Following former Gov. Brian Schweitzer's decision not to run for Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat this weekend, New York Times polling guru Nate Silver predicted Monday that Republicans will hold 50 to 51 seats in the upper chamber after all ballots are counted in the 2014 Congressional mid-term elections.
Silver hedges in his prediction by reminding his readers that the outcome will be affected by several factors, namely local variables, the quality of candidates yet chosen by both Democrats and Republicans, economic indicators and President Barack Obama's approval rating.
It is equally important to look for early indications of whether G.O.P. primary voters will be more tolerant of moderate and “main street” Republicans than they were in 2010 and 2012. A strong set of Republican nominees could give the party as many as a dozen credible opportunities to pick up the seats they need – whereas a weaker series of candidates could require them to win almost all of the races that remained competitive after the primaries.
Read Silver's full state-by-state analysis here.