As late as six months ago, Democrats not only dreamed of “muh blue wave” taking the House, but also recapturing the Senate. It was thought by some that if they could gain the open seat in Arizona, boot out the somewhat unpopular Dean Heller in Nevada, and hold Ohio, Montana, and perhaps Missouri, they could eke out a 1-vote majority against anticipated losses in Florida, Indiana, and North Dakota.
Those dreams are as dead as Harvey Weinstein’s sex life right now. Missouri moved against them early, despite random polls that showed a close race. But more recent numbers reveal a serious collapse across the board.
*The latest from Ohio is that Jim Renacci has staged a surprisingly strong comeback. One Democrat pollster has him down just two—with a generous oversampling of women.
But my source in Ohio, “Ohio Wan,” who hasn’t been wrong yet, has the race a tie. Moreover, Renacci’s ground game is shocking even cynical Ohio pols: “he has scores of people out every weekend walking . . . in every major city,” Ohio Wan said. Some of these gains were predictable as Renacci, who started a few months ago with 35% name recognition (vs. Sherrod Brown’s 90% name recognition) has become familiar to GOP voters. In short, the OH GOP is cautiously optimistic this is a win. It’s made more likely by governor candidate Mike DeWine’s lead, which is 5 according to an Ipsos poll. There, locals are more skeptical, thinking DeWine is only up a couple. But . . .turnout in the governor’s race will only help Renacci.
Ohio early ballots, including absentees, will be coming in within the next two weeks, so we will have harder data at that time. I don’t have Renacci yet as a net gain, but he has moved into the top tier of “likely flips”.
*Nevada: This is a biggie. Democrats were counting on two flips of R senate seats, Nevada and Arizona. They won’t get either now. Dean Heller, once a neverTrumper and somewhat unpopular, has moved into a 5-point lead over Jackie Rosen according to Ipsos. Simply put, if the Democrats lose this seat they will have lost all hope of retaking the Senate.
*In Arizona, Martha McSally is running a brilliant race (and this is coming from a Kelli Ward voter!). Her ads against Krysten Sinema are deadly, portraying Sinema (correctly) as a radical socialist activist. Also important—and often downplayed—Sinema, who in promo shots is quite attractive—is “greyed up” and looks like one of the vampires out of the “Underworld” series.
And not Kate Beckinsale.
One recent Gravis poll has McSally up 1, but a more recent poll has her up 3. These are critical numbers, given that just before the primary Sinema was up 4 over McSally. The trend is her friend, as is Arizona’s voter registration, which will prove too much for Sinema to overcome. McSally should win this by at least 5.
*Word from Minnesota is that the Franken seat is in fact up for grabs, and Karin Housely is within 8 of Tina Smith and closing. Locals in fact think the race is much closer and that the pundits will be in for a surprise on election night.
Taken together, the Democrats now stand to lose a net of four to six more Senate seats, not counting Leah Vukmir (Wisconsin) or Jim Renacci. The “third tier” of longshots still has John James (Michigan), Patrick Morrissey (West Virginia) and Bob Hugin (New Jersey) as possible upsets.
The Democrats will not retake the senate, period. But the trends increasingly suggest the could face a 60-seat Republican majority there.
Now for a little speculation: is this why Diane Feinstein delayed using the Ford letter until last week? The California Senator (herself only leading by 4, although I think she’ll still win handily) knew about Ford’s letter in July. So why wait? The strategy likely was that in July, there was still a remote possibility the Democrats could take the senate, and the plan was to use this letter at the last minute to force a term-ending delay in Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, pushing it til January when the Democrats would have the numbers. Feinstein’s war machine was moving on its own schedule, a political version of the Schlieffen Plan, and once committed, I don’t think Feinstein could stop it.
Thus, foolishly, on the remote chance of taking the senate, Democrats shot their entire wad on Judge K—who will be confirmed on or near October 1—and while I’m sure they will dredge up something when Ruth Ginsberg leaves, for the most part they have hit the Republicans with their best shots.
That said, Amy Coney Barrett, the likely nominee for the Ginsberg seat, better gird up, because what has happened to Judge K will be visited on her in spades.
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