The competition for the U.S. Senate this fall is getting nasty… and when the smoke clears, I predict that Harry Reid will be retired as Senate Majority Leader.
Between then and now, though, it’s going to be a rough ride.
The Republicans need six seats to flip the Senate from Democrat to Republican, and the latest polling shows nine races are too close to call.
What’s more, in some states we don’t even know who the eventual candidates might be.
With that in mind, here’s an update from the frontlines of this all-important election season.
The Left Has Miscalculated
The Democrats believe they have a chance to pick up at least two seats (in Georgia and Kentucky) that currently belong to Republican senators. However, I’m skeptical that either Georgia or Kentucky is actually in play.
For starters, Kentucky is the home state of the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell is being challenged by Alison Lundergan Grimes, the 35-year-old Secretary of State in Kentucky, and she’s claiming that the 72-year-old McConnell has been around too long to be effective.
In the end, though, Grimes will come up empty in her pursuit of McConnell, who has a ton of clout because of his tenure.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, the Republican incumbent decided to retire, leaving Democrat Michelle Nunn facing off against businessman David Perdue. Democrats fondly remember the service of Nunn’s father, Sam, and hope that the storied name will carry his daughter to victory.
However, that’s pretty unlikely. I predict that Nunn won’t be able to overcome her connections to a more famous politician, Barack Obama, and that will destroy her hopes of winning the election.
Obama Sinks His Own Party
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Aside from those states, the races that interest me the most are in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina… all of which currently have Democrat senators.
Since Republicans already lead in three states where Democrats are retiring – Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia – they only need to win in three of the seven remaining blue states.
Alaska is still in the midst of a heated Republican Party primary. Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller, is facing off with two centrist Republicans, Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell. Treadwell is Lieutenant Governor, while Sullivan is a former Attorney General and George W. Bush political appointee who is benefiting from Karl Rove’s sponsorship.
The eventual nominee will have a good shot at victory against incumbent Mark Begich. His election six years ago was a surprise, and he won mostly because the Department of Justice indicted the Republican he was campaigning against. On top of that, Obama and Obamacare remain very unpopular in Alaska.
In fact, a similar story is playing out across the country. Barack Obama is turning out to be a liability, and his unpopularity is pulling down the entire Democratic ticket.
Not surprisingly, the Democratic establishment is beginning to rebel against the White House. Criticism of Obama is increasing. Many U.S. senators up for re-election are letting it be known that Obama’s constant vacationing (even as the world burns) is hurting their chances.
In the end, though, I feel that a Republican takeover is almost baked in the cake.
The GOP should beat Mark Begich in Alaska, Mark Pryor in Arkansas, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, and Kay Hagan in North Carolina – giving them enough seats to score the majority.
Your Eyes on the Hill,