|Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-CA)|
Really Jon Tester couldn't be asking for a better turnout at the moment when it comes to winning Senate races. So far it seems like Barbara Boxer is the only Democrat that is likely to be retiring in 2016 (Barbara Mikulski and Harry Reid both may, but the former is a blue-state stronghold and the latter we might actually be better off with former Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto taking Reid's place) and in California it seems like basically everyone has rolled out the carpet for Kamala Harris to stroll to this Senate seat. The Republicans have admittedly kept most of their retirements at bay (though it still seems possible that Chuck Grassley or John McCain will skip running). However, the Democrats have already started lining up recruits.
It appears exceedingly likely, for example, that former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will take the plunge and run against Sen. Rob Portman, a major coup for the DSCC as Strickland has a wealth of experience and national networks, and this was the Obama state where the Democratic bench was basically absent, so getting a former governor who has run two close statewide campaigns is a coup. Speaking of national figures with statewide experience, it appears highly likely that Sen. Russ Feingold will seek a rematch against Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, one of the rare races where the challenger probably starts out in the lead considering Feingold's history statewide and Johnson's approval ratings (and the fact that Hillary Clinton is likely to win the blue state). And it seems like Rep. Tammy Duckworth is starting to emerge as a frontrunner against Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk in a must-win seat for the Democrats (it's the bluest state held by a Republican in the Senate and also Hillary Clinton's home state).
Democrats haven't quite landed some other key candidates, but they're catching some lucky breaks. In New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan appears to be on the fence about running for the Senate, but this is clearly a major ambition of hers and the fact that the NRSC is already going after her is telling. Democrats seem to be working to recruit either former Sen. Kay Hagan or State Treasurer Janet Cowell in North Carolina, and considering the national push that the Tar Heel State will surely see in 2016, it's very likely one of these two women make the entrance into the race. In Florida Democrats may have had a week's worth of good luck with it appearing more than likely that Marco Rubio will skip reelection in Florida to run for president, therefore opening up a seat in the Sunshine State when Rubio would have been a far tougher battle. It also appears that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a candidate that would be toxic in the general but very strong in the primary, could be embroiled in a scandal that will make the more palatable Rep. Patrick Murphy the nominee.
|Sec. of State Jason Kander (D-MO)|
Other Democrats appear interested in states that Mitt Romney won but could be competitive with the right candidates. In Missouri the DSCC got the best candidate possible in Secretary of State Jason Kander (it's worth noting that as recently as a few years ago the state swung regularly in presidential races and has voted for a Democrat statewide multiple times in the past decade, even if it's a McCain/Romney state). In Arizona Rep. Krysten Sinema is clearly interested in the seat, but seems to be figuring out whom her Republican opponent will be. Hell, even in ruby red South Dakota it appears the Democrats may have a blue chip recruit, as soon-to-be-former US Attorney Brendan Johnson may make a run at the Senate (he may also go for the House seat, but either way this would be a big win for Washington Democrats).
Not everything is admittedly sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (RIP Lesley Gore) for the Democrats, of course. It appears that the DSCC and Pennsylvania Democrats are less-than-enthused about a rematch between Sen. Pat Toomey and Rep. Joe Sestak. As I mentioned above, Harry Reid is running for reelection in a seat the Democrats might just wish was open (as Reid could have a Chuck Robb-sort of vibe in 2016). And it's worth noting that neither Maggie Hassan, Kay Hagan, nor Patrick Murphy have actually entered the race. However, the DSCC has to be feeling pretty peachy right now about the field that they're positioning-if Hillary Clinton runs and wins in 2016, the Senate Democrats are ready to take advantage of that victory.