The 2014 Elections: An Early Forecast

This is one of a series of posts from the Congressional Update

As we talked about earlier this morning, the 113th Congress has passed a historically low number of bills. For this and other reasons, it’s not a surprise that some members of Congress are deciding not to run for reelection in 2014. Here is the so-called “casualty list” of sitting members of Congress who have announced their retirements:

House (16 total: 6 Democrats, 10 Republicans)
Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., 66, 11 terms
Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., 57, 4 terms
John Campbell, R-Calif., 58, 5 terms
Howard Coble, R-N.C., 82, 15 terms
Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., 58, 6 terms
Tim Griffin, R-Ark., 45, 2 terms
Tom Latham, R-Iowa, 65, 10 terms
Jim Matheson, D-Utah, 53, 7 terms
Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., 70, 9 terms
Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., 57, 9 terms
Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., 75, 11 terms
George Miller, D-Calif., 68, 20 terms
James P. Moran, D-Va., 68, 12 terms
Bill Owens, D-N.Y., 64, 2 terms
Jon Runyan, R-N.J., 40, 2 terms
Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., 74, 17 terms

Senate (7 total: 5 Democrats, 2 Republicans)
Max Baucus, D-Mont., 71, 6 terms
Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., 70, 2 terms
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, 74, 5 terms
Mike Johanns, R-Neb., 62, 1 term
Tim Johnson, D-S.D., 67, 3 terms
Carl Levin, D-Mich., 79, 6 terms
Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., 76, 5 terms

As the 2014 mid-terms begin to take shape, Republicans have greater unfavorability ratings and more “brand” problems than Democrats. But despite these issues, the GOP is still likely to gain seats in the House and Senate in 2014. This is due in part to what is known as the “six year itch.” The party of  second term presidents usually don’t do well in mid-terms. As the projections indicate right now, Republicans would have to make serious tactical errors in order for Democrats to win Republican seats in 2014.

But there is still a lot of time between now and next November. Republicans need to quickly offer an alternative vision for fixing the Affordable Healthcare Act if they are going to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction over the coming months. Democrats face trouble if they cannot get turnout from young voters in a non-presidential election year.

A version of this talk is also given in the Congressional Operations Seminar.
Thank you to everyone who attended today’s Congressional Update.