David Weigel Asks, How Doomed Are Democrats in the Senate?

Today, Slate political writer David Weigel looks at early U.S. Senate race prognostications by Democratic strategists and finds -- surprise! -- that the Mark Pryor/Tom Cotton match-up figures prominently.

The article is based on a news conference by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It took place just a few hours after Little Rock-based Associated Press reporter Andrew DeMillo's story broke quoting a source that confirmed Republican Cotton's plans to run for Senate.

This was what Bennet had to deal with when he took his seat in front of the press corps. To his left, an LED screen displayed the map of 2014 Senate races, under the ominous slogan “Hand We Were Dealt.” To hold onto the Senate, Bennet’s party could only afford to lose five races. It took nine minutes for Bennet to address Arkansas.

“There are a number of Washington groups that were instrumental in recruiting Tom Cotton into this race,” he said in his calming monotone, somewhere on the tone scale between family doctor and late-night public radio host. “I think they’re going to regret somebody so ideological, [who was] just elected last year and thinks he deserves a promotion.” Later that day, Cotton would “likely” oppose a student loan compromise “because he doesn’t think students deserve support when they go to college.”

Pretty thin, but what else could he say? Anyone with a map handy can see how fragile the Democrats’ eight-seat Senate majority actually is.

Weigel rounds up all the scenarios facing Democrats in the Senate right here.

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