Democrats' hopes for wresting the Senate from Republican control is still an uphill battle despite their good news that New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan
will take on Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Politico reports.
The Hassan/Ayotte contest is considered a toss-up, but even if Hassan succeeds, she would add only one tick to the "blue" column. Four more Democrats would need to join her, and that looks shaky for Democrats since establishment-backed candidates face tough primary challenges.
Cincinnati City Council member P.G. Sittenfeld is challenging the establishment's Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio. Former Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp is taking on estabishment favorite and Iraq War veteran Rep. Tammy Duckworth in Illinois. Former Rep. Joe Sestak is challenging the establishment's Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania.
And in the Democratic primary to replace GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Alan Grayson is going after party favorite Rep. Patrick Murphy.
"Best-case scenario is that Democrats are dealing with resource-draining, energy-sapping primaries where there is a strong possibility of alienating a crucial segment of the party," Ian Prior, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund super PAC told Politico. "The worst-case scenario, which appears likely in Florida, is a bitter and nasty primary threatens to have an impact on races up and down the ballot."
Some Democrats are trying to put a happy face on it.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee says the party's large number of candidates represents strength and enthusiasm.
But not all in the party are buying that.
"I don't think leadership at the DSCC has done an effective job at avoiding some of these primaries," a Democratic strategist speaking anonymously told Politico.
But there are some unchallenged Democrats besides Hassan. Former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto all have avoided Democratic challengers.
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