McConnell and GOP frantically try to save the Senate as more seats come into play: report
According to a report from Politico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as well as other Republican higher-ups, are fearful of losing their Senate majority in the November election with the Democrats about to put forward a strong slate of candidates backed by cash-rich warchests.
As Politico’s James Arkin wrote, “Republicans started this election cycle as heavy favorites to keep their Senate majority, with a lineup of elections mostly in red-tinted states and GOP incumbents favored over a slate of relatively unknown and untested challengers. Now, nearly six months out from the election, Democrats are making them sweat.”
Noting that Republicans are likely to maintain their majority, which currently stands at 53-47 in their favor, the party has more seats to defend this election cycle which has been volatile due to the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump — who is proving to be a drag on some incumbents campaigns — and the coronavirus pandemic.
According to McConnell ally Steven Law, who is president of the super PAC Senate Leadership Fund, Republicans have their work cut out for them.
“The sense is that, no matter what else happens, we’ve got to hold the Senate majority. And it’s not a given. There’s just a broad front to defend, and it’s going to take a lot of resources and a lot of hard work to do it,” he admitted before adding it will be a “challenging election from top to bottom.”
While the focus has been on four particularly embattled Republicans — Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Thom Tillis from North Carolina and Martha McSally in Arizona — other seats have now come into play in states that are normally thought to be GOP strongholds.
“Republicans have offensive targets in Alabama and Michigan, two seats that could help them preserve their control of the chamber even if they lose seats elsewhere. But Democrats have also recruited strong challengers in a string of red states that could come into play, including Montana, Kansas and a special election in Georgia, helping them potentially expand their path back to the majority,” Arkin wrote.
According to J.B. Poersch, president of Senate Majority PAC that supports the Democrats, “There seems to be common thinking in both parties that this is a map, and perhaps an environment, that favors Democrats. There’s been a consistency in the year-and-a-half of Democrats performing well in many of these battleground states, so we’re encouraged.”
“Iowa has also emerged as one of the most important races, with both parties investing heavily in a state that would widen Democrats’ path to the majority. Trump is favored to carry Iowa again, but at least three and possibly all four of the congressional districts could be competitive, making it an unexpectedly expensive state as Sen. Joni Ernst runs for a second term,” the report notes. “Democrats are already spending big. Senate Majority PAC has spent $2.5 million on positive ads boosting Theresa Greenfield, a business-owner who has broad support to be the party’s nominee. Ernst still has a financial advantage, and Greenfield faces a June primary against a handful of candidates, including businessman Eddie Mauro, who is self-funding, and Mike Franken, a former three-star admiral from rural Iowa.”
“Democrats have also expanded their opportunities in a handful of red states. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s Senate candidacy is forcing Republicans to spend to defend GOP Sen. Steve Daines, who likely would’ve coasted to reelection if Bullock had not run. And state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a physician and former Republican who switched parties in 2018, could be formidable in Kansas, where Republicans face a divisive and late primary without a clear frontrunner,” Arkin wrote before noting comments made by a spokesperson from the DSCC.
“Democrats have put more states in play and have more paths to the majority with strong candidates, impressive campaign operations and a focus on what matters most to voters: affordable quality health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and economic security for working families — not corporate special interests,” explained Lauren Passalacqua.
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