SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

March 14, 2014

Benton: GOP sees hope in Senate, House

Republicans nationwide are, no doubt, hoping that this week’s special House election in Florida is a sign of good things to come in the fall.

The GOP’s David Jolly narrowly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a hard-fought race for the Tampa Bay area’s 13th District. Although the seat has been in Republican hands for the past four decades, both parties have almost the same number of registered voters in the district, and a majority favored President Barack Obama over the Republican candidate in both the 2008 and 2012 elections.

Tuesday’s win gave the GOP reason to hope that this might be the year they not only retain their majority in the House, but take control of the U.S. Senate, as well. Time Magazine noted this week: “The Republicans need to pick up six seats to retake the Senate and can likely count on three — in South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia — already. That leaves Democrats praying for at least six wins in eight states, unless they get lucky somewhere they haven’t won in a long time.”

One state you can bet Democrats aren’t worried about, however, is Massachusetts.

Writing on Boston Magazine’s website this week, columnist David Bernstein notes that a poll of political activists and observers reveals that most believe Democrats will retain their stranglehold on state constitutional offices and seats in the U.S. House this year. While the GOP’s Charlie Baker is given a 50-50 shot at winning the governorship, the only Republican seen as having a chance of upsetting one of the Democratic House incumbents is Wakefield’s Richard Tisei.

“Although some insiders say that midterm turnout should help Tisei, compared with the 2012 Barack Obama/Elizabeth Warren Democratic surge, slightly more suspect that (John) Tierney will be tougher to beat as memories of his wife and in-laws’ legal troubles recede.” Bernstein notes.

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