There has been lots of speculation (including this column) on the future of Senator Thad Cochran in the 2014 election cycle. Whether he runs for reelection or not, Mississippi appears likely to send a Republican back to the Senate. Republicans are positioned well in the U.S. Senate for 2014 and require a net gain of six seats to reach a 51 seat majority. They don’t have to play much defense; the Democrats only hope to take a Republican seat appears to be Kentucky or Georgia, both of which are unlikely flips in “red states.”
The GOP will look to make pickups in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia where Democrats have retired and not yet recruited strong replacement candidates. Republicans will also need to knock off at least one Democratic incumbent in Alaska, Iowa, or North Carolina.
But necessary to any Republican controlled Senate in 2014 will be the Republican defeat of Democratic incumbents in two states neighboring Mississippi: Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu or Arkansas’s Mark Pryor.