by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans have distinct advantages in Senate races this year, including President Obama’s low job ratings, the number of vulnerable Democrats, and an unhappy national mood. But there’s another advantage: the generally high quality of their candidates. This wasn’t the case in 2010 and 2012, when Republicans blew chances to capture the Senate.
Strong candidates aren’t everything in elections. Money and the political landscape matter. And in a landslide, even poor candidates are swept into office. But as a rule, the better the candidates, the better the prospects for winning. This is especially true in national elections, where candidates get greater scrutiny. …
… Then there are the four red states with Democratic incumbents–Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Alaska. Once again, Republicans are blessed with able, attractive candidates. As a result, all five races are tossups or lean Republican. …
… The reelection campaign of Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina is backed by liberal groups and out-of-state money. And she looks stronger than she did a few months ago. Republicans chose state House Speaker Tom Tillis to run against her. He trails slightly in polls but has a solid shot at ousting her.
During Barnes’ last trip to North Carolina, he discussed with Carolina Journal Radio/CarolinaJournal.tv North Carolina’s importance as Republicans try to retake control of the Senate.