According to Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennett (D-Colo.), 2014 elections in just six states, including Georgia, will decide whether Democrats remain the majority party in the U.S. Senate.
In a statement published Wednesday in Washington Post, Bennett said that four currently Democratic Senate seats from Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, in addition to two currently Republican seats from Georgia and Kentucky, will determine the upper chamber’s majority party.
“This is what the majority in the Senate’s going to come down to,” he said. “Republicans have to essentially sweep these races in order to win the majority, winning at least five of the six.”
Democrats still need to find candidates for three states where their incumbents are retiring: Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. If Republicans manage to win there, they would only need three of the six states mentioned by Bennett.
Georgia is expecting a very grueling GOP primary fight to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga). The intensity and financial cost of this primary might very well determine whether Republicans keep the seat.
Georgia Democrat Michelle Nunn announced her candidacy for the Senate earlier this month. Within just hours of the announcement, she raised over $80,000, just last week – $142,000, and her campaign is under three weeks old. She is the daughter of Sam Nunn, a centrist Democrat, who held this very seat for over 25 years.
Georgia Republicans need a solid candidate to ensure a victory in the still red-leaning state. The current candidates include U.S. Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga-10), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga-11), Jack Kingston (R-Ga-01) and former secretary of state Karen Handel.
Broun is considered most conservative of the bunch, and the party is reportedly worried he would alienate too many voters in a state-wide race.
Gingrey made some controversial statements earlier this year, when he defended Todd Akin’s comments about rape. With a female challenger on the Democratic side, Gingrey could be an unnecessary risk for Republicans.
Kingston does have a strong conservative voting record, but his weakness is something that Handel is already exploring: he has been in Washington for 20 years.
In addition, something that might motivate more Georgia Democrats to come out and vote for Nunn is a comment Kingston made in 2011 on Bill Maher’s show “Real Time” about evolution.
“I believe I came from God, not from a monkey,” he said publicly rejecting the concept of evolution.
Handel could perhaps be the safest pick for Georgia Republicans. She would do well running against another woman, and the only controversy she’s faced in recent years was over her pro-life push when working for the Susan G. Komen foundation. However, that story could strengthen her candidacy in Georgia where even Democrats support restrictions on abortion.