Democrats thought they could build an anti-Republican wave based on dislike of Donald Trump. In early October, it looked like their hopes were going to be realized when Trump began collapsing. Now, Trump has rebounded in the polls, and it looks they will fall short of claiming a majority.
Currently, Republicans hold a 54-46 majority in the senate. There are 8 battleground states, 7 of which are currently held by Republicans, which will decide the majority. Those battlegrounds are Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
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In addition to these battleground states, Republicans are all but guaranteed to lose their current seat in Illinois. Senator Mark Kirk was doomed because of Illinois’ blue tilt, and that was before he made racist remarks against his opponent, Thai-American Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. By the way, Kirk unendorsed Donald Trump over Trump’s racist attacks on the Hispanic judge assigned to hear his fraud case involving Trump University.
How do you lose to a one-term senator from a purple state who hates being in the Senate, broke his promise to retire from the senate, lost his own state while running for president by 20 points in the primary, and failed at his only meaningful attempt to pass significant legislation? If you’re a Florida Democrat, the answer is to nominate Congressman Patrick Murphy to run against him.
Patrick Murphy is a pretty boy and an empty suit, and it has shown through his campaign. Murphy has been dogged by allegations of lying about his resume and for soliciting foreign campaign contributions. Murphy has also had subpar debate performances against Marco Rubio.
Rubio should be reelected, but if Trump loses Florida by a lot, he could be one of the first Republicans swept out in an anti-Trump wave.
For most of the year, it looked like former Democratic U.S. Senator Evan Bayh was going to waltz back into his old senate seat. Now, its increasingly likely Bayh will be defeated by Congressman Todd Young.
Earlier this year, Bayh was leading Young by as much as 7 percent. Then questions started being raised about whether or not Bayh even lives in Indiana. Bayh, who became a lobbyist after leaving the senate, has a home in Washington DC.
Plus, the national situation turned against Bayh. For a while, Donald Trump was struggling in the Hoosier State. The selection of unpopular Indiana Governor Mike Pence did not help. But Trump has since rebounded and built a sizable lead in the state, which should help Young.
On paper, incumbent Senator Roy Blunt should not be struggling in his bid for reelection. Missouri is not a purple state but red. Trump is doing well in Missouri, but Blunt is struggling.
Democrats have fielded Secretary of State Jason Kander as a challenger to Blunt, and he’s giving him a closer than expected race. Blunt is only beating Kander by 1.5 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling average.
The realities of Missouri and the national race should help Roy Blunt hold his seat. Trump should easily win Missouri and the fact is Kander has only led one poll in this race and that was back in September. Blunt has led just about every other poll.
This is probably the biggest toss up of the battlegrounds. Republican Congressman Joe Heck is hoping to pick up the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Harry Reid. Opposing Heck is former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.
Right now, Heck leads Cortez Masto in the Real Clear Politics polling average by 1.4 percent. However, as we pointed out yesterday Nevada polling often skews Republican because it is difficult to poll the Las Vegas area. Many people work at night in the hospitality industry and they mostly vote Democratic.
Given that all of the X-factors favor Cortez Masto, she should be expected to retain the Senate seat for Democrats.
Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is fighting for reelection against Governor Maggie Hassan. Right now, Ayotte is holding her own so far. She leads Hassan by 2.5 percent in the Real Clear Politics polling average.
In the deluge of polls that hit this week, Hassan only led in one of them.
Given that Trump is also surging in the Granite State, Ayotte should be looking good in her re-election bid.
Republican Senator Richard Burr is struggling to hold off a better than expected re-election challenge from former North Carolina State Representative Deborah Ross. Right now, Burr has a 1.5 percent lead over Ross.
All indications are that Burr will be re-elected despite a lackluster campaign. Burr has been consistently leading most polls that have come out in the past few weeks. Plus, there is evidence of split ticket voting where people are voting for Hillary Clinton to be president but voting to keep Burr in the Senate.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey is heading to defeat. Democrat Katie McGinty has opened up a 3 percent lead on Toomey in the RCP average. McGinty has also led all recent polls in the race.
Toomey’s problem is that he has run a lackluster re-election campaign. In addition, he does not have much to show for his first-term in the Senate, and he is paying the price for it.
Republican Senator Ron Johnson has been dead man walking for most of the year. It appeared that former Senator Russ Feingold was going to walk back into his former Senate seat in a rematch of their 2010 race.
But Johnson has been closing the gap in the past two weeks. He’s only down by 2.7 percent in the RCP average. However, Johnson has yet to lead in any recent polling.
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Wisconsin remains a strongly progressive state on the national level. Johnson is still far too conservative for Wisconsin and given how poorly Trump is performing in the state, Feingold should still be expected to return to the senate.
Republicans should walk out of election day with a 51-49 senate majority. But the senate races show just how unpalatable the Republican Party is, even without Donald Trump.
Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, Todd Young and Roy Blunt are the dictionary definitions of generic Republican. Marco Rubio, Mark Kirk, Richard Burr, and Kelly Ayotte are among the biggest hawks in the senate. All eight are as far as you can get from Donald Trump and they’re all struggling.