Jim Hartman: Trump’s nominees and GOP Senate distress

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

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The long forecast and still likely ‘Red Wave’ makes Republicans heavy favorites to win the five seats needed to gain control of the House of Representatives in November.
The Real Clear Politics pickup range anticipates GOP gains of 9 to 41 seats.
With inflation, falling real wages, U.S. adversaries on the march, chaos on the border, and President Biden’s deep unpopularity, this is the most favorable political environment for Republicans since 2010.
Senate control is also at stake in November. The Senate is now evenly split between the parties (50-50), with Vice President Harris providing Democrats a majority.
With 34 Senate seats up for election in 2022, Democrats have an advantage. They’re defending only 14 seats, while Republicans are defending 20 seats.
Republicans also have five of their incumbents retiring in 2022 — Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Roy Blunt (Mo.).
Toomey and Burr voted to convict President Trump after his impeachment trial in February 2021.
Donald Trump’s endorsements have shaped the GOP Senate field. Trump now has the Senate nominees he wanted to win Republican primaries. His choices are outsiders most without political experience and they focus on Trump’s 2020 election grievances.
It should be a great GOP year, but the candidates Trump backed are struggling.
In Arizona, current Gov. Doug Ducey would have been the strongest GOP Senate candidate. But Trump vowed to defeat him if he ran after the governor refused to help overturn Trump’s defeat in the state.
Blake Masters, the Republican Senate nominee in Arizona, is a novice candidate with fringe views who won Trump’s endorsement after he proclaimed Trump won in 2020 and opined January 6 was a false flag operation directed secretly by the FBI.
Masters is an underdog against Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly.
New Hampshire’s popular Gov. Chris Sununu passed on running against vulnerable Democrat Sen. Maggie Hassan. Sununu resisted Trump’s claims about a stolen election in his state. He chose not to run despite leading in polls and with GOP Senate leaders support. No strong GOP alternative has emerged.
In Pennsylvania, Trump’s endorsed candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz, is trailing badly (9%) after a brutal primary campaign notwithstanding his November opponent being a far-left Democrat. As a TV celebrity, Oz has vast name ID but no ties to Pennsylvania . His vulnerabilities include dual Turkish citizenship and shaky MAGA credentials.
Oz’s defeat would cost Republicans the seat now held by Toomey.
Ohio is a state trending Republican and Portman won re-election in 2016 by a 20% margin.
The Senate nominee Trump helped to win in Ohio , former venture capitalist J.D. Vance, is also struggling. Rather than challenge his November opponent after his primary victory, Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, Vance instead attacked Republican consultant Karl Rove.
Defeat in Ohio would mean Republicans losing Portman’s seat.
In Georgia, Trump helped clear the field for Georgia football great Herschel Walker. But Walker has never been vetted in a political campaign. He’s trailing incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock (by 4%) in a state that should be primed for a Republican sweep this year.
Since his primary win, Walker has been hobbled by gaffes, including misstatements about his credentials, and revelations of three out-of-wedlock children.
Control of the Senate may come down to the outcome in Nevada.
Former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Trump’s 2020 campaign co-chair in the state who championed his election steal claims, faces Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, who hopes to replicate her mentor Harry Reid’s 2010 reelection strategy. Reid overcame an adverse ‘Red Wave’ election by emphasizing Republican extremism.
Trump’s chaotic and self-serving brand of politics cost Republicans the House in 2018, the White House in 2020 and the Senate in 2021. It could cost them the Senate again in November.
E-mail Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.


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