Democrats are Heavy Underdogs to Keep the Senate Next Year
Author: Greg Valliere
January 31, 2023
THE CURRENT SENATE IS 51-49 DEMOCRATIC, but our early look at the key races show as many as eight pickup opportunities for the GOP, who — amazingly — have no seats that look particularly vulnerable. For now, we’ll predict a 52-48 seat Senate controlled by the Republicans, and that could be too pessimistic for the GOP.
HERE’S OUR LIST OF VULNERABLE DEMOCRATS:
Joe Manchin of West Virginia, 75, is among the weakest incumbents; it’s unclear whether he will seek re-election.
John Tester of Montana is a good campaigner, but he looks vulnerable in this very conservative state.
Populist Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio is another strong campaigner, but he’s running in a state that has clearly leaned Republican in recent years.
Kyrsten Sinema, now an independent, is the underdog in Arizona, where Republicans would benefit from a three-way race.
POSSIBLY VULNERABLE DEMOCRATIC SEATS:
Tim Kaine could have a tough race in Virginia, where Republican Glenn Youngkin scored a stunning upset in the 2021 gubernatorial race.
Incumbent Debbie Stabenow of Michigan has already announced her retirement.
Jacky Rosen in Nevada looks like a very shaky incumbent.
Tammy Baldwin is only a slight favorite among the bitterly divided electorate in Wisconsin.
Bob Casey’s health could be an issue in Pennsylvania, where Senate races are usually very tight.
VULNERABLE REPUBLICANS: There’s virtually none. Ted Cruz will get a good workout in Texas as will Rick Scott in Florida, but both of those states clearly tilt right.
BOTTOM LINE: There’s obviously a long way to go, but for now we think the Democrats will lose at least four seats and the Republicans will lose none — enough for the Senate to flip fairly comfortably.
THIS RAISES THE GOP DREAM SCENARIO: Let’s say they easily take the Senate and maintain their very slim House majority — and let’s say Joe Biden loses re-election, possibly to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Could Republicans thus control the White House, the Senate and the House? We’re not ready to bet on that — but it’s a plausible scenario.
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