Larry Sabato: Arkansas Is GOP's Best Chance for Senate Gain

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 03:20 PM

By Courtney Coren

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As Republicans hope to win a majority in the Senate in the November midterm elections, Larry Sabato, of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, says the best odds the GOP has of picking up a seat from an incumbent are in Arkansas.

"That is one of the Republican Party's best pick-up attempts against an incumbent," Sabato told hosts J.D. Hayworth and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

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"Remember, they've got three seats that they're going to pick up that are open, that are currently Democratic seats: West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana," he said.

"But if I had to look for an incumbent to lose, I would first look to [Sen.] Mark Pryor," he said.

Pryor is being challenged by Rep. Tom Cotton, who currently has a 4-point lead over the Arkansas Democrat in the most recent Real Clear Politics average of polls.

Sabato predicts that Dan Sullivan will win the Alaska Republican primary in August, but he cautions that even though Sen. Mark Begich is vulnerable, "this three-way contest has hurt the Republicans."

Begich is "running one of the best Senate campaigns in America" as well, he said.

"The Republicans are going to have to reunite quickly after their primary to really have a chance of taking it down," he added.

As for Colorado, the political expert says the election in the Centennial State "centers around" the Hispanic vote.

If Hispanic voter turnout is high, there's a good chance that "Democratic Gov. [John] Hickenlooper will win, and Sen. [Mark] Udall and other Democrats will win."

"If the Hispanic percentage is lower in the midterm election, then [Rep.] Cory Gardner has a good chance to win, and [former Rep.] Bob Beauprez, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, has a medium chance to win," Sabato says.

In Georgia, he predicts that businessman David Perdue will defeat Democrat Michelle Nunn in November because the Peach State "is still fundamentally Republican."

While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's "personal popularity ratings are awful" in Kentucky, Sabato still thinks the Republican will defeat Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes because of how unpopular President Barack Obama is in the Bluegrass State.

"Kentucky is a conservative state where President Obama's approval ratings are in the low to mid 30s," he explained.

"How do you get a Democrat elected to the Senate when the leader of the party is that unpopular?"

Sabato told Newsmax that "if Republicans could somehow drop social issues, and I realize that would be unpopular with many Republicans, but if they can drop social issues they'd win a lot more elections.

"It's the social issues that tend to turn off young people and women," he added.


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