Can The Republicans Win the Senate?

Can The Republicans Win the Senate?

Tomorrow is Election Day, and as of right now, the Republicans look poised to pick up enough seats in the Senate to gain a slim majority. Between the open seats, the safe seats, and the toss-up races, this midterm election cycle could mean a Republican-controlled Congress for the rest of the Obama Administration’s tenure.

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According to Real Clear Politics, there are 8 toss-up seats in the Senate right now. Let’s have a look at them, one by one, and see where the momentum currently sits, with only another day to go. The asterisk by a name indicates the current incumbent.

ALASKA: Begich (D)* vs. Sullivan (R)
Mark Begich won his seat back in 2008, when the incumbent at the time, Senator Ted Stevens, had just been convicted on federal corruption charges – which were later thrown out. Begich has not been able to solidify a hold on this seat, despite his political lineage within the state. Dan Sullivan has never been elected to office before, though he has served as Alaska’s attorney general and natural resources commissioner. This race, without the pressure of a federal guilty verdict, seems to be shifting Sullivan’s direction.

COLORADO: Gardner (R) vs. Udall (D)*
The one-note campaign of “Senator Uterus” has worn thin. Very, very thin. Despite bringing in big names like Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, Mark Udall’s “war on women” hype has fallen flat, along with the insane ads claiming that challenger Cory Gardner will… ban condoms. This race, even with the big names campaigning, is trending in Gardner’s direction.

GEORGIA: Perdue (R) vs. Nunn (D)
An open seat, this race is also complicated by the fact that the winner must have 50% of the vote, or there will be a runoff on January 6th. There is also a Libertarian candidate in the race, Amanda Swafford, who could ensure that neither David Perdue or Michelle Nunn gets to that 50% mark. However, Nunn has faded off in the last few weeks, and a good deal of that is due to her insistence on using her ties to former President George H. W. Bush in her campaign ads, despite President Bush’s request that she NOT use his image (he has also endorsed David Perdue, which makes Nunn’s using her connection to Bush 41 very odd). This race is leaning toward Perdue, but with the requirement of 50% of the vote to win, Perdue and Nunn could be facing off again in very short order.

IOWA: Braley (D) vs. Ernst (R)
This is also an open seat, and a race that is literally neck-and-neck, despite Democrats bringing in big names to support Bruce Braley (even if they can’t remember who he is). Joni Ernst, who started off strong with a memorable campaign ad and definite wins at the debates, can’t seem to get a breakaway lead in Iowa. However, if Ernst does win, Braley will have only himself and Tom Harkin to blame.
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KANSAS: Roberts (R)* vs. Orman (I)
After the withdrawl of Democrat Chad Taylor from this race (and his name coming off the ballot), the race is between the incumbent senator, Pat Roberts, and the independent, Greg Orman. Neither candidate has been able to keep the momentum of their campaigns going and break away. Orman is not saying which party he would caucus with once arriving in Washington (he does have many Democrats working in his campaign), which may affect how people decide to vote. Roberts, who has spent 18 years in the Senate, surely never expected his race to be this close, but he faced a primary challenger (who has since backed him) and is fighting for his political life. This race is going to be tight.

LOUISIANA: Landrieu (D)* vs. Cassidy (R)
This is another election that will require the winner to take 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff – and this time, the runoff would be even quicker, on December 6th. Right now, Mary Landrieu has an “Obama problem” and has been campaigning with Hillary Clinton to avoid her connections to the president. Landrieu has faced legal issues about her residency in Louisiana (though they have been thrown out by the court) and recently decided to blame a potential future election loss on the South’s implied racism and sexism. That infuriated Governor Bobby Jindal – for obvious reasons.


Bill Cassidy hasn’t seemingly made many waves during this campaign, which was Landrieu’s to lose. Right now, it seems that at a minimum, there will be a runoff in Louisiana in another month, if the current numbers hold.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Brown (R) vs. Shaheen (D)*
After losing his reelection bid in Massachusetts, Scott Brown left politics for a short time and cooled his heels with a stint at Fox News, which he left when he decided to explore running for the Senate again – this time, in New Hampshire. Brown has tirelessly campaigned in New Hampshire while dealing with the “carpetbagger” label – ironically, Hillary Clinton brought this up while campaigning for Jeanne Shaheen, but has since proven to be a big fat “oopsie” moment by local media when they falsely accused Brown of not knowing his New Hampshire geography. Whether Brown has out-campaigned Shaheen is the question, and right now the race is giving the edge to Shaheen, but is still very close.

NORTH CAROLINA: Hagan (D)* vs. Tillis (R)
Kay Hagan has run some of the ugliest and most disgusting campaign ads seen in this election cycle. She has tried to link her opponent, Thom Tillis, to Trayvon Martin’s death (no, really), and claimed that if she loses, Obama’s impeachment would be imminent – which she paired with some lynching imagery. But she still holds on to a slim lead, because of the Libertarian candidate in the race, Sean Haugh, who could very well play spoiler (and seems more than happy to do so, looking for his 15 minutes of fame). It remains to be seen if Hagan’s ads help or hurt her – she has been busy distancing herself from the president as well – so right now, this race seems to be hers to lose, despite not bothering to show up to a debate and being called out for missing briefings for fundraisers. Tillis does have the momentum after Hagen’s blunders (especially skipping the debate), but it might not be enough to catch her, especially with Haugh in the mix.

Election night is sure to be busy and eventful with these races in the mix. However, even if the Republicans manage to get a majority in the Senate, the harder part will follow – actually having an agenda and trying to govern. Not to mention what that will mean for President Obama and the rest of his term.

Stay tuned to Victory Girls as we begin our election coverage!

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