Saturday, August 13, 2016
The Senate races
The way too early edition: Vol. 1
13 August 2016: 87 days to the election
87 days until the election. If you are a political junkie like me - and if you are reading this in early August, face it, you are a political junkie - It feels like a three month sentence in the county jail and none of us actually did anything illegal. And just to pile on a little more bad news, the election won't be completely done come November.
Bear with me. Explanations are coming.
Why it's way too early: There are several stater where the contests aren't completely defined yet, waiting on primary results. Hawaii has their primary today, Alaska is on Tuesday. (All the forecasts I've seen have Hawaii deep blue and Alaska dark red.) On August 30, we'll get primaries in Arizona and Florida and it's not until September 13 when New Hampshire Democrats will decide for sure who faces Kelly Ayotte. All three of those states could be interesting.
And then there's Louisiana. They have the primary on November 8, a free-for-all open primary where the top two candidates regardless of party square off on December 4 in a run-off. This means we might not know which party controls the Senate until then.
The basics: Because the GOP did very well in 2010, they have to play a lot of defense in 2016. 34 seats are up for grabs and 24 of those are currently held by Republicans, only 10 held by Democrats. The current party membership is 54 Republicans, 44 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the Dems. Let's run down the list so far, again stipulating it's way too early.
The Democratic side
No polls or way too early: CT HI MD OR VT WA
Polls show solid Democratic lead: CA CO NY
Polls show leaning Republican: NV
Harry Reid is retiring and currently the Republican has a small lead in two July polls.
The Republican side
No polls or way too early:AK AL AR AZ FL ID IN KS HY LA ND NH OK SC SD
Polls show solid Republican lead: GA MO OH UT
Polls show leaning Republican: NC
Polls show leaning Democratic: PA
Polls show solid Democratic lead: IA IL WI
Just to be clear, right now the Republicans would hold on to their majority with 51 seats, but it's WAY TOO EARLY. There are still 21 races we know almost nothing about. (Spoiler: There has been polling in New Hampshire, where the Republicans are in trouble, and Florida, where the Republicans would hold on if the election were held today.)
Another report in two weeks, which will still be too early.