THIS WEEK IN CONGRESS – SPECIAL: For The Lack of Two Senators – Part Three

Let’s make them IRRELEVENT!

Back in early July, I posted a Special Edition of “This Week In Congress (TWIC)” which I entitled For The Lack of Two Senators – Part One! where I explored the many Progressive Bills passed by the House that had become stuck in the Senate’s In Basket, largely because of the two Dem. Senators pictured above.  In Part One, I tried to show how close we are to getting this legislation passed and signed into law if we only hold our majority in the House and flip at least two more Senate seats to make Manchin’s and Sinema’s votes IRRELEVENT!

In Part Two of this series, I explored the issues our House and Senate candidates should be running on, and argued for a “Shotgun Approach”.  By that I meant we shouldn’t have to decide on a single issue for all candidates to run on, but rather run on a range of major national issues (e.g., abortion, democracy, etc.) and allow candidates flexibility to include State/District specific issues where appropriate.

So now onto Part Three — The Senate, where I will focus on some of the individual Senate races we need to win to make Manchin & Sinema IRRELEVENT, and provide the filibuster reform needed to enact the Progressive legislation passed by the House.  In this post I will use the latest 538 Polls to highlight where the crucial Senate races stand and where the polling trends seem to indicate where they are going.  I will then give you my recommendations on which races deserve our campaign cash (which if you’re like me, is limited) to get the biggest political bang for your buck.  Finally, I will put forth my best guess as to Senate control after the 2022 elections.  

Before I get into the individual races, let me say a couple words about polling.  I use Nate Silver’s (old Poblano) 538 service because I have found it to be the least bias and most reliable over the years, in terms of matching polling to actual outcomes.  Besides, he is a hometown boy with respect to Daily kos.  I tend to focus on the most recent polling data available, since polls that are several weeks old can paint a misleading picture as to where the race is at currently.  I also like to look at the how the polls are trending over time to get an idea as to where each race is headed as we approach Election Day.  Lastly, I try not to be as pessimistic on our chances his cycle as some of us are. Many Democrats tend to be “Debbie Downers” come election time, always fearing the worst instead of hoping for the best.   Although, historic records on mid-terms indicate the Party in power (us) loses ground, this cycle has some important differences which suggest that we may actually gain ground.  These differences include:

– The surprising results of the voter referendum on abortion in red Kansas;

– The surprising recent Dem. wins in the NY-19 and AK-AL special Congressional elections.  Not a single pollster predicted these wins as possible.  Most of us, including me, did not have these seats in our list of possible House holds/pickups; and

– The record breaking number of new registrations among women across the country due to the SCOTUS Dobb’s decision.

Based on the above, I tend to be slightly more optimistic then the polls might suggest because I am not sure their “likely voter” models are picking up these recent Democratic trends.

Anyway, enough babbling about polls, let me dive into the important Senate races taking them in alphabetical order by States:

ARIZONA — Dem. Hold, Kelly (D) vs. Masters (R)538 AZ Polling & Trends

Latest Polls – 

Looking at the above, Kelly seems to have a comfortable lead, especially if you discount the Trafalgar Group result which is a Republican polling firm.  The 538 graph shows an almost flat trend with a +7.8 point Kelly lead.  I won’t say this one is over yet because we are two months out.  But it’s closer to being in the bag than many of the other Senate races.

Latest Polls –

The above polls seem to be all over the place.  Keep in mind that the top 2 polls are by Democrat pollsters, but the one showing Demings +4 is an independent poll.  Even though the most recent poll which has Rubio only up by +1 is by a Dem. firm, I think it might be painting the most accurate picture as to where this race is at because of the large sample size (+3000) and the fact that it is of Registered Voters (RVs) and therefore not biased by possibly inaccurate “likely voter” models.  The 538 graph shows an almost flat trend with a +3.9 point Rubio lead.  However, there is not a lot of polling on this race, so take the flat trend with a grain of salt.  Anyway, this race is as “tight as a tick” (a favorite James Carvel saying), and certainly worth your campaign cash.  So here’s the Val Demings Site Link if you’re so inclined.  Let’s give Val some $$  💖!

Latest Polls — 

For the life of me, I have no idea why these polls show this to be a close race, no less with Walker showing a slight lead.  Walker is a political idiot, which should be widely known by now.  Still, Georgia is still a red State, and Walker is probably getting a lot of the Republican male football fan vote.  Still the 538 graph shows Warnock slowly gaining ground with a +1.7 point Warnock lead, based presumably by additional polling.  This race is certainly tighter than it should be given the poor GOP candidate.  But this is a must hold for team “D”, so please Click this Link to send Warnock some campaign $$!

NEVADA — Dem. Hold, Cortez-Masto (D) vs. Laxalt (R) 538 Nevada Polling & Trends

Latest Polls — 

The above polls show the race somewhat close, but with Cortez-Masto consistently in the lead, discounting the Republican Trafalgar Group poll.  The 538 graph shows a consistent slight upward trend with a current +3.8 point Cortez-Masto lead.  In Nevada it usually always boils down to turnout of Las Vegas service workers who consistently votes for Democrats.  So a good GOTV effort in the Las Vegas area should land this seat for Cortez-Masto.

NEW HAMPSHIRE — Dem. Hold, Hassan (D) vs. Bolduc “?” (R)538 Hew Hampshire Polling

Latest Polls — 

From the above polls, one can see that Hassan has a consistent, solid +4 point lead over all possible Republican opponents.  Since the Republican Senate Primary in New Hampshire is not until 9/13, it is not certain who Hassan opponent will be.  However, I have penciled in Bolduc with a “?” mark since he has a huge lead in the Primary Polls over the other Republicans.  The last poll showing her +9 ahead of Bolduc is by a Democratic pollster, so a grain of salt may be required.  But it also is the only Registered Voter (RV) poll which should better reflect results if there is the expected high turnout among women voters.  One word of caution over the fact that there is no recent polling on this race, probably because pollsters are awaiting the Primary results.  But there is no reason to believe Hassan’s previous lead has evaporated, so I’m bullish on this being an almost safe “D” hold.

NORTH CAROLINA — Dem. Flip, Budd (R) vs. Beasley (D)538 North Carolina Polling & Trends

Latest Polls — 

The above polls show this to be a tight race, as should be expected in purple/swingy North Carolina.  Of note the 2nd and 4th polls above are by Republican pollsters, but show Beasley with a slight lead which is a good sign.  Another good sign is that these are all “Likely Voter” (LV) modeled polls, which could be underestimating “D” votes from an expected high female turnout.  Also, keep in mind this race is to fill an open seat, so there is no Republican incumbent advantage.  The 538 graph of this race shows Beasley consistently gaining ground on Budd with a +0.2 point Budd lead, a virtual tie.  All signs point to the continuation of a Beasley upward trend, making this race (IMO) the most surprisingly potential “D” flips flying under most pundit radar screens.  This is a race certainly worthy of our campaign cash.  So let’s give Cheri Beasley some $$ 💖!

OHIO — Dem. Flip, Vance (R) vs. Ryan (D)538 Ohio Polling & Trends

Latest Polls — 

The above polls show there is every reason to be optimistic about this race.  Only two polls had Vance in the lead and one, the Trafalgar Group, is a Republican poll.  The poll taken by the Ryan campaign has him with a +3 lead, while the most recent independent polls have him at +9.  The 538 graph of this race shows Ryan overtaking Vance in early July and holding a slim +1.9 point lead.  On the pessimistic side, Ryan’s lead is well within the polling margin of error and Ohio has been trending red in recent elections.  On the optimistic side, Vance is a terrible candidate who has gone from a “Never-Trumper” to fully in the bag for the former “President” in order to win his Primary, leaving both some MAGA voters unsure about his Trump support and Independents turned off by his recent support for Trump.  This is another race that could benefit from our campaign $$, since with a good turnout, we can flip this seat.  So let’s give Tim Ryan a donation today!

PENNSYLVANIA — Dem. Flip, Oz (R) vs. Fetterman (D)538 Pennsylvania Polling & Trends

Latest Polls — 

As the polls show, Fetterman has a pretty consistent and comfortable lead over Oz, making this race the most likely “D” flip.  Even the Republican Trafalgar Group has Fetterman up by +5.  Of all the Senate races, this one is by far the most fun to watch with Oz making daily gaffes and Fetterman capitalizing on them each time.  This race is so much about candidate selection.  Republicans picked a carpet bagger celebrity while Republicans picked a native down home candidate.  it’s almost like the roles are reversed.  Oz looks the stereotypical Dem. candidate while Fetterman looks like the stereotypical GOP candidate.  Anyway, I’m glad we picked who we picked and the GOP picked who they picked.

WISCONSIN — Dem. Flip, Johnson (R) vs. Barnes (D)538 Wisconsin Polling

Latest Polls — 

Not a lot of polling yet in this race since the Dem. Primary just wrapped up a few weeks ago.  But what there is, is somewhat surprisingly good for our candidate.  Even the Republican Trafalgar Group has Barnes up by +2.  Another point of optimism is that the 2nd & 3rd polls, which show Barnes up by +4 & +7 respectively, are both “Registered Voter” (RV) polls, which suggest they may be capturing the expected higher “D” turnout.  However, the small amount of polling has me a little nervous.  So this is another race I would recommend donating to.  So here’s the Mandela Barnes donation link. 

Well that’s my list of the important Senate races!

Now onto my predictions:

Worst Case — +2 Pickups for a +4 Senate Majority — 

I come up with +2 by us winning Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (which all seem doable based on current polling), but losing Georgia.  Yes, you might ask why should we expect a terrible candidate like Walker to win, but current polling suggests it’s possible.

Best Case — +4 Pickups for a +6 Senate Majority — 

I come up with +4 by us holding all our current seats and winning North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  This seems possible based on current polling.

Please feel free to make your own predictions in the comments below.

The important point I will leave you with is that we are certainly within reach of making Manchi and Sinema IRRELEVENT and that’s a very good thing! 

If I can find the time, I will provide a similar post for important House races.  Stay Tuned!

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