Statistician Nate Silver issued a chilling prediction for Democrats this weekend: Republicans have better-than-even odds of picking up the Senate this fall.

Evidence of just how troubling Silver’s forecast was for Democrats came early Monday morning when the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out a memo in which executive director Guy Cecil sought to debunk Silver’s logic.

While Cecil touted Democratic turnout investments and the party’s offensive opportunities, he didn’t refute Silver’s central premise, and in fact admitted that “we have a challenging map and important work still to do in order to preserve our majority.”

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The mere fact that the DSCC took the prediction seriously enough to refute it with an extensive memo, attention they don’t typically pay to nonpartisan election forecasters, is an indication of how tough 2014 looks for the party just over seven months out from Election Day.

And it had Republicans gleeful over what they saw as a desperate effort to spin away reality.

“Desperation never is a good sign in politics, and Democrats look increasingly desperate,” wrote National Republican Senatorial Committee spokeswoman Brook Hougesen in a morning email to reporters.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN 

KOCHS: Democratic opposition research shop American Bridge released a new Web ad that looks to raise questions about the credibility of the ads that the Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity is running in a handful of competitive Senate states.

AK-SEN (BEGICH): Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice defends her former employee, Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan (R), from attacks of carpet-bagging in a new ad from American Crossroads, the first time the group has gotten involved in a competitive GOP primary and one of Rice’s first endorsements of the 2014 election cycle. 

HI-SEN (SCHATZ): Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) released his first ad of his primary battle with Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii). In the ad, featuring his multiracial extended family, Schatz says "protecting Social Security is a commitment I keep for my loved ones — and for yours." The ad is running statewide.

IL-SEN (DURBIN/KIRK 2016): Sen. Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ill.) said he won’t campaign against Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Overnight Health Care: Watchdog finds DEA allowed more opioids even as overdose deaths rose | Judge temporarily blocks Georgia abortion law | Three states report more vaping deaths | Dem proposes new fix for surprise medical bills During impeachment storm, senators cross aisle to lessen mass incarceration MORE (D-Ill.) this year, saying he wants to avoid “partisan jihad.” Kirk and Durbin have a good relationship, but the move might be more about 2016 than 2014. Durbin is facing a hard-right candidate who has little chance of winning, while Kirk could face a tough reelection battle in the Democratic state — and convincing Durbin not to go all-in against him could help boost Kirk’s chances.

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): A group supporting Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump-GOP tensions over Syria show signs of easing Trump again vetoes resolution blocking national emergency for border wall Trump invites congressional leaders to meeting on Turkey MORE’s (R-Ky.) reelection bid launched a radio ad touting his record on coal, a central part of Kentucky’s economy and a key issue in the Senate race there.

CO-SEN (UDALL): Despite previously supporting personhood efforts — in particular, co-sponsoring bills that would define life as occurring at the moment of fertilization — Rep. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong GOP braces for impeachment brawl Republicans wrestle with impeachment strategy MORE (R-Colo.) told the Denver Post that he can’t support similar efforts going forward because he now realizes they could restrict or ban some forms of contraception. “To do it again would be a mistake,” he said of his previous support for the measures. Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallPoll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Colorado candidates vying to take on Gardner warn Hickenlooper they won't back down MORE’s (D-Colo.) campaign hammered Gardner for what it deemed an “election-year stunt,” and the apparent reversal looks likely to gain legs in the competitive race as Democrats focus in on women’s issues as a central line of attack.

NE-SEN (OPEN): Nebraska Republican Senate candidate Shane Osborn is tackling fresh controversy surrounding his military service as a local report raises questions about an apparent Navy-issued memo defending him. Meanwhile, the Washington Examiner reports that some political observers are "perplexed" at the heavy backing his main opponent, Ben Sasse, is getting from conservatives, pointing to the fact he still owns a home just outside of D.C. and his work in the Bush administration as evidence he doesn’t fit the typical conservative candidate profile.

 

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

GA-10 (OPEN), IN-2 (WALORSKI): The Susan B. Anthony List Candidate Fund, a group that mostly backs Republican women who oppose abortion rights, endorsed Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Georgia House candidate Donna Sheldon (R). Walorski is favored in her GOP-leaning district, while Sheldon is in a crowded GOP primary to replace Rep. Paul BrounPaul Collins BrounJoe Lieberman's son running for Senate in Georgia California lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment Republican candidates run against ghost of John Boehner MORE (R-Ga.), who is running for the Senate.

HI-1 (OPEN): Former Rep. Charles Djou (R-Hawaii) likely will run for his old seat, giving Republicans an outside chance at the heavily Democratic district. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), who beat Djou in 2010 and 2012, is running for the Senate.

IL-10 (SCHNEIDER): National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) will headline a fundraiser for former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), who's seeking to make a comeback against freshman Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.). 

NC-3 (JONES): The GOP group Ending Spending is hitting Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) with a new ad. "After almost 20 years in Washington he's forgotten us," the ad says. Jones is facing former George W. Bush aide Taylor Griffin (R) in his primary.

TN-3 (FLEISCHMANN): Businessman Weston Wamp, the Republican challenging Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannTrump faces new hit on deficit Lawmakers concede they might have to pass a dreaded 'CR' GOP blasts Democrats for using 2014 'kids in cages' photo to promote migrant hearing MORE (R-Tenn.) for his father's old House seat, is taking the unusual step of campaigning across Tennessee's 3rd District in a 32-foot RV, which will serve as his on-the-road campaign HQ as he makes his underdog pitch to voters.

 

2016 WATCH

Vice President Biden is heading to New Hampshire on Tuesday. He and Labor Secretary Tom Perez will visit an on-the-job training program in Nashua.

Former Secretary of state Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Poll: Warren leads Biden in Maine by 12 points MORE joined former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) to talk global education in Texas on Monday.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"Do I have the best credentials? Probably not. 'Cause, you know, whatever. But I have long and strong ties to this state." — New Hampshire Senate hopeful/former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R) to The Associated Press

 

Please send tips and comments to Campaign Editor Jessica Taylor, jtaylor@thehill.com; and Campaign Staff Writers Cameron Joseph, cjoseph@thehill.com; and Alexandra Jaffe, ajaffe@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @JessicaTaylor @cam_joseph and @ajjaffe.