Democrats are licking their chops over the 2018 midterm elections.
They are counting on backlash to Donald Trump propelling them back into the majority.
But Chuck Schumer just got some bad news that no one saw coming.
10 incumbent Democrat Senators are running for re-election in states Donald Trump won by the double-digits.
The map provided Republicans an opportunity to expand their majority.
But the media and Democrats have been promoting a narrative that Trump’s low approval numbers put Congress in play.
This has been the story for months.
A Democratic sweep would install Chuck Schumer as Senate Majority leader and end Trump’s chances to pass any significant legislation or confirm executive and judicial branches nominees.
How close is that to happening?
Not very close according to election forecasters.
The respected Cook Political report just changed their ranking on five Senate races and moved four of them in the GOP’s favor.
The contests in North Dakota, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri all were shifted in the GOP’s favor despite the media narrative that Trump is a failure and America is waiting to deliver him a rebuke in 2018.
Here is what the Cook report wrote about those four races:
In 2012, Democrat Joe Donnelly, who was then in the U.S. House, was considered an underdog in this Senate race where he was supposed to face long-term GOP U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, but Lugar lost his primary and Donnelly’s opponent became then-state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Mourdock won with the support of tea party activists, but stumbled out of the primary with a series of impolitic remarks about partisanship, abortion and rape, and never recovered. So even while then-President Obama lost the state, Donnelly defeated Mourdock, 50 percent to 44 percent. In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the state by 19 points while Republicans also won an open U.S. Senate seat, the Governor’s office and six of eight congressional districts. This puts Donnelly high on Republicans’ target list this cycle. Republicans will host a competitive primary between U.S. Reps. Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, state Rep. Mike Braun, attorney and staffer to former U.S. Sen. Dan Coats Mark Hurt, and Purdue Polytech director Andrew Takami. Businessman Terry Henderson and state Attorney General Curtis Hill are also considering bids. Democrats hope to benefit from a crowded and potentially ugly primary. It is worth remembering that Republicans held a competitive race in 2016, but it had no impact on the general election. It is very hard to see how Donnelly does not get very competitive race this cycle. The contest is in the Toss Up column.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill won this seat in 2006, a very good year for Democrats nationally, with just 50 percent of the vote. When she was up for re-election in 2012, McCaskill hoped to avoid another nail-biter of a race by influencing the outcome of the Republican primary in order to pull a weaker opponent. With television and radio ads, and some help from the DSCC, she succeeded as then-U.S. Rep. Todd Akin prevailed in an eight-way field with 36 percent. McCaskill believed that Akin was too conservative as a general election candidate, even by Missouri standards, and there was ample evidence that he was a weak campaigner and a mediocre fundraiser. But, Akin managed to exceed Democrats’ expectations when shortly after the primary he argued that victims of “legitimate rape” don’t become pregnant because “…the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” And that was the end of the race despite the fact that it was only the third week in August. McCaskill took 55 percent to 39 percent for Akin; a Libertarian got 6 percent. She isn’t likely to have as easy a path to re-election this cycle. It is not certain that Republicans can avoid a primary, but they aren’t likely to let McCaskill and Democrats dictate the terms. And while the Democratic incumbent understands what a fine line she walks in a Republican-leaning state, the electorate has become even more conservative since 2012. In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the state by 19 points, as Republicans won a U.S. Senate seat and every statewide office on the ballot. The most interesting and surprising development in this race so far has been U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner’s decision not to run. Her announcement left Republicans working to entice state Attorney General Josh Hawley into the race; he has formed an exploratory committee and is widely expected to run. Libertarian activist Austin Petersen has announced his candidacy and state Rep. Paul Curtman has formed an exploratory committee. The 37-year old Hawley is likely to unite the party and will give McCaskill a very tough race. The race is in the Toss Up.
3. NORTH DAKOTA
U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is in an unenviable position; she is a Democrat sitting in a state that President Donald Trump carried by 36 points and is a member of a Senate minority doing everything in its power to oppose Trump and Senate Republicans. That’s the bad news. The good news is that she is well known statewide and votes her state’s priorities as much as she can. She won this seat in 2012 by less than 3,000 votes against then At-Large U.S. Rep. Rick Berg, who was a less than stellar candidate. While Heitkamp was eking out a win, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the state by 19 points. Republicans would like to see At-Large U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer run. Cramer succeeded Berg, winning a third term in 2016 with 69 percent, and would give Heitkamp a very competitive contest. Cramer has been slow to make a decision, allowing state Sen. Tom Campbell to jump in the race ahead of him. While Campbell isn’t as well known as Cramer, his profile as a successful businessman has some appeal to voters. Now that Heitkamp has a credible opponent, the contest is in the Lean Democrat column, at least until Cramer announces whether he will run.
4. WEST VIRGINIA:
On the one hand, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin should be the most vulnerable incumbent up this cycle given that he is a Democrat representing a state that President Donald Trump carried by 42 points. On the other, Manchin has accumulated a very moderate voting record and seems in sync with voters, and thus has solid job approval and favorable ratings. He was elected to the Senate in a special election in 2010 with 54 percent, and then won a full term in 2012 with 61 percent. Republicans are intent on testing theory of presidential performance – that which party wins a state in the presidential contest plays a major role in determining the outcome of a Senate race. They have two first-tier candidates seeking the GOP nomination: U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Former coal industry worker Bo Copley is also running. Either Morrisey or Jenkins will give Manchin a competitive general election, but the early weeks of the campaign suggest that it will be a very contentious primary. The contest is in the Toss Up column.