Top 5 Races to Watch in New England

Ayotte is one of the last congressional Republicans in New England. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Even in the best of times, New England isn’t particularly friendly to Republicans. Today, the GOP boasts just two members — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — as the only elected officials at the federal level in the six-state region.

Next year, Republicans will try to climb back to some relevance. Here are the top five races to watch in that region:

Massachusetts’ 6th District: Democrats didn’t expect their own congressman, John F. Tierney, to survive last fall’s election, but he did. Former state Sen. Richard Tisei, a Republican, is on track for a rematch and this cycle, he won’t have to deal with President Barack Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren driving turnout for Tierney. Also, Tierney recently attracted a primary challenge from a former Marine, Seth Moulton. This is a Democratic district, but Tierney’s issues and Tisei’s strengths make this uniquely competitive. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

Maine’s 2nd District: Currently Safe Democrat

New Hampshire’s 1st District: This district has swung back and forth between the two parties for the past three cycles. This cycle, Democratic Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is the GOP's main target. If former Rep. Frank Guinta runs to reclaim his seat, the district is almost guaranteed another close race. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Toss-Up/Tilt Democrat.

New Hampshire Senate: Republicans don’t have to defeat Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen to get to the majority. And that’s a good thing for the GOP, since it doesn't have a candidate. Watch to see if Shaheen becomes legitimately vulnerable, because if she does, the Democratic majority is in jeopardy. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Democrat Favored.

New Hampshire’s 2nd District: As the more Democratic district in the state, this isn’t a great opportunity for Republicans. But since Democrats control virtually everything in the region, they are defending everywhere. If Republicans nominate a candidate with broad appeal, they could challenge Rep. Ann McLane Kuster. Wait and see. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Lean Democrat.

What races would you add to or subtract from the list?

Note: The New England Region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.