Saturday, July 13, 2019

Can The Democrats Win Back The Senate Next Year?


Dan McCarthy, a right-wing Arizona Republican skincare company executive who is challenging Martha McSally for her Senate seat next year, told a Phoenix radio audience this week that "the Washington DC establishment, Mitch McConnell... the swamp creatures of Washington, DC-- they've given us two choices, McSally or Kelly. I'm a conservative outsider. I've been looking at this for a little while and I said, 'I'm not so sure if that's acceptable to me; I'd don't know if the status quo's OK... What I'm hearing is-- from a lot of people-- very smart people, by the way-- that losing another Senate seat is unacceptable... I think the voters deserve an actual choice, not an appointment. People like the idea of a conservative outsider... I don't think Arizona will allow DC money to buy votes."

McConnell and the DSCC are counting on holding the Arizona seat, one of the two top Democratic Party targets for the 2020 Senate elections. If Bernie and/or Elizabeth Warren wins in 2020 a hostile McConnell-lead Senate will be pretty deadly for all their plans. 2018's anti-Red wave didn't extend into the Senate races last year and the Democrats ate shit, losing seats where very right-wing Democrats had been banking on the accumulation of Republican-lite voting records to save them. It didn't work. There are 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats (including 2 independents) in the Senate today. 4 of the worst Senate Democrats-- Claire McCaskill (MO), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Bill Nelson (FL) and Joe Donnelly (IN), perfect DSCC lesser-of-two evils candidates-- lost seats that the Democrats couldn't afford to lose, even while 3 of them outspent their Republican opponents. The only Republican incumbent the Democrats managed to oust was Dean Heller (NV), who Trump had been spatting with and who was not embraced by Trumpist voters. The Democrats managed to slip another worthless conservative, Jackie Rosen, into the seat-- a complete waste. (She already sports a solid "F" from ProgressivePunch and currently is ranked as the 4th worst Democrat in the House.

Even worse than Rosen, was the other winner (of Jeff Flake's open seat) from 2018. Kyrsten Sinema was previously the worst Democrat in the House. She has already surpassed Joe Manchin (54.01) and Doug Jones (46.88) as the Senate's worst Democrat (43.40). Congratulations to Little Chucky Schmucky, who hand-picked her. For 2020 Senator Schmucky, has picked an "ex"-Republican, Mark Kelly, for the Arizona special election to fill McCain's seat (temporarily filled by appointee Martha McSally).

If Elizabeth Warren or another Democrat is vice president, the Democrats will have to win a net of 3 seats to wrest the leadership away from McConnell. That means they have to reelect Doug Jones in Alabama (R+14) and win 3 of these seats or 4 if they lose in Alabama:
Alaska (R+9)- Dan Sullivan
Arizona (R+5)- Martha McSally
Colorado (D+1)- Cory Gardner
Georgia (R+5)- David Perdue
Iowa (R+3)- Joni Ernst
Kansas (R+13)- (Open)
Kentucky (R+15)- McConnell
Maine (D+3)- Susan Collins
North Carolina (R+3)- Thom Tillis
Tennessee (R+14)- (open)
Texas (R+8)- John Cornyn
Even with Sen Schmucky making all the (wrong) calls, do the Democrats have a shot at winning next year? They do-- a chance. I want to piece together 3 posts from Thursday in The Hill about this. The first was by Jordain Carney: GOP frets over nightmare scenario for Senate primaries. It actually knits the other two-- Kansas Republican suggests Kobach candidacy threatens Senate GOP majority and Alabama senator says Trump opposed to Sessions Senate bid-- together. "In Alabama and Kansas, two deep-red states that should be safe GOP seats," wrote Carney, "the party is facing bids from conservatives Roy Moore and Kris Kobach, respectively, who are viewed as unelectable in a general election and have a history of stealing the national spotlight. Republicans say they feel good about their chances to hold onto the chamber in 2020-- when they will be playing defense in mostly red territory-- but bloody fights in those two states could help widen Democrats’ path back to the majority."
A GOP operative watching the Senate races who is “cautiously optimistic” about Republicans keeping the majority, warned that Republicans can’t “afford to play games” by potentially nominating a candidate with baggage that compromises their ability to win in November.

“We don’t need to be having any problems, it’s not a state we can stumble in. The map for the majority is OK, but if you have to start diverting resources to Kansas it complicates things,” the operative said, adding that Alabama is also viewed as a “must-win state.”

National groups have wasted little time staking out opposition to Moore and Kobach. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), which is aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), blasted both of their campaign announcements. Neither group has ruled out intervening in the primaries if either emerges as a viable contender for the party’s nomination.

A second Republican strategist added that the message against the candidates is that the two states should be easy Republican wins that will help the party keep control of the chamber-- and “people like Kris Kobach and Roy Moore threaten that.”

“They both have a record of losses that doesn’t sit well with Republican voters,” the strategist added, characterizing the two candidates as an “unnecessary headache” and a “distraction” in the larger battle for the Senate.

It’s not the first time conservative challengers have created early frustrations for Republicans.

During the 2012 cycle, then-Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was viewed as likely to lose her race until GOP nominee Todd Akin, who defeated more-mainstream picks during the primary, said that “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

In the same election cycle, conservative challenger Richard Mourdock defeated longtime Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) during the primary, only to lose against Democratic nominee Joe Donnelly.

But the party has become more adept at beating back primary candidates they either view as anthema to general election voters or likely to spark a fierce intraparty fight.

National Republicans spent heavily in 2018 to successfully defeat former coal CEO Don Blankenship during the West Virginia Republican Senate primary. And, causing a sigh of relief for party leadership, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) passed on challenging Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) for the party’s nomination next year.

This cycle they are defending almost two dozen seats, compared to 12 that Democrats are trying to hold onto. But most of the GOP seats are in deeply red states, meaning the battleground for the Senate will likely be limited to a handful of seats like Maine, Colorado and Arizona.

The dynamic has left Republicans feeling optimistic about their ability to hold onto the Senate, where Democrats would need to win at least three seats and the White House in order to have a vice president break ties in their favor in an evenly-divided chamber, and four seats to win an outright majority.

“The map’s going to be fairly large, our members are going to have to work hard to win reelection and we think that they’re well positioned to do that,” said Sen. John Thune (SD), the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Republicans also argue that Democrats have struggled to snag big-name recruits in several Senate races, including Georgia and Montana, that would allow them to expand the map of top-tier races beyond the handful of early toss-up states.

How much of a threat Moore and Kobach will be during the 2020 cycle, and if they can help expand Democrats’ path to retaking the Senate, remains to be seen.

Lacking Moore’s personal baggage, Kobach could be the bigger headache for Republicans. The former Kansas secretary of state lost last year’s gubernatorial election by 5 percentage points. Before that he was considered for a Cabinet post, headed up Trump’s panel investigating alleged voter fraud and was briefly considered for an administration job overseeing immigration policy.

“It seems to me that if you have just lost a statewide race that the chances of you winning, running again for another statewide race would be very difficult,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who Kobach is trying to succeed. “Kris Kobach, once he makes up his mind, makes up his mind.”

McConnell sidestepped weighing in on the Kansas Senate race except to plug his preference that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo get in the race.

“I’m not sure the president agrees with this, that I’d love to see the secretary of State run for the Senate in Kansas. But the filing deadline is not until next June,” McConnell said.

Moore won the party’s primary in 2017, including defeating Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL), only to narrowly lose to now-Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) by less than 2 points after facing several allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was in his 30s. Moore, 72, denied the allegations, but Republicans are hopeful the damage will keep him in a distant third place during the 2020 race.

McConnell, asked about Moore during a weekly press conference, predicted that Alabamians have “seen quite enough of Roy Moore.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told The Hill that he had discussed the seat and various candidates with Trump.

“He’s damaged,” Shelby said, about Moore. “He wouldn’t be good for Alabama.” 
Trump, almost never a team player, could hurt the Republicans in Alabama because their surest path to victory would be to nominate Jeff Sessions. Trump is against it. On top of that, he is very much a Kobach fan since, like him, Kobach is an extreme xenophobe and racist. And then there's the albatross problem. Trump is polling badly in Iowa (-12), Maine (-11), Colorado (-12), Arizona (-7), North Carolina (-3) and not as well as he should be in Texas (+4), Kansas (+4), Georgia (0) and Alaska (+4).

UPDATE: The Dems Want To Win? You Sure?

Iowa looks like a very prime target to me, but the DSCC seems to have given up before they started Although Tom Harkin (former Senator), Tom Vilsack (former Governor and Cabinet Member), Chet Culver (former Governor and son of a Senator), Bruce Braley (former Congressman and Senate candidate) and Dave Loebsack (7-term Congressman) all are alive enough to run for the Joni Ernst seat next year. But the DSCC has already endorsed Theresa Greenfield, who was disqualified in her House campaign last year for forging signature petitions, and has no relevant experience or accomplishments whatsoever. This is likely to be a wipeout that will far surpass the Patty Judge wipeout-- and in a state where Trump is completely underwater and where Ernst is a 100% enabler.

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At 5:28 PM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Betsy Sweet is challenging Susan Collins's Senate seat in Maine

At 7:26 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

I live in Arizona. I will cut my hand off before I vote for Kelly.

At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the democraps won the Senate, they would have to do something. They prefer allowing the Republicants to do that while they wring their hands and whine about how mean we progressives are.

You'd think the Party trolls would see this and want to do something about it. But they would rather promote Biden and lose again.

At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

harriet reid and scummer's leadershit has lost the democraps seats since 2008. They even lost seats in the big anti-red wave year of '18. It's like they WANT to lose.

Also, when they had a majority, they refused to do anything useful with it.

Also, the house under the iron pump of Pelosi has refused to do anything useful (no surprise, she has a record of that very thing).
Give them a majority, nothing useful would be done with it. they have a record of that in the senate too.

Same goes for the white house.

y'all have been electing democraps for 40 years. All they do is ratfuck you. maybe the problem is YOU!


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