Chatter: Sabato's crystal ball says McConnell in '14; Chris Matthews predicts Paul as GOP presidential nominee

08/08/2013 10:49 AM

University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato and his “crystal ball” team are predicting that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell will win re-election in 2014.

Despite GOP challenger Matt Bevin’s tea party-backed primary challenge and early polling showing Democrat Alsion Lundergan Grimes neck-and-neck against McConnell Sabato said the Senate Republican leader should win a sixth term next year.

“We’re keeping this race as “likely Republican.” We favor McConnell to win both his primary on May 20, 2014, and his sixth term in the fall general election,” Sabato and his team said in the ratings update.

The chief reasons: McConnell’s extensive campaign coffers offer him the opportunity to fight an early ad war with Bevin and “put in some early work to keep his challenger at arm’s length.”

The group cautioned that the “likely Republican” rating put on the race does not mean that the end result won’t be close.

“Rather, it suggests that we still think McConnell is a clear favorite to win, even if it’s only by a percentage point or two.”

Could a single issue defeat McConnell? The New Republic thinks so

The New Republic has been spending some time in Kentucky and the publication came away with a single issue they think could swing the entire 2014 election towards presumptive Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes: the minimum wage.

Grimes invokes a line on the minimum wage in nearly every campaign speech she delivers.

“Your voting time after time against increasing the minimum wage. All the while you increase your pay and quadruple your net worth stops now,” Grimes said at Fancy Farm over the weekend about McConnell.

From the New Republic’s Alec MacGillis, who covered Fancy Farm:

The politics of the issue are particularly interesting given its potential for bringing back into the Democratic coalition some of the downscale white voters who have famously been deserting the party for years now, particularly in the South and Appalachia. In Washington, Republicans may see minimum wage increases as a sop to the Democrats’ minority base, but in Kentucky, which is only eight percent black and where poverty is most endemic in the state’s mostly-white eastern Appalachian end, it’s an issue that applies no less to whites. If Grimes can use the issue to bring onto her side some of the legions of working-class whites who have been tilting Republican in national elections or, more likely, simply sitting elections out, it would be a harbinger that all is not necessarily lost for Democrats in that whole swath of the country. It’ll also be reason to ask: Why is the party only now playing this card?

MSNBC host predicts Rand Paul for GOP presidential nominee in 2016

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the host of “Hardball,” predicted last night that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul will be the GOP presidential nominee come 2016. Matthews laid out his case based on historic inner party conflicts surrounding when to run hardline candidates versus moderate candidates.

Watch his prediction here:


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