I absolutely love election season. The fights, the campaigns, the crazy gaffes, but mostly analysis. I frequently read other, more well established commentators, and disagree on some of what they say.
Alabama – Safe Republican – I believe current Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) is the only person running.
Alaska – Leans Democratic – Incumbent Sen. Mark Begich (D) is in a tough race in a Republican state. However, front runners for the Republican nomination, Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan, are rather lackluster and polling slightly favors Begich. Joe Miller, crazy tea partier, does not seem likely to win the nomination. Most outlets rate this race as a tossup.
Arkansas – Tossup – Incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D) did not face a Republican in 2008, but this time around freshman Rep. Tom Cotton (R) is running neck and neck with him in the polls. Arkansas is increasingly a Republican state, which would favor Cotton, but the two keep flip-flopping the lead in polls. Cotton is quite a firecracker and has proposed quite extreme laws such as one that would law enforcement to arrest the family of anyone accused of dealing with Iran.
Colorado – Leans Democratic – Colorado is spazzy with polling. One week the Democrats are unpopular, the next they are very popular. Either way Incumbent Sen. Mark Udall usually holds small leads over Rep. Cory Gardner (R). It will likely be close, but evidence suggests Udall will pull through.
Delaware – Safe Democratic – Sen. Chris Coons (D) will face off against one of two unknown Republicans in this blue state.
Georgia – Tossup – Republicans got their wish granted when Rep. Jack Kingston and businessman David Perdue advanced to the runoff instead of someone the more (let’s call them) radical candidates. Democrats are running Michelle Nunn, daughter of a popular former senator. Polling favors Nunn, but Georgia is a red state without a Republican candidate yet. Most outlets rate this as Leans Republican
Hawaii – Safe Democrat ic– Whether or not Sen. Brian Schatz (and it looks like he will) wins the Democratic nomination or Rep. Colleen Hanabusa does, this seat is safe blue in the special election.
Idaho – Safe Republican – Absolutely nothing exciting here as Sen. Jim Risch (R) will trounce Nels Mitchell (whoever that is) November.
Illinois – Safe Democratic – Again nothing exciting. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D) will handily smash Jim Oberweis (whoever that is) in November.
Iowa – Leans Democratic – Rep. Bruce Braley (D) holds slight leads over hog castrator and state senator Joni Ernst (R). Iowa likes to split congressional delegations 50/50 and with a Republican in the other seat, Braley has the edge, despite his gaffes. Joni Ernst is relatively unknown and appears to be a hair too conservative for swingy Iowa.
Kansas – Safe Republican – Kansas hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since the Great Depression and unless Sen. Pat Roberts (R) loses his primary to Milton Wolf (unlikely) and Democrat Chad Taylor has a magic lamp, it will remain that way.
Kentucky – Tossup – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has the dubious honor of being the nation’s least liked senator, according to a PPP poll. Still Kentucky is conservative and Democrat Kentucky Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes is hobnobbing with Democrats, McConnell should be favored. However, only notoriously unreliable Republican polling has shown McConnell with a lead, while everyone else shows Grimes approaching that 50% mark. And McConnell hasn’t gained ground after his primary win as expected. Most outlets rate this as Leans or Likely Republican.
Louisiana – Tossup – Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) has a reputation for bringing in big bucks to Louisiana as well as being the most conservative Democrat in the Senate (rivaled by Joe Manchin of WV) However, Louisiana is a blood red state and much of the minority population left after Katrina. Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy is lackluster but has a slight edge in runoff polling. Landrieu has big leads in the jungle primary polling but needs over 50% to win. Landrieu is also not popular, but neither is anyone else in Louisiana.
Maine – Safe Republican – This seat will always be safe Republican so as long as its occupied by Sen. Susan Collins, the minute she retires it’s a blue seat. Shenna Bellows is the Democrat’s sacrificial lamb who will no doubt fail at convincing Mainers that Collins is too conservative. Collins is more popular with Democrats than she is with her own party.
Massachusetts – Safe Democratic – New Sen. Ed Markey (D) is heaving sighs of relief that former Sen. Scott Brown (R) is running in New Hampshire. With no significant Republican opposition, it’s Markey for the win.
Michigan – Leans Democratic – Rep. Gary Peters (D) is the favorite over former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R). Land surged for a short time, but has since faded out in this slightly blue state. It could get more competitive and will likely be close, but Peters should pull out the win.
Minnesota – Safe Democratic – Funnyman Sen. Al Franken (D) should be endangered having won in 2008 by about 300 votes, but he has proved popular and effective and all the Republicans running are nobodies.
Mississippi – Likely Republican – Who knows what is happening in the Magnolia state? If the matchup remains as is with Sen. Thad Cochran (R) against former Rep. Travis Childers (D), Cochran will win. But tea party whack job, Chris McDaniel can’t seem to imagine that he lost fair and square and is challenging the results. If he can manage to dethrone Cochran, this will be a tossup in a deep red state because Childers is a strong Democratic candidate and McDaniel is a crybaby.
Montana – Likely Republican – Montana is not nearly as competitive as it could be. Sen. John Walsh was recently appointed and he is trailing badly in polls to Rep. Steve Daines (R). Still, Walsh will likely improve, but Montana is a Republican state that has not had a GOP senator in years.
Nebraska – Likely Republican – Republican Ben Sasse is the favorite purely because of the state’s leaning. Democrat David Domina is an unknown.
New Hampshire – Likely Democratic – If you can’t win in one state, move to another, is the philosophy of former MA Sen. Scott Brown (R) who is challenge Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D). Brown was expected to make the race competitive, but he didn’t and succeeded in making himself look like a sore loser.
New Jersey – Safe Democratic – My home state where Sen. Cory Booker is well-liked. Republican Jeff Bell is a nobody.
New Mexico – Safe Democratic – Sen. Tom Udall (D) is much safer than his cousin in Colorado. Republican Allen Weh has little chance to win.
North Carolina – Tossup – I really want to rate this as Leans Democrat because Sen. Kay Hagan (D) surged when Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis (R) led the NC House last summer. This year, Tillis is taking it slow but state Republicans in NC are extremely unpopular and they nominated their leader for the Senate. Libertarian Sean Haugh is also a factor that could pull away voted from Tillis.
Oklahoma Regular and Special – Safe Republican – It is the normal election year for the delusional Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) who is safe. Sen. Tom Coburn (R) is resigning when his successor is elected. That will likely be Rep. James Lankford (R)
Oregon – Safe Democratic – I know Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) won in 2008 with less than 50%, but I am baffled why Republicans think nobody Monica Wehby can win with her far-right positions in liberal Oregon.
Rhode Island – Safe Democratic – Sen. Jack Reed will win no matter who he Republican opponent is.
South Carolina Regular and Special – Safe Republican – GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott will cruise to wins in November. Nothing interesting here since Graham easily won his primary.
South Dakota – Likely Republican – This is the only state where Democrats didn’t get their preferred candidate when both Sen. Tim Johnson and former Rep. Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin passed. They got stuck with Rick Weiland, a political nobody and new comer. Weiland has been polling relatively competitively for a Democrat in South Dakota. Frontrunner is former Gov. Mike Rounds (R). The only way can lose to Weiland is if former Sen. Larry Pressler, who is running as an independent, takes a chunk out of Rounds’ voters. Right no that is not happening to the degree Weiland needs it to.
Tennessee – Safe Republican – Sen. Lamar Alexander is the target of several nobody tea partiers, but he is likely to win with flying colors against them in the primary and against whatever nobody Democrat wins his or her party’s nomination.
Texas – Safe Republican – Sen. John Cornyn (R) could find himself as his party’s leader in the Senate if McConnell loses. In that case, he will likely be the Minority leader since it is unlikely the GOP can take the Senate if they lose Kentucky. Cornyn is safe against nobody David Alameel (D).
Virginia – Safe Democrat – Sen. Mark Warner (D) is extremely popular and former GOP Gov. Ed Gillespie is doing nothing to stop him.
West Virginia – Likely Republican – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is likely going to be the first GOP senator from this red state since the 1950s. Democratic WV Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is behind in the polls, but the word is she is going to surge any minute. I’ve been hearing that for months.
Wyoming – Safe Republican – Since whatever shenanigans Liz Cheney was up to is over, Sen. Mike Enzi (R) is safe.