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How Republicans Saved Senate Democrats In 2014

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Two years from now, the Senate Democrats who rode the 2008 wave into office will face re-election. In theory, this provides the GOP with large pick-up opportunities. Democrats will be defending seats everywhere they'd rather not fight: in Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and West Virginia -- just to name a few.

Offsetting that, there's only one moderate Republican up for re-election in 2014 -- the only moderate Republican left in the Senate, for that matter -- Susan Collins (R-ME). And her seat is likely safe unless she retires.

The outcome in 2014 will of course depend on external factors -- the economy first among them -- and on whether Democratic voters learned anything in 2010 about the perils of shrugging off a midterm election. But until very late in the 2012 cycle it looked like Democrats were going to lose seats, if not control of the Senate, on Tuesday. Their new, unexpected five seat buffer, and the GOP's penchant for nominating unelectable Senate candidates, means they're not destined to lose power two years from now.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com