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Rundown: Control of the Senate part 3 (UPDATE)

In part 3 here, we’ll look at the Midwest which has a slew of races in play or potentially in play. Here we go.

The Midwest

Illinois

Dick Durbin should be reelected a 4th term next year. That said though, the recent Obamacare screw ups don’t make this entirely slam dunk. Obama’s job approval from what I’ve heard actually has dipped below average. While it doesn’t make Durbin vulnerable necessarily, it doesn’t make this a write off either. Likely D

Iowa

As soon as Tom Harkin exited, this race was in instant play. Though GOP has yet to unite behind a solid candidate. Dems have Rep. Bruce Braley while all the current GOP crop are B-listers. It’s rumored Bob Vander Plaats a traditional conservative activist mite jump in, but considering the polling against Bruce Braley I don’t know a good idea to support him. Most notable of the current crop are state Sen. Joni Ernst who’s a favorite of Gov. Terry Branstad and David Young chief of staff to Sen. Chuck Grassley. Either are the best of the current bunch considering they’re connected to the state’s most popular Republicans. I previously rated it leaning D and still doing so now, but recent polling with Braley against the Republicans suggest this is race to be involved with. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Iowa keep its Senate delegation split. Lean D

Kansas

Nothing interesting in the general election, but incumbent Pat Roberts has got a challenger in Milton Wolf who’s third cousin to the Dear Leader. That alone makes me wanna see him as Senator, but more than that Pat Roberts until recently has had a very poor record and been in Congress for 30+ years. My dad’s home state so this will be interesting to watch. Milton Wolf for U.S. Senate in Kansas. Safe R

Michigan

Carl Levin who to his credit took a principled stand against Reid’s blatant power grab, is retiring and all open season between former Sec. of State Terri Lynn Land and Rep. Gary Peters. If Gov. Rick Snyder has strong coattails that could bring the first Republican elected the Senate in 20 years. Tossup

Minnesota

Originally considered safe for a 2nd term, Franken has seen his job approval numbers drop since Obamacare rocky start. While this is a huge opportunity, the state GOP is in a financial mess at the moment so I hope they can organize together and field a well known and effective candidate. Nonetheless, Franken is no longer a shoe-in for another term. Lean D

Nebraska

Two candidates who were endorsed separately by 3 trustworthy groups; Ben Sasse by Senate Conservatives Fund and Club For Growth and Shane Osborn by FreedomWorks. If I had to say so, I like Shane Osborn based on his endorsement by FreedomWorks, but either are clearly solid choices. As for Democrat candidates… Safe R

South Dakota

Former Governor Mike Rounds is the top Republican aiming to replace retiring Tim Johnson. Though based his history, I’d stay away from him. The best choice is state Senator  Larry Rhoden who’s the Senate Majority Whip in the state Legislature so he has notable legislative experience. Also potentially running is former Republican Senator (now independent) Larry Pressler who endorsed Obama twice. And based on that, he’d likely be another Angus King who lauds the independent label and is a rubber stamp for Harry Reid. Wouldn’t be surprised if Obama dissed the Democratic candidate as a node towards Pressler like he did with Lincoln Chafee for RD Governor in 2010. Larry Rhoden for U.S. Senate. Safe R

 

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