An article chock full of helpful links
By Dominique Paul Noth
|Easily overlooked in flipping the senate is the strong|
North Carolina campaign of Cal Cunningham.
That fever is mounting. It’s clogging email and snail mail boxes, infecting cable TV and social media. Every time the common man turns around, it seems that money is the decider, but partly because – however inept and corruptible the GOP is at the top – the party seems to be swimming in money as well as gerrymandering advantages. The Democrats may have better grassroots funding in many state races but sound desperate even when the polls put them ahead.
Such is the fear that Trump will manipulate another win by attacking the mail service, by deepening his pandemic “it is what it is” disinterest or by plowing through the protesters on the public streets. It’s not a logical fear, but nothing about Trump is logical.
Yet another signal has gone out across the land – this one among the GOP in desperation to keep control of the Senate: If you need to separate yourself from Trump, they tell their own candidates, so be it. And some cautiously are, running on quite different issues in a tacit admission that they can’t openly criticize their beloved leader but can walk away from some of his outrages.
They will do anything to prevent the flood that the polls say is heading their way, while Democrats know they not only have to elect Biden but flip the Senate and keep the House. That has made potential donors in every state a target for Senate and House candidates in every other state – a flood of Internet requests that leave the physically distant recipients sometimes mystified about where to put their money. The dilemma is producing articles like this one.
|Sara Gideon leading in Maine|
These likely Senate flips start with Sara Gideon leading Susan Collins in Maine. Collins has tried to slide along the road of tsk-tsking Donald while voting with him, which has angered much of her state as well as equal rights groups that once were duped into regarding her as slightly independent – this is Maine, after all. But when it comes to put up, she shuts up.
Meanwhile Gideon – well known as speaker of the state house – has put together a platform that speaks to rural voters as well as progressive values, and she’s leading or tied in polls.
|Mark Kelly on campaign trail|
McSally’s stubbornness in clinging to Trump (after being beaten in 2018 by a quixotic Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema) is one of her many missteps in this campaign. She didn’t get the GOP message or know how to safely disassociate herself from Trump.
|When Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper couldn't|
wait to drink a beer with Obama.
So is, though less noticed, the popular progressive Cal Cunningham, who is better than neck and neck with a largely unknown North Carolina GOP senator -- Toady Thom Tillis. Cunningham’s image as a “get things done” leader is clearly key to his attraction.
It is no small issue in many such states that if Biden takes over the White House, they want a senator on the Democratic side.
That is one of the spurs underlying Steve Bullock’s campaign in less populated and usually red Montana. A former Democratic presidential candidate and a popular governor, Bullock is neck and neck in the polls against Steve Daines, the former Procter and Gamble exec who enjoyed one term already in the US Senate and is wrapping himself in Trump anti-gay anti-protest and anti-Obama flag-waving.
Another surprise is there are now two Senate seats available for Democratic takeover in the red clay of Georgia. In a campaign strongly supported by the late John Lewis, youthful Jon Ossoff (he’s 33) has inched ahead in respected polls against former Dollar General exec and wealth accumulator David Perdue, who is becoming known for political gaffes.
But either will be facing a strong Georgia name unknown when they entered. Their opponent is backed by Stacey Abrams (often touted in the early speculation to run with Joe Biden and believed by many to have been cheated out of winning the 2018 governor’s race) and many in the nation know this candidate well though have not yet linked his oratorical prominence to his candidacy.
|The Reverend Raphael Warnock|
Defeating Mitch McConnell in Kentucky is the secret wish of every Democrat (more on that contest later) but it’s not the biggest event on the red state map or the place where a Democratic candidate needs the most outside bolstering. That was clarified in the August 4 primary in Kansas, where the popularity of the Democratic candidate seems tied to the extremeness of her opponent. She didn't get the most extreme but she wound up with an important contrast.
Barbara Bollier has strongly emerged to face the well-heeled but lesser known GOP candidate Roger Marshall, also a retired doctor but the one who wants to kill Obamacare while she works to expand it.
It was Republicans who worked hard Aug. 4 with big money to defeat their biggest hard-core conservative nightmare, Kris Kobach, who tried to become Trump’s border czar.
They succeeded, hoping that Marshall isn’t as harsh a name since he has shown some moderate malleability to help him against Bollier. His slight money advantage and the long GOP history of Kansas are the background noise in this contest, but Bollier seems the ideal mix of pandemic and political common sense.
That, plus embarrassing ads put together by the GOP Lincoln Project showing how violently Graham contradicted himself on both Trump and Biden, have become a big part of what makes Graham a genuinely threatened Republican senator. I have long joked that when John McCain died he seemed to have taken Graham’s soul with him.
Harrison, former leader of the state Democratic Party, is both politically savvy and a believable common man orator with deep roots in the Carolina soil. He’s given a genuine chance at drawing national support for what could be a major upset despite Graham’s years in the spotlight. Were Lindsey not feared for his $15 million war chest and his history of pulling surprises out of a worn hat, he would be considered a fading if not totally gone goose given how much ground he’s lost three months before the finale. But this is South Carolina where all sorts of strange things happen.
Intensely disliked in his state’s polls is Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, the turtle avatar constantly onscreen in TV news as the senate majority leader who has blocked some 400 bills from the Democratic House. He has spent 30 years getting re-elected in Kentucky – at times in spite of a lack of personal popularity. The rumor is he has dropped so many federal dollars in key voting corners over time and even has a wife, the secretary of transportation, Elaine Chao, making sweetheart deals for the state that he will be hard to dislodge in a state so wildly red.
A moderate Democrat, she also brings a remarkable military record (the Marine’s first female combat fighter who retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel), plus a social media campaign that has given her the money to nearly match Mitch. Her views on the economy and health care seem to fit the emerging nuanced political profile of what has long been a red state. The key may come down to whether Kentucky voters, who have seen McConnell join the Trump mishandling of a pandemic and of health care, will grasp for change or merely suffer the status quo.
|Urged by a supporter at a campaign event, MJ Hegar |
displays her military tattoo.
Don’t forget Mississippi, always considered safe GOP country – but maybe not anymore. The Democrat, Mike Espy, was the Clinton agriculture secretary and the first African American from the Deep South given that job. Now he has soared back into attention to oppose the governor appointed senator, Cindy Hyde-Smith, who has earned the title of most racist senator. But Ole Miss is changing under her feet.
It has abandoned putting the Confederate flag in its state flag and even its most famous university has abandoned many of their Civil War trappings while Hyde-Smith tries to live down posing with Confederate artifacts. Moreover, Mississippi has been spiking in the covid numbers, for a while topping 20% in positive tests and belatedly imposing a mask mandate while Republican leaders try to fudge on Trump’s K-12 order to automatically reopen brick and mortar schools.
So while Kelly in Arizona, Gideon in Maine, Greenfield in Iowa, Hickenlooper in Colorado and Cunningham in North Carolina are the best shots to see your donations succeed, I have not in my giving overlooked Bollier in Kansas, Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia, Harrison against Graham in South Carolina, McGrath against McConnell, Hegar in Texas and – following my heart the strongest – Espy in Mississippi.