Powerful GOP Donors Give Up & Pull Cash From Trump To Focus On Senate

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President Donald Trump is not doing great in polls — to put it lightly. Currently, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads Trump by an average of 8.6 percent on the national level, according to RealClearPolitics. Crucially, Biden also has somewhat substantial leads in key swing states, including ones that Trump won in 2016 and which were crucial to his victory. In a new report, The New York Times explains that the “slump” of Trump’s political chances has some Republican insiders considering “redirecting money to protect their narrow Senate Republican majority amid growing fear of complete Democratic control of Washington in 2021.” In other words, they’re considering leaving Trump somewhat to his own devices and moving on to focus financially on other races.

As the Times explains, “Senate Republican incumbents and candidates are losing badly in the money chase not just in the top Senate battlegrounds — states like Maine, Arizona, Colorado and North Carolina — but also in deep red states, such as Montana, where seats are now increasingly up for grabs.”

Currently, the Cook Political Report calls a full five currently Republican-held Senate seats “toss-ups” heading into the general election. That list includes seats in Montana, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, and Maine, and Democrats only need to have a net gain of three seats plus the White House to become the Senate majority party. In the second quarter of 2020, Democratic candidates outraised Republican incumbents in every single one of those five races. In at least a couple states, the differences were huge — Maine candidate Sara Gideon, for instance, raised a full $9.4 million in the second quarter, while incumbent Republican Susan Collins raised just $3.6 million. In the same period, North Carolina Democrat Cal Cunningham raised a staggering $7.4 million compared to just $2.6 million for incumbent Republican Thom Tillis.

Meanwhile, the Times reports:

‘The private discussions about whether to shift resources toward imperiled Republican Senate candidates reflect a mix of factors: a lack of confidence that Mr. Trump will beat Joseph R. Biden Jr.; fear that the president is already a drag on down-ballot candidates; desire to maintain a G.O.P. “firewall” on Capitol Hill if Mr. Biden prevails; and the belief that money is not among Mr. Trump’s myriad problems. A series of national polls last week showed Mr. Trump stuck double digits behind Mr. Biden… The president has more than three months to rebound, of course… But the trend on the Republican political landscape is toward erosion, not growth.’

Republican donor Frank VanderSloot seemed to capture the mood when he suggested to the Times that Trump was eroding his own support with his “arrogance.” He commented:

‘[Trump] surprised us all last time when he won the first election. But I think the chance of us having a Democrat, Joe Biden, as president is pretty high.’

There’s definitely a substantial amount of drag coming from the Trump campaign. Currently, the Cook Political Report estimates that Democrats can count on at least 279 electoral votes as at least “leaning” Democratic — more than the total needed to win, of course. Republicans, according to the same forecast, can only count on 187 electoral votes that are at least “leaning” Republican. 72 electoral votes can be considered “toss-ups,” the Cook Political Report estimates.