Larry Sabato: After Tuesday, GOP in Good Shape for Midterms

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 08:12 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Tuesday's GOP primary results indicate the party has learned from its mistakes and is ready for battle in the midterm elections, says Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

"The two most important races [were] in Kentucky and Georgia — the only two Senate seats held by Republicans that Democrats believe they have any chance of winning,'' Sabato told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"The Democrats needed a break in one or both of those states [and] they didn't get it. [Mitch] McConnell as the incumbent and the minority leader and potentially the majority leader won a big victory.

"Forget about Republican factions, [McConnell's tea party challenger Mark] Bevin endorsed him right away. The conservative groups that backed Bevin endorsed McConnell right away. They know what's at stake in November," he said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

Sabato doesn't think McConnell's Democratic opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes has a chance in the upcoming race.

"Everybody else looks at the latest poll and says, 'Oh, my god, McConnell is tied with Grimes.' You have to project out to the general election," Sabato said.

"Think about what McConnell is going to do and actually started doing last night, he's changing her middle name from Lundergan to Obama.

"It's going to be Alison Obama Grimes by November. Obama's popularity rating is between 32 and 35 percent in Kentucky."

In Georgia, construction company owner Rick Allen's strong victory against businessman Eugene Yu likely means he can win the general election, Sabato says.

What the Democrats needed, he said, was a candidate to say something stupid, as did Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock.

Two years ago, both lost congressional seats, in Missouri and Indiana, with their controversial comments about rape.

Dr. Monica Wehby, who won the Oregon GOP Senate primary to face Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley this fall, has been plagued by police reports filed by an ex-husband and a former boyfriend who accused her of harassing them.

There have been charges that the reports were leaked to the press by Democratic operatives — which is not a smart move, Sabato says.

"They would be foolish to take that particularly tack. Truth is, Oregon has become a pretty blue state, it's not as deeply blue as Washington, certainly not as deeply blue as California, but it's pretty dependably Democratic, so [Wehby's] got a tough uphill race,'' he said.

"But the wrong tack for the Democrats to take would be to go after her personal life. If you've seen some of her ads, she's very effective in those ads. She comes across very well, she's a good media candidate.

"I am just sick to death of both sides' slimy personal attacks on the private lives of the other candidates, half the time it isn't even true.''

See "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

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