A PSA for readers who’ll be hunkered down in front of the TV, wondering when they can pop the champagne and start bugging me about posting the Humpbot video. I hate to say it, but … there’s a chance there won’t be any Humpbot tonight. Lemme explain.
Right now the GOP has 45 seats. You can go ahead and bump that up to 48 because three pick-ups are a fait accompli: Steve Daines will win big in Montana, replacing Max Baucus; Mike Rounds will cruise in South Dakota, replacing Tim Johnson; and Shelley Moore Capito will enjoy a landslide in West Virginia, replacing Jay Rockefeller. With those three in the bank, getting to 51 early in the evening should be easy, no? Tom Cotton’s going to beat Mark Pryor in Arkansas for number 49. Joni Ernst is probably going to beat Bruce Braley in Iowa for number 50. And then Cory Gardner’s going to put Mark Uterus out of his misery in Colorado — or I will take a flamethrower to this place — for number 51. There’s our majority! But wait: If Greg Orman knocks off Pat Roberts in Kansas, as he’s (slightly) favored to do, that knocks us back down to 50. What then?
Well, there’s always Kentucky, where Mitch McConnell is expected to beat Alison Lundergan Grimes. But McConnell is simply protecting his seat; that’s not a pick-up, so we’re still stuck at 50. Ditto for Georgia: Even if David Perdue avoids a runoff and beats Michelle Nunn outright tonight, he’s simply holding Saxby Chambliss’s seat. No pick-up there either. We could get back to 51 if either Thom Tillis beats Kay Hagan in North Carolina or Scott Brown beats Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, but the Democratic incumbents are favored in both races. Assuming they win, we’re still stuck at 50.
That leaves just two pick-up opportunities left. One is Louisiana, where Bill Cassidy will probably beat Mary Landrieu — eventually. They’re likely headed to a run-off tonight, though, which means we’ll have to wait until December for a final result. The other is Alaska, where Dan Sullivan may or may not be poised to knock off Mark Begich. No one really knows, though, because Alaska polls are hot garbage. Sullivan is ahead by a few points right now, but in reality he might be up by eight — or down by eight! We don’t know, and if you’re inclined to stick it out and watch the Alaska results, you might be up until Wednesday morning thanks to the time-zone difference. The GOP could secure their majority around, say, 4 a.m. ET. Or, if Begich holds on, we could wake up tomorrow and find they’re still stuck at 50.
Long story short, if you want catharsis tonight at a reasonable hour, you need Roberts to hold off Orman in Kansas or either Tillis or Brown to pull the upset in North Carolina or New Hampshire, respectively. And all of that assumes that the GOP wins the races it’s supposed to win. If Braley shocks Ernst in Iowa — well, let’s not contemplate such things. Even I can take only so much eeyorishness.