originally wasn’t planning to endorse a candidate until I saw Jim Ruben. He’s a former state Senator as well as candidate for Governor back in 1998. When I saw his website, I saw a genuine libertarian. He was opposed to NSA surveillance spying, involvement in Syria, vigorously supports term limits and of course wants to repeal Obamacare. He’s my guy if you ask me. While there hasn’t been any recent polls out, like with Colorado I suspect this state is now coming into play. This state’s unique lean suggests a libertarian Republican can win here and will add to the pro-liberty caucus. Leans D

New Jersey (Updated): Cory Booker was lucky to had won when he did cause it looked for awhile Lonegan was gonna be elected. Though he won nonetheless so he should win a full term in 2014. Though that said, I don’t think it correct to assume him invincible. Likely D

New Mexico: Tom Udall who’s of cousin of Sen. Mark Udall from neighboring Colorado, looks to be as safe as can be for a 2nd term. Though I find it slightly odd since Susana Martinez is almost as guaranteed for a 2nd term as Governor. Safe D

North Carolina: Watch Kay Hagan cause according to recent PPP polls (which is grounded in the state) shows her to be running under 50 percent against all challengers. Most notably are state House Speaker Thom Tillis and physician Greg Brannon (who’s gotten the bona fide endorsements of Erick Erickson here at RedState and Sen. Rand Paul). Considering Mitt Romney reclaimed it from Barack Obama last year, this is a very competitive race. Tossup

Oklahoma: My own home and current resident state is about Republican you can get. Last Democrat elected Senate was David Boren who’s spent the last near 20 years as president of OU (his age makes me wonder when he’ll retire). The seat he once held is occupied by Jim Inhofe who’ve while I disagreed with at times feel he’s done an adequate job. Though interestingly the state has been much more Democratic at the state having historically elected Democrats to the Governor’s mansion and to the state Legislature. Though that’s changed dramatically over the past decade. Safe R

Oregon: This like New Hampshire is a very interesting state. It’s not so much a traditional blue state in the model of California or New York. One of its Senators Ron Wyden while a traditional progressive on most issues, is very much a devout advocate of civil liberties and has been very outspoken in his opposition to NSA surveillance spying. Up until recently, the GOP has done fairly well at the state level having controlled the state Legislature for almost a decade and the state House for 16 years. Plus, the incumbent up next Jeff Merkley barely won against then-Senator Gordon Smith. So if there’s a libertarian leaning Republican running next year this seat could come into play. Likely D (for the time being)

Rhode Island: Any questions? Safe D

South Carolina: Oh Lindsey… You need to go NOW. I support state Senator Lee Bright for U.S. Senate. General election – Safe R; Primary – Tossup

South Carolina (SP): I fully Tim Scott for election to fill out Jim DeMint’s old term and he should get it. Safe R

South Dakota: Like it’s neighbor North Dakota, South Dakota has a very odd habit historically of splitting its support for state and federal offices. Republicans have always controlled the state Legislature while Dems had a one point both U.S. Senate seats until John Thune replaced Tom Daschle in 2005. Originally it looked like former Governor Mike Rounds was gonna be elected, until state Senator Larry Rhoden who’ve I endorsed announced his candidacy. Some red flags about Rounds is that he used stimulus money in one of the budgets he signed while Governor. Then the race took an interesting twist when former Republican Senator Larry Pressler had said he’s considering to make a comeback as an independent which he’s been registered as for awhile. He endorsed Barack Obama twice so we know he’s just another progressive leftist who like Michael Bloomberg espoused the Republican label at one point. I think this should be an easy Republican win regardless. Safe R

Tennessee: Incumbent Lamar Alexander is an establishmentite who doesn’t much impress anyone in the pro-liberty movement. He’s got a primary challenger who could well know him out. Safe R

Texas: John Cornyn is an interesting guy. While a lot of what he’s done of late doesn’t much impress the conservative/libertarian mind, he’s been pretty good for most of his decade tenure. He’s got some low profile primary challengers at the moment. Don’t know who to support at the moment, but doubt you can see a Democrat getting elected. Safe R

Virginia: While safe at the moment, incumbent Senator and former Governor Mark Warner shouldn’t take anything for granted (and I doubt he is). Terry McAuliffe almost lost to Ken Cuccinelli thanks to Obamacare. Outgoing Governor Bob McDonnell has decided against running so this could be a 2nd chance shot for Cuccinelli if he doesn’t go for Frank Wolf’s House seat. There’s no new polls so don’t how endangered he is of yet. Likely D (for now)

West Virginia: While it’s neighbor has gone purple, West Virginia is moving evermore so red. Has voted Republican in every presidential race since 2000 and particularly interesting is that the GOP has made incredible gains at the state level. In the state House, they’ve gone from less than 30 seats to 46 seats in just 2 cycles (2010 and 2012). Even before he retired, Jay Rockefeller was looking vulnerable and suppose why he decided to retire. The top GOP candidate is Shelley Moore Capito, though conservatives have problems with her from what I know. There’s also former House Delegate Pat McGeehan who’s been endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus (and me as well). Secretary of State Natalie Tennant has announced her candidacy for the Democrat nomination. In the end, a Republican should win this. Likely R

Wyoming: This has attracted national attention since the blowup between the Cheney sisters over same-sex marriage which shows a divide within the GOP over the issue. The poll numbers show Liz Cheney performing poorly against the incumbent Mike Enzi, though she’s done a fair job in fundraising. I support Liz Cheney if only cause I don’t like incumbents generally. As for Democrat candidates… Safe R

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