Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) has announced he will not seek re-election, opening up another Democratically controlled seat in the US Senate, as a prime pick up opportunity for the GOP.
Harkin is the third senator up for re-election to say he is not running again. His decision follows Friday's surprise announcement that Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., would not seek re-election. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is also retiring.
The current make up of the US Senate is 53 Democrats, giving them control of the chamber, 45 Republicans, and two Independents who caucus with the Democrats on most issues.
Among the senators up for election in 2014, there are currently 20 Democrats and 13 Republicans with South Carolina and Hawaii seats holding special elections.
The 13 Republican seats are listed as likely Republican or safe Republican.
Out of the 20 seats currently held by Democrats, the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014 are (in alphabetical order): Mark Begich of Alaska, Max Baucus of Montana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. (Source- CNN)
Harkin's Iowa seat was considered safe for Democrats until this retirement announcement, now giving the GOP another opening for an additional seat in the battle to take control of the US Senate in the 2014 midterm elections.
It is noteworthy that historically a president's party loses congressional seats in midterm elections, especially a president's second term.
Republicans need a net gain of five Senate seats to take control of the Senate in after the 2014 midterm elections.
Now Republicans just need to pick a candidate that does not consistently stick his foot in his mouth.