The Senate 6: July Rankings
Catherine Cortez Masto looks more vulnerable than ... John Fetterman.
Your 4th of July hotdog cost 17% more than a year ago. The average price of gas in America is $4.70 a gallon. Violent crime is on the rise in major cities. A majority of Americans believe their government is “corrupt and rigged” against everyday folk. President Joe Biden’s national approval rating is dangling below 40%; and more than two-thirds of all voters think he should forego a second term.
And yet … and yet … the 2022 U.S. Senate campaign canvas looks brighter than expected for Democrats four months from Election Day, especially considering the sour national environment and the historic anti-incumbency winds of a midterm.
Get this: In any of the top six Senate races in the country, there isn’t a recent public poll showing a Republican ahead.
Two states remain on the 2022 watch list: OHIO and NORTH CAROLINA.
These pair of red states look tantalizing within reach for Democrats to flip, but are more likely than not to end up in the red column.
Below are the six races I assess as being the most competitive to the bitter end, therefore ultimately determining control of the 50-50 Senate. They are listed in descending order of being the toughest to call — perhaps even #TooCloseToCall — on the night of Nov. 8.
In this edition four months from Election Day, PENNSYLVANIA moves down (looking a few hairs less competitive since last month) where as nip and tuck NEVADA is on the climb, with former President Trump landing there Friday night.
As always, send your own astute rankings and critiques of mine to … firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s July’s #SenateSix >
Since locking up the Republican nomination with a 21-point primary victory three and a half weeks ago, Adam Laxalt has deployed two arguments against Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto that are arguably contradictory.
On one hand, Laxalt’s campaign is telling voters that Cortez Masto needs to be removed because she’s in lock-step with Biden, helping impose a ruinous agenda. On the other, they’re arguing she’s been absent from doing much of anything. “Where was Cortez Masto and her bullhorn?,” asks a campaign video from Laxalt, who has taken to calling her “the invisible senator.”
It feels inconsistent to argue that your opponent is a non-entity in Washington while she’s also effectively crafting a disastrous liberal legislation. Which is it?
Given those options, Cortez Masto would likely rather be invisible than tethered to Biden, who she wouldn’t commit to backing in 2024.
Instead, she’s choosing to wield the abrogation of Roe v. Wade as a reason Laxalt would be a perilous replacement. The Senate’s first Latina has claimed that Senate Republicans are drafting a bill to outlaw abortion everywhere — and that Laxalt would be an “automatic” vote for such a measure.
While Mitch McConnell has floated this possibility in the past, there doesn’t appear to be any substantive legislative push for a national abortion ban currently, particularly since it would need an improbable 60 Senate votes.
But the broad battle strokes are clear; whereas Cortez Masto wants the campaign frame around women’s bodily autonomy, Laxalt is looking to ride the wave of dissatisfaction with price and crime spikes.
Ted Pappageorge, Secretary-Treasurer of the Culinary Workers Union 226 in Las Vegas — which is backing Cortez Masto — warned that Democrats can’t put their head in the sand and avoid the inflation fight.