Ethics & Public Policy Center

This Year’s Senate Races Spell Disaster for the Republican Party

Published in The Washington Post on July 8, 2020


Republicans are beginning to gird themselves for a landslide defeat for President Trump that drags the entire party down. It could be even worse than they think.

Elections in both the House and Senate are increasingly syncing with broader presidential races. In 2016, every Senate race was won by the same party that won that state in the presidential contest. In 2018, House races largely correlated with Trump’s approval rating, with even the most popular GOP incumbents unable to run more than a few points ahead of the president. Polls for Senate races this year show the same trend, with Republican incumbents’ totals closely matched with Trump’s.

This spells disaster for the party. Public polls show incumbent Senate Republicans trailing in five states: ArizonaColoradoIowaMaine and North Carolina. One recent poll from Georgia shows Sen. David Perdue leading his Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, 45 percent to 42 percent, but that same poll also shows Trump trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the state by two percentage points, 47 percent to 45 percent. The clear implication is that Georgia is also in play if Trump’s ratings stay down, which would spell disaster for Republicans since the second Senate seat in Georgia, held by appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler, is also on the November ballot. That’s seven GOP-held Senate seats at a high risk of switching parties, with only the Democratic-held seat in Alabama that is seen as a likely Republican pickup to offset those losses.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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