If the November elections were held today, democrats would retain their hold on the Senate. It wouldn’t look good for republicans.
Currently, there are 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the United States Senate. But, the numbers just don’t add up for the right side of the aisle.
Although the media would have us believe that 2010 showed us that tea party candidates largely can’t win or that incumbents were in trouble, the numbers told us something else that didn’t fit the media narrative. Fiscally conservative tea party candidates that focused on fiscal restraint as their campaign platform and came off as competent won in every single Senate Race.
Marco Rubio (R-Fl), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Dan Coates (R-ID) and Scott Brown (R-MA) all won by demonstrating their social and defense conservatism credentials before moving on to focus solely on spending issues. They demonstrated competence and leadership on the campaign trail and have pushed the Senate in the right direction during this entire term.
Obviously, Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) were predisposed to win coming from republican states.
At the same time, Sharron Angle (R-NV) and Christine O’Donnell (R-MD) lost by embarrassing margins due to their inability to come off as competent candidates.
Finally, Ken buck (R-CO) lost his Senate bid by allowing the opposition to define him as an extremist on abortion. He was a great guy, but their was big money defining that race in Colorado and in retrospect, he didn’t really have any statewide experience to handle those attacks.
The path to 51 is now clear, fiscal conservatives that have already proven themselves to be social conservatives, need only to focus on economic issues. The platform is simple:
1.) Creating Jobs,
2.) Growing the Economy, and
3.) Reducing Debt by cutting spending
If our Senate candidates do this, they will have a good chance of picking up the 51 seats necessary to moderate President Obama.
There are a lot of dynamics in this race. Olympia Snowe’s retirement likely puts the open Maine Senate Seat in Democrat hands, meaning we need to pick up a net gain of five seats to take the Senate. It is also important to note, how close the Massachusetts race will be between Scott Brown and the extreme Elizabeth Warren. Who seems to be as far to the left as Bernie Sanders (D-VT). Although I believe Brown will prevail, he is going to have a very tough fight on his hands and a goal of six net pickups would serve us well.
I suggest that these seats be focused on to take back the Senate.
(1) Claire McCaskell (D) is obviously primed for defeat in Missouri. The Republican primary isn’t until August, but she really isn’t very popular in Missouri and has taken some votes that are out-of-line with where her state is. This is a toss up at this point, however once a republican challenger emerges, this would be a great place to pick up a seat.
(2) In Montana, Jon Tester is primed for defeat, but we are really going to have to have a strong candidate to take on Tester. Republican challenger Representative Denny Rehberg is barely leading in most polls against Tester. Yet, oddly enough, Tester remains more popular. It is clear, that if we are to take the Senate, it will begin with Montana.
(3) Indiana will be a republican pick up in 2012. Ben Nelson is vacating the seat. For the longest time, it was predicted that the seat would fall into republican hands, (hopefully the Jim DeMint and Redstate endorsed Don Stenberg). However, former Senator Bob Kerrey’s entrance into the race complicated the matter and made it look like republicans could have a race on their hands. But that was before the scandal of the past few weeks that arose thanks to Kerrey’s acknowledgement that Harry Reid had offered him something to run. Presumably, it was a combination of campaign cash and committee assignments. It is probably not uncommon, but it just stinks. It has gotten him off on the wrong foot. In any case, as long as the republican ticket doesn’t fall apart from the top down, Indiana will pick-up a seat here.
(4) An interesting race will be in Ohio, where Sherrod Brown who is pretty liberal for coming from a swing state, will face off against Republican nominee, United States veteran and tea party favorite, Josh Mandel. Right now, the seat is leaning left. If Mitt Romney wins the nomination, Brown will likely ride Obama’s coattails to re-election. However, if Mandel stays on message and campaigns as a fiscally conservative centrist, he may start to see a rise in his support as his name recognition grows.
The best hope Mandel could have, is a focused Rick Santorum heading up the GOP ticket. Santorum’s Made in America jobs plan is a brilliant plan to focus on states like Ohio, where the economy has faltered as it watches jobs flee to other states.
(5) With the overwhelming election of Marco Rubio two years ago, Florida seems wide-open for a republican to come in and win. The problem is that there are no Marco Rubios that have emerged in the race. While I don’t know a lot about the four republicans running, I know enough to see that they are the same old, same old kind of candidates. If the election was today, Florida would go Dem, but it is not out of reach. But we need a conservative!
(6) I would like to see Millionaire John Raese give another good go against West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. The problem is, Manchin hasn’t been a bad senator. The fact that his default is to vote with Harry Reid automatically disqualifies him from our support. But Manchin has been on the right side of a lot of the meaningless votes. Something dramatic would have to change to defeat Manchin. If republicans can make the Obamacare or the Keystone Pipeline the singular issues of 2012, West Virginia republicans may get the chance to make the election a national referendum and have a small shot at defeating Manchin. Manchin’s support, while strong, isn’t as solid as some may think.
(7) Finally, my home state of Virginia. Virginia will host the Super Bowl of all Senate Races. A purple state, housing the beltway and a race between two superstars — Tim Kaine (D) and George Allen (R ).
I would like to point out that Richmond Tea Party Leader, Jaime Radtke and State Delegate Bob Marshall would both be leaps and bounds better candidates and Senators than George Allen. They are facing him in the primary.
Radtke is a true grassroots, movement conservative. She has raised no where near as much money as Allen, but she has enough to remain viable. Additionally, she will be on the ballot, unlike other republican candidates. Likewise, Bob Marshall is a hero to social and fiscal conservatives all over Virginia and I would vote for him in a heartbeat.
I have supported Jaime Radtke as I would love to have a strong pro-life woman in the Senate. If one of these candidates pulled of an upset of Allen, we could push the re-set button, and as long as either of these candidates didn’t get distracted by flamboyant rhetoric and divisive social issues, they could have a chance to take down Obama’s lackey.
But assuming Allen gets the nod (Allen ensured early that Virginia would hold a primary rather than a convention where he would have been defeated), he will have an uphill race.
While Allen is a nice guy and a solid republican senator (notice I didn’t say solid conservative senator), his pro-life credentials and views on people of other races are questionable. His “Macaca” moment will get play in Virginia as he never got it under control last time around. Additionally, an Allen campaign operative confirmed to me last week that he still owns stock in a company that makes the Plan B pill, and I, like many Virginia conservatives cannot support someone who has a vested financial interest in chemical abortions.
Virginia isn’t truly a purple state. It is a red state and a heavily populated blue area at the top. The Activist Virginia conservative voters in Virginia are very conservative, evangelical, military supporting , home schooler people. If we have Romney at the top of the ticket, I see an Allen nomination giving the race to Kaine by a significant portion.
Alternatively, new blood to run against Kaine, could really set the narrative that Kaine is “Obama’s bitch” for lack of a better, more respectable term. Kaine spent the last few years as Governor of Virginia, doing Obama’s bidding. An outsider could use that against him. Alternatively, an Allen race will showcase Allen spending eight months explaining why he isn’t a racist.
These will be the top races to watch. If we can pick up five or six of these seats, republicans will be on the way to a legislative majority to stand against Obama, should he get re-elected. These races are worth watching and volunteering on because a republican Senate would be invaluable in slowing Obama.