How the Republicans Can Take Back the Senate in 2014

A wave of Democratic stalwarts are leaving the Senate next year

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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Max Baucus of Montana leaves his committee office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on April 23, 2013.

On paper, the 2014 Senate cycle could hardly be going better for Republicans.

The Democrats are on defense, holding 21 of the 35 seats up for grabs next year. Several stalwart Democrats have announced their retirement, including Montana Senator Max Baucus, who announced Tuesday he would follow Iowa’s Tom Harkin and Michigan’s Carl Levin in not seeking re-election. Those veterans have won a combined 17 terms, and their departures leave tested political and fundraising machines on the table and give the GOP an opening in otherwise untouchable races. The implementation of Obamacare could complicate many others. History is on the Republican side; no sitting president’s party has gained Senate seats in the midterm of a second term. In recent cycles, the loss has averaged more than six seats — enough to give Republicans control.

(MORE: GOP Fights to Rebrand the Party of No)

But for all the early bright spots, Republicans had a similar opportunity to retake the Senate two years ago. Needing just four seats to regain control, and defending only 10 seats compared to the Democrats’ 23, Republicans managed to drop two seats, thanks to the impact of Barack Obama on the national ticket and poor candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. The legacy of that disaster is proving to be hard for the National Republican Senatorial Committee to shake, even as the party’s electoral prospects improve.

In the first quarter of 2013, the NRSC’s fundraising was doubled by its Democratic counterpart in the first quarter of the year, $6.8 million to $13.7 million. “Donors want to see their money is being spent effectively now,” says one DC-based GOP operative. In a host of races that could be prime pickup opportunities for the party, potential GOP candidates are also sitting on the sidelines, waiting to test the political winds. “I’d wait if I were them too,” said one veteran Republican operative in a state with an open Senate seat. “We blew an easy cycle last time, so why stick your neck out for the Senate if you could run for governor or something else.”

The NRSC has largely cleaned shop since 2012, and communications director Brad Dayspring predicts the Democratic retirements will boost fundraising. “Opportunity is always attractive to donors,” he says. “Like it or not, retirements are a sign of weakness for Democrats and strength for us.”

(MORE: Viewpoint: Only Empathy Can Transform the GOP)

But the six retirements may not prove catastrophic for the Democrats, even if they are making already antsy operatives downright nervous. Democrats have so far done a better job of candidate recruitment, which could help avoid damaging primaries. In some states, like Michigan and Iowa, no Republicans have jumped into the race yet. And in Montana, the popular former two-time Gov. Brian Schweitzer is considering running — arguably a stronger candidate that Baucus.

Dayspring blamed the focus on recruitment on the “second-by-second nature” of Washington reporting. “I can assure you that we will have candidates in all of these states,” he says, adding that historically many winning candidates have declared in the year of the election, rather than almost 18 months out.

Much is on the line for Republicans in 2014, which is likely the best and final opportunity to regain control of the Senate until at least 2018. In 2016, Democrats will have just 10 seats up for reelection while Republicans will have 24.

MORE: Why a Purge Won’t Help the Republicans

264 comments
DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

There is nothing mentioned in the entire article that addresses the reason the GOP lost ground everywhere.  In the House and Senate, they lost seats, despite having gerrymandered themselves into a nearly permanent majority in virtually every red state.  They couldn't even get 10 million white, middle class center-right Americans out to vote for them.

They aren't changing their policies.  Without a change in policy, they're not going to get elected.  All they have left is intolerance, hate and repression all in the name of God.  That flies well in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and other middle-eastern countries.  But not so much in the United States of America.

KahnKeller
KahnKeller

sigh... but the republicans will need to be focused on something other than the war on women and womens sex organs..... which

they can not...you know.;...seem to stop focusing on....so...the democrats will win ...even with weak candidates....sigh...

usbworks
usbworks

All the intelligence has evaporated from the GOP base and all that is left behind is the crusty mineral deposits of a die hard group of aging racist Caucasian Christian zealots. Despite a terrible performance in 2012, the Republicans expect to perform better in 2014, because they believe that they are simply superior to the Democrats. There is no hope that they will ever learn from their mistakes and change. The GOP will not ever evolve because they do not believe in evolution; so they will gradually go extinct.

antonmarq
antonmarq

There are only two ways for the GOP to take back the senate; 1) Devil intervention or 2) With the NRA and corporate support that will buy the cheap politicians who sell their souls 30 silver pieces of coins . The latter most likely to be tried, as the former is already in their works. I never seen a party so extremely driven by selfishness, but it does prove that part of this country will have a very long stay on this earthly plane, eternal even. 

glennra3
glennra3

Elections don't matter anymore.  The GOP has shown they are willing to ignore the will of the voters and do all they can to block the Democratic agenda the American people endorsed through elections.


Should the GOP win the Senate I expect the Democratic Party to do the same.


Without belief in compromise there is no representative government, so who cares who wins in 2014.

swagger
swagger

“Donors want to see their money is being spent effectively now,”  in other words the right wing extremists want to buy some good horse flesh this time instead of some nag like romney.  white, but not too white, rich but not too rich, a slick double talking con man and handsome rascal, but not someone who makes rookie mistakes like governor oops.

a white latino like rubio would be ideal, but then again he is so left as to be almost as communist as castro.   decisions, decisions, decisions.  they do have plenty to pay for some favorable polls.



fitty_three
fitty_three

"LETS GO GOP"

Anyone who's not politically savvy might think the writer implies something rather splooty.

denmarks47
denmarks47

IMPORTANT TO GET GOP MAJORITY IN SENATE IN 2014.  OTHERWISE THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION HAS BLANK CHECK ON JUDGES ETC.  THAT WOULD BE BAD FOR TE USA.  LET'S GO GOP.  GET IT DONE!

WolfBard
WolfBard

To be honest, I'd voted Republican before, never straight ticket, weighing the candidates.  But with the road they've gone down these past few elections, I've avoided them like the plague.  It'd be outright horrible to vote that way if there were no such thing as an Independent candidate, so at least as it stands it's only mildly depressing.  My parents both admired Eisenhower and I think if I'd lived back then I would have t---

Holy Horus's Horses!  Do I have to send you all to bed without supper?!?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

I feel like the nature of the below argument(s) are taking a life of their own.  

Relax people.  It's Friday and it's beautiful outside, no need to spend the day in a foul mood.

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

To actually speak on topic:

If the current political climate doesn't shift I honestly don't see the GOP gaining seats in the Senate. They have been hurt too badly by the loss of Mr. Romney, the social policy mess brought about by their more conservative champions, their disadvantage in fundraising, the perception of their party as obstructionist, etc., etc., etc. I would be surprised if they broke even.

Maybe their loss will spur them into adopting new policy stances / finding candidates that are both rational and competent? That's probably a lot to ask for from this party.

fitty_three
fitty_three

A question, Zack, since you claim to not like insults:

Isn't it a bit of a fly in your ointment to have to denigrate other people you know nothing about in order to maintain your oh-so-precious internal ideological purity as a Libertarian?

What of that, Zack?

Mister_KNOW_it
Mister_KNOW_it

@KahnKeller  Sorta like you? Your hatred and Intollerance "Kahn" te;ll me Kahn is the "White Man" the devil? 


.....Or do you just get off exploiting minorities making them poorer & dependent on govt. like slaves?

KTKacer
KTKacer

@glennra3 YOU should care, run the republican dinosaurs OUT so the Democrats can legislate! Get our infrastructure funded well into the future, get people back to work in the USA, fund some innovations and get green energy off the ground while keeping coal and oil IN the ground!

TyPollard
TyPollard

@denmarks47 

It would also be bad for those that don't have control of their cap locks.

swagger
swagger

@WolfBard eisenhower would never get into the republican party of get any support to run for anything.  eisenhower is the one who warned us to beware the military/industrial complex that has now grown into our monstrosity of empire.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@curt3rd Election Fraud? Is that the excuse you are using for the fact that America has rejected your policies. Good for you. Why improve your message or create a stronger platform, when you can just close your eyes and scream Election Fraud.

bryanfred1
bryanfred1

It certainly explains why there are 230 comments (and counting).  I thought there must be a really interesting debate going on down here.  Turns out I was right, just not about the topic.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@ZacPetit 

I agree.  The far right fringe in their party that independent voters find offensive cost them not only the 2012 election, but also 2008.  The sensible members of their party walked away from both instances pleading for the group to find their center, but they've unfortunately been drowned out by the shrill nutjobs that think the most important things facing this country are things like finding Barack Obama's birth certificate or outlawing abortion.  As a result, their brand is slowly dying.

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

@53_3 If you would like to air a specific grievance with me, I am all ears. Otherwise, I request you stop hurling inaccurate generalities in my direction.

fitty_three
fitty_three

C'mon Zack! Speak up, or roll over and bark, or something!

This is something I'd like to discuss.  It's very interesting to me that you can generalize blatantly about many thousands of people, none of whom you know.

Now I could be lying about myself, but there's no doubt what you did?

Wanna discuss?

KTKacer
KTKacer

@TyPollard @denmarks47 You repeat yourself, Ty, Republicans tend to be tose who think capslock is cruise control for 'cool'.  (they are not known for their intellects at all, really)

fitty_three
fitty_three

@TyPollard

I think if he were to bold and italicize this he would have much better success.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Its not like I made it up.  Did you read the article?

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

@DonQuixotic @ZacPetit "As a result, their brand is slowly dying."

I concur that their ideas and philosophy on governance and policy are slowly dying, but any group that has as many quarters at the arcade as the GOP gets a lot of extra lives.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Anyway, it wasn't so much a specific grievance as it is pointing out your hypocritical nature and your need to denigrate others to maintain "idealogical purity" Libertarian - wise in your own mind.

Argue against your own comments.  That oughtta be fun....

fitty_three
fitty_three

Ah, now I understand why you're so fired up. Your real outrage with me at this point isn't about KG violating TIME policy, it's the fact that his actions (or the actions of anyone calling the employer) could have resulting in the poster being fired.

Most employment contracts are "at will" for both parties. The employer needs far less than a phone call to justify the firing of an employee, 53_3. Unfortunately, most jobs aren't cushy government positions that you can't get fired from.


Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/04/26/how-the-republicans-can-take-back-the-senate-in-2014/#ixzz2RcKGwawQ

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@53_3 I actually think we need to cut Zack some slack. Based on his posts on other threads I think he means well, and just wasn't fully aware of the scale of Kevin's transgressions both now and in the past.

swagger
swagger

@53_3 @TyPollard all in red and lots of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KTKacer
KTKacer

@curt3rd Yeah, but assuming you have a FUNCTIONAL brain, you KNOW that Faux Nooze LIES frequently, (almost always.... I think they have like 18% truth which means that the other 82% is lying... remember Benghazi? EVEN a stacked House  Republican heavy investigation committee found the Administration did nothing wrong _9_ separate   times... why isn't Faux  Nooze reporting THAT? This is another actual 'false flag' move by Faaux and you know it... but again, only if you have a functional brain, which... probably NOT what I'd call a safe bet at all.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Its a fact that voter fraud happened idiot.  I provided a link above. 

I find it funny that you libs are so afraid of Limbaugh.  You do realize that he is a radio personality.  Its not like the guy is running for office.

swagger
swagger

@curt3rd it's a fact in the world of rush limbaugh, glenn beck and the right wing extremist propaganda its media industry churns out.  it exists in your alternate reality and parallel universe in which you belief a conspiacy and fraud rigged the 2012 election, as the case was also in 2008.

voters rejected the real republican scheme of desperation in which they would either buy the election with money from whales like sheldon adelson, foster friese, the koch brothers, rupert murdoch, etc.  a dirty group of 9 financed a huge proportion of romney's pacs--about $400 million from 9 donors.  they tried to commit large scale voter suppression that would have effectively prevented enough voters from voting so that mitt would even have a chance to win.  and the most glaring part of the republicans tactics was the outright lies and racist slurs, fear and phony non issues they used.

if americans vote  republican again they slit their own throats by voting to coddle the rich and against their own interests.  but republicans, the party of stupid, are that way partly because they count on stupid people to vote for them.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@curt3rd And do you really think that Election Fraud is the reason the GOP lost. The article you linked was in Indiana. Remind me again did Obama win Indiana in 2012?

curt3rd
curt3rd

Apparently all the voter fraud found during the 2008 election, Obama should have never been on the primary ballot.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Did you read that article you just gave the link to?  It only alludes to the Republican party having anything to do with the voter fraud.  Thats not facts.

curt3rd
curt3rd

Im not sure what Strategic Initiatives in Florida is.  And yet I can honestly say that Dems  used election fraud because its fact. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@curt3rd Not saying you did. But there is isolated incidences of election fraud on both sides or have you forgotten Strategic Initiatives in Florida. And yet can you honestly look in the mirror and say election fraud is the reason you lost?

MrBenGhazi
MrBenGhazi

@TyPollard @ZacPetit @DonQuixotic They are probably Dad in this analogy, and I believe no matter how deep the pockets of the benefactors of the GOP are, they will eventually stop pouring money in if they feel they will not get back their investment, i.e. if the "public servants" they bought cannot win an election.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@ZacPetit @DonQuixotic 

Yes, but if you keep putting quarters into a game you can't win you'll inevitably run out.  I feel like I could make a better analogy than that but I'm also feeling too lazy to try right now.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@mantisdragon91

I've heard some very horrifying accounts of that period of time, too horrifying to mention here.  Maybe they just got to her and she became "radicalized" to use modern parlance.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@53_3 @mantisdragon91 I believe she wrote her views post immigration to the US, but I know form watching her old interviews that she was always frightened of Bolshevik style communism coming to the US and thus wrote her books to be as polar an opposite of it as possible. Hence my point about neither extreme being healthy.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@mantisdragon91

An interesting side note, mantis. Did she write her views from there before she immigrated, or afterward?

Because I think the old "streets are made of gold" thing must have glimmered too brightly in her eye.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@53_3 @mantisdragon91 Ayn Rand was a product of her time, she personally lived through the Bolshevik Revolution and was impacted by what she witnessed. On a personal note my great grandfather on my dad's side had his railroad holdings around St Petersburg, Riga and Talinn confiscated by the then Lenin regime, and yet you don't see me running around screaming that greed is good and helping other equals weakness.

fitty_three
fitty_three

And I also don't think that all government employees are honest or hard working, either, nor is the government always right.

Bet I don't think he can see that there are clearings in forests, and trees around clearings.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@mantisdragon91

And the social Darwinism is from Ayn Rand herself.  Not labeled as such, but yeah, they believe it wholeheartedly but when someone points it out, they get pissed.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@TyPollard

I don't think he's a troll either but he needs to know that there are many, many honest gubmint workers who work hard at their jobs.

He's doing it only for internal ideological purity as a Libertarian.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@53_3 Fair enough. The thing that people tend to forget on both sides of the spectrum is that pure anything is rarely if ever healthy. Government isn't always the problem and Business isn't always the solution, and visa versa. I get very concerned about ideologues on both sides pushing the discussion further and further out to the extremes. Unfortunately it does seem like Libertarians tend to have some of the biggest blinders of them all, when it comes to seeing some of the limitations and dangers of their philosophy in its purest form.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@mantisdragon91 @53_3 

The interesting thing is how difficult it was for him to digest the information that was being laid out. I can see that Zac isn't a troll and a good presence at Swampland but the blind spot is illuminating.

fitty_three
fitty_three

I'm getting on him for claiming insult where there was none, then crapping on honest gubmint workers a bit down that thread.  Not about his views of KG.

KTKacer
KTKacer

@mantisdragon91 @fitty_three Yeah,  reason, but not a good excuse.