Colorado now “Likely Democrat,” Pennsylvania & Ohio now ‘Toss-Up”
Senate Republicans started the 2016 cycle at a disadvantage and have taken every opportunity to make their already steep climb worse: failing to stand up to the caustic Donald Trump, allowing for the out-of-touch Ted Cruz to be the “lesser of two evils,” and putting their political party ahead of their responsibility to do their jobs, obstructing the effort to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. Now, the races have again shifted in Democrats’ direction with Larry Sabato moving Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, North Carolina and Iowa.
“Republican senators are responsible for the toxic climate they’ve created within their party and across the country, so it’s no surprise that Senate races are now moving in Democrats’ favor,” said Lauren Passalacqua, DSCC National Press Secretary. “It will be impossible for Republican incumbents and Senate candidates to distance themselves from the frontrunner they helped nominate or distract from their failure to do their jobs.”
Crystal Ball Senate rating changes
Here are the highlights:
Considering the rise of Donald Trump, the polarization of U.S. politics and a higher rate of straight-ticket voting, this could be bad news for the GOP.
On Colorado: Sen. Michael Bennet (D) has proven to be more resilient than some might have thought… Whoever wins the GOP nomination on June 28 will have a serious financial deficit to overcome as Bennet had $6.7 million in the bank at the end of 2015. More importantly, just as the circumstances at the presidential level have weakened the ratings for a number of GOP Senate incumbents, they have improved Bennet’s odds as the only potentially vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbent.
On Ohio: [Portman] does not have the built-in statewide name ID and persona that his two predecessors in this possessed… The GOP presidential nominee will likely do quite well in Appalachian Ohio… but it’s not impossible to imagine a small crossover vote for Strickland, who used to represent many of those counties in the U.S. House.
On Pennsylvania: Toomey faces the same challenges Portman does (and maybe more so) in having to run significant ahead of its top-of-the-ticket Republican “running mate” in November.
On North Carolina: If the GOP presidential nominee falters, the Tar Heel State will likely be the first red-state domino to fall… With Trump or Cruz as the nominee, it’s possible that Democrats could carry North Carolina in November, boosting [Deborah] Ross’ chances. A similar thing happened in 2008 when then-state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) rode to victory with the help of Obama’s statewide win.
On Missouri: Kander, considered a great recruit for Democrats, could surprise Blunt.
On Iowa: The death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia has left a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, placing the court debate and its attendants — including the Senate Judiciary Committee — under the political microscope… Perhaps sensing that Grassley might have some unexpected vulnerability to exploit, former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D) has jumped into the race to take on Grassley… Since winning the seat in the Republican wave of 1980, Grassley has not had to face anyone who previously held a statewide office.