The Cook Political Report has shifted its prognostications in favor of Republicans for three hotly-contested Senate races, as early indications show Republicans in a strong position to retake both chambers of Congress.
The political predictor shifted its predictions for the Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada Senate races, from all three leaning in favor of Democrats to all three listed as toss-ups, still nearly a year away from the 2022 midterm elections. The three states “are all states that Biden carried by 2.5 points or less,” CPR said, via Axios. President Joe Biden won Georgia by a little less than 12,000 votes, Arizona by less than 11,000, and Nevada by around 34,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election. Arizona and Georgia were also the sites of several hotly-contested audits over the election results. The three races are the only three Senate races that fall into that category, according to CPR, “and if there is a sizable partisan swing we see come next November it’s easy to see how these races get swept away even if GOP candidate quality is subpar.”
CPR expressed a general concern, however, that a number of factors could work against the party as election season approaches. “Republicans have a host of problematic candidates and messy primaries that could endanger their prime chance,” CPR said. “Add in former President Trump’s continued meddling in the primaries … and things get murkier for Republicans.”
The Senate seat in Arizona is currently held by former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. Kelly defeated former Senator Martha McSally in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the passing of the late Senator John McCain in 2018. The seat was held by former Senator Jon Kyl immediately after McCain’s death, but he retired at the end of 2018, leaving the seat to McSally. Currently vying for the seat in the Republican primary are, among others, the current Attorney General of Arizona Mark Brnovich, and Blake Masters, Chief Operating Officer of Thiel Capital and president of The Thiel Foundation.
Georgia’s Senate seat is currently being held by Democrat Raphael Warnock. Warnock defeated sitting Senator Kelly Loeffler in a special election to fill the seat, vacated by the retirement of Johnny Isakson in 2019. The current frontrunner in the Republican primary is Georgia football legend, former NFL running back, co-chair of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition, and CEO of Renaissance Man Food Services, Herschel Walker.
The Nevada Senate seat is currently being held by Catherine Cortez-Masto, who succeeded former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after he retired in 2016. The most notable candidate in the Republican primary is former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.
Cook Political Report’s assessment coincides with the assessment of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which shifted the same three races from lean Democratic to toss-up, as well as shifting the Colorado Senate race from “Safe Democratic” to “Likely Democratic,” after Republicans swept the Virginia elections and nearly won the Governor’s race in New Jersey.
The shifts also come amid the release of a Quinnipiac poll that shows President Joe Biden’s approval ratings cratering, down to just 36%, and that voters would prefer Republicans to control both chambers of Congress by significant margins.