GA & MT-Sen: Loeffler (R) & Daines (R) Now On The Top 10 Vulnerable Senators List

From Roll Call:

With Election Day six months away, senators facing well-funded challengers from their own parties and the late entry of a game-changing candidate have shaken up CQ Roll Call’s list of the 10 most vulnerable Senate incumbents.

Both appointed Georgia Republican Kelly Loeffler and Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey make the list because of challenges from House colleagues. Montana GOP Sen. Steve Daines joins them because Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock jumped into the race after a failed presidential run.

With the new additions, Republicans David Perdue of Georgia and John Cornyn of Texas fall off the list, along with New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. Perdue and Cornyn could still face competitive reelections. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates both races Likely Republican, but moved the New Hampshire race to Solid Democratic earlier this month.

Seven of the 10 most vulnerable senators are Republicans, no surprise with the GOP defending 23 seats this year to 12 for the Democrats. Democrats need a net gain of four seats to retake the Senate, or three if they win the White House since the vice president would be the tiebreaking vote. Recent fundraising numbers have boosted their prospects, with a slew of challengers outraising GOP incumbents in the first quarter of 2020.

All candidates face an uncertain political environment as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, and as the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, heats up.

The list includes Senate races in Alabama, Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine, Michigan and Iowa. It should be noted that Roll Call still lists Massachusetts as Solid Democrat because Markey is in a tough primary bid with Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D. MA). David Bernstein from Boston Magazine and WGBH explained to Business Insider why Kennedy is challenging Markey:

As Bernstein noted, Markey and fellow Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are both in their 70s, and either one or both are likely to retire or be tapped for a cabinet position in a future Democratic administration within the next few years. So why for Kennedy, not wait until one of those seats opens up to run?

When an open US Senate seat comes up, the competition among Democrats will be fierce. Kennedy would likely have to contend with highly popular Attorney General Maura Healy and other up-and-coming representatives with big ambitions like Moulton and Pressley, with no guarantee of winning the primary despite his famous name and political connections.

Missing out on the chance to run for and win a seat in the US Senate now could severely limit Kennedy’s chances to seek higher office for decades to come, as was the case for many ambitious members of the House before him.

“For a very long time in Massachusetts, those two seats were held by John Kerry and Ted Kennedy. There was literally a quarter of a century where those were the two Senators, and people’s career ambitions came and went over a generation with no opportunity there,” Bernstein said.

WHatever happens in that primary, that seat will still stay in the Democrats hands but the path to a Senate Majority is also leading through Montana and Georgia. Latest polling show Steve Bullock (D. MT) continuing to pull ahead of Daines:

A new poll from Montana State University shows Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock leading Republican Sen. Steve Daines by seven percentage points in Montana’s high-profile 2020 U.S. Senate contest.

The online poll, which surveyed 738 Montanans in mid-to-late April, asked registered, likely voters who they would support, if the election for Senate were held now. Just over 46 percent said they’d choose Bullock and 39 percent supported Daines.

Seven percent said they were undecided, while another 6 percent said they would vote for someone else. A Libertarian and Green Party candidate also are on the ballot.

And as for Loeffler:

Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia will reportedly spend $4 million on advertising after internal Republican polling showed her 44 percentage points behind Republican Representative Doug Collins among GOP voters in their race for a Senate seat.

Loeffler, a former financial services executive and multimillionaire, was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after Senator Johnny Isakson stepped down on December 31, 2019 due to recurring health issues.

The poll, conducted for the Georgia House GOP Caucus, showed Loeffler garnering 11 percent support among all voters, essentially tying her with her Democrats opponents, Matt Lieberman and Raphael Warnock. Collins led the pack with 29 percent of voter support, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But among Republican voters, Loeffler fared even worse. Collins led by a margin of 62-18, leaving Loeffler 44 percent behind.

We need to win the Senate along with the White House and our chances keep on improving. Let’s keep it up. Click below to donate and get involved with Gov. Steve Bullock (D. MT) and Rev. Raphael Warnock’s (D. GA) campaigns:

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Raphael Warnock