Republicans don’t even know what peril their chances of retaking their Senate are in. They’re even smaller than I previously thought. They’re almost nonexistent.
It appears that my worst fears and predictions will come to fruition.
Readers may recall that, a week ago, I warned Republicans against getting involved in protracted primary battles that only weaken Republican nominees for the general election (and thus serve only the Democrats), against nominating extremist, firebreather, unelectable candidates like Steve King and Paul Broun, and against listening to extremist organizations like the Club for Growth of the Democratic Caucus.
It is now clear that my worst fears and predictions will come to fruition.
Let me be blunt: Barring a massive scandal hitting Senate Democrats before the election, Republicans stand absolutely no chance of retaking the Senate in 2014. At best, they may pick up a few seats to add to their currently meagre 45 seats. At worst, they could again lose, on net, seats, as they did last year thanks to extremist candidates like Richard Mourdock.
I’ll show you why. Let’s go through the Senate races that really matter, state by state.
In Iowa, where Tom Harkin’s decision to retire opened a great opportunity for a GOP pickup, Republicans are now hell-bent on throwing that opportunity away by nominating extremist, firebreather candidate Steve King, who currently gets over 50% of the votes in GOP primary polls. General election polling, however, shows that King would get CRUSHED in a general election by Bruce Brayley (who is the odds-on favorite for the Dem nomination) and by former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver.
Repeat after me: Steve King is utterly unelectable.
Iowa Republicans are hell-bent on throwing this great opportunity away and rejecting electable, solid conservative Tom Latham, whom some have smeared as being “close to John Boehner”.
Georgia Republicans are no smarter. After forcing solid conservative, FairTax supporter, strong defense advocate, New START opponent Saxby Chambliss to retire, they’re now hell bent on nominating firebreather Paul Broun, who is even more extremist than Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock (he says that the evolution theory and the Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell”). Not one moderate, woman, or black will vote for this guy.
Todd Adkin and Richard Mourdock actually stand a moderate chance of winning – before they opened their mouths and started pontificating about abortion and rape. Paul Broun hasn’t commented on abortion and rape yet, and he’s already doomed to defeat: polls are showing he would get CRUSHED by the most popular Georgia Democrat, Max Cleland, and would probably lose to Congressman John Barrow as well.
Recently, another potential (though not yet declared) candidate, Rep. Phil Gingrey (another Todd Akin clone), has begun to gain steam and even to overtake Broun in potential primary polls. But like Broun, Gingrey would get trounced by Max Cleland (a household name in Georgia) and would likely be defeated by John Barrow as well, though by a smaller margin.
(Last year, when Todd Akin made his infamous rape remark, Gingrey agreed with him, saying he was “partially right”. All Republicans would have to do to beat Gingrey would be to play that remark on a televised loop until their candidate got over the top.)
King, Broun, and Gingrey are extremist morons of the same type as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. The only differences here are the names of the candidates and the states where they’re running.
In West Virginia, the Club for Growth of the Democratic Caucus is grousing about primarying Shelley Moore Capito. Still, no one has actually dared to challenge Capito yet, and if she wins the primary, she should be fine.
In Louisiana, North Carolina, and New Hampshire, Republicans are not seriously considering any extremist candidates (and Lousiana Republicans tend to be more adroit than their Georgia and Iowa colleagues), but the problem there is a very familiar one: the incumbency problem. Next year, most election prognosticators will probably be proven wrong, except one: incumbents usually win.
In LA and NC, incumbent Senators Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan are leading all potential Republican challengers by double-digit margins and have full campaign coffers. And we shouldn’t be surprised – Mary Landrieu has already won three Senate elections in Louisiana and has never lost one. NH Senator Jeanne Shaheen also leads all comers, though not by double-digit margins and has only ca. $300,000 on hand for reelection, and Republicans don’t have a deep bench in NH.
In Alaska, likewise, even the strongest Republican candidate, Mead Treadwell, is behind incumbent Mark Begich by a large margin (8 pp), although 14% of Alaskans are still undecided, so Treadwell may yet win. Especially given that the election won’t be held until November 2014.
In Montana, Republicans have only one candidate capable of defeating incumbent Senator Max Baucus and popular former Governor Brian Schweitzer. That candidate is Marc Racicot. Currently, Dem primary polls show Schweitzer trouncing Baucus in the Dem primary, so he’s almost certain to be the candidate Republicans will face. And yet, Racicot hasn’t even decided whether he’ll join the race, even though he’s the ONLY Republican capable of winning there.
The only seats that Republicans currently have a realistic chance of winning are those of Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) – and that’s only if Capito is the nominee in WV – plus perhaps that of Mark Begich if Mead Treadwell wins the GOP nomination without drama and then wins over the undecideds and Max Baucus’s if Marc Racicot is the nominee.
But that would be a gain of just 4 seats – and Republicans are sure to lose that of Saxby Chambliss, thanks to the extremists who forced him to retire and who support Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey – two clones of Todd Akin.
So the best result Republicans can hope for is to win 3 seats on net – just 50% of what they need (6 seats) to gain majority in the Senate. In the worst case scenario, they could win no seats on net and lose one (in Georgia), reducing their ranks in the Senate to 44 people and making a Republican takeover of the Senate more difficult in 2016.
Repeat after me: Retaking the Senate in 2014 is pure moonshine. The GOP will not accomplish this, thanks to morons like Steve King, Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, Chris Chocola, the Club for Growth of the Democratic Caucus, the morons who forced Saxby Chambliss to retire, and the idiots who are openly grousing about primarying Shelley Capito and Mead Treadwell.
In other words, as in 2010 and 2012, the Club, the Tea Party, and other extremists will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.