I think it’s going widely overlooked that, despite all the drama in advance ofNovember 4, it’s doubtful that we’ll learn who has control of the Senate on that date: in Louisiana and Georgia, if no candidate wins 50% of the vote, as seems likely according to, among others, the TPM PollTracker averages (the app is great, by the way), there will be runoffs on December 6 andJanuary 6, respectively. This means that unless the Democrats hold 50 seats or the Republicans hold 51 without either of those two states, control of the upper chamber will depend on new, one-on-one contests that will be the focus of enormous national attention and spending.It seems to me that, by nationalizing the races, this will probably benefit the GOP, but that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it makes it quite possible, if not likely, that we won’t know which party has come out ahead for another month, and conceivably until after the new Congress has been sworn in.All this is, of course, ignoring a scenario in which control is also thrown up in the air by the question of where any independent candidates decide to caucus, whether that’s Greg Orman in Kansas, Larry Pressler in South Dakota, if they’re elected, or Angus King, who has threatened to caucus with the Republicans if they win the majority.Outside groups are already shelling out money to prepare for the first eventuality, and I’m sure Reid and McConnell are thinking about the second as well.
h/t: Josh Marshall at TPM
As the 2014 Senate midterm elections were heating up, pundit predictions were all over the map, but on this much they agreed: Democratic seats in Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota were sure to go to Republicans, and Kentucky and Kansas, without question, would remain with the GOP.
Headed into the homestretch now, a bizarre series of events has upended that calculation. A corruption scandal and a third party candidate in South Dakota have thrown that race wide open, while Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) finds himself badly behind an independent challenger after the Democratic nominee dropped out.
Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) finds himself trailing in a recent survey and Republican Georgia candidate David Perdue, the former head of Dollar General, is under fire for declaring how proud he is of his record of outsourcing. HuffPost’s Pollster model still has McConnell and Perdue ahead.
But Kansas, South Dakota, Georgia, Kentucky — these are not the states Republicans were most worried about.
Seizing the opportunity in South Dakota, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is putting a million dollars into the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tim Johnson (D), despite comments from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) suggesting that the seat had already been lost.
Bloomberg Politics first reported Wednesday that the DSCC would commit money to television ads bashing the Republican nominee, former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds.
Recent polling has shown Rounds stuck in the mid-30s with both Democratic nominee Rick Weiland and former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler, who is now running as an independent, trailing just a few points behind. There is also one more independent in the race, Gordon Howie, who may also draw conservative votes away from Rounds.
Though Pressler has not said which party he would caucus with were he to be elected, he endorsed President Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012. The DSCC presumably hopes that the cash would damage Rounds enough that Weiland, or at least Pressler, would come out on top Nov. 4.
The latest development proves Weiland’s predictions right. The Democrat, who completed a tour of every one of the state’s 311 incorporated towns, told The Huffington Post in March that national Democrats would start to notice his strategy, despite Reid’s comment that Weiland “wasn’t my choice" and that Democrats would likely lose the seat.
"I think there’s a possibility that they’ll get engaged here," Weiland said. "I’m feeling that this race is just starting to get on the national radar screen. The national party has been pretty focused on some of the more vulnerable incumbents, some of the higher-profile open seats, but I hold out that at some point South Dakota will be on there. I’m absolutely convinced I need to continue doing what I’m doing, working as hard as I can, to get this race in a place where it is viewed as a competitive race."
Weiland senior adviser Steve Jarding told HuffPost Wednesday that the DSCC’s new involvement showed that Weiland’s campaign has picked up momentum.
"We’ve been hoping for a long time that’d we’d get attention, certainly from the committee, and so we think the race is where we hoped it would get," he said. "We want the spotlight on all the candidates. For a long time there wasn’t really a spotlight, it was kind of just ‘Mike Rounds is going to win,’ and now clearly there are folks who say it’s not automatic that he’s going to win. The Democrats might actually have a shot."
The DSCC’s cash infusion follows the lead of Mayday PAC, founded by Harvard professor Larry Lessig. The group committed $1 million to Weiland earlier this week, in an acknowledgement that the Democrat has made campaign finance reform a central tenet of his bid.
Who would’ve thought that SD-Sen may save the day for the Dems?
#SDSen: Herseth Sandlin Having 'Serious Conversations' About Run In 2014 S.D. Senate Race | TPM LiveWire
Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD) acknowledged over the weekend that she is mulling the possibility of running in South Dakota’s open 2014 U.S. Senate race.
No Democrat has declared in the race for the seat currently held by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), who announced last month that he will not seek re-election next year. Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) is the lone Republican to declare, although there is plenty of speculation that Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), the tea party favorite who unseated Herseth Sandlin in 2010, may toss her hat in the ring as well. Brendan Johnson, a U.S. attorney and son of the retiring senator, is also said to be considering a run in the race, but Democrats in the state are desperate to avoid a primary.
A survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling last month showed Herseth Sandlin locked in tight races with Rounds and Noem in hypothetical general election matchups.
H/T: TPM LiveWire
The last two nights of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show featured segments on how abortion rights are under attack in 4 states (Arkansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota), both by anti-choice zealots and GOP Governors (Bryant [MS], Dalrymple [ND], Daugaard [SD]) and their legislatures, as part of the War On Women playbook to drastically curtail and/or end abortion rights and to defund Planned Parenthood, to name a few.
Mississippi’s last women’s health clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could be closed down due to anti-choice extremist Governor Phil Bryant (R)’s wishes that "Mississippi should be an abortion-free state." If his plan successfully goes through, it would be the 1st state since the highly controversial 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling by SCOTUS to effectively ban abortion.
Of the four states with only one women’s health service clinic (or abortion provider) left in their respective states, all except Arkansas currently has a GOP Governor running the state. All four of the states listed have both their state Houses and Senates under GOP control.