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TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Biden Has a Double-Digit Lead over Trump Nationally
      •  Riots Become Political
      •  The Riots Change the Veep Calculus
      •  Maybe Warren Shouldn't Be on the Democratic Ticket
      •  Many Companies Are Speaking Out on Racial Justice
      •  Republican Plans for the Convention Have Come Out
      •  It's High Noon in Kansas
      •  Senate Rundown

To our new readers: Welcome! Monday though Friday we have election and political news updated once a day in the morning (Eastern time). On Saturdays, we answer readers' questions, and Sundays are for "Letters to the editor." The electoral-vote and Senate maps are updated seven days a week. To our long-time readers: Thank you very much for your financial contributions using the PayPal icon on the right. This is allowing us to run ads publicizing the site.

Also, some readers pointed out that we were using the 2014 Senate race for our Alabama prediction. Jeff Sessions won that race unopposed. That won't happen this time. But using the 2017 special election that Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) won isn't a good guide, since he is almost certain to lose this time. As a compromise, we are showing Jones vs. Tommy Tuberville as the Alabama Senate race, even though Tuberville hasn't won the primary yet (but he is leading). This avoids the false impression that the Democrats can hold this seat.

Biden Has a Double-Digit Lead over Trump Nationally

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll taken May 25-28 and released yesterday has Joe Biden at 53% and Donald Trump at 43%. There are two noteworthy aspects to this top line. First, it is a double-digit lead. There is no plausible way Trump can lose the popular vote by 10 points and somehow win the Electoral College. A 5-point loss...maybe (but unlikely), but 10 points, no way. Second 53 + 43 = 96. You probably knew that. And you probably also know 100 - 96 = 4. That means 96% of the voters have already made up their minds. Now one more bit of math. This time, an inequality rather than an equation: 43 + 4 < 53. This means that even if every undecided voter breaks for Trump, that's not enough and he still loses. The election is still 5 months away and much can change, but as we pointed out last week, both campaigns believe that only about 5% of the voters are undecided, and this poll is consistent with that belief.

Another factor to consider is turnout. Not everyone votes and it matters a lot who does and who doesn't. A whopping 87% of Republicans are enthusiastic about supporting Trump and 64% are very enthusiastic. Compare this to Democrats, where 74% are enthusiastic about voting for Joe Biden but only 31% are very enthusiastic about it. That's a gap of 43% and could cut into Biden's total. An unenthusiastic vote counts as heavily as an enthusiastic vote, but an "I'm not voting for the lesser of two evils" voter doesn't count at all.

Democrats clearly have to work on their turnout, but that won't be easy. If Biden picks Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) or Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) as his running mate, turnout among black women will likely break all records, but may be depressed among blue-collar men in the Midwest and among progressives everywhere. If he picks Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), it will zoom up among progressives, but be depressed in the Midwest and among black women. If he picks Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), turnout will go up in the Midwest but that may cost him votes among black women and progressives who stay home. The Democratic Party is a big tent and there is no potential veep that excites all parts of it. And see below for more on this.

The poll also asked about Trump's handling of the coronavirus. Among all adults, 46% approve and 53% disapprove. That is not so far from the top line Trump 43% and Biden 53%. So it appears Trump has a base of 43-46% and nothing he does will change that. Nothing. The Democrats need to try to make that 43%, not 46%, and get most of the votes of everyone else.

Some of the other findings of the poll are hard to swallow. Six in 10 Republicans give the economy (with 40 million people recently unemployed!) a positive rating and nearly 20% say the economy is excellent. Even if they haven't lost their jobs and don't have any stocks or a 401(k), it is hard for us to see what about the current economy makes it excellent.

As to people's impressions of the candidates, the favorable/unfavorable ratios are 46%/48% for Biden and 42%/55% for Trump. Again, this is pure tribalism in action. Trump has a massive war chest and is going to use every penny of it to throw mud at Biden to make him less popular. He has no route to another term other than to convince 10% of voters leaning toward voting for Biden that as bad as Trump is, he is better than "Sleepy Joe." It is going to be a very nasty campaign, full of lies and hate.

A substantial piece of Trump's base consists of seniors. In 2016, Trump won this group 52% to 45%. In the new poll, Biden is leading in this important demographic 54% to 44%. That's a 17% shift. Unless Trump can fix that problem, he's in deep doodoo. His current strategy of "Let's open the economy and if the consequence is that tens of thousands of seniors die, well, tough luck" might not be the ticket here. (V)

Riots Become Political

The killing of a black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer in Minneapolis set off riots not only in Minneapolis, but all over the country, from New York City to Los Angeles. Police cars were set ablaze in many cities and stores have been looted. Hundreds of people have been arrested.

The killing and the riots are about to be injected into the ongoing culture wars. For many Democrats, the central issue is structural racism in America and especially in police departments. For many Republicans, it is which candidate will bring the hammer down hardest on (black) rioters. Donald Trump would love nothing better than to be the law-and-order candidate. He already tweeted: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." He knows very well that his base will be very receptive to a message of shooting people who set police cars on fire and loot stores. The riots also give him the opportunity to attack Democratic governors and mayors all over the country for their inability to control the violence in their states and cities. Besides, making the campaign about rioters distracts from his gross mismanagement of the coronavirus.

The former chairman of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Mike Erlandson, said he watched a man spray paint a wall with the slogan: "F**k the white people from the suburbs." Then he noted that if white people in MN-02 and MN-03, two suburban swing districts currently represented in the House by Democrats, see that, then all of a sudden those districts are strong candidates for Republican takeovers.

Then there is this AP photo taken by Julio Cortez.

Protest march in Minnesota

It is a peaceful protest march outside the Minnesota Vikings football stadium. But look at the sign the woman in the middle is holding ("ALL COPS ARE BAD"). How's that going to go over in MN-02 and MN-03 and a whole lot of other suburban congressional districts? The only saving graces here are that: (1) she is white and (2) she is wearing a mask. Still, Republicans are going to make hay with that. If it had said: "Rogue cops must be punished," it would have been impossible for Republicans to say: "Nope, rogue cops must not be punished." But all cops are bad? Not a single cop is good? That sort of thing is going to cause the Democrats nothing but headaches.

The U.S. hasn't had any experience with a pandemic since 1918, but it has had experience with riots much more recently. On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN, by a white man. Riots broke out all over the country. The one major city that stayed calm was Indianapolis, where Bobby Kennedy, then a presidential candidate, was campaigning. Against the advice of the police, he went to a black neighborhood, got up onto a flatbed truck, and gave an impromptu speech, including the lines: "For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man." This was the first time Bobby had spoken in public about JFK's assassination and is now considered one of the greatest speeches in American history. It is credited with keeping Indianapolis calm while the rest of the country burned. The riots lasted for a week and were the biggest civil unrest in the United States since the Civil War.

Two months later, Kennedy himself was assassinated in Los Angeles.

For many young people, having two leaders they worshiped killed within two months was enough. About 10,000 protesters showed up at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August. They were protesting the War in Vietnam, the nomination of Hubert Humphrey, civil rights violations all over the country, police brutality, and were expressing general dislike and distrust of authorities. There were violent clashes between the protesters and the police, in what a later report described as a "police riot." Since Humphrey's nomination was a foregone conclusion, the media coverage of the convention focused on the battle outside the hall.

The Republican nominee, Richard Nixon, noted carefully what happened in Chicago. He began to run on a law-and-order platform, appealing to the "silent majority" of people who did not riot that year. For many people, encouraged by Nixon, black people, hippies, yippies, demonstrators, and rioters merged into a vague (but dangerous) group called "Democrats." In the end, the strategy worked. Nixon won six states that he lost in his 1960 run against JFK: Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Will 2020 be a rerun of 1968? We'll see. One thing we are sure of is that Donald Trump will not try to soothe the country as Bobby Kennedy did after King's assassination. He will fan the flames and blame the protesters and rioters, just as Nixon did. Because the country is much more polarized now than it was then, Trump's entire base will instantly agree with him. The danger for Joe Biden is that 10% of his base, some of which is weakly attached to him, will look at the riots (and especially the looting) and conclude that the killing of one (or even half a dozen) black men by police does not justify burning police cars and looting stores.

CNN's Julian Zelizer wrote "With President Donald Trump sending out tweets threatening violence against looters and police arresting reporters on air, it's hard for Baby Boomers not to feel like this is 1968 all over again." Zelizer notes that in a way, 2020 is worse than 1968. In the 1960s, 58,000 Americans died in the entire Vietnam War. This spring, 100,000 Americans have died of COVID-19. Zelizer also notes that then there were specific issues—primarily Vietnam and civil rights. Now everything is red vs. blue, my team or your team. He concludes with: "We need bolder leaders in Washington."

Karen Tumulty, a writer at the Washington Post, has penned a piece saying that since Trump doesn't want to act like a president during a crisis, this is the moment that Biden should step up, as Bobby Kennedy did on April 4, 1968, and show what real leadership is. The next few weeks could determine the course of the campaign and the election. (V)

The Riots Change the Veep Calculus

The riots, in addition to shaping Donald Trump's campaign messaging, may change whom Joe Biden picks as his running mate. Many Democrats, especially black Democrats, don't see the police as the protectors. They see the police as their oppressors. Will Joe Biden pick a police officer as his running mate? Definitely not, because none of the potential veeps are currently police officers. But three of his potential picks have backgrounds in law enforcement.

The one with the biggest badge is Val Demings. She was an officer with the Orlando Police Dept. for 27 years, ending her stint as chief of police. The Orlando Police Dept. has a history of excessive force and had to pay nearly $900,000 to an 84-year-old man whose neck an officer broke. And that's not the only case. Does Biden want a former police chief on the ticket at a time when many Democrats don't trust the police? Of course, Demings can try to make the case that because she is black, she understands the problem of white police officers killing unarmed black civilians extremely well. Whether voters will accept that argument is another matter, however.

Kamala Harris was the California AG, which basically means she was the state's top cop. Before that, she was San Francisco's top cop. In other words, until she was elected to Congress, her entire career was in law enforcement, just like Demings'. That is not going to win any votes for Biden among Democrats who distrust the police and prosecutors.

Probably the worst-hit potential veep is Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL-MN). Not only was she a prosecutor, it was in Hennepin County, site of the spark (Minneapolis) that set off the riots. Further, a misconduct case involving Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd, crossed her desk while she was still on the job (although busy running for Congress). That is going to focus a lot of attention on her record.

Probably the person "helped" most by the riots is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). She has never worked in law enforcement. Her entire career has been as a law professor, with a specialty in bankruptcy law. She knows like no other that most bankruptcies are due to medical emergencies and can forcefully make the case that the U.S. needs universal health insurance in one form or another to prevent bankruptcies. Another potential veep who is unscathed by the riots is Stacey Abrams. Before she was elected to the Georgia House, she was a tax attorney who worked with nonprofit organizations. Both Warren and Abrams would help unite the Democratic Party because many progressives would feel that Biden is listening to them. Ultimately, it is Biden's call, and it won't be an easy choice. (V)

Maybe Warren Shouldn't Be on the Democratic Ticket

Things get confusing when one election expert, Stan Greenberg, says "Warren as VP would lead Biden to victory" and another election expert, Harry Enten, says "Warren as Biden's running mate makes no electoral sense." What's a candidate to do?

Greenberg, who is a pollster, claims that adding Warren to the ticket would unify the Party. Enten, who is a political analyst, reads the data differently. He notes that Warren has a net -20 point favorability nationally, so that's not a great start. As to unifying the Party, Biden is already getting 85% of the votes of self-described liberals. If that's true, the party may already be unified.

Another argument for Warren is that she was the darling of white college-educated women. But Biden is already beating Trump 61% to 36% with this group, much better than Hillary Clinton's 52% to 36% margin.

Warren also has clear weaknesses. She got roughly 7% of the black vote in the primaries and 11% of young voters. So Biden doesn't need her to get liberals or college-educated women and she is weak with other important groups. All we can say is that either Greenberg or Enten is wrong since they come to diametrically opposed conclusions. And with the riots weakening the case for Val Demings, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, it is getting harder and harder to find a running mate. Maybe an ad on Craigslist:

Would you like to be a politician? Requirements: Be at least 35, a natural-born U.S. citizen, and a woman. Must be good at trashing Donald Trump on television and not sticking foot in mouth. Preference given to youngish minority candidates who have no experience working in law enforcement, particularly those who come from the Midwest, the Southwest, or the South. Having gravitas is a plus. Salary for the first 5 months is $5,000/mo., but might eventually be raised to $20,000/mo. in January. Apply to J. Biden, Wilmington, DE.

It could work. He's got to pick someone. (V)

Many Companies Are Speaking Out on Racial Justice

In the absence of national leadership on the subject, a number of large, well-known companies are speaking out to support the Americans who are protesting racial inequality. Some have changed their logos to indicate solidarity with the protesters. Among the companies supporting the protesters are Google, Twitter, Netflix, Twitch, HBO, Hulu, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and Target. Some companies are pledging money, including YouTube, which said it would donate $1 million to address social injustice.

Companies know that taking stands on hot button issues can hurt them. After all, why alienate some of your customers? As the famously apolitical Michael Jordan allegedly observed, when asked why he didn't speak up on civil rights: "Republicans buy shoes, too" (although even MJ has weighed in on George Floyd). On the other hand, surveys have shown that taking stands can also make companies seem like heroes to some people, potentially making up for the lost customers and more. The effect is the opposite of a boycott (a mancott?). If a company becomes identified with supporting civil rights, for example, people who also support civil rights are more likely to do business with that company than similar companies that are neutral. The trick is to figure out which issues have much more support than opposition. A 2018 survey by Morning Consult gave these results:

Poll on corporate advocacy

Few companies want to get into straight partisan politics, so that is only a small net win for the Democrats. On the other hand, supporting gun control, gay rights, and civil rights are big winners. This is no doubt the reason that a number of companies are supporting the protesters now. They see a white policeman killing an unarmed black man as a civil rights issue, and being on the right side of that gives the company positive PR. Expect more companies to do likewise this week. (V)

Republican Plans for the Convention Have Come Out

A second letter sent by RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel to Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC), detailing how the RNC wants its August convention to go, has now been published. It is not known if it was leaked or intentionally given to the media. It's somewhat more demanding than the letter released last week. The RNC wants a full convention, with 19,000 people in the arena the whole time. It also wants all the hotels and restaurants in Charlotte operating at full capacity, basically defying CDC guidelines to operate most businesses at partial capacity so as to enable social distancing. The letter demanded an answer by Wednesday, with an implied threat of moving the convention if the requirements were not met.

Current rules in North Carolina restrict indoor gatherings to 10 people. That is 18,990 too few for the RNC. Restaurants may not operate at full capacity and bars may not operate at all. Telling the delegates to bring bag lunches (and breakfasts and dinners) for 3 days (and their own booze) is not going to be popular with them.

Cooper and North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Mandy Cohen have asked the RNC for more details and protocols. The RNC has said it needs guidelines from the state. In other words, the convention may or may not be on, but negotiations are ongoing.

McClatchy reporters have interviewed over a dozen members of the RNC and been told that the members love Charlotte and think the convention will stay there, but they want the COVID-19 restrictions removed. One of them, Ginger Howard, a member of the arrangements committee, said Cooper should "let us use our common sense." In other words, pretend there is no pandemic and just run the convention as originally planned. However, all of the RNC members conceded that the decision about where to hold the convention is Donald Trump's and Trump's alone. Another RNC member, Carolyn McLarty from Oklahoma, admitted "It'd be really hard to move to a different city at this point." However, she added, "But if anyone could do it, Trump could do it." Having a childlike faith in their dear leader is the new normal for RNC members. (V)

It's High Noon in Kansas

The announcement by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) that he will not run for reelection has set off a battle for his seat. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has found the ideal candidate. Even better, Donald Trump fully supports McConnell's choice. In fact, just about every Republican leader agrees with McConnell. So it's a done deal, right? Not entirely. What could go wrong? The main problem seems to be that the GOP's preferred candidate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, doesn't want to run. It's not quite "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve," but more of a quiet "No."

The pressure on him to change his mind this morning will be intense. As in, if he were a lump of coal, by noon he would be a sparkly diamond. That is because the filing deadline is today at noon. If Pompeo hasn't filed by noon today, then it is too late and he can't run.

McConnell and others are scared witless that he won't file. The problem isn't that they don't have a candidate. Nine Republicans are still in the race now, after Susan Wagle, president of the Kansas Senate, withdrew last week. No, the problem is that one of the nine is former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach. Kobach is such a right-wing firebrand that when he ran for governor of Kansas in 2018, he managed to alienate enough Republicans that Democrat Laura Kelly was elected governor. McConnell and the other GOPers are afraid that if Kobach wins the primary, Republican-turned-Democrat Barbara Bollier, a physician and state senator, could get elected.

So the kisses they are tossing in Pompeo's direction aren't really because they love Pompeo so much. They just want to stop Kobach at all costs. If Pompeo really decides to stay out of it, then the GOP's second choice is Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS). He is a physician, like Bollier, and the incumbent in KS-01. That district has a PVI of R+24, so they are not worried about losing it if Marshall gets the nod to move up. The reason Wagle dropped out last week is not that president of the state senate is a weak candidate in any way. It's that the state party asked her to take one for the team and drop out to avoid a three-way primary featuring Kobach, Marshall, and herself, which could have allowed Kobach to win in the event that Pompeo stayed out.

The most recent poll of the general election has Marshall beating Bollier by 9 points, but Kobach beating Bollier by only one point. Hence the near panic. If Pompeo doesn't file today, the entire Republican establishment will be giving Marshall every kind of support they can. Donald Trump will probably even campaign for him, as Kobach must be stopped at all costs. Kansas has a semi-open primary. Democrats cannot vote in the Republican primary, but independents can register as Republicans on Election Day and then vote in the Republican primary. (V)

Senate Rundown

COVID-19 and Donald Trump's responses to it have sucked up so much oxygen that the Senate races have been overshadowed. That's a pity. Control of the Senate is very important. If different parties control the White House and Senate, there will be total gridlock for at least 2 years, maybe four. There are four combinations of who controls what, in our estimate, from most likely to least likely:

  • President Biden and Democratic Senate (most likely, but only by a hair)
  • President Trump and Republican Senate (because all races are now nationalized)
  • President Biden and Republican Senate (because Democrats have to win so many Senate races to take over)
  • President Trump and Democratic Senate (extremely unlikely due to Trump's coattails)

Above the map is a link "Click for Senate" that takes you to the main Senate page, which, like the front page, is updated daily, often without our commenting here. It shows the current Senate map and has write-ups about each of the 35 Senate races. Here is our best take right now on the 10 seats most likely to flip and the senators most likely to join the ranks of the unemployed on Jan. 3, 2021. They are listed in order of most likely to flip to least likely to flip.

  1. Alabama: Doug Jones (D): Jones won a special election in 2017 to fill Jeff Sessions' seat. He had the good luck to face a child molester and even then barely won. This time his luck ran out. He will face whomever wins the Republican runoff on Aug. 4. It will either be Sessions, who wants his old job back, or former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. Tuberville has no political experience, but football is a big deal in Alabama and Trump is clearly his quarterback. No matter which one wins the primary, Jones is history.

  2. Arizona: Martha McSally (R): Air Force veteran Martha McSally was appointed to John McCain's seat in 2018 after she lost the race for Jeff Flake's seat. Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) figured that even though she lost, she was a veteran in a state full of retired veterans, so she ought to be able to win this year's special election. If this were a poker game, the Democrats saw the GOP's "veteran" and raised them an "astronaut." The Democratic candidate, Mark Kelly, not only fought in the Gulf War as a naval aviator, but went into space three times for NASA. Polls have him sky high. He is the clear favorite at this point.

  3. Colorado: Cory Gardner (R): Former two-term Colorado governor John Hickenlooper thought: "In America, anybody can become president," so he ran. Oops. Not everybody. So he lowered his sights and decided to run for the Senate instead, where he is now the overwhelming favorite. Colorado has pretty much finished the transition from purple state to blue state, just like its neighbor New Mexico. Hickenlooper has to first finish off former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the June 30 primary, but after he has done that, he will gun for Gardner, who is in deep trouble. The most recent poll has Hickenlooper ahead of Gardner by 13 points.

  4. Maine: Susan Collins (R): For years, Susan Collins has managed to get reelected in a bluish state, even though she is a Republican, by showing her "concern" for the Democratic position on issues and nominations before hewing to the party line. Her lucky streak may be up this year. Maine Democrats are absolutely furious with her for expressing her "concern" about the possibility that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh may have committed sexual assault and then voting to confirm him anyway. They even raised $4 million to give to her opponent. That opponent is most likely going to be Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who first has to win the July 14 primary against several lesser-known candidates. In the most recent poll, Gideon is leading Collins by 9 points, and this is before she gets the $4 million, which is a huge amount in rural Maine. It's too early to say that Collins' Canada goose is cooked, but if there is a Democratic wave this year, it will be goose on toast for her.

  5. Montana: Steve Daines (R): Steve is going to the Senate in January. We just don't know which one. Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) is another one of those western governors who figured the Democrats wanted a western governor as their presidential nominee and discovered the hard way that they didn't. With much effort, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) managed to convince Bullock that spending the next 40 years in the Senate was a reasonable consolation prize, so he grudgingly got in the Senate race. Bullock is going to run a strange race. He's not going to campaign at all; he's just going to do his day job as governor. He has been getting excellent ratings for his handling of COVID-19 and that may be enough. The combination of being a popular two-term governor and being in the news in Montana every day talking about how he is trying to protect Montanans from COVID-19 has propelled him to a 7-point lead over Daines. It's hard for the junior senator to match that. As long as Bullock continues to handle the fallout from the coronavirus well, he's got a good shot to win the Senate seat, even if Donald Trump wins Montana. It is extremely rare for an incumbent senator to lose a race while his party wins the state's electoral votes, but these are unusual times and Bullock is an excellent fit for Montana, which really is more populist than conservative and often elects Democrats to statewide office. In fact, Democrats have won the last four gubernatorial elections in Montana and 19 of the last 23 Senate elections.

  6. North Carolina: Thom Tillis (R): North Carolina has turned purplish-red in presidential elections, but it is more purple in Senate elections. Since World War II, 11 Democrats and 5 Republicans have been elected to the Senate from the Tar Heel state, although one Republican (Jesse Helms) served for 30 years. Thom Tillis won a narrow victory over then-senator Kay Hagan (D) in an expensive and messy 2014 Senate race and is now embroiled in another race that is likely to be close and expensive. It could be a tough race for Tillis because his approval rating is only 34%, the lowest of any Republican up for reelection, and deeply under water. His opponent, former state senator Cal Cunningham, a veteran who served in Iraq and is now a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, is not as well known as Tillis. It will be a close race and a lot may depend on which presidential candidate has the longer coattails. It could also depend on the extent to which Tillis is tarred by his senior colleague Sen. Richard Burr's (R-NC) fishy stock transactions.

  7. Iowa: Joni Ernst (R): Joni Ernst had a great campaign ad in 2014. It was about how she grew up on a farm castrating hogs, so she knows how to cut pork. It worked last time, but it is getting a bit old now. Polls show her approval is now under water and she is basically tied with the likely Democratic Senate nominee, Theresa Greenfield, who first has to win the Democratic primary tomorrow. Her problem is that Iowa Republicans are very conservative but Iowa Democrats are quite liberal. It's tough appealing to both groups, so a lot comes down to how the independents break. The numbers of registered Democrats, Republicans, and independents are almost the same. Polls show the race to be extremely close.

  8. Kansas: Open seat (R): The last time a Democrat won a Senate election in Kansas was in 1932. That's a long time ago, even before Superman—er, Clark Kent—relocated to the state from Krypton. So why is it in the top 10? Maybe it shouldn't be. We'll know at noon (see above). If Mike Pompeo runs or Roger Marshall wins the Republican primary, then Roberts' seat is safe. But if it is Barbara Bollier vs. Kris Kobach, the seat could flip.

  9. Georgia: Kelly Loeffler (R): When Johnny Isakson retired last year due to poor health, Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) passed over Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), one of Donald Trump's biggest fans and supporters during the impeachment proceedings, because he felt Collins was too inflammatory to win suburban moderates. So instead, he picked a somewhat moderate woman, Kelly Loeffler, who was also extremely rich and could self-fund her special election campaign and save the GOP some money. Bad move. She's rich because she and her husband, who happens to be chairman of the New York Stock Exchange, are good at buying and selling stocks at the right moment. So when she got a hot tip at a confidential Senate briefing back in January that travel was about to be curtailed and many people would work at home, her thoughts sprung into action. She thought so hard about this that her thoughts magically reached her financial adviser, who then sold her stock in airlines and hotels and bought stock in a company that sells teleworking software. All without any input from Loeffler (according to her). The consequence of this financial magic is that Loeffler now seems unlikely to make the Jan. 5, 2021, runoff. It will probably be Collins vs. either Matt Lieberman (D) or Raphael Warnock (D). And like Kobach, Collins may be a bridge too far, even in Georgia.

  10. Georgia: David Perdue (R): Will the sins of one senator be visited upon the other senator? Could happen. Jon Ossoff, who raised a fortune while running for a Georgia House seat in a special election, is running for the Democratic nomination and appears to be leading his primary opponents. If he gets it, he will probably be well financed. Although Perdue is not involved in the Loeffler stock scandal, Ossoff could say: "Georgia deserves honest senators. Vote for me." The two sentences aren't connected in any way, but the voters' disgust with Loeffler could conceivably rub off on Perdue.

Those are the races that now seem most likely to flip, but things can change. One poll last week showed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tied with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, but we'd like to see a few more polls of South Carolina before declaring Graham to be in trouble. And although they are longshots right now, Democratic challengers could conceivably beat Mitch McConnell or Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) if circumstances change. And again, the Senate page has an interactive map of the Senate races and rundowns on all 35 Senate contests. (V)


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---The Votemaster and Zenger
May31 COVID-19 Diaries, Sunday Edition
May31 Sunday Mailbag
May30 Trump Had a Busy Day on Friday
May30 Saturday Q&amp;A
May30 Today's Presidential Polls
May29 Trump Thumps His Chest
May29 Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
May29 This Certainly Isn't What the Founders Intended...
May29 ...Nor Is This
May29 The Veepstakes, Part I: Key Democratic Pollster Pushes for Warren
May29 The Veepstakes, Part II: Klobuchar Is in Trouble
May29 The Veepstakes, Part III: Cortez Masto Is Out
May29 RNC Working to Save Convention
May29 Today's Presidential Polls
May29 Today's Senate Polls
May28 Campaigns Think That Only 5% of the Voters Are Undecided
May28 Trump's Allies Are Getting Nervous
May28 Rosenstein Will Testify before the Senate Next Week
May28 Trump Threatens Twitter
May28 Pelosi Attacks Trump for Demanding the Show Must Go on
May28 Democrats May Campaign on Judicial Appointments
May28 AFL-CIO Endorses Biden
May28 California Will Investigate Tara Reade for Perjury
May28 Today's Presidential Polls
May28 Today's Senate Polls
May27 Mask Wars
May27 Trump Gone Wild, Part I: Hitting Below the Belt
May27 Trump Gone Wild, Part II: Inaccurate Tweets
May27 Trump Gone Wild, Part III: The North Carolina Plot Thickens
May27 What Is the Bee in Trump's Bonnet?
May27 COVID-19 Diaries, Wednesday Edition
May27 Today's Presidential Polls
May27 Today's Senate Polls
May26 A Tale of Two Memorial Days
May26 Trump Threatens to Yank RNC from Charlotte
May26 Trump Ready to Go Nuclear?
May26 Beware the Bots
May26 This Is Joe Biden's Kind of Campaign
May26 Today's Presidential Polls
May25 Trump Spends the Weekend Golfing
May25 Many States Have Changed Voting Procedures Already
May25 Federal Judge Says Florida Felons Can Vote
May25 Seniors Like Biden
May25 Possible Winner of the Election on Nov. 3: Nobody
May25 Why Does Trump Want Churches to Open?
May25 The Veepstakes Are Heating Up
May25 Will Trump Dump Pence?
May25 Dr. Joanne Jorgensen Is the Libertarian Party Nominee for President
May25 Third-Party Vote is Likely to Be Smaller This Time
May25 Biden Wins the Hawaii Primary