Tags: Senate | midterms | GOP | wins

Republican Senate Likely, Say Election Experts

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:42 PM Current | Bio | Archive

With 13 days to go until nationwide elections on Nov. 4, several distinguished (and non-partisan) election experts on a much-watched Washington, D.C., panel concluded that the likely outcome of the elections was a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.

Dubbed "AEI Election Watch 2014: What Will Happen and Why It Matters," the panel was the latest in a venerable series of presentations hosted by the American Enterprise Institute and held two weeks before every presidential and midterm election since 1982.

Featured panelists were a "Who's Who" of U.S. election observers: AEI’s Michael Barone (father of the "Almanac of American Politics"), Karlyn Bowman, and Norman J. Ornstein; John Fortier of the Bipartisan Policy Center, author of "Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises, and Peril," and Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Olsen concluded that all five of the Democratic Senate seats likely to fall to the Republicans would probably fall. This includes the seats of retiring Sens. John Walsh (Mont.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), as well as Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), both of whom have been trailing their Republican opponents in the most recent polls.

"Republicans would then be tied in the Senate [50 seats each] if the five fell to them," said Olsen.

"So, you go to the next tier" of volatile Senate races, he said, referring to the seats of retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, embattled GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas,  retiring Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin, and challenged Democratic seats in Colorado and Louisiana, where polls showed Sens. Mark Udall and Mary Landrieu hard-pressed by GOP opponents.

"If you believe polls, Republicans could win all five, which would give them a gain of eight and a majority [of 52 seats]," Olsen noted, but he added that "someone always slips up" and one or more outcomes are unexpected. Nevertheless, he sees a possible "seven- or eight-seat gain" for Republicans.

Regarding races that could "slip up," Olsen and other panelists did have some fun. He noted, for example, that Georgia GOP Senate hopeful David Perdue has said he would be "the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress if elected" and that this quote and his wealth were being used against him successfully by Democrat Michelle Nunn.

Olsen also believes that the races in Georgia and Louisiana could hinge on whether a major party candidate gets 50 percent of the vote plus one on Nov. 4. Failure to do so would mean that the top two vote-getters in both states would have to go to runoff elections with runners-up — Louisiana on Dec. 3 and Georgia on Jan. 6 (three days after the new Congress formally convenes).

AEI’s Ornstein pointed to recent polls showing independent Greg Orman tied with or edging veteran GOP Sen. Roberts in Kansas.

If elected, he said, "keep your eye on Orman, [Maine independent Sen.] Angus King, and [West Virginia Democratic Sen.] Joe Manchin [who frequently votes with Republicans]."

According to Ornstein, the three mavericks "could have their own caucus" and go to the next majority leader and say, "Here’s what we want. Can you imagine Angus King going to [Kentucky Sen. and Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell and say 'we’ll caucus with you if you pass campaign finance reform?'" (McConnell has been one of the most vociferous of foes of federal regulation of campaign spending.)

Ornstein also pointed out that if McConnell achieves his childhood dream of becoming Senate majority leader, his life will become complicated.

"[McConnell] will need all of his Republicans," he said, and three will be AWOL [Absent Without Leave]: Ted Cruz (Tex.), Rand Paul [Ky.], and Marco Rubio [Fla.]. They’ll be spending far more time in their presidential campaigns than responding to people in caucuses."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

 

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With 13 days to go until nationwide elections on Nov. 4, several distinguished (and non-partisan) election experts on a much-watched Washington, D.C., panel concluded that the likely outcome of the elections was a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.
Senate, midterms, GOP, wins
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2014-42-21
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 09:42 PM
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