Senate Control In Limbo Until 2015?

Election Day 2014 is just eight days away, but control of the Senate might not be known for two more months. 

Observers and pundits on both sides expect Louisiana's Senate race to go to a December runoff between Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy.

However, less attention is being paid to Amanda Swafford, the Georgia Libertarian who could deny Senate candidates in her state a required 50 percent majority on Election Day.

Georgia's runoff wouldn't occur until Jan. 6, the day after the new Congress is set to meet. Could these Southern states block the one thing every election watcher truly wants: a clear answer on the morning of Nov. 5?

The runoffs pose challenges for both parties, not just coordinating logistics and new spending, but motivating volunteers and voters all over again, along with crafting an effective message and strategy under untested and unusual circumstances.

Republicans admit while their supporters are more enthusiastic than Democrats, turning them out to the polls during an oddly scheduled runoff election might be more of a challenge. 

Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s (R-Ga.) 2008 runoff, noted Democratic voters are typically consolidated around urban centers, but Republicans are scattered throughout the state’s rural areas.

“It's probably easier if you're a Democrat to round up the voters than it is for Republicans,” he said.

That’s where enthusiasm for Republicans, in both states, becomes paramount. O’Connell noted that, in 2008 Chambliss brought in high-powered surrogates to draw attention to his candidacy, a tactic that becomes even more important when the fight is drawn out over three months.

Read more from Alexandra Jaffe at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy