A recent National Journal item caught my attention. Entitled “Expanding the Map,” it began: “When Republicans gloat about the seven Democratic-held, red-state Senate seats up in 2014, Democrats can note that only six of their incumbents have lost since the 1990s.”
The statement is true … but potentially misleading.
Yes, over the past seven elections, Republicans have defeated only six Democratic senators seeking re-election. But there are two reasons for that. First, political waves have favored Democrats more than Republicans over the past dozen years. And second, weak Republican candidates who emerged from ideological primaries failed to win very winnable races.At Politico, James Hohmann identifies four things the GOP must do in order to retake the Senate:
- Knock off some red-state Democrats (e.g., Pryor and Hagan)
- Expand the map (e.g., Franken and Shaheen);
- Capitalize on retirements (e.g., the Rockefeller and Harkin seats)
- Don't blow safe seats.