With the Democratic presidential primary race well underway, there remain a whole lot of other races where Dems are focusing their attention also – including those featuring a slew of Democratic candidates vying for the U.S. Senate all across the country. Some of the highest profile contenders who are trying to help their party take the upper Congressional chamber back from GOP control include Amy McGrath in Kentucky, Mark Kelly in Arizona, Sara Gideon in Maine, and more. Now, POLITICO is reportingis reporting that Dems see their chances increasing majorly at turning these races into a successful recapture of the currently GOP-led Senate.
Two major developments are driving the boost in confidence – the surge in support for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and the expectation that former Montana Governor Steve Bullock will enter the race for a Senate seat from his state. In the first case, a moderate presidential candidate could help down-ballot Dem candidates, they say, and in the latter situation, Bullock’s presumably popular potential candidacy – he already won statewide before – could put another seat in play big time.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) insisted:
‘We have a better chance of winning now than we did just a few weeks ago.’
And well-known “moderate” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) added:
’I’m optimistic. I think we have some good candidates, and I think Joe Biden at the top of the ticket is going to be wonderful.’
Other Senate candidates include former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who’s taking on his state’s incumbent Republican Senator Cory Gardner in a race the Cook Political Report calls a toss-up.
Former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), who won in 2012 in a state that Barack Obama had lost majorly in the presidential election, commented:
’It’s easier, when you’re running as a moderate in a moderate state, that you run on a ticket where the person at the top of the ticket is more moderate.’
She’s hardly the first to insist as much – South Carolina Democratic Congressman Jim Clyburn, who endorsed Biden ahead of his state’s Democratic primary election, said at one point that he was concerned about down-ballot “carnage” in the case of a non-moderate Democratic presidential nominee.
At this point in the race, following a slew of dropouts, the only major candidate besides Biden is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Some have suggested that a Sanders candidacy could give the GOP grounds to accuse Dems of “socialism” – but they’re already doing that, and they’ve already been doing that.
National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Todd Young (Ind.), for instance, commented:
’When you look at all the previous Democratic candidates they were just different flavors of far-leftism. Now we have Joe Biden, who proposes a $4 trillion menu of goodies for the American people, which, of course, are going to have to be paid for through middle-class tax increases.‘
Joe Biden is not far left, and he’s not running on some kind of actual conservative boogeyman far left platform – but they’re pushing this idea anyway. Trump and his allies have good reason to worry, because 2020 Dem presidential primary turnout has surged dramatically beyond 2016 levels, suggesting voters are eager to take Trump on.