If the 2016 Senate races seem to be off to a slow start, it’s because they are – at least in comparison to the last two or three cycles. Exactly two years ago, there were already five open seats, plus a special election in New Jersey. Today, there are only two open-seat contests. At this same point in 2013, a number of high-profile candidates like Republicans Mike Rounds in South Dakota and Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia had been in the race for months. While there have been some announcements from former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio, Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris in California and former Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, none has successfully cleared the field of competitive primary challengers the way Rounds and Capito managed to do. It would be easy to write off the late start to the 2016 presidential race, which is garnering enormous attention, especially on the Republican side where a dozen candidates are at varying stages of running. But, the presidential race is probably only playing a small role in

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Charlie "Chuck" Cook