Focus shifts to heartland in battle for the Senate

For a while now, polls have shown three hugely important Senate races — Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana — moving in favor of the Republican candidate. Thus, Politico now asks whether these three races “are slipping from Dems.”

In Alaska, the conservative base has rallied behind Republican Dan Sullivan after a contentious August primary, and Democratic Sen. Mark Begich was stung by backlash over an attack ad he later decided to pull. In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu has been hammered over revelations that she improperly charged taxpayers for charter flights. And in Arkansas, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton — who’s been knocked as robotic on the stump, especially compared to his backslapping opponent, incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor — has improved noticeably in that department.

Officials from both parties caution that all three races remain competitive; any or all of the incumbents could ultimately survive. But the shifts in the GOP’s favor recently are significant, said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran.

I agree. These races certainly are not in the bag for Republicans, but I like our chances in all three.

With Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia all just about in the bag, wins in Alaska, Arkansas, and Louisiana would give the Republicans the six pick-ups they need to gain control of the Senate, assuming the Dems are unable to turn any state.

But therein lies the rub, for in Kansas Greg Orman, a DIEEN (Democrat in everything except name), is running ahead of Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. If Roberts loses, Republicans will need to pick up at least one more seat to get to 51 Senators.

When all is said and done, Roberts may hold the seat. Orman came into prominence in the Kansas race only recently, after the Democratic candidate dropped out. Once Kansans come to see that he’s to the left of center, they might well reject him in favor of the more conservative Roberts.

However, national Republicans need a Plan B. And Plan B requires a Republican victory in a state that — unlike Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia — was carried at least once by President Obama.

Fortunately, a Plan B state can be found just across the border from Kansas. In Iowa, Joni Ernst (a Power Line pick) is running ever-so-slightly ahead of Democrat Bruce Braley, a hugely flawed candidate.

In my view, Iowa has become the this year’s single most important Senate race. Accordingly, I have made another contribution to the Ernst campaign. You can do so too by going here.

Iowa isn’t the only Plan B state. I put Colorado, New Hampshire, and North Carolina very much in that category. Thus, contributions to Cory Gardner, Scott Brown, and Thom Tillis would also be money well spent.

And to promote Plan A, you can contribute to Pat Roberts here and help him define his pseudo-independent opponent.

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