Update: Two big changes a few days after I posted this diary:
Saxby Chamblis announced that he's retiring. The seat will remain GOP, but with a much more conservative Republican in it. Several GOP congressmen may run, especially Tom Price. Could Herman Cain, or Newt, try a comeback? Stay tuned.
Tom Harkin announced his retirement. As I discussed below, this makes the seat wide open, even favoring a GOP pick-up.
Who's gonna drop out next? One thing for sure, more will follow these two out the door.
An agreement of sorts was reached on flibuster "reform, " though only marginally so. It appears that wiser heads in the Democrat caucus prevailed, recognizing that they will soon be in the minority, and it's not worth blowing up the Senate just to be able to ram through Obama's programs and nominees. Also, the total slap-down of the administration by the district court on the NLRB ruling may have given them some pause.
Harry Reid is playing games with the rules and procedures of the Senate. While pretending to negotiate with Mitch McConnell about a supposedly "narrower" package of filibuster modification, he is using a parliamentary device to keep the Senate in its "first day" of the new session, to delay a vote on changing the rules. He may be able to keep this going for....well, with Reid, one never can tell. After all, it's been more than three years since they have condescended to produced a budget.
The new Democrat Senate caucus is more liberal, and far less concerned with the institutions and precedents of the Senate. Indeed, one can imagine Robert Byrd rolling over in his sheets, er...grave at the mere thought of what they are contemplating. Senate Dems today would easily vote for the nuclear option.
There is only one possible reason why Reid will push the button, and blow up the Senate sometime in the next few weeks. That is because they have finished examining the field for 2014, and have concluded that the Senate is lost.
They will then be able to pass every part of a very liberal agenda, and confirm all of Obama's radical appointments, including two ( or more ) Supreme Court Justices. This will be an all out attempt to cram as much "transformation" as possible into the next two years.
The House will remain in GOP control through the rest of the decade. Redistricting all but guarantees that. The civil war within the House GOP caucus will intensify, but they won't lose control.
In 2014, there will be 35 senators up for election. 33 are in the regular order, Class II, and 2 are special elections ( Hawaii, South Carolina,)
14 are held by Republicans. Not one of these seats is in any real danger of flipping. Curiously, one could easily say that the seat that is "most vulnerable" would be that of the Minority leader, Mitch McConnell. ( Which should guarantee that Mitch plays hardball with Reid the next two years.) Saxby Chambliss may face a primary, but the Georgia seat is safely Republican.
McConnell, and the RSC, should have oodles of cash to throw into the other 21 races, now held by Democrats. THIS IS THE LAST, AND BEST CHANCE THE GOP WILL HAVE THIS DECADE TO CAPTURE THE SENATE. IF THEY SOMEHOW MANAGE TO SCREW IT UP , THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AS WE KNOW IT IS TOAST, AND, OH YEAH, THE COUNTRY IS REALLY DOOMED.
Let's take a quick glance at the 21 Democrat seats and how they potentially line up:
Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Virginia, Illinois
Colorado: ( growing unpopularity with Obamacare, and the right GOP candidate, could put Udall in jeopardy
Iowa: If Harkin retires, the seat's wide open. Iowa has long been the most politically schizophrenic state in the nation, returning both Grassley AND Harkin time and again. Dems lack a strong candidate.
Michigan: If Levin retires, this looks promising.. Michigan has been trending GOP of late. They'd be favored to win an open seat.
New Jersey: Anything can, and will most likely happen in this race. Now stay with me here: NJ is solid blue, but Christie is SOOOOO popular that he scared off Corey Booker, (which p.o.'d the Dem establishment) and who then preemptively announced for the Senate primary, (which p.o.'d Lautenberg, not to mention several other NJ Dems who want to run for the senate. Given the right circumstances, and the right candidate, Christie might drag a Republican across the line (which would be a BIG boon to his 2016 chances). And we mustn't forget that from an actuarial viewpoint, Christie might get the chance to appoint a Senator.
Possible GOP pickup
Oregon: Merkley won with 49% last time out, and Oregonians have shown dissatisfaction with liberal big government, and some of Obama's policies, of late. Could be in play with a good candidate.
New Hampshire: Again, with the right candidate, this has potential. Yes, they just elected a Democrat as governor, but Kelly Ayotte, elected just two years ago, is very popular in the state.
I absolutely don't have a clue
Massachusetts: Ask what can Brown do for you? ( Yet again?) Does the pick-up have another 20,000 or so miles left? Is he tired from the two previous campaigns? Are the voters tired of him. How stupid, how deaf, dumb, and blind are the Mass voters? Last time out they re-elected a crook (Tierney) and elected a cretin with the right last name (Kennedy) to the House. The Democrats will nominate a hack politican. Maybe the Massachusetts GOP needs to find a conservative named John Kennedy (There has to be ONE in the entire state, and run him for office, any office)
Target rich environment
Minnesota: Al Franken, 42% of the vote, voter fraud, third party factor. Nuff said. Tim Pawlenty, please pick up the phone. Mitch McConnell's on the line.
Alaska: Bye, bye, Begich.
North Carolina: Bev Perdue bailed rather than lose badly. At least Kay Hagan will stand and fight. Gotta give her props.
South Dakota: Tim Johnson will retire. The state's red, and he physically isn't up to the challenge of a campaign.
West Virginia: Rockefeller retired rather than lose. GOP will have an strongly contested primary, along ideological grounds, but it's time for the GOP to capture a state wide seat. Funniest thing is that the strongest possible Dem is said to be Nick Rahall, who's so ethically challenged that he could well lose his House seat, if he runs again. Guess he figures he can fool the rest of the state.
Arkansas: Fearless prediction. Pryor bails..er, retires. Wait till he sees the first poll that shows Tom Cotton up 60-40.
Louisiana: Landrieu's a fighter, but this may be her last rodeo. She squeaked by last time out (52%) and the state has become far more red since then. And Bobby Jindal might just decide to look at the senate race.
There you have it. All GOP seats should be safe. We will then start with 45 in the senate. We need to pick up SIX more.
We shouldn't fail, we can't fail.