May 18th, 2014
09:02 AM ET
2 months ago

The "Inside Politics" Forecast: For Democrats, optimism is spelled M-A-R-K

CNN's John King and other top political reporters empty out their notebooks each Sunday on "Inside Politics" to reveal five things that will be in the headlines in the days, weeks and months ahead.

1. FOR DEMOCRATS, OPTIMISM IS SPELLED M-A-R-K

Still a tough year for Democrats, but Julie Pace of The Associated Press shared word that the party feels a bit better about the prospect of retaining its Senate majority because of two incumbents who share a first name.

Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska are both looking stronger in recent polling, lifting Democratic spirits. Neither of these incumbents is out of the woods. Hardly. But Democrats like the current trend line in both races.

In Pryor’s case, Julie reported that his team feels it recently did a good job navigating the “Obama factor” by appearing with the president when he went down to Arkansas to survey the tornado damage.

“This was a smart move by Pryor,” said Pace. “It allows him to push back against critics who say that he’s running away from the president but also appears with him in a setting that will make it tough for his opponents to use it against him.”

2. JEB COURTING EVANGELICALS

Robert Costa of The Washington Post noted that Jeb Bush appeared to be thinking about 2016 when he scheduled his one commencement address this spring.

Grove City College is a small Christian liberal arts school about 65 miles north of Pittsburgh. Former First Lady Laura Bush gave the commencement address there in 2011.

“It is a Republican area and it’s also in the Rust Belt in Western Pennsylvania,” said Costa. “And for him to pick that strategic area is perhaps an interesting sign of what’s on his mind.”

While Jeb was speaking to evangelicals in Pennsylvania on Saturday, he was tweeting about the Brown vs. The Board of Education anniversary:

3. McCONNELL LIKELY TO GET HIS “CRUSH” BUT NO LONG PARTY

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell appears headed for a big win Tuesday over Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin, according to private but reliable polling and conversations with several GOP operatives closely involved with the Kentucky race.

It would be a key personal milestone as McConnell pursues his promise – made a while back to Carl Hulse of The New York Times – to “crush” the Tea Party “everywhere” this midterm year.

But don’t expect too long of a McConnell victory lap. He would immediately launch into a tough campaign against Democrat Allison Grimes. Sensing an opportunity to defeat a sitting GOP leader, Grimes is getting a lot of help and interest from Democratic leaning organizations.

Strategists in both parties say total spending on the race could surpass $100 million, which would make it by far the most expensive House or Senate campaign in history.

4. GEORGIA BRACES FOR POSSIBLE TEA PARTY VS ESTABLISHMENT WAR

Politico’s Manu Raju, fresh back from Georgia, laid out the potential for another internal GOP family feud in the state after the upcoming Tuesday primary.

There’s a packed Senate GOP field, and the top two candidates will then wage a nine-week runoff campaign.

Atop the field at the moment are businessman David Purdue, GOP Rep. Jack Kingston and former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel.

The Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Kingston, and launched TV ads on his behalf, while also making clear it could support Purdue if he emerged as the GOP candidate.

Sarah Palin is a backer of Handel, and Manu reported that if she makes the runoff, several anti-establishment conservative groups are planning to jump in and give her campaign a spending boost and make this another Tea Party vs. Establishment war.

One of the Chamber of Commerce ads supporting Kingston:

5. FOOD FIGHT COMING TO A LEGISLATURE NEAR YOU

The Atlantic’s Molly Ball shared reporting about a political food fight that is about to go national.

Genetically modified foods are at issue, and Molly reports on a grassroots movement seeking state laws requiring labeling and other notices when foods contain GMOs – genetically modified organisms.

Vermont was the first state to pass such a labeling law this month, and Molly reports there are now some 84 different versions of similar proposals being considered in 29 state legislatures. Not to mention proposals in Congress.

A Reuters photo of GMO food protestors at a march in New York from Molly’s article:

food protest


Filed under: Inside Politics
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. clyde

    Karen Handel is bout as dumd as Palin. i wish she would win the primary then we would have dem. senator from Ga. Go Michelle Nunn

    May 18, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. guitarken

    Is Sarah Palin going after the National Joke vote?

    May 18, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  3. Jerry Whitcomb

    A lot of left-wing haters on here. Maybe you all should see your doctor......oh wait.......you can't see YOUR doctor anymore. Maybe you should immerse yourself in your work......oh wait.......only 62.5% of us are working so odds are, being a liberal, you don't have a job. Okay...okay.....just go for a long, relaxing drive..........of course the gas will cost you twice what it did back when Bush and Cheney were in office.

    May 18, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Vijay

    After 2014 election, all the conservatives nuts are going to settle in North Korea.

    May 18, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Bill Davis

    What now, she can see Georgia from her house?

    May 18, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. pjoe

    If Democrats win Senate and Republicans hold on to House, Obama will continue being a lame duck.

    If Republicans win both Senate & House, Obama may turn into a decent President ... it worked for Clinton.

    May 18, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Locutis2112

    Liberals....scared are'nt you...you should be

    May 18, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. clownshoes Mcgun from Kentucky

    I thought Palin's 15 minutes of fame were up. People still listen to what that dimwit has to say?

    I swear the GOP might now win another election for president in my lifetime they keep allowing idiots like this in.

    May 18, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. blf83

    From her porch in Alaska all the way through Russia?

    May 18, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  10. Bill

    Hey Sarah, go back to watching Russia from your house.

    May 18, 2014 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. cleareye1

    With people like Palin and Cheney speaking about politics how can the Democrats lose? Keep them talking!

    May 18, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. happynurse

    sarah palin please just go away...............please

    May 18, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. dave

    oh yea Barry has done so much better than Palin would have.... says the handout takers

    May 18, 2014 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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