The liberal Huffington Post is entering the final weekend of the 2014 campaign predicting that Republicans will pick up enough seats to claim control of the Senate. Even discounting some races that have lately trended towards the GOP, HuffPo says that the odds of Republicans taking the majority are 69%. According to the HuffPo pollster, Democrats would have to pull the equivalent of an inside straight to keep Sen. Harry Reid as Majority Leader.
With many votes already cast and with actual election day in just 4 days, the early days of campaign bluster inevitably make way for reality, even for liberal outlets such as Huffington Post. The site’s average of polls predicts Republicans will easily hold seats in Kentucky and Georgia and are heavily favored to capture Democrat seats in Colorado, Alaska, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia. If that prediction holds, every other outcome is academic.
Democrats and the media have lately placed their hopes of holding the Senate on picking up the Kansas seat of long-time incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts. The Republicans are close to committing an own-goal in the Sunflower State after national party operatives firebombed Roberts’ conservative primary opponent Milton Wolf. Sensing an opportunity, Democrats formally withdrew from the race, setting up a general election fight between Roberts and Independent candidate Greg Orman. National Republican operatives managed to pull off a feat Democrats have failed to accomplish; they de-nationalized the election.
Even a Roberts loss, though, is unlikely now to save the Democrat Senate majority. According to HuffPo’s Pollster, the GOP will pick up enough Democrat seats to claim the majority even with a loss in Kansas. It would be a bitter irony for Roberts’ Senate colleague and fellow Kansasan Jerry Moran, who is the titular head of the Senate Republicans’ campaign efforts.
HuffPo’s prediction of a GOP Senate also doesn’t include a probable Republican win in Iowa. The site assesses Republican candidate Joni Ernst as having only a 55% chance of winning next week. Weirdly, they don’t count that state in the GOP column.
As with all campaigns, it is far better to watch what they do, rather than what they tell reporters and pundits. Democrat actions in the past few days betray the air of desperation that is slowing engulfing their campaign plans. Sen. Mary Landrieu is publicly trashing her home state. Rep. Charlie Rangel is openly accusing the Republican party of wanting a return to slavery, never mind the fact that the party was formed for the express purpose of ending that sick institution. Democrat outside groups are already planning a post-election conference to smooth over donor disappointment with the likely results.
The fates of many individual campaigns are still far from certain. The specific races won and lost by the two parties will likely change over the next few days. The totality of information, however, seems to point to one clear outcome. On this, the Huffington Post is probably right, for once. Republicans will capture the Senate next week.