While Obama is officially sworn in today as President for another four years, smart strategists are keeping their eye on the 2014 ball.
There are 32 senators up for reelection in 2014. Of those, 20 are Democrats and 13 are Republicans. With Senator Rockefeller's (D-W.Va) retirement in 2014, an additional senate seat is in play. Democrat resources will be spread thinner than the GOP's on account of this seven seat discrepancy; there will be a Republican advantage in the upcoming campaign season.
Digging deeper, 12 of those 20 Democrat seats come from a state that is red or swing: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, W. Virginia, and Virginia. Those seats are vulnerable should the party run strong candidates.
An additional advantage for the GOP is Obama's latest attempt to encourage some kind of gun control legislation. Those senators in gun-friendly states will have to choose: either back the President's gun control agenda or risk handing their GOP opponents an effective talking point.
The debt-ceiling debate is another edge the Republicans hold have if they play their cards right. The Democrat lead Senate has refused to pass a budget for the last four years. (Why aren't we hearing more about this !?!?!) With the economy stagnating and the national debt increasing, voters don't want to see their elected officials taking a pass on the tough calls. Voters have been making their own spending cuts and adjusting their lifestyles to deal with difficult times. Why isn't the Senate doing the same?
The GOP senate races look to be on better footing than their Democrat counterparts. All the GOP senators hail from red states, except Susan Collins in Maine, who should be safe. There is good reason for optimism heading in to the 2014 campaign season. Let's hope we play it smart.
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