U.S Senate: 8 Open Seats (6D, 2R)
Georgia: Saxby Chambliss (R)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, currently serving his second term, has announced that he is sick of partisan politics and will not be seeking a third term. He was also one of the more vulnerable Republicans up in 2014 and was expected to face a primary challenger from the right. This is traditionally a conservative seat, but a contentious Republican primary could make this more competitive. Currently there are four Republican candidates vying for the nomination-Reps. Paul Broun (R), Phil Gingrey (R) and Jack Kingston (R), and Secretary of State Karen Handel (R). There are no declared Democratic challengers yet. Rep. John Barrow (D) has declined to run, though Michele Nunn (D), daughter of former GA Senator Sam Nunn, could potentially enter. Georgia is a conservative state, but an ugly Republican primary could create an opportunity for a credible Democrat.
Iowa: Tom Harkin (D)
Currently serving in his fifth term, 73 year old Sen. Tom Harkin has cited age as his primary reason to retire. The frontrunner on the Democratic side is Rep. Bruce Braley (D), from Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, who has been endorsed by Harkin. On the Republican side, several Republican potentials have all declined to run, including Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds (R), Rep. Tom Latham (R) and Rep. Steve King (R), leaving the race wide open. Harkin’s departure leaves the Chairmanship of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions open, assuming the Democrats keep control of the Senate.
Michigan: Carl Levin (D)
After 34 years in office, the current Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Carl Levin has announced his retirement. Rep. Gary Peters (D) has announced his Senate candidacy and is not expected to face any serious Democratic competition. There are no declared candidates on the Republican side yet, but Reps. Mike Rogers (R) and Justin Amash (R) have both been floated as potentials.
Montana: Max Baucus (D)
Sen. Baucus is the most recent Senator to announce his retirement from the Senate. He has served six terms and is chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, but was expected to face a tough race in 2014 – Montana is a red leaning state that went to Romney in 2012. This may be a difficult seat for Democrats to hold on to, though they are currently courting Brian Schweitzer (D), a popular former Governor. Possible Republican candidates include Rep. Steve Daines (R), former Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) and former Gov. Marc Raicot (R).
Nebraska: Mike Johanns (R)
The least senior Senator on this list, Sen. Mike Johanns has announced his retirement after serving only one term in the Senate. This seat is expected to stay Republican. Candidates include current Gov. Dave Heineman (R) who is term limited, and all three Nebraska Congressmen, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R), Adrian Smith (R) and Lee Terry (R).
New Jersey: Frank Lautenberg (D)
89 year old Sen. Frank Lautenberg has decided it is finally time to retire. Just as Nebraska is a safe Republican seat, New Jersey is expected to stay in Democratic hands. Newark Mayor Corey Booker (D) garnered a lot of attention when he announced his intention to run for the seat before Lautenberg’s decision to retire, but he could face a formidable primary challenger in Rep. Frank Pallone (D).
South Dakota: Tim Johnson (D)
This was an expected retirement; Sen. Tim Johnson suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2006 and is still recuperating. This does, however, give Republicans another shot at gaining a seat. South Dakota trends red and Romney carried it in 2012. It also appears that top tier Democrats will not be running for the seat, including Former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) and Johnson’s son, Brendan Johnson (D). The potential Democratic candidate right now is Rick Weiland (D), former aide and friend of former Sen. Tom Daschle. On the Republican side, possible candidates are former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R). Johnson’s departure also leaves the Chairmanship to the Senate Banking Committee available, assuming the Democrats can keep control of the Senate.
West Virginia: Jay Rockefeller (D)
Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s retirement from the Senate gives the Republicans another good chance at a seat pickup – Romney won West Virginia by 27 points. The five term Senator is also another long-serving Senator giving up a chairmanship, this time on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R) has already announced her candidacy and seems to have the Republicans rallying around her. There are no announced Democratic candidates yet, but names being floated include attorney Nick Preservati (D), a pro coal businessman, state Supreme Court of Appeals Justice Robin Davis (D) and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D).