As he has repeatedly stated, Obama is confident that a Democrat will win the White House in November, and now Harry Reid is expressing that he is “fairly certain” that Democrats will take back the Senate this year.

The Hill reports:

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on Sunday that he thinks his party will win back the majority in the Senate this year.

During a radio interview with John Catsimatidis, Reid detailed the Democratic efforts against several vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection this year.

Considering that Democrats need win only five Senate seats (they currently have 46 seats, including the two Independents who caucus with them) to accomplish this goal and given the disarray on the right, Reid’s prediction seems far less laughable than it would have only a year ago.

The Hill continues:

“We only need four [seats] to take the majority,” he said. “With the numbers I’ve given you, it’s going to be a fairly certain thing that we can do that.”

Reid predicted earlier in the interview the Democrats would win, or at least compete for, Senate seats in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Florida, New Hampshire, Iowa and Arizona.

Reid’s assertion that Democrats need to take four instead of five seats is rooted in his belief that Hillary (or a Democrat) will win the White House in November and the Democrat Vice President would be the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

According to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, the chances of Democrats taking up to six seats in November has improved in recent months.

Sabato, et al. write:

[T]he Crystal Ball is changing six Senate race ratings, all in a Democratic direction. This does not mean Democrats will actually win all six, though one was already leaning toward the Democrats. As for the other five, two races are now designated pure Toss-ups, and the three other states where we are making a change still favor Republicans, though less so than earlier. There is a clear if premature trend here.

The six states Sabato discusses as moving toward Democrats are:

While it seems rather unlikely that some of these states will go with a Democrat, the shift that Sabato notes is worth consideration.  It’s also worth noting that only four of the six states Sabato mentions are also mentioned by Reid:  Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Iowa.

Reid believes that Florida, Wisconsin, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Arizona are also in play this November.  Given that Obama won Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in both 2008 and in 2012, Democrats have reason to believe that these states are in play.

The Cook Report has Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin as currently held Republican Senate seats that are toss-ups, and only one currently held Democrat Senate seat that is a toss-up this year (Reid’s in Nevada).

The Cook Report also has North Carolina as “Leans Republican” and Colorado (now held by a Democrat) as only “Leans Democrat,” and Arizona (McCain’s seat) as “Likely Republican.”

Democrats need five Senate seats to retake the Senate, and while it’s not a lock, things don’t look good for Republicans who are defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10.

Not only is the Senate in play, but the House may be, as well.  While the House would be harder for Democrats because they need to win 30 seats, it’s not impossible.  It may not even be improbable at this point.  After all, Republicans needed 39 House seats in 2010 to win the majority (and ended up winning 63 that year).

Given the current chaos and uncertainty on the right, Democrats are in a position they didn’t expect to see for several more election cycles and are starting to realize that they might be able to pick up a lot of House seats in November.  However, because they didn’t expect their chance this soon, their bench is practically bare (unlike the GOP bench in 2010), and they aren’t ready to compete at the level needed to retake the House.  Hopefully, anyway.

U. S. News reports:

Critics within and outside the [Democrat] party say the sudden instability on the right caught Democrats, resigned to long-term House minority status by redistricting, flat-footed, and without viable candidates in newly-competitive seats. Add in a few strategic missteps with unfavorable historic trends, the argument goes, and it’s less probable that House Democrats can reverse a 30-seat Republican advantage, a difficult feat under most circumstances.

“Republicans are sitting on their largest majority since 1928 – 247 seats to 188 – meaning Democrats would need to pick up 30 seats, a daunting challenge given the GOP’s immense redistricting advantage and the vaporization of swing districts,” analyst David Wasserman wrote in last month’s Cook Political Report.

In their 2014 Democrat Party autopsy, Democrats noted their stunning losses since 2008:

-69 House Seats 

13 Senate Seats 

910 State Legislative Seats 

30 State Legislative Chambers 

11 Governorships

These numbers provide a snapshot of the damage a president—as party leader—can do at the national and state level.  Something that’s worth thinking about as we move closer to November and the general election.


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