Republicans are on the threshold of gaining control of the Senate after the 2014 midterm elections, according to New York Times election prognosticator Nate Silver.
After Montana’s Democrat Governor Brian Schweitzer announced on Saturday he would not run for the state’s open Senate seat, Silver wrote, “Republicans might now be close to even-money to win control of the chamber after next year’s elections.” Currently, Silver estimates that “Republicans will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 Senate seats after 2014, putting them right on the threshold of a majority.”
In addition to Montana, a state in which Silver says the Republican candidate will be a three-to-one favorite, Republicans can pick up seats in West Virginia and South Dakota, two states where incumbent Democrats are retiring and Democrats have failed to convince their top politicians to run.
Republicans can pick up seats in Alaska (Mark Begich), Arkansas (Mark Pryor), and Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), where incumbent Democrats will be facing reelection.
Silver notes the “tipping point” state may well be North Carolina, which is represented by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC).
Since Democrats will have to defend 21 Senate seats in 2014, Silver points out that, unlike in 2012, Republicans “can focus almost entirely on playing offense.”