Given their large class this year, Democrats need only hold their own in 2014 and then win just 15 of 34 Senate seats two years later to reach their 60-seat goal. Even if they experience modest losses in 2014, which seems likely given the seats up and the challenges faced by a president’s party in second midterms, they could still be within range of 60 seats in the 2016 elections.
Democrats will then have an opportunity to win back Senate seats that they lost because of the 2010 anti-Obama GOP wave. Their 2016 targets surely will include Republican Senate seats in Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, as well as seats in Iowa, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio and even North Carolina. All of those states, except for North Carolina, went for Barack Obama twice.
Obviously, both parties have a long way to go before 2016. But it’s not too early to note that the Democrats’ large class of 2012, which includes at least two solid Republican seats lost by inept GOP nominees, gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plenty of reason to search for the Senate’s holy grail over the next four years.