Fighting back in 2016: A (very) early list of Democratic congressional targets

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 30-11-2014-05-2008

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Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk of Illinois speaks to supporters after beating Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias for the Senate seat formally held by U.S. President Barack Obama, at an election night rally in Wheeling, Illinois November 2, 2

Sen. Mark Kirk (IL) is liable to be among the most endangered Republicans as the 2016 cycle heats up.

Absent a handful of runoffs in the state of Louisiana, the 2014 cycle is, for all intents and purposes, over.

For Democrats, it will be comforting to put the 2014 midterm cycle in the rearview mirror. It is virtually impossible for Democrats to describe the cycle as anything less than a major disappointment. It was a cycle in which it was universally assumed, given the nature of the Senate map and the fact that the class of 2008 was a disproportionately Democratic class, that continued Democratic control of the U.S. Senate was going to be an uphill climb. The final outcome, however, was marginally worse than all but the most dire forecasts, with Republicans seizing every tossup race.

When all is said and done, absent a major upset (in the form of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu somehow holding onto her seat in Louisiana), the Democrats will have surrendered a total of nine Senate seats in the midterms, in addition to 13 seats in the U.S. House.

That not only makes 2014 a forgettable cycle, but it has real-world implications for 2016. When the consensus was that a Republican majority would wind up being comprised of 51-52 senators, that meant that Democrats would only need to pick off one to three seats in 2016 (depending, of course, on the presidential outcome). After the slightly larger-than-expected gains for the GOP, however, now the Democrats need to pick up at least four, and possibly five, Senate seats. Meanwhile, while the current series of House maps render a Democratic majority unlikely, the poor 2014 cycle means that Democrats now have gone from a rigorous hill to climb to a majority (17 seats) to a virtually insurmountable mountain (30 seats).

Still, major gains (and, yes, perhaps even a majority) are very possible in 2016. Follow past the fold to look at the best prospects for a Democratic congressional renaissance in the 2016 election cycle.

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