The noted Cook Political Report, one of the country’s leading handicapping services for political races around the country, has shifted a trio of Senate races that, if accurate, will more than decide who will retain control over the upper chamber after next year’s midterm elections.
And the forecast is not good news for Democrats.
Specifically, three Senate seats currently held by Democrats who are up for reelection next year are no long shoo-ins, as The Hill reports:
The Senate contests in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada once leaned toward Democrats. That changed on Friday, when the nonpartisan election handicapper reclassified them as toss-up races, meaning that they could go in either direction.
All three seats are currently held by Democratic incumbents, Sens. Mark Kelly (Ariz.), Raphael Warnock (Ga.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.). Republicans see those seats as their best pickup opportunities in 2022.
“In Arizona, a crowded field of Republicans is vying for the nomination to challenge Kelly next year. While he remains among the best-funded Democratic Senate incumbents in the country, Kelly is still facing strong headwinds heading into his reelection bid, especially given Arizona’s relatively new status as a battleground,” the outlet continued.
Conservative Brief adds:
In Georgia, meanwhile, former NFL great Hershel Walker is running against Warnock and already has the advantage of being supported by former President Donald Trump. In Nevada, Trump-backed GOP candidate Adam Laxalt will vie for the nomination to run against Cortez Masto.
National Republican organizations had already considered those three seats among the most vulnerable during next year’s midterms.
The Cook Political Report’s shifting of races comes as the approval ratings for both President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have cratered over the 10 months they have been in office.
A project from The Los Angeles Times that tracks opinion polls from around the nation showed in late October that she is less popular than President Biden and many of her own predecessors.
“As of Oct. 26, 42% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 51% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -9 percentage points, according to a Times average,” The Times said, adding:
Since taking office, Harris has been assigned one of the administration’s thorniest issues: stemming the influx of immigrants attempting to cross U.S. borders. Republicans have sought to make her the face of an issue that they believe could help them politically.
After taking on that role, Harris’ approval ratings began to decline, with unfavorable opinions surpassing favorable ones in June. Whether the decline is directly related to the immigration debate is uncertain, however, as the dip in her approval also corresponds to a small decline in President Biden’s job approval.