The mid-terms are coming up fast and the political situation in this country is in flux. I want to focus on the key races that will help us hold, or perhaps even expand, our Senate majority. That’s looking very possible right now, even though the more traditional election forecasters still rate most of these races as toss-ups at best. I don’t have to tell you how important this election is. I honestly believe the future of our nation depends on holding the line this year and in 2024.
I’m focusing here on Senate races that need to be top priorities as we seek to increase our hold on that body. Covering the House races requires more time than I have to give, so for that, and for all the down ballot and state races that are so important, I would send you to the Elections Team at DailyKos. Ballotpedia is also a rich source of candidate and election information generally.
You may not live in the states where these Senate candidates are campaigning, but there are plenty of ways to get involved from a distance. If you have cash of course you can donate. You might check to see how much cash on hand each candidate has in order to target campaigns that might be lagging. Open Secrets has that information available.
You might look into an initiative called Give Smart, which can help you target donations. There was a lot of frustration the past couple of cycles that large amounts of cash ended up with candidates who really weren’t going to win. This effort tries to correct that.
And the good folks over at Balloon Juice are targeting these Senate races and as a group will aggregate donations to the candidates. They are always a good source of information for taking action.
If you have time more than money, there are several groups that pull together Get Out The Vote campaigns using letters, post cards, and/or texts. Most are affiliated with different branches of Swing Left, Vote Forward, or local Indivisible groups. Generally they target campaigns to voters who might vote occasionally but may not vote regularly. They will have a list of names in targeted states and districts, and some ideas about what to say.
Whatever campaign you choose, please consider getting involved in these efforts. Now is the time to get everyone on board for the elections in November.
Having dumped all that information on you, let’s look at the Senate races we have the best chance to win. Three of these are incumbents, and those must be our highest priority. I’ve included links to their web sites and a general assessment of the race as judged by the usual election prognosticators such as The Cook Report. Most of the experts have had these races as toss-ups at best, and mostly leaning to Republicans. Much of this is because mid-terms usually swing against the party in power, plus the fact of Biden’s poor polling this past year.
But I can feel the change in the electorate and its mood as this Administration has begun to pass at least early forms of initiatives that are very important to Democrats and those of us on the left. And of course the gutting of Roe v. Wade through the Dobbs decision has changed everything. I think myself that we have a strong chance of holding the Senate this year, and at least a small chance of holding the House too. We shall see.
And the candidates to work for are…
Arizona — Mark Kelly (incumbent)
Opponent is Blake Masters.
Experts say: Toss-up.
Florida — Val Demings
(Opponent is Marco Rubio, the incumbent.)
Experts say: Lean/Likely R
Georgia — Raphael Warnock (incumbent)
(Opponent is Herschel Walker.)
Experts say: Toss-up
Nevada — Catherine Cortez Masto (incumbent)
(Opponent is Adam Laxalt.)
Experts say: Toss-up
North Carolina — Cheri Beasley
(Opponent is Tedd Budd. Open seat, previously R.)
Experts say: Lean R
Ohio — Tim Ryan
(Opponent is J.D. Vance. Open seat, previously R.)
Experts say: Lean/Likely/Solid R
Pennsylvania — John Fetterman
(Opponent is Dr. Mehmet Oz. Open seat, previously R.)
Experts say: Mixed levels of D/R
Wisconsin — Mandela Barnes
(Opponent is Ron Johnson, the incumbent)
Experts say: Toss-up/Lean R
Some people think Colorado may be in play, but I don’t buy it. Just because the state Republicans chose Joe O’Dea as their candidate, who is not quite as insane as most Republicans in Colorado, doesn’t mean the citizens have turned against Michael Bennet.
As I said above, it is most important that we hold the incumbent seats, but if we can pick up two or three more we could—potentially—make some real changes. I think it’s best to focus on the races listed here.
Finally I want to point you to a project called The Last Weekend, that will connect people with tasks for getting out the vote right at election time. And keep in mind that your local candidates always need volunteers too.
Take care of your own health, of course, be cautious with COVID and don’t stress too much. It we each do our best and do it steadily, I think we can have a good election season this fall.