Monday, November 2, 2020

Ogden on Politics Predicts the U.S. Senate Races

I predict that when the U.S. Senate dust settles, which may not be until January 5th thanks to one if not two Georgia run-off elections, Democrats will have gain control of the Senate with 53 seats. (Note:  the two independent U.S. Senators caucus with the Democrats.)  Let's look at the states with the closest races:

Georgia:  I have already explained why I think the Democrats will win both seats in the Peach State.  I won't repeat those reasons here.  There is the possibility that Democrat Jon Ossoff wins 50% plus and, thus, avoids a run-off against the incumbent David Perdue.  The other is a special election and that will almost certainly go to a run-off.  But the two Republicans in that race - Doug Collins and appointed Senator Kell Loeffler - have so damaged their credibility that I think Democrat Raphael Warnock will win by a big plurality tomorrow and prevail in the January 5th run-off..  DEMOCRATS PICK UP TWO SEATS.

Alabama:  Democrats could not do any better than Doug Jones in ruby red Alabama.  But Jones won the seat during a special election when he was running against a weak GOP candidate, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.  Tommy Tuberville doesn't carry the baggage Moore did.  Although he's not a great candidate, it is still Alabama.  REPUBLICAN PICKUP.

Alaska:  The shocker of the night will be in Alaska.  Incumbent Republican Senator Dan Sullivan has lashed himself to the Trump Train.  Sullivan's opponent is Dr. Al Gross, who may be most famous for killing a bear in self-defense 25 years ago.  Gross is actually running as an independent, but has been endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party.  Not a lot of polling in Alaska, but most show Sullivan with a narrow lead. DEMOCRATIC PICKUP.

Arizona:   Appointed Republican Senator Martha McSally is running to win her seat outright after losing in 2018 to the other Arizona senate seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.  McSally has been campaigning as if she is in ruby red Alabama.  But she is in purple, soon to be blue, Arizona.  McSally is one of the worst Republican Senate candidates this cycle and she is up against possibly the best Democratic Senate candidate in astronaut Mark Kelly.  DEMOCRATIC PICKUP.

Colorado:  Senator Cory Gardner is seeking re-election.  But, even though he is seen as one of the better GOP candidates, he's running in a state has turned dark blue since he was elected in 2014.  The edge goes to the Democrat, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.  DEMOCRATIC PICKUP.

Iowa:  Republican Joni Ernst has been struggling in the polls.  It looks like though Ernst has recently starting to putting some daylight between her and Democrat Theresa Greenfield.  Trump should pull off a narrow win in the Hawkeye State and he probably will carry Ernst over the finish line.  NO PICKUP.

Kansas:  Democrats find themselves competitive for the open U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Pat Roberts.  Republican-turned-Democrat Barbara Bollier, who is a state senator and physicians, has been polling a few points behind congressman Roger Marshall.  Not a lot of good polling in Kansas, but a  mid-October New York Times poll has Marshall up 4 points.  With Trump probably winning Kansas by upper single digits, I think Bollier comes up a bit short.  NO PICKUP.

Kentucky:  Democrats are so wanting to see Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell defeated they have thrown a massive amount of money at Amy McGrath, McConnell's opponent.  One problem though.  McConnell is a KENTUCKY Senator.  Know how Republican Indiana is?  Now double that.  Democrats will have to take satisfaction out of McConnell being demoted to Minority Leader.  NO PICKUP.

Maine:  Republican Susan Collins, running as a moderate, was elected in 1996 and has been re-elected three times since then.  But in the era of Trump, her moderate, independent persona has been irreparably damaged.  Her opponent, Sara Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, has outraised Collins and appears poised to oust Collins.  DEMOCRATIC PICKUP.

Michigan:  John James is a strong Republican challenger and incumbent Democratic Senator  Gary Peters is not a good candidate.  Nevertheless,   James has trailed by several points nearly the entire campaign.  If life were fair, James would be running ahead.  But James has a Donald Trump problem. Trump is likely to lose Michigan badly and drag down James with him.  James picked a bad time to run, again, for the U.S. Senate.  NO PICKUP. 

Minnesota:  In Minnesota, Democratic Senator Tina Smith is seeking re-election.  Her opponent is Jason Lewis, who has started to show up as competitive in recent polls.  Too little, too late.  No PICKUP.

Mississippi:  It's not hard for a Democratic statewide candidate to get in the low 40s in Mississippi.  The state, at 36%, has the highest African-American population in the country.  While African-Americans vote overwhelmingly Democrat in Mississippi, they are more than offset by that state's white voters voting solidly for Republicans.  Mike Espy is a good candidate for Democrats, and he's up against a weak candidate in Republican Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, but, well, it iw Mississippi.  NO PICKUP.

Montana:  Like South Carolina, the Democrats fielded an excellent challenger in Governor Steve Bullock.  While Republican incumbent Steve Daines is not a strong candidate it is still Montana and a presidential election year in which Trump should win Montana by double digits.  Bullock probably won't be able to overcome that.  NO PICKUP.

North Carolina:  Republican Thom Tillis received a break a few weeks ago when his opponent, Cal Cunningham, became embroiled in a sexting scandal.  The problem for Tillis though is he's not a strong candidate and, in the era of Trump, personal scandalsno longer seem that big of a deal.  DEMOCRATIC PICKUP.

Texas:  While Trump might actually lose Texas, incumbent Senator John Cornyn has consistently been running a few points ahead of the President in the polls.   I expect that those few points will make the difference as the Democrat MJ Heger loses out to Cornyn.  NO PICKUP.

South Carolina:  Trump bootlicker Lindsey Graham is seeking re-election.   Graham's opponent, Jaime Harrison, has run a terrific race.  Harrison has probably raised more money than any Democratic Senate candidate this cycle.  There is one problem.  Harrison is running in South Carolina, a state Trump should win fairly easily.  Expect Republican Graham to pull out a narrow win.  NO PICKUP.

CONCLUSION:  I am predicting that the Democrats pick up seven seats, lose a seat in a Alabama, for a net six seat pick up in the Senate.  Thus it will go from 53-47 Republican to 53-47 Democrat.  Of course, that may not happen right away given the Georgia Senate races might go to a January 5th run-off.

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