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For Auld Lang Syne

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 17: The 14 Days To New Year's '14' unveiling at Times Square Visitor Center on December 17, 2013 in New York City.
National Journal
Julie Sobel, Karyn Bruggeman, Scott Bland and Steven Shepard
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Julie Sobel Karyn Bruggeman and Scott Bland and Steven Shepard
Dec. 23, 2013, 6:45 a.m.

On Fri­day, we shared what we learned in 2013. Today, for our fi­nal is­sue of the year, we look for­ward to 2014 with our Fear­less Pre­dic­tions for the year ahead.

No Sen­ate in­cum­bent will lose a primary: Sen. Thad Co­chran (R-MS) is the most vul­ner­able, with out­side groups lin­ing up quickly be­hind his con­ser­vat­ive chal­lenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R). But Co­chran, 76, seemed en­er­gized by the chal­lenge when he an­nounced he’d run again. Sen. Bri­an Schatz (D-HI) faces Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), but Schatz put some dis­tance between the two in third-quarter fun­drais­ing, a sign that he may be con­sol­id­at­ing Demo­crat­ic sup­port. We think former Michigan Sec­ret­ary of State Terri Lynn Land‘s (R) chances to be­come the first Re­pub­lic­an to win a Sen­ate race in Michigan since 1994 are in­creas­ing.

Demo­crats will mount a strong chal­lenge in the Kan­sas gubernat­ori­al race: Gov. Sam Brown­back (R) and con­ser­vat­ives have wrestled con­trol of the state GOP from a cadre of mod­er­ate Re­pub­lic­ans in the mold of Bob Dole and Nancy Kasse­baum. An auto­mated-tele­phone poll this fall showed state House Minor­ity Lead­er Paul Dav­is (D) nar­rowly ahead of Brown­back, and that was be­fore a group of mod­er­ates an­nounced they were form­ing a co­ali­tion to op­pose Brown­back’s agenda, with some threat­en­ing to unite be­hind Dav­is. In oth­er GOV races, we think Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn‘s (D) luck holds, and he wins reelec­tion des­pite low ap­prov­al rat­ings. And we think Re­pub­lic­ans un­der­es­tim­ate Texas state Sen. Wendy Dav­is (D) at their own per­il.

Obama’s ap­prov­al rat­ing won’t re­bound with a re­cov­er­ing eco­nomy: The un­em­ploy­ment rate in Novem­ber is at its low­est point in five years, and yet Pres­id­ent Obama re­mains mired in the low 40s. Voters tell poll­sters that the eco­nomy is their No. 1 is­sue, but their per­cep­tions of the eco­nomy are out of line with the over­all data that show grow­ing GDP and shrink­ing un­em­ploy­ment. Blame for that lies with grow­ing in­equal­ity and in­creas­ing po­lar­iz­a­tion.

That’s just a small taste of what we’re ex­pect­ing in 2014. Merry Christ­mas and Happy New Year; we’ll see you back here on Janu­ary 2nd.

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