A well-respected political analyst told a Lawrence audience Tuesday night that Republicans appear likely to take command of the U.S. Senate following this year's midterm elections.
Charlie Cook, an election forecaster who founded The Cook Report, a non-partisan publication, appeared in front of over 100 people at the Dole Institute of Politics Tuesday to share his impressions of near-future elections.
Cook said the deck is stacked against Democrats this year, with a disproportionate amount of their seats up for election in traditionally conservative states. He said there are six seats where the respective state sided for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 14 points or more in 2012.
Six seats are all the GOP needs for majority rule.
"The map just works really, really, really against Democrats," Cook said.
But where Democrats may find more success, Cook said, is in gubernatorial races. He explained that the last time these seats were up for election, in 2010, was a time when Republicans had plenty more momentum than their opponents, resulting in some GOP candidates winning under "extraordinary circumstances."
Now, some of those incumbents — specifically in Michigan, Florida and Ohio, Cook said — have a "unique vulnerability."
Where that vulnerability may not reach, however, is Kansas, according to Cook, where Paul Davis, the state house minority leader, has emerged as the principle Democratic challenger to Gov. Sam Brownback.
Although Cook admitted to not having first-hand knowledge of the gubernatorial election in the state, he still said the race currently didn't look competitive, but has "some potential."
"There's some reason to believe it could possibly get competitive," he said. "It's pretty hard for a Democrat to win state-wide (in Kansas)."
Cook also offered a forecast for likely 2016 presidential candidates. He estimated there to be a 70 percent chance that former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would decide to run, which he believed would persuade Vice President Joe Biden not to.
From the GOP, Cook predicted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will not recover from the scandal revolving around the lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. He said the most likely Republican presidential nominee out of the senate would be Rand Paul of Kentucky, and the most likely nominee out of the pool of governors would be Scott Walker of Wisconsin.