DemDaily: Status of The Senate I: The Toss Ups

November 30, 2021

Last week, legendary Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy became the sixth US Senator to announce his retirement from Congress' Upper Chamber.

Leahy's seat is one of 34 of the 100 US Senate seats up for election in 2022. Democrats are defending 14 seats, while the Republican Party is defending 20, including five open seats.

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.

The Outlook

Now less than one year away from the 2022 midterm elections, the focus is on six Senate seats that are considered a "Toss Up" in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Toss Ups

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

Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly 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 uncontested 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 frontrunner. The most well-known GOP contender, his name is attached to last July'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 and Thiel Capital CEO Blake Masters, as well as solar power businessman Jim Lamon, Arizona Corporation Commission member Justin Olson and software engineer Robert Paveza.

A November 1-8, 2021 AZPOP/OH Predictive Insights poll of registered voters showed Brnovich leading the GOP pack with 27%, followed by McGuire with 12%, Masters with 9%, and the rest of the field at 5% or lower. 46% were undecided. (MOE: +/-3.7%)

A head-to-head matchup between Mark Kelly (D) and Mark Brnovich (R) shows little movement in the numbers, with 40% supporting the freshman Senator, and 39% supporting his Republican challenger.

On the fundraising front, Kelly took in a whopping $8.1 million from July to September, with $13 million cash on hand.

Among the Republicans, Brnovich raised about $564,000 last quarter, beating his second-quarter haul by more than $100,000, and had $514,000 on hand. McGuire reported just under $250,000 in third-quarter fundraising, including a loan to himself of $49,500.00, and Lamon raised $135,000 last quarter and loaned himself $3 million.

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

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.

Warnock, who is uncontested in the primary, is facing a field of Republican contenders led by Georgia Bulldog legend and former professional football player Herschel Walker, who has been endorsed by former President Trump.

The GOP field also includes Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Osprey Management founder Kelvin King, former Trump administration official Latham Saddler, former State Representative Josh Clark, Jared Craig and James Nestor.

An October 11-14, 2021 primary survey by pro-Walker polling firm OnMessage, Inc., showed Walker far ahead of his GOP rivals with 74%, followed by 6% Gary Black, and 16% who remain undecided.

National Republican leaders have subsequently embraced Walker, who was initially viewed with some reservation due to past spousal abuse and financial impropriety allegations made against him.

The endorsement of Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others also followed news of Walker’s $3.8 million third-quarter fundraising haul, representing just the first five weeks of his campaign. Incumbent Raphael Warnock, however, has proved a prolific fundraiser, having raised more than $9 million from July through September, and with now $17.2 million cash on hand.

A November 9, 2021 general election poll of likely voters, conducted by Redfield and Wilson Strategies, showed Warnock leading Walker 48% to 42% in a head-to-head matchup.

TomorrowStatus of The Senate II: Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Ballotpedia, FiveThirtyEight, KTAR, Washington Post, Cook Political Report

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