Midterms 2014: Control of the Senate Hangs in the Balance
The 2014 midterm election season will go down in history as the time when unprecedented amounts of money were spent in the tussle over control of the U.S. Senate — and, by extension, over the potential outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Oh, and it’s also the time when Democrats publicly disassociated themselves en masse from President Barack Obama.
As of Tuesday afternoon, much of the focus of the election was on key Senate races, some of which, the Associated Press noted, might not be settled immediately after the polls close because of possible runoffs.
About 10 Senate races drew most of the attention.
In Kentucky, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell squared off with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in a race that cost more than $50 million and was relentlessly negative.
Democratic retirements gave Republicans their best pickup opportunities in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, where Rep. Shelly Moore Capito hopes to become the first member of her party to win a Senate seat in more than a half-century.
Another Democratic retirement produced a highly competitive race in Iowa between Republican Joni Ernst and Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.
A Republican retirement in Georgia led to one of the country’s most closely-watched races, between Democrat Michelle Nunn and Republican businessman David Perdue.
Democratic incumbents in states that Obama lost in 2012, including Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, faced strong challenges. The same was true in states the president won two years ago, Colorado and New Hampshire.
The wildest wild card of all was Kansas, where 78-year-old Republican Sen. Pat Roberts is in a competitive race with independent Greg Orman.
The Guardian also sized up the Senate race in this graphically enhanced breakdown.
Although Republicans’ Senate blitz could tip the balance in their favor, Democrats’ concerted efforts to mobilize voters from target demographics like women, African-Americans and millennials might keep the GOP from gaining control of Congress, the AP added. The Dems just won’t have that certain je ne sais quoi that Obama brought to the party over the last decade to help them this time around.
–Posted by Kasia Anderson