- Activists vow to occupy fast-food restaurants to get higher pay
- Rep. Luis Gutierrez: Senate Dems wary of immigration politics
- Summer camp for 1 percenters: Sushi, limos and shopping at FAO Schwarz
- Colorado gun crackdown law found to be built on faulty data
- Hank Aaron steps to fundraising plate for Democrat Michelle Nunn
- ISIL terrorists blow up burial site of Jonah, vow more of same
- Impeach Obama, say 35 percent in new poll
- Taliban yank 14 Shiites off bus, bind and shoot them on Afghan road
- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
W.Va. Sen. Rockefeller’s exit shakes up ’14
Question of the Day
The decision by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, not to seek another term in the Senate is the first dent in Democrats’ chances of hanging onto power in the upper chamber in 2014 — and emblematic of the challenges the party faces in protecting seats they hold in red states.
Calling it quits after nearly 30 years in the Senate, Mr. Rockefeller said it was the “right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family.”
But the 75-year-old also faced a potentially difficult re-election battle, putting him in a similar position to another half dozen or so red state Democrats who will be running in what is likely to be a much tougher midterm political environment — with no President Obama atop the ticket.
“You are going to see a lot of the Senate seats in the 2014 elections that are held by Democrats that come from rather red states, and the Republicans see those as a real opportunity for pickups,” said R. Scott Crichlow, a University of West Virginia political science professor.
In 2014, there are 35 Senate seats up for grabs — including the seats left vacant by the death of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, and the resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, who stepped down to head the conservative Heritage Foundation. Democrats will be defending 21 of them, and Republicans will be defending 14.
As it stands, Democrats hold a 55 to 45 seat edge — including two independents who caucus with the party — over Republicans in the Senate, where Democrats have called the shots since 2007.
The list of vulnerable Democrats includes Alaska’s Mark Begich, Arkansas’ Mark L. Pryor, Montana’s Max Baucus, South Dakota’s Tim Johnson, North Carolina’s Kay R. Hagan and Louisiana’s Mary L. Landrieu.
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, carried each of those state in 2012, and there are indications all six have become friendlier GOP turf.
In 2012, Arkansas Republicans swept the state’s congressional races and took control of the state General Assembly for the time since 1874, when Reconstruction ended there.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Louisiana, the Democratic Party, thanks in large part to the Hurricane Katrina-fueled mass exodus of black voters who have not returned to the state, is still trying to regain its footing.
“Sen. Landrieu certainly should not be considered a shoo-in,” said Brian J. Brox, a political science professor at Tulane University in New Orleans. “An incumbent is hard to beat, but the demographics trends are moving away from her.”
West Virginia has supported Republican presidential candidates each of the last four presidential elections. Republicans picked up 11 seats in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 2011, and Patrick Morrisey in November became the first member of the GOP to be elected attorney general since 1933.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Perdue, Nunn square off in race for Georgia's open Senate seat
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- Alison Lundergan Grimes hits Mitch McConnell over jobs
- Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff locked in dead heat
- Georgia Senate race heats up as Kingston, Perdue ready for runoff
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Presidents of Honduras, Guatemala blame U.S. for border children crisis
- PRUDEN: The Democratic-wannabe mice under Hillary Clinton's feet
- Crime-ridden U.S. cities differ on ways to fight gun violence
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
- Obama takes aim at 'corporate deserters'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq