Starting 2014 with a few political predictions
1.) At least two perhaps as many four or even five incumbent Republican senators will lose their primaries to Tea party challengers. There are polls showing Thad Cochran (who has been in the senate since 1978) already behind challenger Chris McDaniel, a state senator, and that is many months before the primary. Lindsay Graham faces three different challengers in his primary and SC rules means a run-off between the top two vote getters most likely Graham and state senator Lee Bright. Milton Wolf, a radiologist who has never held political office(and is Obama’s second cousin twice removed), is giving Pat Roberts a run for his money in Kansas. In Tennessee, current senator former governor and presidential candidate Lamar Alexander also faces a tough challenge in state rep. Joe Carr.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Texas senator John Cornryn also face challenges although those are not so threatening.
2.) Hillary Clinton’s main challenger in the Democratic primaries, who will hit her from the left and be set up as the alternative to her, will be Maryland governor Martin O’Malley who has an excellent progressive record and who I expect to run sort of an Obama 2008 meets Howard Dean 2004 type of campaign. Elizabeth Warren is fantastic but she is very clear about not running for president and has not set up an exploratory committee or done anything to show she has changed her mind. Andrew Cuomo is sitting on the sidelines and may enter the race but only if Hillary does not. Former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer is in and is trying to position himself as an alternative to Hillary but there is no way he could be considered a progressive – Very anti-gun control, with foreign policy ties to neo-con organizations.
3.) Chris Christie’s bridge scandal will have legs and will drag on bleeding him out and permanently weakening him both as governor of New Jersey and as a future candidate for the presidency. 50/50 chance he does not even run for the presidency and if he does he will be out by the New Hampshire primary early next year, finished as a candidate. He has always been viewed with suspicion by the conservative wing of the Republican party, tea party folk do not like him, and winning the presidential nomination was always going to be an uphill battle for him.
I wrote more about Chris Christie here when discussing Mitt Romney’s VP choices http://rgdinmalaysia.blogspot.com/2012/04/handicapping-mitt-romneys-vice.html
Also I’m not going to predict this yet as it is far too early but I think the Democrats will keep control of the Senate and the Republicans will keep control of the House but with fewer seats of the majority party (espc. In the senate)