The Senate Picture – Part I (of III)

34-in-cycle-us-senate-seats-1-of-3

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 22, 2017 — Since little in politics happens around a holiday period, it is a good time to quickly review all 34 in-cycle US Senate campaigns. Today, alphabetically in the first of a three-part series, we look at Alabama through Massachusetts.

• Alabama: The special election to permanently replace current Attorney General and former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) is scheduled for Dec. 12. All are aware of the controversy surrounding Republican nominee Roy Moore, and the latest polls show him falling behind Democratic nominee Doug Jones, the former Birmingham area US Attorney. The latest poll is from Change Research (Nov. 15-16; 2,090 Alabama voters) and finds Jones leading 46-43 percent. With sexual harassment now becoming the issue of the day in politics, Hollywood, and the media, how this race will be finally affected remains unclear. If the Republicans lose this seat, it would put what should be their unassailable Senate majority in jeopardy during the regular election year.
Rating: Toss-Up

• Arizona: Sen. Jeff Flake (R) has previously announced his retirement. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) is moving to become a consensus Democratic candidate. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) is poised to enter the race to challenge former state Sen. Kelli Ward (R) in the Republican primary. A recent OH Predictive Insights survey (Nov. 9; 600 likely Arizona voters) finds Rep. Sinema clinging to just a one point, 46-45 percent, edge over Rep. McSally despite having greater statewide name identification. She leads Ward, 46-43 percent.
Rating: Toss-Up

• California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announced that she is seeking re-election amid speculation that the 83-year-old, five-term incumbent would retire. With state Senate President Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) challenging her in the state’s jungle primary, it appears highly probable that we will see a competitive double-Democratic general election.
Rating: Safe D

• Connecticut: Sen. Christopher Murphy (D) appears to be facing only minimal opposition for a second term.
Rating: Safe D

• Delaware: Sen. Tom Carper (D) will seek re-election for a fourth term and so far faces only a token Republican opponent.
Rating: Safe D

• Florida: With his job approval ratings at an all-time high and multiple polls showing a dead heat in the Senate race, two-term Gov. Rick Scott (R), ineligible to seek re-election, will announce early next year his challenge to Sen. Bill Nelson (D). The incumbent has announced that he will run for a fourth term. This match-up will likely become a top-three national Senate campaign in a state that is no stranger to close political contests.
Rating: Toss-Up

• Hawaii: Sen. Mazie Hirono (D) is seeking re-election despite receiving cancer treatment. No Republican opposition is building in the strongly Democratic state. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Kailua) has announced that she will not launch a Democratic primary challenge to the senator.
Rating: Safe D

• Indiana: Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) seeks re-election for a second term and has drawn a crowd of Republican opponents. The May GOP primary is a major race featuring Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Brownsburg/Lafayette), Luke Messer (R-Greensburg/Muncie), and former state representative and independent wealthy businessman Mike Braun (R-Jasper). The primary is already developing into a hot contest as the two congressmen are already squaring off against each other with negative barbs. This could play favorably for Braun, who is an equally serious candidate. The eventual GOP nominee will begin in what should be toss-up mode against Sen. Donnelly in what is normally a strongly Republican state.
Rating: Toss-Up

• Maine: Independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, seeks a second term. Earlier in the year Gov. Paul LePage (R) indicated he might challenge Sen. King, but has since announced that he will not run. State Sen. Eric Brakey (R), a former Ron Paul for President activist, appears to be the leading challenger. Sen. King is in strong position for re-election.
Rating: Safe I/D

• Maryland: Sen. Ben Cardin (D) seeks a third term next year, and is a lock for re-election against so far weak opposition.
Rating: Safe D

• Massachusetts: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D), possibly also preparing for a 2020 presidential run, seeks a second term. Because of her national prominence, it is likely that a substantial sum of national money will be raised to support her eventual Republican opponent because of the national implications associated with this Senate race. State Rep. Geoff Diehl and former state Department of Consumer Affairs director Beth Lindstrom appear to be the top GOP challengers. The seat is safe for Sen. Warren, but her margin of victory will be closely watched.
Rating: Safe D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.