Midterm Elections 2014: Three Races That Are Already Kicking Off


We are just barely into the spring of 2013, and the political parties are already at it for 2014. Obviously buoyed by the current popularity ranking of Congress, both sides are throwing money at some up for "up for grab" seats.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is already making an ad buy in seats where they believe the Democrat is vulnerable. While the TV stations in those areas are probably jumping for joy at the surprise injection of advertising cash, citizens might not be so keen. No doubt many TV viewers would welcome a cockroach in the kitchen over this development.

Not all Democrats targeted merit TV ads. Some clearly only muster a need for online ads.

Some of these targets make some sense, with the incumbent looking weak and the district being "up for grabs." Others? Not so much.

Patrick Murphy, who beat Tea Party hero favorite Representative Allen West in Florida, looks to be in for a bit of a race. No doubt the ire of those who adore Col. West will summon plenty of outside funds. West's reluctance to accept the result did not seem to affect Republican standing in the district.

Larry Sabato, a noted political observer and author of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, notes  that he considers Murphy the "most vulnerable" incumbent in the country.

"Patrick Murphy (FL-18; Romney 52%, Obama 48%) – National tides could decide the fate of freshman Murphy, who beat ex-Rep. Allen West (R) in a vicious, high-profile race last year."

In Arizona, Ron Barber has not made his seat as invulnerable as you would expect, considering he replaced Gabrielle Giffords after her terrible ordeal at the hands of madman with a gun. Clearly affection for her has not transferred well for him:

"Ron Barber (AZ-2; 2012 presidential result: Romney 50%, Obama 48%) — One of the surprises of Election Night 2012 was how close Barber, who won a special election to replace his former boss Gabrielle Giffords (D), came to losing to Air Force veteran Martha McSally (R)."

One surprise not on the list of ad buys is Arizona's Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a "toss-up" in Sabato’s opinion. As he states,

"A 2010 casualty who bounced back to reclaim her seat last November, Kirkpatrick — like Barber — will likely attract a strong challenger."

According to The Fix, she is the ninth most vulnerable congressperson in the country.

"Kirkpatrick is returning to Congress after a three-point win over Republican challenger Jonathan Paton. Redistricting gave Kirkpatrick a more favorable 1st District to run in, but it’s still clearly Republican-leaning, and Paton showed Republicans can compete with her there."

Barber and Murphy rank higher in that particular list of most vulnerable, but they seem to be a popular couple of likely pick-ups for the GOP in 2014.

It remains to be seen how much the occupants of the most vulnerable Democratic seats will change between now and November 2014. We see if there is a backlash against those politicians and parties that start campaigning too early by the voting public.