Democrats largely dodged a bullet in 2018, and that might be a problem for the GOP in two years. The midterm election has finally concluded, at least in the US Senate, with the special-election victory of Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith in Mississippi. That gives the GOP a 53/47 majority for the next two years and represents a two-seat improvement over their pre-election 51/49 majority.
That’s not bad news, but in context of the opportunities afforded the GOP in 2018, it’s not great news either. Counting special elections, Democrats had to defend 25 Senate seats in the midterms against only ten for Republicans — and ten of those Democratic seats were in states that Donald Trump won two years earlier. The GOP won four of those seats while losing a red-state seat in Arizona and a blue-state seat in Nevada. By missing on other key opportunities — Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia in particular — Republicans lost the chance at a commanding Senate majority.
And in 2020, they may end up paying for that lost opportunity. Republicans will have to defend 21 Class 2 Senate seats in two years (and two special-election seats in AZ and MS), with Democrats only defending 12. The GOP will likely pick Alabama back up from Doug Jones when his term expires, forcing Democrats to pick up five other seats to wrest majority control away from the GOP. Is that too much? National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar thinks it might be:
McConnell holding 53 Senate seats + the ever-growing rural vote for Rs makes 2020 Senate majority challenging for Ds.
Dems have solid chance flipping CO + NC + AZ, but significant rural vote in IA/GA/TX will bolster Rs.https://t.co/mj3PqyOQas
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 28, 2018
The link goes to a firewalled article, but a look at Class 2 seats shows that neither party will have anywhere near the same exposure as Democrats had in 2018. The only obviously vulnerable Democratic incumbent is Jones; after that, assuming all incumbents run for re-election, the most promising target for Republicans is likely Gary Peters in Michigan, a route that did not work out well for John James this time around against Debbie Stabenow. If some Democratic incumbents run for president rather than the Senate, then perhaps an opening might come up, but the only one in that category is Cory Booker. And New Jersey just re-elected their crook rather than go Republican by giving Robert Menendez another term this month.
Read more at Hot Air.