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2014 On The Horizon - Part 2

For those who missed it, you can read the first post in this series here.
Because it is better to fight battles on your opponent's side of the field, our first focus will be retaking of the U.S. Senate.  As mentioned in the earlier post, of the 35 Senate seats to be decided in the 2014 election, Republicans would need a net gain of 6 to return to the majority. 
Maine would appear to be the only current Republican seat at risk based on most recent results.  Over the past two Presidential cycles 2008 & 2012, Obama carried the state by 17.1% & 15.1% respectively.  In the 2008 election, Sen. Susan Collins did buck the "wave trend" and received 61% of the vote.  This will be an interesting race because it should be a potential pickup for Democrats.  In the defensive mode that they will be in especially for Senate races, any seat that you can take away from the opponent moves them that much farther away from overtaking.
Initial thoughts: Sen. Collins (or any Republican should she decide not to run) will do well to run a campaign targeting issues of specific interest to Maine residents.  Identifcation, micro-targeting, and GOTV efforts for this race will go farther than depending upon the more National campaign that will be more focused on the Western & Southern states that could pave a Republican path to a Senate Majority.
As for Republican gains, Alaska, Arkansas, Louisana, Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia should be ripe for takeaways of currently-held Democratic seats.  In these states, Romney's minimum margin of victory was 13.5% (MT).  Obama's 2nd term planned action on Climate Change will do no favors for Democratic candidates in these states either.  All six are either energy-producers or directly along the path of the proposed KeystoneXL pipeline.  Add to that his intents on Gun Control, he could be an outright toxic figure in states that Democrats will have to win.  
Initial thoughts: Frankly, alot of people will need to be fired if Republicans fail to take these seats!  It will be an off-year election that typically favors the opposition & these states would appear to be stacked in the Republican's favor.  State organizations & campaigns for potential candidates need to begin now casting the spotlight onto these Democrats.  They offer a very early opportunity to begin fostering division and frustration among Democrats.  Recognizing their weakness, they will be slow to follow along with Obama's agenda which will draw focus (and possible challenge) from his former campaign organization now turned political advocacy group, Organizing For America.  In these states, candidates need to be honing their message while the heat is being turned up on the Incumbents!
Four other states (Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, & Virgina) are currently held by Democrats, but are obtainable targets for Republicans if they can effectively nationalize the mid-term elections.  Of the four, only NC went for Romney in 2012, but Obama's margins were not unsurmountable in any of them.  Frankly, these states represent a keen opportunity for Republicans to incubate strategic improvements to their campaigns, voter identification / targeting, & GOTV models.  Each would require solid candidates & campaigns that identify and target the specific voters who will turn out to vote for the Republican.  Models that prove successful in these states in 2014 should top the strategic lists in preparation for 2016!  
Initial thoughts: You want to win every game that you enter, but earning a split would be a very achievable goal.  Iowa (which based on Obama's recent history in the state) could be the most winnable of the set with the exception of North Carolina.  The KeystoneXL pipeline and the jobs that it would bring would be a very strong issue in Iowa.  Again, this could lead to dissention and division between Democrats in the state and Obama's political arm, Organizing For America, who will threatening Incumbents from their base.  
All told, the opportunity appears ripe.  The next step is to begin preparing the candidates and campaigns to lay the groundwork.  Put a smile on your face and Go to work!
As always, I love to hear your thoughts.  Are there states that I missed where there are Senate seats to be had?  Coming Soon - House races and Foundations In California.