Top Political Handicapper Throws Cold Water on Dems’ Senate Chances With Surprising Prediction Shift

Top Political Handicapper Throws Cold Water on Dems’ Senate Chances With Surprising Prediction Shift

According to the influential Cook Political Report, the Democrats were already in deep water when it came to retaining control of the Senate in 2024, no matter what happens in the presidential race. Now, the political handicapper says things are looking even grimmer for the blue side of the aisle.

On Wednesday, The Hill reported, the CPR moved Sen. Jacky Rosen’s re-election bid in Nevada from “lean Democrat” to “toss up” — meaning that, of the 23 seats in the upper chamber held by Democrats that are up for grabs this year, four are rated as toss-up or worse by the CPR.

By contrast, the 11 seats held by Republicans are all considered “likely Republican” or “solid Republican” by the report.

“Jessica Taylor, the Senate and governors editor for Cook Political Report, wrote in an analysis that the election handicapper was changing the rating of Rosen’s seat for several reasons: Its perpetually transient population that requires candidates to reintroduce themselves to voters, President Biden’s performance trailing Donald Trump in state polling and a ‘unique post-COVID economic hangover,'” The Hill reported.

“The Nevada shift may be a bit surprising. After all, it’s the only one of the swing states Democrats carried in both 2016 and 2020 at the presidential level, and Republicans haven’t won a statewide federal race here since 2012. And of the quartet now in Toss Up, it is still probably the toughest,” Taylor said in an analysis explaining the move.

“But remember that the 2022 Senate race was the closest in the country, with Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto prevailing by just under 8,000 votes over former Republican state Attorney General Adam Laxalt — or around three quarters of a point.”

However, while Rosen has a cash-on-hand advantage over her likely opponent in November, retired Army Capt. Sam Brown, Trump holds a three-point edge in the RealClearPolitics polling aggregate. Furthermore, Democrat-imposed lockdowns decimated the economy in the tourist mecca of Las Vegas and the state has seen an influx of those fleeing blue states because of the political messes there.

As of Friday morning, likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a 47.5 percent to 44.3 percent lead over President Joe Biden in the aggregate.

The Democrats currently control the Senate by a slim 51-49 margin, although three of those caucusing with Democrats are nominally independent.

The Cook Political Report rates the competitiveness of races based on seven categories. Those which are a coin-flip as per their analysis are, self-explanatorily, referred to as “toss up.”

Races which tilt one way or another but are competitive are “Lean R” or “Lean D.” Races where there remains a chance for an upset are “Likely R” or “Likely D.” Races where you have a better chance of seeing all the little children in the world clap their hands simultaneously than you do of seeing an upset are rated as “Solid R” or “Solid D.”

Of the 23 seats held by Democrats currently up for election, one is, rather shockingly, a “Solid R.” That’s not so shocking when you realize it’s the seat of retiring Sen. Joe Manchin, who will be remembered quite a bit more fondly by the Democrats after a GOPer is sitting in his desk for the next six years.

Four of the seats are currently rated as toss ups: Rosen’s, Sen. Jon Tester’s bid for another term in Montana, Sen. Sherrod Brown’s desperate attempt to hold onto statewide office as a Democrat in an increasingly red state, and the open seat in Arizona left by the departing independent former Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

Three others are “Lean D”: Sen. Bob Casey Jr.’s re-election bid in Pennsylvania, Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bid in Wisconsin, and the open seat left by retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan.

In addition, one “Likely D” has shown some positive polling for Republicans: In Maryland, moderate former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan has shown surprising strength over his potential Democratic rivals.

As for the 11 seats up for grabs currently controlled by Democrats, only two fall outside of the “Solid R” category: Both Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida are only “Likely R.” (“Only.”)

And Taylor had worse news for the seats that were in the “Lean D” column, too: “It’s quite possible all four could eventually move into the Toss Up column, reflecting even more peril for Senate Democrats.”

That means you would have seven seats in the “toss up” column. Assume that a toss up acts as a toss up is supposed to and there’s a 50-50 chance of winning. Even if the GOP ends up with the short end of the stick, that still means a pickup of three seats — and a 52-48 edge in the Senate.

Now, granted, electoral math doesn’t work that way. However, at the very least, this means Democrats are going to have to be pouring money into Senate elections they didn’t want to be frittering away resources on in a presidential year race where the incumbent is cataclysmically unpopular. Meanwhile, the GOP has to do virtually nothing on the Senate side and can focus on two other houses: the White House and the House of Representatives.

Rosen’s race becoming a toss up may seem like a small move in the scheme of things. It has much larger implications, though — and it’s going to be keeping a lot of Democratic strategists and fundraisers burning the midnight oil from now until November.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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