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Louisiana Sen. Mary L. Landrieu’s defeat in the Dec. 6 runoff certainly was no surprise. If anything, it seemed inevitable since the evening of Nov. 4, when it became clear a Republican rout was underway and Democrats would lose control of the Senate.
Well, we’ve made it through another strange political year — and let’s face it, they are all strange — so it’s time for me to devote another column to picking the best, the worst and the weirdest candidates, campaigns and outcomes of the year.
Every election cycle is filled with twists and turns, upsets and surprises. And every cycle is filled with goofy arguments, warnings about things that never happen and unsurprising outcomes that surprise only the politically uneducated.
You could feel it from Day One of this cycle. Senate Democratic strategists knew they were smarter than their Republican adversaries. They’d out-think them and out-work them.
Yes, that was a wave. A big one. In many respects, it was a wave that was larger and more damaging to Democrats than in 2010.
Almost two months ago, on September 8th, I wrote that while the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings projected Republican Senate gains in the five to eight seat range, I was “expecting a substantial Republican Senate wave in November, with a net gain of at least seven seats.”
How big of a year is this going to be for Republicans? It’s still hard to tell, one week before voters go to the polls for the midterm elections.
Most neutral observers expect Republicans to take the Senate and make at least small gains in the House, but talk about a possible GOP political wave has all but disappeared.
Republicans have the wind at their backs this year. But not every GOP nominee is taking advantage of that dynamic. As usual, some candidates are under-performing, proving once again that candidates and the campaigns they choose to run actually matter.
I have been thinking for months about how politics has changed over the past decade, but those changes struck home in a very obvious way while I was reading a recent Washington Post article written by the very able Philip Rucker.
If next month produces a big Republican year, with the GOP gaining control of the Senate and expanding its majority in the House, it will say little or nothing about 2016, when a presidential electorate and a very different Senate class combine to create the makings of a substantially good Democratic year.
A few weeks ago I wrote Senate Republicans would gain at least seven seats, even though the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race ratings showed a likely Republican gain of five to eight seats.
Only three times since the Civil War, as any political junkie knows, has the president’s party gained House seats in midterm elections — in 1934, 1998 and 2002. It now seems quite clear 2014 won’t be another exception to that rule.
While the current Rothenberg Political Report ratings don’t show it, I am now expecting a substantial Republican Senate wave in November, with a net gain of at least seven seats.
A few weeks ago, I noticed a piece in Time headlined “The Best 6 Political Campaign Ads of the Summer (So Far).”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Democratic opponent, state Sen. Brad Hutto, wants you to know two things: He has a path to victory against the two-term Republican, and it doesn’t require him to run from traditional Democratic positions.
I certainly didn’t know foreign policy would be front and center in the final months before the midterm elections when I wrote in late April that these issues “could have an indirect yet significant impact on the midterm elections.”
Having written about House and Senate races for the past 30 years, I’ve seen plenty of press releases, polling memos and campaign strategy emails. But rarely have I received anything as silly as a July 9 press release from New Hampshire Republican Senate hopeful Scott P. Brown’s campaign, which presented the challenger’s alleged “Path To Victory.”
The bottom line looks about the same in the fight for control of the Senate in November — but some of the pieces of the puzzle have moved around dramatically over the past few months.