Washington Secrets

Political advice: Don't bet on the GOP winning the Senate

By |
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Senate,Republican Party,Larry Sabato

For the first time since losing control of the chamber in 2006, Republicans are poised to recapture the Senate in 2014, but the party's recent history of nominating weak candidates who go on to blow their chances is raising questions about their chances.

In 2014, there are 33 seats up for election, with 20 held by Democrats. Most of the 13 GOP seats are in Republican-friendly states. Picking up the six needed for control should be easy, but election analysts are suggesting that the party seems jinxed.

Typically in the sixth year of a sitting president's term, voters are quick to reject senators of his party. It's called the "six-year itch," and since 1946, only Bill Clinton broke the pattern when Senate Democrats didn't lose ground.

But a six-seat gain is a high hurdle for the current Republican crowd, said Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, meaning the GOP will need some luck or a big anti-Obama movement to help. "Perhaps more than anything else, Republicans will need a national wave, along the lines of what they had in November 2010," they said.

And even more, they added, the GOP might need to adjust its tone and approach to accommodate the shifting demographics of the electorate which are trending away from white males to minorities and women.

"The potential for a GOP takeover is there, but it is purely potential, and after the GOP base's performance in the last couple of cycles, few will bet on them at the moment; they have a lot to prove about their grasp of practical politics in a demographically changing America," said the duo.

View article comments Leave a comment