GOP ma­jor­ity in jeop­ardy

The Progress-Index Weekend - - OPINION -

David Wasser­man from the Cook Po­lit­i­cal Re­port tells us eight House seats’ rat­ings are mov­ing in the Democrats’ di­rec­tion: “In the past few days, mul­ti­ple Democrats chal­lengers have an­nounced stag­ger­ing fundrais­ing to­tals of more than $3 mil­lion dur­ing the third quar­ter of the year, ex­ceed­ing what many pre­de­ces­sors have raised for an en­tire cy­cle. One high-rank­ing Repub­li­can wor­ries his party could be ‘buried un­der an avalanche’ of Demo­cratic money that GOP out­side groups can’t match.

“Af­ter to­day’s rat­ings changes, there are 15 GOP-held seats in Lean or Likely Demo­cratic (in­clud­ing seven in­cum­bents) and Democrats would only need to win 11 of the 31 races in the Toss Up col­umn to flip the ma­jor­ity. There’s still time for po­lit­i­cal con­di­tions to change, but to­day the like­li­est out­come ap­pears to be a Demo­cratic gain of be­tween 25 and 40 seats (they need 23 for House con­trol).”

Keep in mind that in some states with mul­ti­ple vul­ner­a­ble Repub­li­cans, early vot­ing is al­ready un­der­way. That in­cludes New Jer­sey with four seats that are in the Toss Up cat­e­gory or worse for Repub­li­cans, and Illi­nois with two seats in the Toss Up col­umn. On Oct. 8, early vot­ing starts in Cal­i­for­nia and Iowa, col­lec­tively with eight seats in the Toss Up cat­e­gory or worse for Repub­li­cans. On Oct. 10, Ari­zona, In­di­ana and Ohio be­gin early vot­ing. In short, the time for Repub­li­cans to turn things around is al­ready run­ning down.

And what im­pact might the on­go­ing con­fir­ma­tion fight over Judge Brett M. Ka­vanaugh have on House races? Charles E. Cook Jr. ar­gues con­vinc­ingly that the Ka­vanaugh fight makes lit­tle to no dif­fer­ence when it comes to the House races. (“This cake is more or less baked. It’s not that ev­ery in­di­vid­ual elec­tion out­come is set; that’s ab­surd, there are a lot of very close races,” he writes. “But for the tra­jec­tory of this midterm elec­tion to change, it would take a mas­sive event that fun­da­men­tally changes how peo­ple see Trump and one or both po­lit­i­cal par­ties. That is un­likely to hap­pen.”)

Over in the Se­nate, how­ever, the Ka­vanaugh fight might have a real im­pact - but we don’t know in which di­rec­tion. Cook writes: “I had been say­ing that we could see three-quar­ters of a bil­lion dol­lars spent on Se­nate races this cy­cle with no net change what­so­ever, but Jen­nifer Duffy, The Cook Po­lit­i­cal Re­port’s real ex­pert on Se­nate races, says that $1 bil­lion is closer to the mark.”

Repub­li­cans are point­ing to fa­vor­able polling show­ing Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., ahead by dou­ble dig­its in North Dakota Se­nate race. Then again, an­other batch of fa­vor­able polling for Democrats landed this week. In Ari­zona, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is ahead by 3 points, 4.2 points in the RealClearPol­i­tics poll av­er­age. No re­cent poll has Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., lead­ing. Sen. Bill Nel­son, D-Fla., is lead­ing nar­rowly; Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., is lead­ing by a more com­fort­able mar­gin. Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., holds a low sin­gle-digit lead in the Ne­vada Se­nate race. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, re­mark­ably has a race within the mar­gin-of-er­ror in mul­ti­ple polls. The Se­nate races are so close one could imag­ine ei­ther side pick­ing up net three.

In short, you can see why bil­lion­aire Michael Bloomberg just dropped $20 mil­lion into Se­nate races for Demo­cratic can­di­dates. At some point, both sides will re­al­ize money can be more ef­fec­tively used in tight Se­nate races than in try­ing to eke out one or two House seats that are un­likely to de­ter­mine ma­jor­ity con­trol.

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