TO: Interested Parties
FR: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
RE: One Year Out, GOP Faces “Nightmare Scenario” as Dems Build Momentum
Here are the dynamics shaping the Senate map one year from Election Day and why Democrats are increasingly well-positioned to make the “GOP’s nightmare scenario” a reality:
1. “Red Flags All Over for Senate Republicans,” Sinking Approvals, Lagging Fundraising & Political Baggage in Trump, McConnell
Polling released earlier this year warned “Republican incumbents have seen their popularity decline” and that trend continued as data released last month confirmed “things aren’t getting any better for 2020’s most vulnerable Republicans.”
Republicans’ disappointing fundraising is also a cause for “red flags.” Democrats outraised GOP incumbents in key races in Q3, and the DSCC outraised the NRSC for three consecutive months in July, August and September:
National Journal: “fundraising figures show that Mitch McConnell’s hold on the Senate majority is looking awfully precarious. Indeed, the pathway for a narrow Democratic takeover of the upper chamber is looking clearer than ever.”
Axios: “Scott Reed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior political strategist, tells me that third-quarter fundraising reports showing three Republican senators being out-raised by Democratic challengers (in Arizona, Iowa and Maine) ‘are a three-alarm fire. The party was shaken by that,’ Reed said. ‘We’re all worried.’”
Associated Press: “The trouble for Republicans extends to states where they’re supposed to be on firmer ground… Democrats, meanwhile, are paying close attention to races across the board, including the House, Senate and presidency, fueling them with small-dollar donations that Republicans have struggled to counter.”
Axios: Democratic challengers outpace vulnerable GOP senators in Q3
Arizona Republic: “Mark Kelly, the Democrat and retired NASA astronaut who is vying to unseat Republican Sen. Martha McSally, outraised her for the third straight quarter”
Colorado Sun: John Hickenlooper posts Colorado fundraising record in his first six weeks as U.S. Senate candidate
The Hill: Iowa Democrat tops Ernst in third-quarter fundraising for Senate race
Portland Press Herald: Challenger Gideon outpaces Sen. Collins with $3.2 million raised in 3rd quarter
Post & Courier: SC Democrat Jaime Harrison raises record $2.1M in bid for Lindsey Graham’s US Senate seat
Montgomery Advertiser: “Doug Jones raised more money this summer than his Republican challengers combined”
MLive: “Peters boasts $6.3 million [in cash on hand]… noting nine out of 10 donations were under $100.”
WMUR: Shaheen raised record $2.27M in third quarter, has $4.3M on hand for reelection bid
Republicans and their allies acknowledge their majority is “in serious jeopardy” and their leadership is among the heaviest baggage:
Axios: Trump’s net approval rating sinks in every battleground state
The Hill: GOP frets about Trump’s poll numbers
AP: “Republicans seeking reelection have often been barraged with uncomfortable questions about Trump’s conduct”
Washington Post: ‘It feels like a horror movie’: Republicans feel anxious and adrift defending Trump
HuffPost: Mitch McConnell Will Be The Boogeyman Of The 2020 Elections
BONUS: Senate Republicans are facing an “early headache of nightmare primary fights”:
2. Democratic Candidates Impress, Especially with Early Fundraising
The Democratic field is strong and has already captured grassroots enthusiasm:
3. Health Care Remains the Defining Issues as Republicans Double Down on Unpopular Policies That Cost Them in 2018
Senate Republicans are still on the wrong side of the top issue for voters. Spineless GOP senators, who “have no credibility” and no excuse for their records of voting to gut coverage protections for pre-existing conditions.
One of their biggest new liabilities is the GOP’s ongoing lawsuit to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. Every single Republican Senator voted for the 2017 tax law that sparked this dangerous lawsuit that would drive up costs and eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, and they have “no plan” if the ACA is struck down. The fallout from this unpopular legal attack on the health care law could mean “political havoc” for Republicans.
Meanwhile, the DSCC has continued running ads highlighting how Senate Republicans enabled and then refused to oppose this lawsuit despite the disastrous consequences it would impose on their constituents.
Bottom Line: The early trendlines emerging across the Senate landscape signal how Democrats are increasingly well-positioned to flip key seats and take back the majority.