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Monday, December 30, 2013

A Peak at 2014 National Elections

George Wenschhof
The local, state and national political scene will be busy in 2014 as elections take place across the country. All 435 seats in the House and 35 seats in the Senate will be up for election. In addition, 36 races for Governor will take place.
At, the national level, Democrats will be trying to pick up 17 seats in the House to gain a majority and Republicans will be trying to gain control of the Senate by picking up 6 seats.
Early polling is inconclusive with a swing of as much as 13 points between voters favoring a Democratic Congress versus a Republican Congress.  Democrats received an advantage following the Republican Congress led government shutdown and Republicans received a favorable nod following the poor rollout of The Affordable Care Act.
The raising of the employee minimum wage is positioned to become a major battle in 2014 with the Democratic and Republican parties having long standing differences on this issue.
However, look to see Democrats win this one as the huge economic inequality among Americans continues to foment dissatisfaction.
Unless, a dramatic event with national implications takes place, look to see Democrats pick up some seats in the House, but fall short of winning the majority.  The bitter acrimony and harsh political dogma that presently exists between Republicans and Democrats will likely continue following the 2014 election, aided by the partisan redistricting that has taken place in states across the nation.
In the Senate, expect Democrats to maintain a majority with Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Al Franken (D-MN) the most vulnerable to losing their seat.  Senators Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) should prevail against a strong challenge.  The appointment of Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) as Ambassador to China creates an opening for Republicans, but don’t expect them to win this seat.
Interestingly, the most vulnerable Republican senator is Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY.) who is facing a stiff challenge from Alison Lundergan Grimes, who might just pull off an upset.
Expect Republicans to gain seats in the senate, but fall short of a majority.
All of which sets up a very interesting 2016 presidential election cycle.  If, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic candidate for president and Republicans continue their obstructionist actions throughout the remainder of Barack Obama’s term, look to see voters become increasingly frustrated with the inability of a balanced congress to govern effectively.  This may lead to voters electing Clinton and giving her a Democratic House and Senate to work with in her first term.
Stay tuned.
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