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GOP chances of winning the Senate on the rise

Senate Republicans see their chances of winning a Senate majority steadily increasing this year by expanding the battlefield, limiting infighting and fielding strong candidates.

This is due to infighting between President Trump, who lost power, and the Republican Party establishment, which left the conference with midterm candidates who performed poorly, and the Democratic Party won a larger majority in 2023 than the previous year. This is a noticeable change from a year ago.

The latest good news for Republicans comes in Maryland and Montana.

In the Deep Blue state, Republicans have fielded former Governor Larry Hogan as their Senate candidate. The popular Hogan’s decision to run would give Republicans a chance at an upset, or at least force Democrats to spend money to hold on to their seats.

In Montana, Republicans persuaded Rep. Matt Rosendale to withdraw from the Republican primary, and a businessman is the candidate promoted by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who heads the Senate Republican campaign team. Tim Sheehy’s path to the nomination has become clearer. .

In an important show of unity, the Republican Senate campaign arm and Mr. Trump both endorsed Mr. Sheehy and joined forces in his effort to unseat Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester.

Even before these developments, Republicans appeared to be the favorites to take back the Senate.

The Democratic Party is defending 23 seats this term, including red states such as Montana, West Virginia, and Ohio, so Trump, who is likely to become the Republican presidential nominee, will defeat President Biden. It is expected that

In West Virginia, incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (Democratic) announced his retirement last year, almost securing the seat for Republicans.

“This is a good map for Republicans,” said Dave Peterson, a political science professor at Iowa State University. “The road is long and there are a lot of other primaries that could hurt them. But I think this will be a good year for them.”

David McCune, a political science professor at Sonoma State University, said this is the chamber Republicans should lose at this point.

“One of the reasons they should still lose the floor is because they were able to expand the map, whereas Democrats can’t expand the map and have to protect the map. “Democrats are in protection mode and Republicans are in expansion mode. Republicans continue to attack.”

Republican strategists are increasingly bullish about their chances.

“This is a very good map, and Republicans understand that they have to take advantage of it, not just because of the tone of the election, but because they generally don’t line up like this,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “There is,” he said.

Democrats enter the Senate race with a 51-49 majority, so if their presidential candidate wins the White House, Republicans could flip just one seat and gain a majority.

With Manchin resigning and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) running, Republicans already feel like they have 50 seats.

If he can defeat either Tester or Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, he will have 51 seats. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report considers both seats to be “toss-ups,” along with Arizona, which is a three-way race. If the incumbent chooses to run for re-election, it could be between Republican Kari Lake, Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.).

The four Senate races held by Democrats in Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are rated as “few Democrats.”

By contrast, Republicans are seen as barely competitive, holding just two seats. Florida is chaired by Sen. Rick Scott, and Texas is chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz. Cook rates both races as “likely” Republican races, a step safer than “Democratic-leaning” races where Democrats are on the defensive.

Regarding the presidential race, Republicans also feel optimistic about the Senate.

The race between Trump and Biden remains likely to be a coin toss, but many polls show Trump ahead nationally and in key battleground states such as Michigan.

An average of national polls maintained by Hill/Decision Desk shows Mr. Trump leading Mr. Biden 44.4% to 41.7%. In Michigan, Trump leads Biden by 2.6 percentage points, according to The Hill/DDHQ average. Trump has an average lead of 2.8 points in Pennsylvania.

While such an atmosphere could still allow Democratic Senate candidates to win the race, it could provide a new path for Republicans to win or expand their majority.

“The path to 50 seats is already pretty clear,” said one Republican operative who has worked on Senate races. “The focus now is on gaining seats in preparation for passing the bill in the Senate.” ” he said.

“Regardless of the presidential outcome, Senate Republicans still need to do everything in their power to add at least one more seat to secure a majority, and some recent developments have dented their hopes of achieving just that. We are increasing our strength,” the operative added.

There are some bumps in the road for Republicans.

Mr. Tester and Mr. Brown, in particular, are veteran Democratic senators who have been repeatedly seen as election-year targets but ultimately prevailed. Daynes was careful with his words, like a coach who doesn’t want to give locker room material to a rival.

“You can’t like this map,” Daines told reporters in January, adding that the Republican candidate faces “a very strong incumbent Democratic senator who knows how to win in red states.” He pointed out that he was doing so.

The Senate Republican campaign arm is remain neutral Ohio has a crowded field of Republican primaries looking to challenge Mr. Brown. It is unclear which of these candidates will emerge as the Republican candidate.

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is leading Biden in Pennsylvania. A recent poll from the state’s Emerson College and The Hill found Mr. Casey leading his likely Republican rival, David McCormick, by nearly 10 points.

Peterson said it’s still early in the economic cycle and stressed that Democratic enthusiasm could rise if Biden’s numbers start to pick up and the economy continues to improve.

Still, there are reasons for Democrats to be nervous.

McEwan said states such as Nevada and Wisconsin, which have strong presidential polling ratings, could be “somewhat problematic” for Democrats.

“The president is having an influence, but border issues also seem to be a big factor in these states,” he said.

Mr. Hogan’s entry into the Maryland Senate race undoubtedly shocked Republicans. A recent Emerson College Poll/The Hill/DC News Now poll found Hogan leading or tied with the two most likely Democratic candidates.

Democrats were already on high alert in red states, but Hogan’s candidacy in Maryland “put Democrats at a disadvantage in a race they didn’t expect to have a problem with,” Republican strategist Mike said.・Dennehy said.

“He’s a Republican who has proven he can win in blue states. So regardless of the presidential election, Larry Hogan is going to be very strong and very competitive,” Dennehy said.

Iowa State University professor Peterson said he is “still skeptical” that the party can flip Maryland, but that after Hogan’s arrival, “things look better for the party than they did a few weeks ago.” he said.

Some Democrats acknowledge they face challenges heading into November.

“It’s going to be difficult for Democrats to hold on,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist.

At the same time, Scheinkopf suggested Republicans risk overestimating Biden’s low poll numbers and becoming overconfident about Biden’s chances of gaining support.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm, project confidence A national Republican senatorial committee supporting Lake in Arizona said that even if Hogan were to run, he could extend his record of “44 years of winning every statewide federal election in Maryland.” He said he was “excited” about the group’s move and called Mr Hogan. “Perfect candidate — to lose the race.”

O’Connell, the Republican strategist, said Republicans need to focus on efforts to win votes and coordinate fundraising. They’re not saying it out loud. ”

Al Weaver contributed.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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