I updated the map on my Senate 2016 page to reflect the early stage of these races. Iowa and Arkansas moved back to red. I shifted Colorado, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Indiana to yellow. Therefore, I am listing the balance of "competitive seats" right now to: Democrats-2, Republicans-7. This is a very favorable map for Democrats. If the stars align and certain people retire/don't run/get primaried out the following states could also be put in play: North Carolina, Alaska, Iowa, and Arizona. All currently GOP held seats. Kentucky would only be added to that list of Rand Paul ended up not being able to run for both the White House and the Senate at the same time. Then, the door could be opened for Grimes 2.0 if she would run. Georgia won't happen unless there is a surprise retirement. Democrats best chance to pick up a Senate seat here will be in 2020 when Purdue is up for reelection. Louisiana would be in play if Landrieu would run and she would be able to mend her ties with the Democratic party that she alienated herself from. (not that she was ever a favorite of the more Liberal wing of the party. She has never been a favorite of environmentalists and gun control advocates) Then, things would depend of who runs for the red team presuming Vitter wins this years Gubernatorial contest. (Also depending on if Vitter's appointed replacement runs for a full term and is a platable option for the GOP)
Arkansas would only be in play should Bebe run. Though this could be an extreme outside shot in 2016 should Clinton dominate the electorate. The same goes for Iowa. Democrats best shot here is if they could recruit former Governor Tom Vilsack, but that is just not going to happen. Democrats could also try to recruit former Governor (only 49 years old) Chet Culver to run. He lost a reelection bid in the tough 2010 year for Democrats to Terry Branstad who was the Governor that preceded Vilsack so Branstad was far from an unknown quantity. Bob Krause, who lost in 2010 to Roxanne Conlin for the nomination. has already declared his candidacy.
We are still over 19 months out of election day 2016, but things are beginning to take shape.
In Florida, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has already made it clear that she will not try to run for Senate in 2016. Alan Grayson has said that he might, but he is embroiled with attempting to annul his marriage on grounds of bigamy. Patrick Murphy, who unseated incumbent Alan West in 2012 and won a decisive reelection in 2014 in a red leaning district, has declared his candidacy for Senate. While this makes his house seat a good pickup opportunity for the GOP in 2016, this makes the Senate seat much more in play. It is widley expected that Senator Rubio will not run for reelection and decide to run for the GOP nomination for President instead. While there are plenty of potential Republicans that could run and win: without Rubio, this seat is much for "getable" for team blue.
Today, Senator Dan Coats has announced his retirement. This is a boost to Democratic prospects in this state for 2016. While it will still be an uphill battle, it is much more feasible. If Democrats can convince the (still in his 50's) former Senator Evan Bayh to run for his old seat (that he retired from in 2010 instead of running for reelection), this seat becomes a VERY good (possible even better than Illinois at this point) pickup chance for Democrats. Bayh still has 10 million on hand (in 2012, Dems won the Senate seat with only 6 million raised) and maintains a 60% favorability rating. He has said that he is not interested in running again "at this time," but that may very well change with Coats out of the race.
Ted Cruz will throw his hat in the ring on Minday after a late Sunday night Tweet confirmed that he will run. In all honesty, this is far from unexpected. Cruz has made it clear for some time that he intends to run. It would be difficult for him to win the GOP nomination and he stands essentially a 0% chance at beating Clinton (or any other Democrat for that matter) in a general election. I suspect the GOP establishment knows this and will pull out all the stops to fall in line behind Jev Bush or Scott Walker.
The latest CNN/ORC poll released this afternoon gives Hillary Clinton a 53%-44% favorable split. This is a drop from their numbers for her last November, but still better than the rest of the 2016 field. This shows that she has not been damaged by the E-mail news cycle. At this point in the 2008 election cycle, CNN/ORC had her at 49%-44%. The unfavorable is the same, but her favorables are 4% higher.
The current hobby of the media is to try and paint the doom and gloom scenario for the Democrats and presumptive candidate Hillary Clinton. It reminds me a bit of how ESPN decides that just about every other day, during the baseball season, some catastrophic scenario is playing out that spells the end of the New York Yankees season and a spiral of losing seasons to come. The media does this because it is what gets viewers interested. No one wants to read the millionth article about Clinton being ahead of the entire Democratic and Republican Presidential fields by wide margins. What do you do? You go for the big bombshell story. While most of these stories the media makes public fizzle out in a cycle, some have a tendency to linger. The problem being, the stories linger because of how impactful the story is. There is a reason why the media gave up on Clinton appearing in public without makeup. No one really cared.
The current "scandal" involves Clinton's exclusive use of a private email address during her time as Secretary of State. The New York Times thought it had the big news story of the 2016 race, and the rest of the media jumped on it. But is it really a "scandal?" Well, no. Not even close. It would be a non-issued if the individual was anyone that isn't named Hillary Clinton. Need proof? Well, the first Secretary of State that has used his state department email address exclusively is current Secretary of State, John Kerry.
Do you want more evidence? Former Secretary of State, Collin Powell, used a personal email account while in office. Further, he says that he has no record (paper or digital) of any of the emails he sent or recieved while in office. That being said, as with Clinton's emails, all the emails that were sent to Government Officials in the US on their state department email accounts are archived by the department. Therefore, any email regarding the Secretaries' time in office between Government officials is somewhere on a state department server anyhow. Does it really matter if it is on a separate "Clinton State Department" server? Shouldn't all that matter be that they are on a state department server and Former Secretary Clinton gave the state department over 55,000 emails from her time in office? If anything, it should be on the state department to release those 55,000 emails (after careful review for sensitive information of course).
Condelliza Rice also used a personal email account. Is she unqualified to hold public office? Republicans desperately want her to run for the open Senate seat in California. Even Madeleine Albright used a private email address while in office. She was, by the way, the first Secretary of State to use email.
The rule Clinton is accused of breaking is a rule by the National Archives and not a rule of the State Department or a law. Therefore, even if she broke the rule and did so with the intent to defraud the entire country (as the GOP wants to believe) she would have no legal ramifications what so ever.
The articles accusing Clinton of a large conspiracy also go on to talk about how empty the Democratic bench for 2016 is. My response: you can't be serious. While Clinton is by far the Democrats dream candidate for 2016 and the most electable candidate on the market for either party right now; it's not like there aren't other people that could run and AT LEAST be as formidable as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorino, etc.
The point is: Many of these candidates say that they won't run and seem to have no intention to run. That being said, if Clinton didn't run: there are other candidates that are high enough profile and electable enough to at least be as good as most GOP potential candidates, if not better.
Ok, many of those candidates are at the level where they would have a hard time beating a decent GOP nominee. That being said, several of them COULD win the nomination and win the Presidency without Clinton. The most electable on the list in my opinion: Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, and Sherrod Brown. It's not exactly an empty void in the Democratic party. The issue is that Hillary Clinton is so strong that very few Democrats would support anyone else with her in the field.
First off, an update: Todd Aikin will not pose a primary challenge to Senator Roy Blunt in Missouri.
Florida: This will likely be one of the first 2016 Senate races to begin to shape up. It already appears that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has fizzled out and likely wont even seek the seat. The other Dems that are likely to run are Patrick Murphy (who is right now the strongest and most likely candidate), Alan Grayson, and Charlie Christ. Though Christ is the least likely of the three. The biggest question is whether Marco Rubio will run for reelection for the GOP or if he will run for the Presidential nomination. He has stated that he will not seek both offices at the same time. Florida is likely the Democrats 4th best shot at a pickup in 2016. Without Rubio in the race, this could be a very winnable race should the right Democrat jump in.
Georgia: Johnny Isackson will be 71, but will be running for another term. This will be an extremely difficult seat for the Democratic party to flip. Possible contenders include Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter. While both of them could make this race a long shot, it is still not likely. That being said, who knows if anyone will challenge Isackson in the primary. An open seat, in 2016, with a Nunn or a Carter could make this very competitive.
Hawaii: Brian Schatz won his special election in 2014 for this seat by over 42%. This might be one of the safest seats of this cycle. The only thing that would make this a race would be in the primary if Colleen Hanabusa decides to challenge Schatz again in the primary.
Idaho: This one is in the same boat as Hawaii. Even more safe in that Crapo will dodge having Rep. Raul Labrador as a primary challenger. Outside of 2014 Gubernatorial nominee A.J. Balukoff, there is essentially no Democrat with the Statewide profile that could run. Crapo won this seat in 2010 by 46%, ran uncontested in 2004, and won by 42 in 1998.
Any financial help to offset the costs of running this site is always appreciated.