Senate Democrats hope to pass a five-year farm bill this week and bolster their appeal with rural voters, who they see as crucial to retaining their majority in 2014.
Democrats have stepped up their outreach to rural constituencies this year as they head into a daunting midterm election year with a slew of seats in conservative-leaning rural states to defend.
The quest to keep their Senate majority became more complicated Monday with the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.). New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is expected to appoint a Republican, which means Democrats will likely have to battle a GOP incumbent to regain the seat.
Agriculture is a major industry in Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas and North Carolina, four states that are huge GOP targets next year. Montana and South Dakota are open seats following the announced retirements of Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.). Meanwhile, Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) are two of the chamber’s most vulnerable incumbents.
Other rural states where Democrats face competitive races are Alaska, Louisiana, New Hampshire and West Virginia.
Read More at the Hill .By Alexander Bolton.
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