Control Of US Senate May Hinge On These 7 Races

Control of US Senate May Hinge on These 7 Races

The battle to determine who controls the US Senate could come down to seven tight races during Tuesday's midterm elections, including contests in states recently visited by President Joe Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th November, 2022) The battle to determine who controls the US Senate could come down to seven tight races during Tuesday's midterm elections, including contests in states recently visited by President Joe Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Republicans appear well-positioned to steal the 435-seat House from the Democrats, but control of the Senate remains a toss-up. The 100-seat Senate is currently split 50-50 but Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote gives Dems the majority.

35 Senate seats are up for reelection this year, 21 of which are currently controlled by Republicans and 14 by Democrats. The Republicans have safe leads in 19 of these races while the Democrats look safe in nine, leaving seven considered "toss-ups," according to the average of the most recent polls posted on (RCP) as of early Monday morning.

In the seven tightest senate races - Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin - the candidates are separated by under 3 points. All of these states, except Washington, have traditionally been considered "battleground" states in recent presidential elections. Former President Donald Trump has publicly backed the Republican candidate in each of these races, all except one of whom have openly embraced the endorsement.

In order to retain control of the Senate, the Democrats must win five of these seven toss-up races. However, they are currently behind in three of them. If the election ended today, based on the current polls, the Republicans would end up controlling 52 seats.

Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly is trying to hold off surging Republican challenger Blake Masters, one of many candidates endorsed by Trump. Kelly has led in most polls by a small margin but Masters has come on strong within the past week, with two of the five most recent polls showing the race as a tie. Since October 30, Kelly's lead in the RCP average has dwindled from 2.5% to 1 percent.

Republican groups have spent millions of Dollars on ads in recent days tying Kelly to President Joe Biden's policies which they allege have fueled record high inflation. Biden won Arizona by only 0.3% in the 2020 presidential election after a contentious recount and allegations of ballot fraud which turned out to be unfounded.

Republican challenger and former professional football player Herschel Walker, who described Trump as his "mentor," has sped past incumbent Raphael Warnock within the past few weeks to take a slight lead. Walker is ahead 47.2% to Warnock's 46.8%, a differential of 0.4 percent, which is significant because Georgia is one of two US states that requires a runoff if neither candidate secures a majority of votes. One week ago, Walker's lead was 0.8% over the Democrat. Biden won Georgia narrowly by 0.3% after a recount.

What pundits describe as the Democrats' "most vulnerable" incumbent in the Senate, Catherine Cortez Masto, has since mid-September been trailing Trump-backed challenger and former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt. Laxalt has widened his lead from 0.7% to 2.4% in the past week.

The race is interesting as it represents a battle between big oil and renewable energy. Oil industry stalwarts have donated big sums to Laxalt while Cortez Masto has received backing from green groups. One environmental political action committee (PAC) has spent $3 million on campaign ads split between backing the incumbent and attacking the challenger, according to the Open Secrets election funding watchdog. Biden won Nevada by 2.7%.

Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan has seen her lead over Republican Don Bolduc shrink from 2.3 points to 1% in the past seven days. Unlike most states with intensive early voting, most New Hampshirites will cast ballots on Tuesday. Hence momentum is likely to be a major factor in the race's outcome.

Bolduc has largely ignored Trump's seal of approval, which the real estate magnate bestowed upon the candidate last week, despite hailing similar endorsements from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Ted Cruz, among other conservative heavyweights. Bolduc has also backing from Minority Leader Mitch McConnel's Senate Leadership Fund. Biden won New Hampshire handily by 7.2%.

The battle for Pennsylvania, easily the most-watched senate race, pits two new contenders vying for a seat left vacant by Republican Pat Toomey. Biden, Trump and former President Barack Obama descended upon the Keystone state over the weekend, underscoring the fact that the significance of the race transcends its technical merit, given each senate seat is equally important to controlling the upper chamber.

Outside groups have spent a staggering $233.6 million to influence the race. Republicans have zeroed in on the fact Democratic candidate John Fetterman, debilitated by a stroke in May, has struggled to communicate including in a recent debate. Oz, an Ohio-born dual US-Turkish citizen and tv personality, has been ridiculed as a "carpet bagger" because he never lived in the state until he bought a house in a Philadelphia suburb in December.

Oz is now leading by 0.1% after being down 1.5% a week ago. Biden won his home state of Pennsylvania, which he left at the age of ten, by 1.2% in the 2020 presidential race.

Likely the most surprising of tight races, Senator Patty Murray is suddenly ahead by only three points after leading by more than 8% until late October over Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley. Some experts say it is on track to be the most expensive race in state history, as Murray tries to tie Smiley to the January 6 Capitol riot and stoke fears over the conservative's anti-abortion stance.

A startling trend in a startling race, the Republican candidate appears to be leading in the Hispanic demographic by 15 points, according to a Seattle Times poll. Biden won Washington by a whopping 20 points in 2020.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson has maintained a 3-point edge over Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes since September. Democrats have attacked Johnson for refusing to accept the 2020 presidential election results. When asked on the campaign trail last week whether he would accept the results of Tuesday's midterm elections, Johnson said he "hopes" he can but does not know what the Democrats "might have planned." Biden won Wisconsin by a mere 0.7%.

There are a few other relatively tight senate races in Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio, where the candidates are within about 5-7 points of each other.