Next Senate Class Expands with Special Elections

Nathan L. Gonzales December 18, 2012 · 2:37 PM EDT

With days left in 2012, the Senate class of 2014 is already evolving and growing.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R) resignation and Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D) death adds two special elections to the next class and another seat for each party to defend.

Once again, Democrats are starting the cycle in a defensive posture because it will be six years from 2008, when the party had a great year and expanded their majority. Democrats currently control 20 seats of the 2014 class compared to the Republicans’ 13 seats. Those numbers now increase to 21 Democratic seats and 14 Republican seats with the special elections with special elections in South Carolina and Hawaii. 

If President Barack Obama selects Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) to be the next secretary of state, there will be a special election in 2013, but he was already slated to be up for re-election in 2014, so it would not affect those numbers.

It’s obviously very early in the cycle, so the Senate class is likely to change many more times and could grow again.