DemDaily: Status of the Senate I. Race Ratings

August 30, 2021

The US Senate currently stands at 50 Democrats, including two Independents who caucus with the Democrats, to 50 Republicans. As Vice President Kamala Harris serves as the President of the Senate and has the tiebreaking vote, Democrats officially have control of the Senate.

There are 34 of the 100 US Senate seats up for election November 8, 2022. Democrats are defending 14 seats, while the Republican Party is defending 20, including five open seats.

While less than half of the seats up next November are considered competitive, each one of the top ten is critical to control of the United States Senate in 2022.

Kelly's seat a top GOP target (Ross Franklin/AP)

ARIZONA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.4% v.Trump 49.1%
Filing Deadline: April 4, 2022
Primary: August 2, 2022
Rating: Lean Democrat

Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly (D) was elected in the November 3, 2020 special election to fill the remaining term of the late Senator John McCain (R). Kelly unseated interim Senator Martha McSally (R) 51.17% to 48.82% and is now up for reelection to a full term. He is unopposed in the primary.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a libertarian-leaning Republican who has served as the state's top prosecutor since 2015, is the most well-known GOP contender. In addition to having run statewide, his name is attached to last month's high-profile Brnovich v. the Democratic National Committee case in which the Supreme Court upheld Arizona's suppressive voting laws.

The GOP field also includes retired Major General and former Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard Michael McGuire, Thiel Capital CEO Blake Masters, solar power businessman Jim Lamon, and software engineer Robert Paveza. Other potential contenders include Arizona Republican Party Chair and former US Senate candidate Kelly Ward, Congressman Andy Biggs (5th CD) and Kirk Adams, former Speaker of the Arizona House and former chief of staff to Governor Doug Ducey. Ducey is not running.

Demings is just 2% behind Rubio in latest polls (Aldianews)

FLORIDA
2020 Presidential Results: Biden 47.9% v. Trump 51.2%
Filing Deadline: June 17, 2022
Primary: August 23, 2022
Rating: Lean Republican

In the country's largest bellwether state, which Trump won by 3.3% in 2020, incumbent Republican Marco Rubio is facing his most serious reelection challenge.

Rubio faces nominal primary opposition from businessman Howard Knepper, Florida National Guardsman Jake Loubriel, conservative writer Luis Miguel, maritime captain Earl Yearicks IV, and Ervan Katari Miller.

In the Democratic primary, Congresswoman Val Demings (10th CD) dominates a field of 11 candidates, which also includes former Congressman Alan Grayson (9th CD), Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell, businessman Edward Abud, 2018 and 2020 nominee for Florida's 17th CD Allen Ellison, Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy Foundation President Al Fox, former DOJ special counsel William Sanchez, attorney Coleman Watson, engineer Allek Pastrana, teacher Joshua Weil, and Josue Larose.

An August 16-17, 2021 St. Pete Polls survey of registered voters show incumbent Republican Senator Marco Rubio with just a slight lead over Democratic challenger Congresswoman Val Demings 48% to 46% (MOE +/- 2%).

GEORGIA
2020 Presidential Vote: Biden 49.5% v. Trump 49.2%
Filing Deadline: March 11, 2022
Primary: May 24, 2022
Rating: Lean Democrat

Walker's entry sets up high profile contest

Incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock was elected in the January 5, 2021 special election runoff to fill the remaining term of retiring Senator Johnny Isakson (R). Warnock defeated interim US Senator Kelly Loeffler 51.04% to 48.96% and is now up for reelection to a full term.

Georgia Bulldog legend and former professional football player Herschel Walker, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, announced his candidacy August 25th, immediately putting him at the top of the Republican field.

Other announced Republican candidates include Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Osprey Management founder Kelvin King, former Navy Seal and Trump administration official Latham Saddler. Former US Senator Kelly Loeffler has yet to decide whether she will enter the contest.

If Walker clears the primary, it would set up a rare general election contest between two Black major-party candidates. Some have already put this race in the toss-up category, but it remains to be seen how Walker, a first-time candidate who has tweeted about the "stolen election" and conspiracy theories related to January 6th, will fair under a hotter political spotlight.

An August 4-5, 2021 Public Policy Polling survey showed Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock leading Republican Hershel Walker 48% to 46%. Against former Senator Kelly Loeffler (R), Warnock leads 47% to 44%, and against Gary Black (R), Warnock's lead expanded to 8% (MOE: +/-3.9%).

NEVADA
2020 Presidential Results: Biden 50.06% v. Trump 47.67%
Filing Deadline: March 18, 2022
Primary: June 14, 2022
Rating: Lean Democrat

Cortez Masto, First Latina US Senator, facing serious opposition (KOLO)

First-term Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, who defeated Republican Congressman Joe Heck 47% to 45% in 2016 to succeed retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D), is facing a tough reelection battle.

Cortez Masto, who previously served at Nevada's Attorney General, is the first-ever Latina elected to the United States Senate and served as Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2020 cycle.. She was also on President Biden's shortlist for vice president but withdrew her name from consideration.

In the battleground state that Biden won by just 2.4%, Cortez Masto's major Republican challenger is Adam Laxalt, who succeeded her as Attorney General in 2016, and was the 2018 GOP nominee for governor.

Laxalt, who lost the 2018 governor's race by 4% to Democrat Steve Sisolak, is the son of former New Mexico US Senator Pete Domenici and the grandson of former Republican Nevada Governor and US Senator Paul Laxalt. He was also co-chair of Trump's Nevada campaign.

Tomorrow: State of the Senate II: New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

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Kimberly Scott
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Sources: Cook Political Report, Inside Elections, Sabato's Crystal Ball, Ballotpedia, 270ToWin, Wisconsin State Journal, Politico, CNN

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