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Top Links: Kondik, Silver show tight race for control of Senate in 2014

Top story: Two men. Two analyses.
Majority Leader McConnell? Not yet. But maybe. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Majority Leader McConnell? Not yet. But maybe. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Top story: Two men. Two analyses. One inevitable conclusion: Republicans may take control of the Senate next year — “may” being an operative, Rorschach of a word at this moment.

  • That’s because Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Democrats took a big hit when Montana’s popular Democratic former governor, Brian Schweitzer, decided not to run for the open seat Democrats now hold. (The Fix)
  • As Silver says, this — plus possible wins of Dem-held seats in South Dakota and West Virginia — “gives Republicans a running start.” That is, three of the six seats they need to reach 51 seats. (Five Thirty-Eight)
  • Of course, both men pepper their reporting with caveats. As Kondik tweets, “Senate isn't quite a 'toss-up' yet - I'd still rather be Ds right now, if only b/c of Biden tiebreak - but it's close” (Kyle Kondik)
  • Democrats, meanwhile, may have to focus on underdog races where they’ve managed to attract strong candidates: Kentucky (vs. Sen. McConnell) and Georgia (open seat). (Roll Call)
  • The other thing to remember is message, which isn’t always Republicans' “thing.” And for 2014, Sen. McConnell tells us he has an old favorite lined up: Obamacare. Yup, Obamacare: the “fruitcake at Christmas” of GOP messaging. (Manu Raju)
  • “After smashing success of his "one term president" strategy in 2012, Mitch McConnell claims Obamacare will be No. 1 issue in 2014” (The Plum Line)
  • Of course, just because Republicans MAY win the Senate in 2014, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll hold it in 2016, where the map swings back to Democrats’ favor. (The Washington Examiner)
  • The Atlantic’s Matt O’Brien: “As usual, control of the Senate will come down to whether GOPers say things about rape” (Matthew O’Brien)