Friday, June 12, 2020

AZ tops 9 Senate seats most likely to flip

By The Ranking Committee (Washington Post): These are the 9 Senate seats most likely to flip. Things don’t look good for Republicans.

For over a year, the Ranking Committee has been laser-focused on presidential politics — who is going to win the Democratic primary, the veepstakes, the race to be the next outsider candidate and more. But if the Trump-Pence or Biden-TBD team wants to accomplish their goals in 2021, they’ll need to do the super-fun-and-not-at-all-arduous work of moving legislation through Congress.

And that’s why the battle for Senate control matters so much.

From a 30,000-foot view, this map looks bad for the GOP. Republicans are playing a lot of defense: They’re defending purple seats in Colorado, Maine, Arizona and North Carolina, and they might end up having trouble in red states such as Iowa, Montana, Georgia or even Texas. Democrats, on the other hand, don’t have many weak spots. Doug Jones will very likely lose the Alabama Senate race, and Republicans could try for a win in swing-y Michigan or red-trending Minnesota. But for the most part, the blue team is playing offense this year.

National poll numbers don’t look great for the GOP, either. President Trump’s approval rating is low, and Joe Biden leads him by an eight-point margin per the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. Any election forecaster worth their salt will tell you that Senate elections are at least partly nationalized — that is, if Trump ends up losing bigly in Colorado and North Carolina, there’s a good chance Republican Sens. Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis will go down with the ship. This works both ways — if Trump manages to pull off a comeback victory, he could save some Republican senators along the way.

But these Senate races aren’t determined by national numbers alone. Details really matter; candidate quality, issue positions, strategy, money and all sorts of other local factors will shape these races. So this week, the Ranking Committee has decided to pick the seats that are most likely to flip.

At the top of the list is Martha McSally.

The Ranking

1.(TIE) Arizona (Martha McSally) R to D
1. (TIE) Alabama (Doug Jones) D to R
3. Colorado (Cory Gardner) R to D
4. Maine (Susan Collins) R to D
5. North Carolina (Thom Tillis) R to D
6. Montana (Steve Daines) R to D
7. Kansas (open) R to D
8. (TIE) Georgia (Kelly Loeffler) R to D
8. (TIE) Iowa (Joni Ernst) R to D

Here are notes from the Committee (about the AZ Senate seat held by Martha McSally).

Greg Sargent A Democratic win in Arizona would have huge implications for our politics. Swiping the second Senate seat in a border state where Trump gave his big 2016 immigration speech would show that Trump’s demagoguery on the issue is eroding the GOP’s grip on the Southwest. That could shift both parties’ electoral college calculations and confirm (especially if Trump loses the state) that Trumpism is a long-term loser for the GOP in a place that was supposed to thrill to it.

Eugene Robinson Martha McSally is so far behind Mark Kelly right now that she can hardly see his dust, and she is going all-in with Trump. That doesn’t look like a promising strategy, to say the least.

Karen Tumulty She’s clinging tight to Trump, at the cost of her own brand.

Henry Olsen McSally increasingly looks like a two-time loser in once staunchly Republican Arizona. Trump’s unpopularity among college-educated suburbanites sunk her in 2018, and that trend is only stronger this year. She needs Trump to recover a lot of lost ground by November to have a fighting chance.

Hugh Hewitt McSally narrowly lost in the headwinds of 2018, but her fighter pilot instincts have kicked in and she’s throwing her considerable energy and focus into the fray.

Jennifer Rubin McSally has shown how foolish it is to embrace Trump wholeheartedly in a state drifting blue. Her opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly, seems a perfect match for a state that elected a Democratic senator in 2018 and is quite winnable for Joe Biden.

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