Tillis looking good in North Carolina Senate Primary [UPDATED]

Featured image Thom Tillis has a substantial lead over a crowded field of Republican candidates bidding for the nomination to run against vulnerable incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. With 41 percent of the precincts reporting Tillis has 45.7 percent of the vote. His closest rival, Greg Bannon a Tea Party libertarian, has 27.4 percent support. For Tillis, the key is to clear 40 percent. That would enable him to avoid a costly run-off »

Oregon appears to be in play

Featured image My Senate polling roundup from a few days ago did not include the Oregon race between incumbent Democrat Jeff Merkeley and Republican Dr. Monica Wehby (Wehby isn’t the Republican candidate yet, but she’s favored to win the nomination). That’s because the polling organization whose work I reported on, Magellan Strategies, did not conduct a survey of that race. The Oregon race only recently has come to be widely considered competitive. »

Senate polling roundup

Featured image Magellan Strategies, which provides analysis for Republicans and conservative groups, has released poll results for seven important Senate races: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina. In most cases, the candidates are running neck-and-neck according to Magellan, which surveyed 600 to 900 voters in each state. Let’s start with Arkansas. According to Magellan, our friend Rep. Tom Cotton leads Sen. Mark Pryor by three points, 46-43. Two recent »

The Dems Are In Trouble In Oregon

Featured image In Oregon, little-known Senator Jeff Merkley is running for re-election. His opponent is Dr. Monica Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon. I don’t know much about Dr. Wehby, but she is playing for keeps. Check out this ad; it is pure dynamite: If Oregon wasn’t in play before, it is now. »

The Republicans’ natural Senate majority, and its implications

Featured image I used to argue that the Republicans have a natural majority in the Senate in the sense that, given a 50-50 election, the House will be almost evenly divided, the presidential winner will be uncertain, but the Senate will likely be Republican (though this would require 50-50 elections over the course of three cycles). The reason, of course, is that the Senate gives equal weight to thinly populated states and »

Mark Pryor relies on a prior Pryor

Featured image This Politico story about Sen. Mark Pryor’s reelection pitch goes on for the two pages but never gets beyond the fact that Pryor’s father was a very popular politician. After serving for almost 12 years in the Senate, Mark Pryor should be embarrassed that his main claim to fame is that he’s David Pryor’s son. But when it comes to clinging to office, Pryor is probably beyond feeling embarrassed. And »

Harry Reid blocks “clean” legislation to aid Ukraine

Featured image A fascinating debate over aid to Ukraine erupted on the Senate floor tonight. It featured Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Robert Menendez, John McCain, and Bob Corker on one side and Jeff Sessions, John Barrasso, and Ted Cruz on the other. The debate concerned two bills — a House bill that would provide a billion dollar loan package to Ukraine and a Senate bill that would provide loans and also impose »

Mitch McConnell — courageous or shrewd?

Featured image Mitch McConnell’s vote to defeat a GOP filibuster on legislation approving the debt ceiling extension was widely portrayed as a courageous — “taking one for the team,” as Quin Hillyer, among others, put it. McConnell’s vote may have been politically courageous, but more likely it was based on an understanding that it would not hurt his reelection bid. McConnell has a comfortable lead over his Tea Party-style primary opponent Matt »

McConnell’s primary opponent supported TARP

Featured image Matt Bevin, who is challenging Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky Republican primary, has made McConnell’s support in 2008 for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) a centerpiece of his insurgent campaign. It’s an understandable move on Bevin’s part. McConnell has a strong conservative voting record. Without the TARP vote, Bevin would be reduced mainly to generic complaints that McConnell is too “establishment.” But now it turns out that Bevin, an »

McConnell: Immigration reform unlikely this year

Featured image The Hill reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he doesn’t see any way the Democratic-controlled Senate and GOP-led House will agree on immigration reform legislation in 2014. McConnell explained: I think we have sort of an irresolvable conflict here. The Senate insists on comprehensive [legislation]. The House says it won’t go to conference with the Senate on comprehensive and wants to look at [it] step by step. I »

Will Oregon be part of the 2014 Senate playing field?

Featured image In my post about Republicans expanding the number of Senate seats in play this year, I did not include Oregon in the potentially expanded playing field. But a savvy reader suggests that Oregon may be in play. The seat in question is held by Sen. Jeff Merkley. Hardly a powerhouse, this first-termer was elected in 2008 by only 3 percentage points and failed to capture 50 percent of the vote. »

Expanding the 2014 Senate playing field

Featured image Republicans need to gain six seats in this year’s election to take the majority in the Senate. In seven states, the Democrats are defending seats that have long looked vulnerable: West Virginia, South Dakota, Arkansas, Alaska, Montana, Louisiana, and North Carolina. But many of these seats look like 50-50 propositions, more or less. Thus, even with 2014 shaping up as a good year for Republicans, the odds of winning six »

How Harry Reid Is Destroying the Senate

Featured image We often hear that Washington is “broken,” that Congress is “gridlocked,” and so on. While such complaints are usually imprecise and sometimes misguided, the sense that Congress is not functioning as intended is correct. Yesterday Senator Jeff Sessions delivered an important speech in which he decried the decline of the Senate under the leadership of Harry Reid. The extent to which the Senate’s traditions have been undermined to the detriment »

Once Again, Democrats Vote to Cut Veterans’ Benefits in Order to Enable Fraud By Illegal Aliens

Featured image Even if, like me, you are beyond being shocked by anything the Democrats do, this is remarkable. For the second time, Harry Reid and his Senate Democrat cohorts have refused to allow an amendment to revise the Ryan-Murray spending deal to be voted on. The amendment would restore the cuts in veterans’ benefits that are part of the deal, and instead raise the money by closing a loophole that makes »

Mark Warner likely to face serious challenge

Featured image Politico reports that Ed Gillespie, a former Republican National Committee chairman, is likely to jump into the Virginia Senate race later this month. The Senate seat in question is held by Mark Warner, Virginia’s popular former governor. Gillespie is a shrewd guy with no interest in a quixotic bid for office. The fact that he is seriously considering a run tells me that Warner’s hold on the seat isn’t safe. »

Senate primary challenges unlikely to flip seats

Featured image Julie Sobel of the National Journal presents her list of the top five Senators who are vulnerable to primary challenges. If the list is reliable, primary challenges to Senators are unlikely to cause any seats to change from one party to the other. The Senator most vulnerable to a primary is said to be Thad Cochran in Mississippi. It seems highly unlikely that the Republicans, who seem to have a »

A pseudo-moderate flirts with moderation

Featured image Last week, Senator Mark Warner appeared in the “center seat” on Fox News’s “Special Report. I didn’t find Warner particularly impressive. He seemed to talk mostly in circles. Presumably, Warner appeared on the show for the same reason that the more impressive Senator Joe Manchin had appeared a week or so earlier — to brandish his credentials as a moderate Democrat. Warner has belatedly attempted to create such credentials by »