In mid-term elections this fall, races in seven states will play a big role in determining whether the Republican Party gains control of the Senate. That’s according to Stuart Rothenberg, editor, The Rothenberg Political Report.
"All the focus is on the Senate and a chance for the Republicans to take over the Senate in the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency, which would be significant considering they’re going to hold the House," Rothenberg tells AgriTalk radio host Mike Adams.
Surveys put President Barack Obama’s approval rating between 41% and 44%, Rothenberg notes. Add to those figures the fact that more than 60% of Americans say the country is headed off on the wrong track, and the resulting political environment suggests the mid-terms will be a referendum on the president.
"The Republicans appear to have three (Senate) seats pretty much right off the top," Rothenberg says. "A West Virginia Democratic seat that’s open with the retirement of Jay Rockefeller; a South Dakota Senate seat, Democratic seat, open with the retirement of Tim Johnson; and a really good opportunity in Montana, where longtime Democratic Sen. Max Baucus accepted an ambassadorship. The governor appointed a Democrat to replace him, but it’s going to be hard for the Democrats to hold. The Republicans need three more seats after that if they win those three."
Rothenberg says the following four states might help tip the balance of power in the Senate to Republicans:
"(Democratic Sen.) Mark Pryor is in a difficult race against (Republican) Congressman Tom Cotton. Pryor is a well-known name in Arkansas, he’s been running a very good race. He’s ahead now, but it’s a terrible state for the president, and if in November people look at that Senate race and they say, ‘Yeah, it’s about Mark Pryor, but you know what, I’ve got to send a message to Barack Obama, I’ve got to turn the Senate over to the Republicans,’ then Pryor is in trouble."
"Just to the south is (Democratic Sen.) Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. It’s the same situation, although the timing of Louisiana’s contest is a little different. Louisiana holds its open primary in November, and if nobody gets a majority of the vote, they have to have a runoff in December.
"Beyond that, Alaska is a top-tier Republican target. Democratic Sen. Mark Begich won in a fluke six years ago, and the Republicans still haven’t picked their nominee. But they’re going to have a strong one."
"The other race everybody is watching is North Carolina, where (Democratic Sen.) Kay Hagan has a difficult fight against the Republican Speaker of the House Thom Tillis who won a competitive primary without a runoff. Tillis is a businessman. The Democrats complained that he was too pro-business, too conservative. Some Republicans complained that he wasn’t conservative enough. He won the primary without a runoff. He’s going to be a difficult opponent for Kay Hagan.
Beyond those states, observers also are paying attention to races in Iowa, Colorado and Michigan, Rothenberg notes.
Click the play button below to hear more from Rothenberg about the key issues influencing voters this fall in his complete interview with AgriTalk, beginning at the 12:30-minute mark:
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