While the outlook for Democrats in the House of Representatives looks bleak for next years’ midterm elections, things are starting to look a little “bluer” in the Senate, where Democrats are far more likely at this point to keep control.
According to Blake Hounshell of The New York Times, Democratic strategists are showing more optimism now than they had in the last year or longer:
When asked to share their candid thoughts about the Democrats’ chances of hanging onto their House majority in the coming election, party strategists often use words that cannot be printed in a family newsletter.
But a brighter picture is coming together for Democrats on the Senate side. There, Republicans are assembling what one top strategist laughingly described as an “island of misfit toys” — a motley collection of candidates the Democratic Party hopes to portray as out of the mainstream on policy, personally compromised and too cozy with Donald Trump.
Hounshell continues, showing some of those Republican vulnerabilities in recent weeks:
Arizona: Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who secured Trump’s endorsement and is leading the polls in the Republican primary, has been criticized for saying that “Black people, frankly” are responsible for most of the gun violence in the U.S. Other Republicans have attacked him for past comments supporting “unrestricted immigration.”
Georgia: Herschel Walker, the G.O.P. nominee facing Senator Raphael Warnock, acknowledged being the parent of three previously undisclosed children. Walker regularly inveighs against absentee fathers.
Pennsylvania: Dr. Mehmet Oz, who lived in New Jersey before announcing his Senate run, risks looking inauthentic. Oz recently misspelled the name of his new hometown on an official document.
Nevada: Adam Laxalt, a former state attorney general, said at a pancake breakfast last month that “Roe v. Wade was always a joke.” That’s an unpopular stance in socially liberal Nevada, where 63 percent of adults say abortion should be mostly legal.
Wisconsin: Senator Ron Johnson made a cameo in the Jan. 6 hearings when it emerged that, on the day of the attack, he wanted to hand-deliver a fraudulent list of electors to former Vice President Mike Pence.
According to the report, a major factor working in favor of Senate Dems is that only a third of the Senate is up for re-election, and many of the races are in blue-leaning states.
Hounshell also points out that Senate races are often more distinct than House races, and more about candidates personalities than they are about national trends. The exponentially higher stakes of Senate race ad campaigns compared to their House counterparts often allows candidates to define themselves more clearly in how they are different from their opponents.