by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Echoing one of Britain’s most prominent left-of-center publications, one of America’s most prominent left-of … er, mainstream … publications looks at the current electoral picture and sees little good news for Democrats. Here’s TIME magazine’s Zeke Miller:
It’s shaping up to be an unpleasant 2014 for Democrats in the U.S. Senate.
The President’s party already faced a difficult midterm election map when former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer ignored the pleas of national Democrats and decided to sit out the race. Saturday’s announcement that Schweitzer wouldn’t run to replace retiring Max Baucus virtually guarantees an easy pickup for Republicans and puts them substantially closer to a takeover of the upper chamber.
Lets do the numbers: Democrats currently control 54 seats in the Senate, counting two independents that reliably vote with them, while Republicans have 46 seats. After October’s New Jersey special election, which Newark Mayor Cory Booker will likely win, that margin will almost certainly revert to 55-45.
With Vice President Biden serving as the tie-breaking vote, Republicans need a net swing of six seats to regain the majority in 2014.
That sounds like a lot, but it isn’t as hard as it appears. Democratic seats in South Dakota and West Virginia held by Senator Tim Johnson and Senator Jay Rockefeller appear certain to swing to the GOP. Republicans need to win three of four remaining competitive states with vulnerable incumbents — Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska — to take the Senate. President Barack Obama lost all four states in 2012.