The Die Is Cast: The Key Senate Race And The Key Gubernatorial Race Of 2014!

As we look forward to the fall, and just two months until the Midterm elections of 2014, it is clear that there are two key races that will determine a lot of the future of American politics.

One is a Senate race, and the other is a gubernatorial race.

The Senate race is that of Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky against his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, the election which is likely to determine if the Republicans win Senate control. It is a very expensive and bitter race, and pits the oligarchy and right wing conservative agenda against a young woman, half McConnell’s age, who is dynamic and charismatic and could be a great leader in the Senate, if only she can overcome the 30 year seniority of McConnell, who has shown no concern about the struggles of his state, and particularly of the large white population in the coal mining industry.

Probably, however, the most expensive single race will be that of former Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who served as a Republican from 2007-2011, left the Republican Party, lost an Independent candidacy for the Senate against Marco Rubio in 2010, and then switched to the Democratic Party in 2012. Republican Governor Rick Scott will have tons of money, including his own wealth, to throw against Crist, and this is a classic struggle of a former Governor against a sitting Governor. Scott has been absolutely the worst Governor in America, and there are plenty of candidates for that description! He has done great damage to the environment and to health care and education, and is seen as a true detriment to the state, which is heavily Republican in its legislature, but is turning to Charlie Crist to try to revive the Democratic Party fortunes in the future. Scott also was involved in Medicare fraud, but avoid prison by paying heavy fines, but he should never have been allowed to run for public office after that massive health care scam!

Florida is the largest state to have a truly competitive gubernatorial race, as California with Jerry Brown and New York with Andrew Cuomo do not have really such a situation, and Texas might, with Wendy Davis challenging Greg Abbott, but the polls indicate Florida is a true tossup, as is the Kentucky Senate race.

So these two races are the key ones to focus on, as they will determine a lot of the political future of the next two years!

2 comments on “The Die Is Cast: The Key Senate Race And The Key Gubernatorial Race Of 2014!

  1. D August 31, 2014 9:56 am

    The difficulty with predicting this year’s midterm congressional election years is with knowing—and we can’t necessarily know—whether this will be a wave election year.

    When the Democrats won over majority control of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate in the midterm congressional elections of 2006, it was—as wave elections usually are—a one-sided affair.

    For example, all 2002 Democratic pickup gubernatorial winners were re-elected (in 2006) with stronger percentage margins. This happened in states red, purple, and blue in presidential elections. This was applicable to: Arizona’s Janet Napolitano, Illinois’s Rod Blagojevich, Kansas’s Kathleen Sebelius, Michigan’s Jennifer Granholm, New Mexico’s Bill Richardson, Oklahoma’s Brad Henry, Pennsylvania’s Ed Rendell, Tennessee’s Phil Bredesen, Wisconsin’s Jim Doyle, and Wyoming’s Dave Freudenthal.

    All those seats, after 2006, became 2010 Republican pickups. (Well, with Arizona, Jan Brewer had already been interim governor having succeed Janet Napolitano after she became the 3rd United States Secretary of Homeland Security in 2009. Brewer is not running for a second full term in 2014.)

    So, for a 2014 wave election favoring the Republicans, I would anticipate that we would be seeing all the 2010 Republican pickup gubernatorial winners re-elected by stronger percentage margins. (That there is solidified party support by those who participate for the vote.) Problem is, some of these pickup winners face the potential of becoming unseated. This is the case with Maine’s Paul LePage and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett. It stunningly is the case in Kansas where Sam Brownback, the former U.S. Senator, who won the governorship (in 2010) with a landslide 63 percent of the state’s vote, is deeply unpopular to a point some think that the Democrats may end up winning over the state in November. And some sources have Michigan (where, in 2010, Rick Snyder won the governorship with a likewise landslide of 58 percent) as a potential tossup.

    With the Senate, we should be seeing those re-elected Repubicans, from 2008, win re-elections by stronger margins here in 2014. The mention of Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell—the majority leader for the Republicans and the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, being in a tossup race—is not healthy. McConnell was re-elected, in 2008, by about 6 percentage points (52.97% to 47.03% for Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford). McConnell should be winning re-election, in a supposed wave year for his party, by closer to 16 points (say, 57 to 41 percent). But, fact is, he severely underperformed the 2008 Kentucky numbers—by 10 percentage points—in a state which also carried Republican at the presidential level (losing nominee John McCain received 57.37% to the 41.15% for Democratic presidential pickup winner Barack Obama).

    Whether Mitch McConnell pulls off victory, I suspect he is, at age 72, having his swan song—whether it’s with becoming unseated or winning what I would predict to be his final term by oh-so-narrowly a margin. (It’s no surprise he’s sucking up to Charles and David Koch! McConnell oh-so-badly wants to be majority leader.)

    A contradictory outcome for a midterm I can remember, which resulted in a pickup (a flip of party control) that went against national numbers, dates back to 1986. Ronald Reagan was in his sixth year in office. After his Republican party won over majority control of the U.S. Senate in 1980, as he unseated incumbent Democratic president Jimmy Carter, Reagan’s party lost majority control with the 1986 midterms. The Republicans went into that 1986 cycle with a majority numbering 55 seats. They lost party control as Democrats won pickups of 8 Republican-held seats. But, in contrast to U.S. Senate elections, the governorships were erratic. Democrats held a majority 26 while Republicans held 24. When it was done, Democrats won pickups in three states while Republicans won pickups in eleven—giving the Republican party a net gain of 8 pickups and a majority of governor mansions. THAT is an example of going against a national trend. And part of possibly going against national trend, here in 2014, is with the governorship in Florida. Rick Scott won a Republican hold in that state in 2010. A wave election should be seeing Scott re-elected by a stronger margin. (In 2010, Scott was elected with 48.87 percent of the state’s vote. He won by just over 60,000 raw votes. His margin was 1.15 percent.) Instead, he’s having to fight for re-election—and could become unseated by his formerly-same-party/now-opposition-party challenger Charlie Crist.

    What is shaping up for the midterm congressional elections of 2014 is this: The exit polls on Election Day will tell us who actually turned out the vote. If the two parties are running almost (or, in fact) even, the independent vote will determine the outcomes. If one party turns out higher support (as was the case with Democrats in 2012, by six points), they can withstand slightly losing the independent vote (Mitt Romney won them by two points, which explains Barack Obama’s re-election by about four points). If it’s a wave election, there will be a substantial difference between the two parties’ base turnout—and the independent vote will likely make the results decisive. (That was the case in 2006. Though I didn’t find any 1994 numbers, with the Republican wave midterm year that flipped for them both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, that too likely would line up.) At this point, this is not easy to predict. (But, again, Mitch McConnell—and those 2010 Republican gubernatorial pickup winners—should be winning re-elections by stronger margins if it turns out that 2014 will be a wave election year for their party.)

  2. Ronald August 31, 2014 10:20 am

    What a great, and perceptive, analysis, D, but then I have come to expect that from you, and again, appreciate it! 🙂

    I am writing more about the issue of how Republicans have been poor at defeating Democratic incumbents in the Senate historically, and will publish that tomorrow, Monday! Thanks again!

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