(Providence, Rhode Island) – Even during the Congressional recess there is plenty to chat about. How about handicapping the 2014 U.S. Senate elections? But before that, we have one last political sex scandal to talk about before we move on.
"Eliot Spitzer and the Madam"- Former Governor Eliot Spitzer (D) New York, now has a commanding lead in his race for New York City Comptroller. Spitzer, who resigned from office after being caught hiring prostitutes, is trying to make a political comeback. Among his opponents is Kristin Davis, the madam who ran the Emperor's Club escort service in New York that provided Spitzer with his "dates." Davis, who was recently indicted on drug charges and doesn't really stand a chance at winning the seat said, "Gosh, it's going to be a fun race!" As always, you can't make this stuff up!
"Senate Odd and Ends" – Now to some races of real consequence, but perhaps, less amusement. Control of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs next year and Republicans have a real shot at taking charge. Right now the balance of power in the Senate is Democrats 54; Republicans 46. But next year Democrats are defending 21 seats, but the GOP is only defending 14. And, just as an aside, Mitt Romney carried seven of the states where Democrats are trying to defend a Senate seat. Again, Republicans have a huge chance here, but we've seen the party implode in the last couple of election cycles, so there's no guarantee.
"It's a Family Affair" – Two states where the GOP is trying to capture Democratic Senate seats, have been trending more conservative for some time. Arkansas and Louisiana could be Republican gains, but they'll have to beat to some well-known political names. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana has been in the Senate since 1997. Her dad is former New Orleans Mayor and HUD Secretary Moon Landrieu, and her brother Mitch is the current Mayor. A bit further north Senator Mark Pryor (D) Arkansas, is trying to hold a seat long held by his dad, former Governor and Senator David Pryor (D) Arkansas. Both states may be leaning more conservative these days, but a famous family name and political heritage can be a huge asset.
"Famous Names, Round II"- Georgia is another Southern state that has been trending more conservative for some time. Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss is retiring, and at least three fellow GOP members – including current Rep. Jack Kingston (R) Georgia – are eyeing a run. But Democrats have found a famous name of their own. Michelle Nunn, daughter of long time Senator San Nunn (D) Georgia, is making her bid. Her dad worked well with, and was respected by, many Republicans in Washington when he chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee. Extending that bipartisan tradition, Michelle is CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, founded by former President George H.W. Bush.
"Northern Exposure" – The Alaska Republican Party is looking for a candidate to take on Senator Mark Begich (D-AK). Begich also comes from a well-known political family as his dad was the late Rep. Nick Begich (D) Alaska. One name that keeps popping us is former Governor Sarah Palin (R) Alaska. Palin probably should have taken a shot at a Senate seat in 2010, at the height of her notoriety, but passed. The latest poll of a theoretical matchup in 2014 has 52 percent for Begich, to 40 percent for Palin. My guess is she makes too much money as a political pundit, to take a pay cut to the $174,000 Senate salary.
"My Old Kentucky Home" – Right now the biggest Senate race in the nation pits Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. It's already getting expensive and nasty. Painting McConnell as a Senate obstructionist Grimes said, "If doctors told Senator McConnell he had a kidney stone, he'd refuse to pass it." Ouch! In response McConnell noted that Grimes' father, a well-known Kentucky politician, had donated money to Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner's New York Mayoral race. Double ouch! Keep an eye on this race, it's just getting started and we have 15 months to go until Election Day!