The Bloody Fight for Senate Control
A Republican takeover of the United States Senate is far from a sure political assumption. As the direct elections on the upper chamber of Congress are marking the 100th anniversary, there are several factors that heavily can affect the outcome and with so literally the future of
the American people:
First and foremost it's about summing up the imperative of the current debate:
The general trends that constitutes the midterms are widely known: On average the party of the sitting president lost six senate seats in the midterms during the second term. Furthermore democrats have to combat special odds in the midst such as low turnout of minorites and young voters.
Unless something big is happening on the ground in Montana, South-Dakota or West-Virginia, these three races will be almost sure takeovers of the GOP in the fall. No doubt about that!
You know there a three democratic incumbents in big trouble in the deep red states Arkansas, Alaska and Louisiana plus one purple state - North Carolina. Here in most of the polls democrats and republicans are literally neck in neck and within the statistical margin of error.
Then there are some additional competitive races in Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky and Kansas, the latter since some special events right over there in Kansas on which I want to comment in an exlusive post soon. Plus some senate races that looked in play and even competitive some months prior from now - Michigan and New Hampshire - where democrats are polling now way ahead and which only come back in play if something very deceicive is happening either on the ground or in the national debate in Washington that would alienate the core of democratic voters in Michigan or likewise the famous independed mind of New Hampshire, which sends an entirely female congressional delegation to the Capitol and felt in love with former governor and current senior senator Jean Shaneen.
So in order to gain control of the United States Senate, Republicans need to gain three additional seats complementarily to the above mentioned almost sure takeovers and defend senate seats in Georgia and Kentucky. Now comes the territory of discussion: Where will the additional anticipated GOP gains emerge? There are two senate races almost everybody is talking about, which I want to take as an assumption off the table:
Colorado Senate Race:
Once upon a time nobody thought Colorado is in play this cycle but Republican challenger Gardner polled and is polling remarkable strong against incumbent Senator Mark Udall. And some polls are indicating for the republican contender Cory Gardner even a tiny lead.
Though the latter outlined political environment, I am going to forecast a clear reelection of Mark Udall thanks to democratic state legistlatur in Colorado that adopted like Oregon and Washington a state wide voting process via mail. This measure will lift turnout in general and in particular young voters on the electorate comprehensivly in a way no poll model can consider enough by weightening row database of common telephone and or online interviews. Oregon & Washington moved from swing states back in 2004 to solid blue states, which got constituted among several factors not the least due to the lift of turnout and share of young voters through mail-ballot casting. Obviously Colorado will need quite a while to go this way, but Udall will benefit from it greatly on election night.
Moreover democratic get out the vote groundoperations are still present from the presidential race 2012 plus Colorado is the only battleground state in the current cycle
with the Latino vote beeing a deceicive factor [though the hispanic share of population raised in Georgia to nine percent, only three percents are making up eliglible voters].
Louisiana Senate Race:
The French state voting system makes Louisana a very special case. There are several Republicans running against Mary Landrieu at once due to the missing primary system that makes November 4th election night to the real primary and forces a second round between the two top finisher.
In case Landrieu failes to get over 50 percent, the outcome in Louisana will be largely decided about the post election momentum after the anticipated big drama on election night. So for instance if minority leader Mitch McConnell loses in Kentucky, this can heavily affect the down the wire race in Louisiana like the outcome in the hotly contest bordering state of Arkansas.
Now it comes to the real Tossups that can make literally all the difference: North-Carolina, Arkansas, Alaska and Iowa. Once again I believe the democratic Ground Operation on the field in North-Carolina plus the power of incumbency will reelect Kay Hagan in now a days purple North-Carolina. Though the Approval Rating of the President are on undecided voters way below the national figure of 40 percent, undecideds in North Carolina favour the President more than in most other contested races.
In the contrast I am forecasting senate takeovers of the GOP contenders in Arkansas and Alaska: As mentioned before the job approval rating of the president hangs state wide in Arkansas on 34% and drops on the key group of undecided voters to only 13%. Likewise is the situation in Alaska. Though president Obama enjoys here an approval rate of 37% and polling in America's largest state is simply special and odd. The future of Junior Senator Mark Begich perhaps also will be influenced by the momentum on election night that will heavily inferior with the voting process right there in Alaska.
So finally adding all numbers up, I see as most likely outcome a 51-49 or 50-50 result in favour of the democrats. A scenario where every race can literally make all the difference. So perhaps all of it will come down to this: Kansas, Louisiana and Iowa, where in the latter case never a woman got elected to the governor's mansion or the United States Senate or evem the Iowa delegation in the House.
The female GOP challenger, state senator Joni Ernst introduced herself to the consituency of Iowa with a television ad called Squeal: Featuring her expertice in a very specific field of agriculture, her experience of castrating hog's as a recommendation for going to Washington and to make her fellow lawmakers squeal by bringing common sense to Washington. There is no doubt the ad raised Joni Ernst name recognion within Iowa and across the nation, but this kind of ad will only energize the people within Iowa's 4rd District but hurt the chances on independents in the central Des Moines area and the eastern area among Cedar Rapids. So an ad to energize conservative supporters that most likely anyway would have voted for her and which is alienating the majority of registered voters in the other three congressional district's of Iowa is quite a remarkable move [Though I acknowledge Ernst put this aid out in the Republican Primary the "political fallout" for the general election is not neglectable].
Polls are giving the democratic congressman, who runs to fill the seat of the legendary Iowa Senator Tom Harkin a small, sometimes tiny, but constant lead. Though only the consituency in Iowa can decide whom to send as their state wide representative to Washington, one thing is for sure: Some very aspiring women of American Politics will take a very close look to the outcome of the Senate contest right over there in Iowa that not only will have a big impact on 2014 but will set the stage for 2016 aswell.
And if Joni Ernst will pull off an upset in Iowa, perhaps we will hear on more bloody experiences in the Iowa media market in the near future: For instance about washing dishes in Mount McKinley National Park, Alaska...