Rothenberg: Cory Gardner ‘May Be the Best GOP Challenger in the Country’

The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt features a curious memory lapse by Charlie Crist, a diagnosis of the comics industry’s rut, and then this reasonably cheery assessment of the GOP’s odds in the midterm elections:

Rothenberg: A GOP Gain of At Least 6 Senate Seats ‘Seems Very Possible’

Not much that Roll Call’s Stu Rothenberg writes in his latest column is all that surprising, but it’s nice to have our impressions confirmed by somebody outside the vast right-wing conspiracy.

Aside from a largely dismissed (on both sides of the aisle) New York Times/Kaiser Foundation April poll showing Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., with a double-digit lead over his challenger, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, surveys in the state have shown the race close for months. Some have had Pryor ahead, while others have shown Cotton leading.

My own reporting on the race leads me to believe that the contest is a statistical dead heat, though with Cotton holding a small advantage. (Not all of the polls, public and private, show this, of course.) . . . 

Barack Obama carried Iowa twice, so Democrats ought to have a narrow but clear advantage to hold retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin’s open seat. But the combination of an interesting Republican nominee, Joni Ernst, and Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley’s early missteps has smart Democrats fretting about the contest.

Polling shows the race extremely close now, and while Braley, a trial lawyer and four-term member of Congress, was expected to be the better campaigner in the contest, that has not been the case.

Finally, he notes, Colorado’s Cory “Gardner may well be the best GOP challenger in the country, and we are moving the race to Tossup/Tilts Democrat, which better reflects the overall competitiveness of the contest.”

What does this all mean? It means that if Republicans work their butts off for the next four months, and avoid any stupid mistakes, they’ll take the Senate.

Gardner’s in the hunt!

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