DemDaily: Status of The Senate I

March 29, 2022

34 of the 100 US Senate seats are up for election in 2022, with Democrats defending 14 seats and the Republican Party defending 20, including five open seats.

An additional special election to fulfill the remaining term of Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe (R), who on February 25 announced his early retirement, will be held this November as well.

The Outlook
Now less than eight months from the November 8, 2022 midterm elections, there are nine US Senate seats that will decide control of the upper chamber, with five of those currently considered a "Toss Up" in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

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 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. Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D), is uncontested in the primary.

The GOP field is led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a libertarian-leaning Republican who has served as the state's top prosecutor since 2015, and who is seen as the party’s best chance to beat Kelly in the solidly swing state. The most well-known GOP contender, his name is attached to the 2021 high-profile Brnovich v. the Democratic National Committee Supreme Court case which upheld Arizona's suppressive voting laws.

Other Republican contenders include Thiel Capital CEO Blake Masters, solar power businessman Jim Lamon, retired Major General and former Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard Michael McGuire and Arizona Corporation Commission member Justin Olson, along with three other candidates.

The latest non-partisan poll of registered voters, conducted January 11-13, 2022 by AZPOP/OH Predictive Insights, showed Brnovich leading the GOP pack with 25%, followed by McGuire with 11%, Lamon at 7%, Masters at 6% and Olson at 4%. Most significantly, nearly half of Republican voters (47%) remain undecided.

In the same poll, Kelly earned 42% support to 38% against an unnamed Republican challenger in a general election matchup. A notable 35% of independent voters were still undecided (MOE: +/-3.4%).

More recent polling by the candidates shows the Republican field closing. A March 13-14, 2022 poll conducted by Fabrizio Lee, sponsored by Saving Arizona, which supports Masters, showed Brnovich, Masters and Lamon in a statistical dead heat.

On the fundraising front, Kelly had raised a whopping $27.5 million as of the 2021 year-end reporting period, with $18.6 million cash on hand.

Lamon had raised $8.6 million, including a loan to himself of $8 million, and had $5.9 million cash on hand.

Masters raised $2.6 million with $1.8 million on hand, and Brnovich had raised $1.8 million as of the last quarter, with $768,000 on hand. McGuire trailed with $948,318 raised, including a loan to himself of $280,000. He had just over $225,000 on hand.

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, and two others.

A March 3-6, 2022 survey of likely voters by Fox News showed Walker far ahead of his GOP rivals with 66%, followed by Black with 8%, and the rest at 3% or less (MOE:+/-3%).

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

At the end of the fourth quarter 2021 fundraising report, Warnock reported a total of $54 million raised with $22.9 million cash on hand. He raised $125 million for his 2020 campaign.

Walker, who did not enter the race until late August, amassed $5.4 million over the final three months of 2021 -- the most of any GOP Senate challenger in the nation. In total, he has raised $9.1 million with $5.4 million on hand.

Those numbers, however, are expected to be a fraction of what Walker will report in the first quarter of 2022, which is due out in mid-April.

He is benefiting from a nationwide donor base guided by Trump and Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, with 59.47% coming from large individual donors.

A March 3-9, 2022 poll of likely voters, conducted by Trafalgar/Insider Avantage, showed Walker leading Warnock 47.7% to 45.5% in a head-to-head matchup, with 2.5% choosing another candidate and 4.3% undecided (MOE:+/-2.9%).

TomorrowStatus of The Senate II: Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Ballotpedia, Inside Elections, Sabato's Crystal Ball, Cook Political Report, FiveThirtyEight, Atlantia Journal-Constitution, USNews, Open Secrets

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