These 'Flippable Five Fund' candidates are joining forces to increase Democrats’ Senate majority
When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at a recent Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce gathering in Florence, Kentucky, the 80-year-old Republican expressed confidence that his party will retake the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2022 midterms. But he wasn’t nearly as bullish on the U.S. Senate, citing “candidate quality” as a factor.
McConnell told attendees, “I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different; they're statewide. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome. Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly.”
Democratic strategists, meanwhile, have grown more optimistic about their chances of holding their Senate majority — or perhaps even expanding it. And according to reporting in Politico on August 23, five Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in swing states are teaming up and pooling their resources in races where they believe they have a shot at flipping seats presently held by Republicans. Those Democrats, according to Politico, have dubbed those resources the Flippable Five Fund.
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The five Democratic U.S. Senate candidates in the Flippable Five Fund, Politico reports, are Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio, Rep. Val Demings in Florida, Mandela Barnes in Wisconsin and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina. Some of them are taking on incumbents — Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida, Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin — while the others are competing in states where incumbents have decided not to seek reelection: Sen. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Sen. Richard Burr in North Carolina and Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio.
Fetterman is up against Dr. Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, while Ryan is competing with “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance in Ohio and Beasley is taking on Rep. Ted Budd in North Carolina.
Beasley explained the reasoning of the Flippable Five Fund in a tweet that she posted on August 22, writing, “A 50/50 Senate is not cutting it. That’s why I’m joining forces with @TheOtherMandela, @TimRyan, @ValDemings and @JohnFetterman to launch the Flippable Five Fund. Because our races are Democrats’ best chance to pick up seats this November and bring change to Washington.”
In a separate August 22 fundraising tweet, Beasley wrote, “If we want to end the filibuster and codify Roe, we need to expand our majority. If we want to lower costs and make progress on climate and voting rights, we need to expand our majority. Can you rush a donation to the Flippable Five Fund now?
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Presently, the 50/50 split in the U.S. Senate that Beasley described consists of 50 GOP senators and 50 senators who are either Democrats or independents who caucus with Democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Sanders, who ran for president in the Democratic presidential primaries of 2016 and 2020, presently identifies as an independent but has long been an ally of the Democratic Party’s liberal/progressive wing.
When a Democrat-sponsored reconciliation bill in the Senate receives 50 “yes” votes and 50 “no” votes, Vice President Kamala Harris has the power to break that tie — which is what recently happened when the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 passed in the Senate. If Democrats, in November, hold every Senate seat that they are defending and manage to flip all five seats that the Flippable Five Fund is going after, they still wouldn’t have a filibuster-proof supermajority. But they would have a better shot at getting bills passed if they are eligible for reconciliation, which is the process in which some bills can get around the 60-vote demand of the filibuster.
If Democrats increased their Senate majority but lost the House, they would still have an advantage when it comes to Supreme Court nominees should a seat become available. President Joe Biden’s nominee, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, was approved on a 53-47 vote.
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