Sabato: The 2014 Senate race could be a coin-flip
posted at 7:21 pm on January 23, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Oh, snap. Via Politico:
Tom Cotton, the Arkansas congressman who’s seen as perhaps the GOP’s top Senate recruit this cycle, has outraised incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in the fourth quarter of 2013, Score has learned. The congressman brought in $1.24 million, compared with $1.1 million for Pryor… Cotton’s cash-on-hand figure now stands at $2.2 million, which is still considerably less than Pryor’s $4.2 million; that said, it’s a good sign for a challenger to be outraising his incumbent opponent, so Cotton could make up the gap this year if he keeps raising money at the rate he’s going now.
Cotton’s campaign chest still has some catching up to do, but their fundraising abilities certainly seem to be leveling out — probably not a welcome sign for Pryor, who looks like the weakest of the seven Democratic incumbents up for election in red-purple territory this year. University of Virginia (wahoowa!) Professor Larry Sabato has updated his crystal ball rankings with the Democrats playing defense accordingly, switching Pryor’s race from a “toss-up” to a “leans Republican” status, along with taking both North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s races from “leans Democratic” to “toss-up.” That means we’ve got ourselves at least a 50/50 scenario, says Sabato, provided Republicans play their collective hand wisely:
There are all kinds of circumstances that will impact these races. As we’ve mentioned before, candidate selection — particularly for the Republicans — could make the difference in several places, like Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana and North Carolina. But it may also just be that midterm 2014 will simply produce a leveling effect, where overextended Democrats — they hold seats in seven states Mitt Romney won in 2012, while Republicans hold only one President Obama-state seat — simply lose some seats that, in a politically polarized era, they don’t have much business holding, particularly with a potential drag coming from an unpopular Democratic president in the White House. …