You’ve heard it before: Republicans have a good opportunity to take back the Senate majority in the 2014 elections. They’ll likely need to win a net of six seats to make it happen, and at least six are up for grabs.
But the GOP has little room for error. And the majority, theoretically within their grasp, may be marred by a series of bruising primaries across conservative and swing states. Although the dynamics work strongly against the President’s party in mid-term elections, Democrats are salivating over the possibility of Republicans repeating their mistake in 2012 and nominating ultraconservative, gaffe-prone candidates who could throw winnable seats.
“The primaries that are damaging them across the country and going to make it impossible for them to win a majority,” Justin Barasky, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the party’s election arm, told TPM on Monday.
National Republican Senatorial Committee senior adviser Kevin McLaughlin dismissed Barasky’s argument of a quasi-repeat of 2012 as “wishful thinking,” saying that primaries “are healthy for a democracy.” He told TPM the elections will be referendums on Democratic incumbents “cheerleading for President Obama’s agenda.”
In Georgia, a seven-way GOP primary includes hard-right candidates like Paul Broun and Karen Handel, who are worrying Republican strategists by turning the race into a scorched-earth contest over who’s the most conservative candidate. Meanwhile, Democrat Michelle Nunn is all but guaranteed her party’s nomination, and a PPP survey last week found her ahead of, or tied with, all of the Republican hopefuls.