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: