Which House, Senate and Governor races are tossed
The medium-term outlook for House Democrats is so bleak that even members of the districts President Biden won by 10 to 15 dots risk losing their seats, according to election experts.
Driving the news: The Cook Political Report has just revised its fall House forecast for a net Republican gain of 20 to 35 seats. Cook moved 10 races to Republicans and two to Democrats, with 35 seats held by D now labeled “tossup” or worse.
Zoom out: This year was always going to be a tough one for Democrats — historical trends suggest the president’s party typically loses seats.
- 23 House Democrats announced they would not run again, compared to just 11 Republicans.
- President Biden’s approval has been hovering in the 40s for several months as inflation drags down his popularity.
- Poll shows Republicans winning generic Congressional ballot (Would you rather vote for a Democrat or a Republican?) by 1.9 points on average — and they still have room for improvement.
What to watch: “The most competitive states in this cycle are those where a court or commission has drawn a congressional map as opposed to a partisan map,” said Cook’s US House editor. Dave Wasserman says Axios.
- He mentions races in New York, Michigan, Arizona and California: “That’s where you’re going to see a lot of money spent.”
Between the lines: Wasserman says the situation is especially perilous for House Democrats facing tight races in “orphan states,” where there is no competitive statewide voter turnout.
- Those orphan states include California, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, Washington — and arguably New York, Wasserman told Axios.
- The only way of survival for these Democrats may be to go on “scorched earth” against still-undefined Republican challengers – which, at this point in the race, essentially include all first-time candidates.
The bottom line: Some of the most competitive home races are taking place in multiple battleground states with huge impacts on the 2024 presidential election, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.
Senate: all eyes on Georgia
Democrats have taken control of the Senate last year with a pair of stunning victories in Georgia, allowing President Biden to pass his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package with a slim majority.
- All eyes will be on Georgia again this fall, as two black candidates — incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker — face off for the first time in state history.
Walker is a unicorn: The college football great is one of two non-starting candidates nationally who have been endorsed by both former President Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
- He’s also completely untested, dominating the GOP primary without showing up for any of the debates.
It’s gonna change. Walker has agreed to debate Warnock, and Democrats are expected to up the ante with massive ad buys scrutinizing his troubled past and lack of experience.
- A McConnell-aligned ‘dark money’ group is set to pour $17 million into Georgia ads this summer – about 40% of its national spending and a substantial sum to be paid on a race before Labor Day.
Governors: abortion on the ballot
Democrats see the leak Supreme Court Draft Opinion Annulling Roe v. Wade as a huge opportunity to boost enthusiasm for their candidates — especially those running for governor in states with Republican-controlled legislatures:
- Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has promised to veto any bill preventing access to health care and reproductive rights.
- Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has pledged not to enforce the 1931 abortion ban if Roe is overturned.
- Kansas Governor Laura Kelly vetoed an abortion bill in 2019, despite Republicans holding a supermajority in the state legislature.
All three Governor’s races are coin toss.
- Republican gubernatorial candidates in battleground states universally support tough restrictions on abortion, including comprehensive bans on rape and incest with no exceptions.
Every female governor — nine in total, including six Democrats — is eligible for re-election this year.