Republicans currently have 45 Senate seats, but with GOP retirements and tea party challenges, they start with only 43 sure-saves. Mitch McConnell is winning in Kentucky, but we could be in trouble with currently-GOP Georgia and Kansas.
Republicans are almost sure to flip five senate seats from the Democrats: Arkansas, West Virginia, Iowa, Montana and South Dakota — so that gets the GOP to 48 senate seats.
The GOP probably wins in Louisiana and Georgia — but those are likely to go to run-offs, thanks to a libertarian candidate in GA and a tea party candidate in LA. So we may not know who has a senate majority until January.
That means Republicans have to win three of the five remaining “toss-up” states to have won a senate majority by Wednesday morning:
NC – The most expensive race in the country — mostly because of Democratic spending to save Kay Hagan. Republican Thom Tillis has run a near-perfect campaign, including insisting that he’s for a fence first. This race is on the edge, but it’s important to remember that Democrats cheat.
NH – Plucky Scott Brown, 8th generation New Hampshirite, has the toughest race in the country. A month ago, no one expected to be watching NH on Election Day. Brown has run a fantastic campaign and is my personal favorite. Despite Democrats massively outspending him, Brown is ahead by 1 point in the trustworthy polls. But remember, Democrats cheat.
KS –The only question in this race is: Will Kansans realize “Independent” Orman is just another pro-amnesty, pro-Obamacare liberal Democrat by Tuesday?
CO – In the second most expensive race in the country, Gardner recovered from trying to out-amnesty a Democrat, won the Denver Post’s endorsement and is running an upbeat, sunny campaign against a far-left, one-term incumbent. Good chance for a GOP pick-up. But on the other hand, Democrats cheat.
Alaska – Republican challenger Dan Sullivan has been ahead in the polls, but apparently Alaska is hard to poll. Plus, Democrats plan to wait until the end of the evening and then produce as many votes as they need from the tribal reservations, as was done to John Thune in SD in 2002.
In a gaffe as bad as Todd Akin’s, Democrat Mark Begich ran an ad accusing Sullivan of releasing a child-murderer from prison as attorney general — and didn’t even bother to confirm that Sullivan was in office. When it turned out that Sullivan wasn’t in office when the mistake occurred, Begich still refused to take down his ad – until the family of the murdered child complained.
Begich is only a senator to begin with because in the 2008 election, Sen. Ted Stevens was taken out by sleazy, unfounded prosecution. It’s like rooting for a team that’s in the finals because the other team was disqualified.
Best and worst possible outcomes for the night:
Best case scenario — If the GOP wins in NC and NH, you can go to bed early, knowing Republicans have won a senate majority.
Worst case — If GOP loses both NC and NH, we could end up at the end of the night with 49 Dem, 48 GOP – with GA and LA headed to runoffs and Alaska undecided. Mitch McConnell will not be able to make a triumphant appearance Wednesday morning, and most people won’t notice that the GOP is likely to pick up two or three seats over the next few months, much less that Republicans were done in by a circular firing squad. Republicans will lose hope, it will be a downward spiral of defeat and all that will be left to do is track down the people responsible and kill them.