kan-senate

What Happened to 2014's Most Vulnerable Senators?

Sen. Hagan was defeated Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Three members on Roll Call's ranking of the 10 most vulnerable senators will definitely not be returning to Congress next year, along with a slew of other incumbents .  

The fate of two more senators is still unknown, but they also appear to be in trouble. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., faces a difficult December runoff. Votes are also still being counted in Alaska, where Democratic Sen. Mark Begich, is trailing his Republican opponent by several points.  

Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

McConnell won re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated Nov. 5, 7:23 a.m. | Republicans swept the Senate races Tuesday night, and come January, they will control the chamber for the first time in eight years.  

Democratic incumbents fell right and left, even in seats that they had originally been favored to win. President Barack Obama's poor approval rating — 42 percent in the last nationwide Gallup poll — dragged down candidates across the country in the face of a Republican wave.  

Counties to Watch in 5 Key Senate Races

Udall is seeking re-election in Colorado. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Control of the Senate comes down to just a few states, with Republicans in a position to pick up the necessary net six seats to win the majority.  

As the results pour in Tuesday evening, here are the counties to watch in five of the most contested Senate races: Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Kansas, and Georgia.  

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Landrieu rallies supporters Nov. 2 in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are enough Democratic seats in play for Republicans to secure the Senate majority Tuesday, but there is also a chance the outcome won't be known for days, weeks or even a couple months.  

Needing to net six seats to win back control for the first time since George W. Bush’s second midterm in 2006, Republicans have taken advantage of a Democratic president in a similarly weak political position and have carved a path through 10 states . That means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be celebrating more than his own re-election in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night.  

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Pryor, right, canvasses Saturday with an aide in the Little Rock, Arkansas, suburbs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Roll Call's final ranking of the most vulnerable senators doesn't vary much from previous versions — the result of an unfavorable national climate for Democrats that has failed to improve.  

On the eve of the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are staring down a hole dug by President Barack Obama’s disapproval ratings and an unforgiving map packed with red states. Retirements by a quartet of senators in Republican-leaning or swing states didn’t help, but the seats of at least four incumbents seeking re-election aren’t on much stronger ground.  

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Roberts, left, campaigned with Cruz, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the myriad Republican presidential contenders start campaigning for 2016, their journeys might not look much different from this cycle.  

From Iowa to New Hampshire, every Republican who is even remotely considering a 2016 bid hit the trail this year to help Senate contenders. What's more, several competitive Senate races are this year conveniently in states that play host to early nominating contests in 2016.  

Pat Roberts Finds No Place Like Home

Roberts speaks to a reporter in Topeka. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

FORT SCOTT, Kan. — Dozens of cows trumpeted in the pens out back as Sen. Pat Roberts made his pitch to attendees at a livestock market.  

“When we get a Republican majority, I’ll be chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and we are gonna put the livestock producer first,” Roberts told the crowd from a room behind the then-empty cow pen, where the auctioneer had briefly paused his chant to allow the state's senior senator to address the crowd.  

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

The winner of the race between Roberts, left, and Orman, right, will play a major role in deciding the Senate majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

So much for a predictable midterm cycle. The past month has left multiple possible outcomes for control of the Senate.  

Republican groups are barraging Kansas with resources and advertising to save a three-term incumbent being challenged by an independent in a solidly GOP state. Democrats, lacking much hope for months of holding an open seat in South Dakota, are all of a sudden dropping $1 million in advertising there — and being matched by Republicans — in a last-second Hail Mary that could possibly save its majority.  

NRSC Shifts Resources to Six States

Roberts, left, greets Moran, the NRSC chairman, at an event in their home state of Kansas. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated, 9:04 a.m. | TOPEKA, Kan. — With less than four weeks until Election Day, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's independent expenditure arm is shifting resources to increase its investment in six states, including South Dakota and Georgia.  

The NRSC has moved $1 million to South Dakota, plus another $1.45 million to Georgia. In South Dakota, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee made a $1 million television ad buy this week, on the heels of tightening poll numbers that showed its candidate, Rick Weiland, gaining ground. In Georgia, a new poll suggests a runoff is likely. The NRSC also is upping its investment in four other states: Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire. Those four states represent an expansion of the map for the GOP into states where Democrats were favored to win earlier in the cycle.  

Independents Could Control Power in Senate

Roberts, left, debates Orman during a luncheon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The power in the Senate could increasingly flow not to Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell, but to a few independents who could hold the keys to the majority — and they know it.  

The two unexpected GOP trouble spots in the Midwest feature independent candidates who are making noise about not joining either side in a divided Senate. In Kansas it's Greg Orman, who is challenging long-time GOP incumbent Pat Roberts. Republicans are extremely dubious of Orman, pointing to campaign dollars he's given to top Democrats, although Orman is fond of pointing to contributions to Republicans as well.