Election 2014

Senate Future Continues to Lean Right, But Will It Actually Tip Over?


You would think elephants would be easier to count.
Credit: DonkeyHotey / photo on flickr

To start with the obvious: You don't have to be Nate Silver to calculate the Democrats' chance of taking control back of the House of Representatives to be a percentage hovering around zero. In all likelihood, the Republicans will be gaining seats in the House. Writing for the Associated Press, Donna Cossata wonders just how many they'll get and analyzes the Democrats' triage-like campaign funding shifts:

Democrats cut $2.8 million in spending in northern Virginia, where John Foust faces state Del. Barbara Comstock in a seat that Republican Frank Wolf has held for 34 years. The party also scaled back its spending in the Denver suburbs by $1.4 million despite its high expectations that former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff could upend three-term Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in a district with a growing Hispanic population.

Democrats have raced to rescue freshman Rep. Ami Bera in the Sacramento, California, suburbs as he tries to fend off a challenge from former Republican Rep. Doug Ose, and shore up first-term Rep. Bill Enyart in his southwest Illinois race against state Rep. Mike Bost. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's struggle in his re-election bid is making life tough for Enyart and another freshman, Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider.

But whether the Senate will flip red as well is the question of the mid-terms, and cable news viewers should expect to learn lots and lots of trivia on Election Day about the voting habits of various counties in states like Louisiana, Iowa, Kentucky, and especially Kansas. Prognosticators are predicting that the elephants will trample the donkeys, but there's significant disagreement in their confidence of their own prediction. Silver and his crew say there's a 58 percent chance the Republicans will take the Senate. The Washington Post's Election Lab, on the other hand, believes it's nearly certain, at 94 percent.  

The National Journal goes through some of the hottest Senate races here and analyzes and ranks the likelihood of a Republican win. It's a breezy and easy-to-understand list of 17 pivotal races for anybody who just wants to know why things are the way they are right now.

One of the races on the list is Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes' campaign to unseat Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Grimes seems to be trying to campaign from McConnell's right, shooting guns in her campaign ads, promising to fight for coal jobs, and claiming to have a tougher anti-immigration stance than the senator. Her lack of interest in pushing the party line came to a head in her debate against McConnell last night, when she continued to refuse to indicate whether she voted for President Barack Obama in 2012. Doing so, she said, would undermine the privacy of the good citizens of Kentucky. From the National Review:

"This is a matter of principle. Our constitution grants, here in Kentucky, the constitutional right for privacy of the ballot box, for a secret ballot," Grimes said during her debate with McConnell. "I am not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or other side, or for members of the media, I'll protect that right for every Kentuckian."

Asked directly if she would say who she voted for Grimes refused. "Again, you have that right, Senator McConnell has that right, every Kentuckian has the right for privacy at the ballot box," she said. "If I as chief election official, Bill, don't stand up for that right, who in Kentucky will?"

The questioning, prompted by Grimes's refusal to tell an editorial board how she voted, came after debate watchers had already heard McConnell accuse Grimes of trying to hide her true beliefs.

She's protecting all Kentuckians by not indicating where her political loyalties lie, you see. Watch below:

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  1. “Was Obama even running back then? I can’t recall. Mistakes were made. I slept in late and forgot about voting. My dog was sick and I had to take him to the vet all day. I wrote in my neighbor’s name–it’s just a joke we play on each other. Okay, you want the truth? You can’t handle the truth. You’re out of order, this whole debate is out of order.”

    1. “Forget it, Marge… It’s Chinatown.”

      1. Does Grimes or her supporters actually think trying to not admit she voted for Obama is a good idea? I honestly can’t see what she is thinking.

        She should just say she voted for Obama and now regrets it. If nothing else she would get a lot of voters who made the same mistake to identify with her.

        Or lie and say she voted for Johnson. How would the Republicans ever prover she didn’t? That would piss off some of her base but who cares? What are they going to do, vote Republican?

        1. What are they going to do, vote Republican?

          They could Stay home. Hurts half as much as voting against, but it still has a negative impact.

        2. The Dem base in Kentucky is not very strong and the only way to beat McConnell is to draw off some conservative voters.

          But, yes, not admitting to voting for Obama is a dumb strategy. But then she’s been a defensive mode for the entire run.

  2. The Washington Post’s Election Lab, on the other hand, believes it’s nearly certain, at 94 percent.

    Ah, but does that estimate factor in the near certainty of the Stupid Party doing/saying something to shoot themselves in the foot?

    1. 100%. The fact that they will and be dragged kicking and screaming to by a completely ambivalent electorate to a majority in the senate just shows how much the dems fucked everything up.

      1. The events got in the way of the Democratic low information voter turnout machine. People should be talking about abortion and the evil white people in Ferguson and how some guy no one had previously ever heard of said some Democratic female candidate ugly and Ray Rice. Don’t forget Ray Rice

        Instead, all of this Ebola and ISIS and the guy jumping over the White House fence and Republican lies about Obamacare and the economy and such. The low information voter has just tuned out to all of that icky stuff. And the Democrats are in a lot of trouble.

        Think about it, we spent the entire 2012 election ignoring the economy and Libya and talking about something a Republican Senate Candidate in Missouri said and whether Mitt Romney really hired women when he was in the private sector. The real world has finally interfered with the Dem media imaginary one.

        1. Very true, John. And one reason I think the election will go very well for the GOP is that many, many people are not partisans but vote according to their overall mood. If things seem to be going well, they vote for the incumbent party. If not, they vote to rebuke the bastards. I keep reading (admittedly anecdotal) reports along the lines of: “My father was a life-long Democrat, but he says he’s never going to vote for another one again.”

          So with ISIS, the economy, Obamacare, Ebola, porous borders, and a host of other scandals, the Democrats have lost the ability to frame the election. They’re toast in November.

        2. Yeah seems things are coming together for GOP. The media is focusing on issues where people tend to think Republicans are better on or at least that Republicans can attack Democrats on. And with the Supreme Court basically ending the debate on gay marriage, it’s not a subject that can hurt Republicans anymore. Of Course, Repubs like Ted Cruz are trying to screw that one up by proposing constitutional amendments to specifically give the states the power to define marriage. Just let it go man, the party would be much better off if they don’t have to debate gay marriage anymore.

      2. Indeed. I never really liked either party. It was the smug, and authoritarian policies of the Dems that caused me to take shelter under the Libertarian tent.

        It’s a sad state of affairs when the royal fuck up’s of one authoritarian party, can keep the other authoritarian party in the game. Neither the Dem’s, or the Repub’s could survive on their own merits.

  3. If Grime’s is really going to support the coal industry, she needs to tell her supporters to shut up:



  4. NYC Reasonoids: MEET-UP ALERT!

    When: Thursday, October 16, 2014, 6:00PM
    Where: Rattle N Hum, 14 East 33rd Street

  5. I’m sure the Republitards will do anything they can to blow it.

  6. Those damn, dirty obstructionist voters!

  7. The donkeys have made huge media buys in the local radio stations in Iowa and are running wall to wall ads against Joni Ernst. These are not ads paid by the Bradley campaign, but by various committees to protect a democratic senate. The ads have been outrageously misleading and the worst I’ve heard in the last couple of decades.

    So the dems appear to be shitting themselves over the possibility of Braley going into the toilet and losing Harkin’s seat (for decades I assume).

    1. I think Ernst is going to win. Braley is just an endless gaffe machine. Apparently last week he talked about how small business people and entrepreneurs in Iowa are just a bunch of lazy undisciplined kids who deserve to fail. No shit.

      Ernst seems like a fairly respectable candidate. Braley is just a disaster. And you tell me when the last time the Brady campaign ever saved anyone because I can’t remember it.

      1. I was on a road trip last weekend. I didn’t see a single yard sign for any democratic candidate anywhere. All I saw were signs for republican candidates.

        I haven’t heard or seen a single add that was actually paid by the Braley campaign even though the local news outlets says he reported record fundraising last quarter.

        I think Ernst is going to curbstomp Braley in November.

        1. I was having breakfast yesterday and the place I was in had CNN on. There was a political ad for Warner in Virginia. The whole ad was a young woman saying his opponent wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade and that was it for her.

          Warner has been in the Senate six years and all he has to say for himself is fucking Roe v. Wade. He will probably win anyway, but the Democrats really are intellectually bankrupt. Warner is supposed to be one of the smart more reasonable Democrats and that bullshit is the best he can do.

          1. Iowa is a deep purple state — conservative in rural and suburban areas — strong unions in small industrial towns.

            And I am not seeing any democratic yards signs, in town or out of town. The unions are apparently in a coma this election cycle.

            1. I think a lot of suburban liberals scared shitless of how Obama is fucking up so badly. They won’t vote Republican or admit it but they are terrified of Obama’s fuckups allowing something really bad to happen and are going to stay home as a way to passively give him some adult supervision.

            2. I think the War on Coal and Keystone has severely alienated private-sector unions from the Dems. The Dem leadership and Obama in particular is going all in on environmentalism and PSUs. Fuck those dirty, lowly blue-collar types. This is not going to work for them.

            3. But then I thought the distinct rarity of Obama 2012 signs and stickers (compared to 2008) meant something, too. Not that I thought California was going to go GOP, but I was somewhat surprised when Romney lost as badly as he did.

              I think the Democrats pulled it out in 2012 by getting core voters to turn out. This year that’ll be much harder, and I think independents are very pissed.

            4. They spent all their money on Fight For $15 and Raise The Wage?

          2. I live in a deep blue part of NoVa, but have seen at least twice as many Gillespie signs in front of residences than Warner signs, and the Gillespie ones all talk about the economy. Warner will need a strong showing in NoVa to counteract the vote in the red parts of the state, and I am not sure he is going to get it. The smart money is still on Warner, but the odds are probably not as long as the polls would suggest.

        2. I didn’t see a single yard sign for any democratic candidate anywhere. All I saw were signs for republican candidates.

          I saw some on road medians (where they were obviously planed by campaign staffers) and what I think was the candidate’s house. It’s ot the same race or district, but the overall sentiment is the same.

  8. “I am not going to compromise a constitutional right provided here in Kentucky in order to curry favor on one or other side, or for members of the media, I’ll protect that right for every Kentuckian.”

    You have a right to keep your ballot secret but not an obligation – I can see where your boss might want you to tell him you voted for the candidate he favors and your silence may be used against you – so in a way perhaps she is protecting the right to a secret ballot insofar as the right to keep it secret includes the right to not have that secrecy used against you.

    The secret ballot is just a form of the right to remain silent and not have that silence used against you like the 5th Amendment says and I can’t imagine any court infringing on that right by, say, making some ridiculous rule that you have to invoke the right to use it and your silence prior to invoking it may be used as evidence against you because that would seem to make the 5th a government-granted privilege rather than an inalienable human right.

    On the other hand, I doubt very seriously that this lady is just protecting the right to remain silent by remaining silent and challenging anyone to hold her silence against her – she either voted for BO and is ashamed of it or she didn’t vote for BO and doesn’t want to admit to her party that she’s not a die-hard team player.

    1. She is under no more obligation to say how she voted than she is under an obligation to reveal anything else about her past. Of course, the voters are also under no obligation not to hold her silence against her or assume it means she really did vote for Obama and is just unwilling to be honest. It goes both ways.

      1. I’m thinking she fucked up…

        She either was too apathetic to go out and vote, or she voted for McKinney (as a write-in) or Nader.

        She’s worried about getting caught in a lie, so “NONE OF YER DAMN BIDNESS!”

    2. And she can’t win political points by saying anything now. If she says who she voted for, she’ll just be accused of damage control.

      1. That is a good point. She really fucked up. She should have just said she did. A lot of people did. He won the damned election for God’s sakes and no one is surprised to hear that a Democratic politician voted for the party’s nominee. I don’t think it would have hurt her among people who might actually vote for her.

        1. Considering less than 38% of KYians voted for Obama in 2012, it might.

          1. That in a state where it takes an extreme fuckup for the Ds to lose a statewide election (senate excepted, for some reason).

            1. But state democrats are a lot more conservative than federal democrats in KY.

    3. she either voted for BO and is ashamed of it or she didn’t vote for BO and doesn’t want to admit to her party that she’s not a die-hard team player.

      Likely neither.

      She most likely voted for BO, is not ashamed of it, and will be a die-hard team player – but she doesn’t want the voters to know that yet.

      1. I don’t think many voters are fooled by this hedging. She was a Democratic convention delegate, for heaven’s sake. Of course she voted for the Democratic candidate. It’s stupid to not admit it, if for no other reason that it demoralizes her own side: why would Democrats want to make much of an effort to elect a disloyal Democrat?

    4. That’s some weak shit, comparing being asked if she voted for her party’s candidate to being asked to confess to murder, or else.

      She’s now at the point where absolutely nothing she says can help her.

      Good. Another crapweasel pol dragged under by their own duplicity and contempt for voters. I count that as a win.

  9. I’m hoping for a 51(R)-49(D) split, making Rand Paul the most powerful libertarian in the universe.

    1. Hey Now! What about Arch-Procurator Kotzol Zatafacus of Arcturus VI?

      1. Arch-Procurator Kotzol Zatafacus of Arcturus VI is a LINO!

        1. Zaphod Beeblebrox as President of the Galaxy was completely powerless, and therefore the greatest and most powerful libertarian ever.

    2. I would be fine with that but I don’t share your optimism that it would make Paul very powerful. There are plenty of shithead Democrats who will happily form a majority with the various shithead Republicans on things like the NSA and civil liberties. In order for Paul to be a swing vote, there has to be enough Democrats for him to join with for his vote to swing the result. I am not seeing that happen no matter what the result.

    3. the most powerful libertarian in the universe.

      You will regret those words when in 2027 Libertaraian Rama swings into near earth orbit.

  10. first-term Rep. Bill Enyart

    He was the Adjutant General of the IL National Guard…and was a politician in uniform. Now he is only a politician…I hope he loses.

  11. the voting habits of various counties in states like Louisiana, Iowa, Kentucky

    I can help with one county in KY (two, actually):

    Bowling Green has been represented in the state house by Jody Richards since the mid 70s. He is a Democrat.

    My state house district is comprised of Butler Co and part of Warren Co outside of Bowling Green (since the new redistricting, used this year for first time, rural Warren Co is part of 4 or 5 different districts). The incumbent of the district, which was formerly Butler and 2 other counties is running for Senate instead. So its an open seat. A Republican is running. No Democratic opposition.

    My Senate district is Warren Co. No parts of other counties, none of Warren is in another district. The incumbent Republican is running unopposed.

    So even though the city has a 40 year democratic rep, the county as a whole (and the city is approximately half the population of the county) is so far right that they cant even find opposition.

    And that is what you need to know about KY.

    1. Warren is slightly more D friendly than the state as a whole.

      Obama won 37.78% of the vote statewide, He won 38.28% in Warren Co.

      1. And we elect mostly democratic governors, because the Republican candidates are usually to the right of Attila.

    2. And only four counties went for Obama in 2012, Jefferson, Franklin, Elliot and Fayette.

      Lexington/Fayette is full of students, ex-students and academics, has an openly gay mayor and Obama still only carried it by a single percentage point.

      Considering the large black populations of Jefferson and Franklin, only Elliot is an outlier… but the entire county only about 2,500 votes total.

      Grimes should be toast.

      1. That she isnt entirely toast shows just how unpopular McConnell is. Of course, part of that is that he is from Louisville.

        1. And he doesn’t have a proper blonde wife.

          1. The way he handled the Bevin primary hurt him significantly with his base.

            There is gonna be a lot of nose holding at the ballot box.

  12. More fun with 2012 results.

    Obama won 4 counties in KY, but only broke 50% in one.


    That was my former home of Jefferson Co (Louisville).

    He won a plurality in Fayette (Lexington) and Franklin (Frankfort) but with 49% of the vote.

    Same for Elliott Co which may not actually have a town in it.

    1. How dare you forget about Sandy Hook!

      1. I looked it up after posting, I was amused too.

        If you actually knew that without looking it up, I salute you.

        1. Sandy Hook gets talked about a lot on the weather in Lexington for some strange reason. Like a creepy amount.

  13. I hate to admit it but there is one good reason to hope for GOP control of the senate: passing the Keystone pipeline. Get. That. Done.

    1. Don’t forget judicial appointments. And Senate investigations.

      1. The investigations will be a big nothing. Washington pols are too gutless to really put a shiv in the administrations belly.

        But, pitched battles over appointments might just happen. That would be a good thing.

  14. Joni Ernst ? @joniernst
    Deeply saddened by tragic news of Dr. Doug Butzier. Gail&I will keep Doug’s family in our thoughts&prayers; as they mourn their untimely loss
    1:09 PM – 14 Oct 2014

    1. Wow. Let the conspiracy theories begin!

      1. Yeah, it couldn’t be, you know, that the dude is out barnstorming the state in a tiny plane a lot more than he used to and that the odds just caught up with him.

        Nope. Must be a conspiracy.

  15. my friend’s sister makes $83 an hour on the laptop . She has been fired for ten months but last month her payment was $12435 just working on the laptop for a few hours
    Find Out More. ???????????? http://www.jobsfish.com

    1. Your friend is a pimp, whoring out his sister on the internet.

  16. It’s like George Costanza trying to keep his ATM code a secret.

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