I 've been watching the early efforts of which Senate seats are up for grabs in 2014, and while it's still early, and there are always surprises, I think it's beginning to take shape.
The Crystal Ball 2014 Senate Map shows 2 States likely to switch from Dem to GOP
South Dakota Tim Johnson retiring, very solid Red state, Gov Mike Rounds, easy favorite.
West Virginia Jay Rockefeller retiring, First GOP Senate seat possibility in decades (1958)!
They also show toss-ups in 4 states :
Alaska Mark Begich, (Barely won in 2008, a very red leaning state)
Lousianna Mary Landrieu (Also very close in a red leaning state)
Montana Max Baucus, retiring.
Nancy Hagen, (Just barely beat Elizabeth Dole, in a surprise Obama win for NC)
At first blush ALL of those 6 seats should flip to "Red" in an off year, non-presidential Obama led election cycle. I believe all 6 have a GOP Governor, and a GOP Gov race in the same election cycle. As far as I know none of those Gov's are facing serious challenges yet.
So lets look at the next tier of races in the lightest blue shade:
Jeanine Shaheen, (a close win in 2008, vs John Sununu Jr.)
Minnesota Al Franken, (The ultimate nail-biter, against Norm Coleman recount was corrupted).
Iowa Tom Harkin, Retiring at last!! Lots of candidates considering a run.
Arkansas Mark Pryor, (Should be very vulnerable, just awaiting a solid Republican with $$ to run).
Michigan Carl Levin, Retired at last! Can Michigan find a suitable GOP that can win this state?
There are no GOP light "Red" states in play.
If John Kerry's Massachusetts seat doesn't flip to Gabriel Gomez in the special election next month, (June 25th). The GOP will still need to pick up 6 seats to take control of the US Senate. It certainly is within reach. I think if the wave similar to the 2010 wave is duplicated they could grab another 2 or 3.
The response to ObamaCare, Economics issues, and perhaps his mess in Benghazi could hurt the Dems across the country. The House seats seem to be pretty well defined I suspect a GOP pick-up of 5 seats..to as many 12 at the most. The Senate is primed for a big swing though.
I would think of the 5 light blue races the most flipable are in this order:
Just imagine the message that would be sent to the Obama camp if 6-11 seats flipped against him. That'd be a Shellacking for the ages! It would also demonstrate the TEA Party isn't gone..and would have completed it's takeover of the GOP core.
There have been over 10 Senate election cycles with more than 8 seat changes in the last 99 years. This includes the 1958 elections where the Dems took 16 seats from the GOP during Eisenhower's final mid-term. Several were 10 seat switches. One was 12 and another 11.