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Republicans struggle to find decent Senate candidates

April 29, 2013, at 12:12 PM

Republicans need to win just six seats to gain control of the U.S. Senate in next year's election, but the AP reports that the GOP is struggling mightily to recruit candidates.

The 2014 elections represent a big chance for Republicans as Democrats will be defending 21 seats to Republicans' 14. In addition, retirement announcements by several senior Democrats — in Iowa, Michigan, and Montana — have given the GOP a chance to not face an incumbent.

But so far there's been a combination of lack of interest from prospective Republican candidates and a lack of consensus in the party on who might be the best candidate.

The GOP is desperately trying to avoid the embarrassing defeats they suffered last year in Indiana and Missouri by nominating bad Senate candidates.

National Republicans especially worry about Georgia, where Reps. Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey — two of the most conservative lawmakers in the House of Representatives — look set to face off in an epic primary battle that could dissuade moderate voters in the general election.

Making matters worse, it looks like Democrats are moving quickly to find tough candidates to defend the open seats. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) seems to have frozen out other possible contenders in Iowa while Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has done the same in Michigan. In Montana, there is speculation that former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is gearing up for a Senate bid.

Only in West Virginia did Republicans get their preferred candidate when Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.) quickly announced she would run for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.)

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