I am back from my trip to the Middle East. I’ll write about that at a later time. In just a few days America will go to the polls and cast votes that will set the direction of the country for the next two years. I will not attempt to go through all the races but want to look at a few important contests.
Kentucky – Mitch McConnell (R) leads by a few points. The polls put the race currently just outside of the margin of error. McConnell leads Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) but Grimes has a new ad that ties McConnell to a plan to privatize Social Security. McConnell cast a vote in favor of a new way to finance Social Security back in 2005. This is expected to help Grimes with seniors by scaring them before they vote. Matt Bevin, a Tea Party favorite, was running ahead of McConnell during the primaries until Karl Rove invested through his PAC heavily for McConnell in the closing days before the primary. McConnell is now expected to win a narrow race.
Kansas – Incumbent Pat Roberts (R) is trailing challenger Greg Orman (I) but is within the margin of error. Roberts, 78, has been in Washington for 34 years as a Representative or a Senator. If Roberts loses, it could be blamed on Randall Batson, the Libertarian candidate who is pulling 5% of the vote. Roberts was damaged during the primaries by Dr. Milton Wolf, a Tea Party candidate. Seems Roberts hasn’t owned property in Kansas for a long number of years. Kansas also has a Governors race this year. In that contest Paul Davis (D) leads Gov. Sam Brownback (R) by a 46% to 43% margin. There will be no coattails to ride from the Governors race for the Senate race.
New Hampshire – Scott Brown (R) is trailing incumbent Jeanne Shaheen (D) but has now gotten within the margin of error. The former Senator who won Ted Kennedy’s seat, has momentum going into election day. Shaheen is much more popular with the people than Brown but Brown has been successful in painting her as being tied to Obama. Brown has a problem with conservatives as he was representing a liberal state and moved left to placate that state’s population. New Hampshire is move conservative.
Iowa – Joni Earnst has a slight lead over Bruce Braley for this open seat. Earnst, a mother and grandmother, was a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa National Guard, where she commanded a 1200 member force. Her politics started as a county auditor, and several terms in the State Senate. Braley, a lawyer and 4 term member of Congress, is fighting for the open seat vacated by retiring senator Tom Harken (D). This could be a surprise pickup for the GOP. Earnst has opened a 4 point lead and is showing momentum going into the last week.
North Carolina – Thom Tillis (R) has been trailing the entire year. Kay Hagan (D) serving her first term as Senator, has a very slight lead, well within the margin of error. As Tillis has closed the race, outside money has poured into the contest. As of October 15th, $6.5 million has been spent by outsiders in negative ads against Hagan. The Senators supporters have spent $19 million against Tillis. Tillis, the leader of the State House, has a political record that is being distorted by the Democrats. Tiflis’ campaign has responded by linking Hagan with the Obama administration. Both sides have stretched the truth in their ads. This race is suddenly in play. Which ever side does the best job of getting their voters to the polls will win.
These are just some of the races that will affect the control of the Senate for the next two years. There are others that are just as important, but I’ll start here for now.