With a week and a half to go, ad sales people for the TV networks are breathing a sigh of relief at the expense of Democratic and Republican political operatives. The race for control of the Senate is getting closer, and it appears there will be something to watch on election night.
According to The Cook Political Report, “Republicans still have the edge for a Senate majority, but this fight has a lot more uncertainty than the computer models suggest.”
“Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take the majority. The question has generally been whether Republicans just need to knock off six Democratic seats to get to 51, or if they will need to gross seven seats in order to net six. Now there appears to be a real question as to whether Republicans may need to gross eight seats in order to net six, covering for the potential loss of not just Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas but an open seat in Georgia as well. [Democrat Michelle] Nunn is in a very close race with [Republican David] Perdue, whose campaign is in something of a tailspin.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball says, “We currently expect both Toss-up contests in Georgia and Louisiana to head to runoffs… Although Republicans would probably be favored in each runoff, one month (Louisiana) or, particularly, two months (Georgia) is a lifetime in politics, and who knows what new revelations or outside developments may occur between Nov. 4 and the runoff dates?”
“The blunt math: Our present ratings leave Republicans with 49 seats and Democrats with 47 seats, with four Toss-ups: Georgia and Louisiana, which both might be heading to overtime, and Colorado and Kansas, where incumbents [Democrat Mark] Udall and [Republican Pat] Roberts are in deep trouble — especially Udall — but retain a path to victory. To claim a majority, Republicans need to win half of the Toss-up states. Democrats need to win three of them to achieve a Biden Majority (a 50-50 draw with Vice President Joe Biden’s tie-breaking vote giving Democrats the edge). Given the playing field, this arithmetic certainly advantages the GOP, but there is at least some chance that Democrats might pull off the unexpected.”
The two most notable changes from last week were in Georgia and Kansas. Both moved away from the Republicans.
Last week the chances of a Republican win in Georgia ranged from 57% to 67%. This week they range from even money to 57% for the Democrats.
In Kansas, three of the seven forecasters we follow on a state-by-state basis flipped from Roberts to Independent, Greg Orman.
It appears that $4 billion will be spent on the various races this year, but here is what makes the professional electionistas salivate:
- Louisiana goes to a runoff in early December (another payday);
- Georgia goes to a runoff in early January (another payday);
- Greg Orman wins in Kansas but holds out for the best deal (for himself) as he decides which party to join;
- Angus King, the incumbent Independent from Maine, puts his vote in play, again to maximize personal advantage;
- Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s Independent, misses the point and offers his loyalty to either North Korea or Cuba; and
- Democrats bite their nails at the possibility gaffe prone Vice President, Joe Biden, will cast his 50-50 tiebreaker the wrong way.
Splendid prospects for additional electionista paydays as the ultimate political cage fighting continues.