If the election were held today, Republicans would likely pick up five or six seats in the U.S. Senate, according to a recent analysis by Alan I. Abramowitz.
While the difference between five and six seats is tiny, it’s massive in consequence. The larger number would give Republicans control of the Senate and trigger a nightmare of investigations, standoffs and obstruction that would make the tumultuous last six years seem like a paragon of comity, as both houses of Congress could be used to oppose President Obama in every conceivable way.
So Democrats must plan for every contingency to limit their losses, as they defend the abundance of seats they won in 2008, to no more than five. One strategy that will inevitably make it into the playbook is meddling in GOP primaries.
While it appeared that it was just dumb luck that Todd Akin self-destructed just weeks before the 2012 election, the congressman’s primary win was abetted by his future opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, who ran an ad touting Akin’s conservative credentials.
Could history repeat itself in 2014? Here are five Republican candidates that Democrats hope win their nominations and then say just the right thing to cost their party a seat, or possibly the Senate.