Bill Clinton: Dems have better-than-even shot at holding Senate
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Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonIt's not just Manchin: No electoral mandate stalls Democrats' leftist agenda A modern electric grid is crucial to reach our clean energy climate goals Jeff Hauser: MacBride nomination is a return to administrations that ended 'rule-of-law' and 'rich-person accountability' MORE on Friday offered an optimistic appraisal of Democrats’ midterm chances, saying he thought his party has a better-than-even shot at retaining control of the Senate.

Democrats, he said on PBS’s “NewsHour,” “will “do better than people think.”

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“I think we have a slightly better than 50% chance to hold the Congress. I still think we've got a chance win in Georgia and Kentucky. We're now competitive in Kansas. And we have to, I think, we've got a great chance to win in North Carolina,” he said.

“I think we're now going to hold Michigan, and I believe we'll win in Iowa. And I think [Sens.] Mark [Pryor (D-Ark.)] and Mary Landrieu [D-La.] will win, so I'm not with the skeptics. I think we're going to do better than people think.”

Most independent election forecasters have, over the past two weeks, found Republicans favored to pick up the six seats they need to regain control of the Senate.

Georgia and Kentucky are Democrats’ main offensive opportunities — in the former, Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ (R) retirement has opened up what Democrats believe is a competitive seat, especially with their candidate, Michelle Nunn, whom they see as a strong recruit against Republican David Perdue. Polling has indeed shown a tight race there, with two polls out Friday offering a conflicting outcome: One gave Perdue the edge, while one showed Nunn up, both with a margin under five points.

In Kentucky, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is working to take down Sen. Mitch McConnell (R) in one of this year’s fiercest and most expensive contests. Recent polling has, however, shown McConnell breaking open a slim but significant lead over the past month, though his margin still remains in single digits.

And Democrats found a new opportunity in Kansas, where Sen. Pat Roberts (R) has emerged as surprisingly vulnerable following a fierce primary fight. The most recent survey found independent Greg Orman leading the pack of four candidates, and Democrat Chad Taylor is attempting to remove himself from the ballot to give Orman — seen as the stronger candidate against Roberts — a better shot at taking him down.

Taylor’s attempt was blocked by the Kansas secretary of State, a Republican, and heads to the state Supreme Court this week. But Roberts is taking no chances against Orman, revamping his campaign team and going on offense against Orman, painting him as a liberal Democrat in an independent’s clothing.

Roberts’s campaign manager, Corry Bliss, issued a statement Saturday suggesting Clinton labeling Kansas as one of Democrats’ offensive opportunities is further proof Orman isn’t who he says he is.

"So-called 'Independent' Greg Orman has run for office as a Democrat, donated money to Democrats, and now Bill Clinton is talking up Orman's candidacy as a way for Democrats to retain control of the Senate," Bliss said. "Greg Orman isn't being honest with voters and he will say and do anything to get elected, even if it means pretending he's not a Democrat."

Clinton’s other predictions are still somewhat rosier than most independent prognosticators. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) is seen as the strongest of the party’s four red-state incumbents, and is currently favored to hold her seat, though she continues to face a tough race through the fall. And Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) has held a solid lead over Republican Terri Lynn Land in the Michigan Senate race, and is also favored to hold that seat.

Democrats believe Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) will benefit from the blue lean of the state and from some of his opponent’s more controversial remarks, once voters begin to tune into the race, but polling has so far shown that contest to be close.

And Arkansas and Louisiana are typically listed near the top of the list of Democratic-held seats most likely to flip. There, the red lean of the states coupled with strong GOP challengers have put Democrats in tough spots heading into November.

They all may, however, receive a boost from Clinton himself, and perhaps his wife. Bill Clinton has proven to be a prolific and effective surrogate for vulnerable Democrats this cycle, and Hillary Clinton is expected to hit the trail for the party’s top candidates this fall as well. The Clintons will be in Iowa Sunday at the final steak fry hosted by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).