Can the GOP pick up a few seats in November?
It looks like the GOP escaped another potential Roy Moore fiasco in West Virginia after the convict and former coal CEO Don Blankeship lost the GOP Senate primary.
With Blankenship’s loss and wins in other states, the GOP may be poised to gain a few seats in the Senate.
West Virginia was the race to watch because President Donald Trump won the state with 67.9% of the votes. Their governorship recently flipped from Democrat to Republican.
Manchin is a conservative-leaning Democrat, which has worked well for him in the past, but it seems that the state is trending more Republican. Thus, his seat is vulnerable.
I’m sure Manchin probably hoped Blankenship would win, which would have placed the GOP in another tough spot after the Moore fiasco in Alabama, but Blankenship sunk his own ship when he threw out racial attacks at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his wife Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation.
Blankenship is another reason why we cannot trust the MSM. Outlets spent so much time splashing him all over the place, suggesting (and probably hoping) he stood a real chance of winning. But reporter Salena Zito, who has spent so much time getting to know Trump voters and us regular people, made this note on Twitter:
As in evidence of the completely miscalculated and over-the-top coverage in West Virginia of Don blankenship— The political class still doesn’t get what’s going on with this populist coalition. This is why everyone needs to buy #TheGreatRevolt
Everyone https://t.co/CvGgLRG25Z pic.twitter.com/f7OTg3NwWc
— SalenaZito (@SalenaZito) May 9, 2018
(If you’re not following Salena on Twitter or reading her articles, you must. She’s the only journalist who gives a damn about Trump voters and flyover country in general.)
Instead, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey came out on top. Morrisey stepped into limelight back in 2015 when he sued President Barack Obama’s administration over a climate change plan.
The GOP will likely funnel money into Morrisey’s campaign as they could potentially flip Manchin’s seat.
Speaking of Manchin, he may have more on his plate than just Morrisey. The New York Times reported that he should be worried over “the number of Democratic voters who supported his primary opponent, who ran a nominal campaign.” The stats show that Manchin “lost about 30 percent of the vote and did even worse in some of the state’s coal counties, which are full of ancestral Democrats he will need to hold onto in November.”
However, despite his conservative leanings, the Democrats have made it known that they will support Manchin. When he decided to run for re-election in January, “he repeatedly expressed his frustration” to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and other colleagues about the dysfunction within the chamber and their intolerance of moderate lawmakers. He told them that “[I]f people like me can’t win from red states, you’ll be in the minority the rest of your life.”
It appears that some agreed, including Schumer, who “has made no apologies for his efforts to protect Democrats from conservative states.” After Trump won, rumors circulated that he eyed Manchin for cabinet posts, which led Schumer to offer the senator “plum committee assignments.”
The Democrats viewed primary candidate Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) as the toughest challenger to Manchin, which led a Democratic super PAC to spend a lot of money of attack ads against him. Apparently, the party sees Morrisey as an easier challenger due to his past health-care lobbying “in a state that has suffered greatly from the opioid epidemic.”
Indiana is another hot spot since Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents. Trump’s approval rating in Indiana stands at 53% and he won the state with 56.5% of the votes.
Donnelly will challenge Mike Braun, a former state lawmaker, in November. Braun owns a national auto parts distribution company and portrayed himself as an “outsider” compared to his GOP opponents, Rep. Luke Messer and Rep. Todd Rokita. He showed up to debates without a suit coat or tie and labeled Messer and Rokita as the “Swamp Brothers.” He reminded voters that he “built his own business while Messer and Rokita were climbing political ladders.”
Can Braun beat Donnelly? WLWT spoke with Tom Mote, 66, who voted for Braun but didn’t seem convinced he could defeat Donnelly. Mote noted that the incumbent has “been very low-key and not very controversial.” He admitted Indiana is “a Republican state, but it’s hard to beat an incumbent.”
Messer and Rokita are out of jobs now since they gave up their safe-Republican seats to run for the Senate. Vice President Mike Pence’s brother Greg won the primary for Messer’s seat, which was held by Mike for a dozen years.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is a semi-vulnerable incumbent. He will take on rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) in November.
The Cook Political Report has Ohio as ‘Lean Democrat.’ Back in March, I blogged about an Axios poll that showed Brown winning a head-to-head race against Renacci, 50% to 45%. I wrote that Brown shouldn’t think or act like he has the election in the bag since Trump has a 54% approval rating in the state. Trump also won the state by 8 points in 2016.
Renacci first entered the governor’s race but jumped into the Senate primary after State Treasurer Josh Mandel decided not to run due to his wife’s health. Renacci discussed the switch “with the White House and Senate Republican officials” and said he wanted Trump’s backing, which he received.
Renacci became the front-runner with Trump’s backing and his personal wealth, which allowed him to pour his own money into the campaign for ads.
Mandel challenged Brown six years ago, which was a difficult one for the incumbent. He defeated Mandel 50.7% to 44.7%.
We must not forget the House, which the Democrats really want back. We know Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is salivating to get back to the Speaker position.
Incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) lost the primary to Southern Baptist Rev. Mark Harris, 48.5% to 46.2%.
The Cook Political Report has North Carolina’s 9th District as Likely Republican. I doubt it will fall Democrat as Harris appears more conservative than Pittenger. The Conservative Review gave the incumbent an F and rated him as one of the most liberal Republicans in North Carolina.
The loss still shocked the GOP. From Politico:
Pittenger’s loss surprised national and local Republicans alike, but early reactions to the three-term congressman’s loss pointed to an “anti-establishment GOP vote that came out big tonight,” said Brad Crone, a campaign consultant who’s worked with Democrats and Republicans in the state. “This clearly shows that the November election is going to be a barn burner, because there’s going to be big rifts in the Republican Party that are going to need time and attention to heal for the GOP to unify.”
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