Respected political prognosticator Stu Rothenberg isn’t buying the mainstream media spin that the GOP can’t come up with a wave in the upcoming midterms. On his Roll Call blog Monday, Rothenberg sees the Republican Party picking up “at least” seven Senate seats in what he expects to be “a substantial Republican Senate wave in November.”
Rothenberg considers Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia lost to the Republicans, and Arkansas and Louisiana “difficult [for Democrats] to hold.” He still sees Alaska and North Carolina as competitive but that is only as of now. Overall, Rothenberg senses the real possibility for a coming wave that could claim up to 8 Democrat seats.
Right now, this cycle looks much like 2010, when Democrats with reasonable profiles got crushed in Republican-leaning and swing states. Rep. Brad Ellsworth lost his Senate bid by 18 points in Indiana, Sen. Blanche Lincoln lost re-election by 21 in Arkansas, and Rep. Paul Hodes lost his Senate race by more than 23 in New Hampshire. The much-ballyhooed Robin Carnahan of Missouri lost her Senate bid by almost 14 points, while Wisconsin incumbent Russ Feingold lost by 5 points.
None of them could overcome the national dynamic favoring the GOP.
To be sure, Pryor is much better off now than Lincoln was at this point in 2010, and Republican challengers have not “put away” any Senate races. But any Democratic incumbent sitting in the mid-40s in a very Republican state probably can’t expect to get the benefit of the doubt from voters. And that puts Democratic Senate seats in swing states like Iowa and Colorado at great risk too, especially if the GOP “breeze” that I am expecting actually appears.
With the president looking weaker and the news getting worse, Democratic candidates in difficult and competitive districts are likely to have a truly burdensome albatross around their necks.
That is why, at least right now, I expect 2014 to be a big Senate year for the GOP — even if my current ratings don’t quite show it.
Republicans only need to net 6 seats in order to retire Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader.
Rothenberg’s view combined with new polling released over the weekend that shows Mitch McConnell pulling away from his Democrat challenger in Kentucky (Dems thought they had a good chance here), and Republican challenger Tom Cotton up 5 over incumbent Mark Pryor in Arkansas, should give the media pause in their “no GOP wave” talking point of the last few weeks.
Obama’s coming war talk against ISIS, and the postponing of his lawless amnesty for millions of illegals, certainly isn’t going to excite Democrats to come out and vote.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC