Are Republican Senate upset victories brewing in Florida, North Dakota, Indiana, Montana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, West Virginia, and even New Jersey?
While political pundits appear to be solely focused on the potential for a midterm “blue wave” that could flip the House to Democrats, there are several Senate races — some of which were considered locks for Democrats just a month or two ago — that may result in shocking GOP victories that would bolster the ranks of the Republican-majority Senate.
A new Mason-Dixon poll among likely voters released Thursday found that incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson is in a “virtual tie” with challenger Rick Scott. Nelson has held the Senate seat since 2000 and has arguably never faced a challenger with the credentials, name recognition, and popularity of Gov. Scott, who has consistently held a solid approval rating as the state’s governor.
Polling averages show that incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is losing by double digits to challenger Kevin Cramer. A Fox News poll released Wednesday shows Cramer with a 12-point lead over Heitkamp among likely voters.
A Fox News poll of likely voters published Wednesday shows that incumbent Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is in a statistical tie with Republican challenger Mike Braun. Notably, President Trump took the state in the 2016 election by almost 20 points.
There has not been a lot of recent data on the race between incumbent Democrat Jon Tester and his Republican opponent, Matt Rosendale. However, all indications are that the race is largely a toss-up at this point. Last month, President Trump held a campaign rally for Rosendale in Montana. Vice President Pence, who spoke in Bozeman Tuesday, argued that the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings should galvanize Republicans to ensure a GOP victory in Montana.
Most polls show that incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican nominee Josh Hawley are in a statistical tie.
Notoriously corrupt Sen. Bob Menendez was once considered a lock to regain his seat. Now it’s no longer a sure thing. Recent surveys of likely voters from New Jersey polling outfits Fairleigh Dickinson University and Stockton University indicate that the race is within single digits. Menendez’s challenger, Bob Hugin, is an Ivy League-educated businessman and U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He offers a stark contrast to Menendez, who has been accused of bribery and corruption.
Wisconsin, Minnesota, and West Virginia
West Virginia Democrat incumbent Joe Manchin maintains a somewhat safe lead against GOP challenger Patrick Morrisey. Minnesota Democrat Tina Smith has a 7-point edge (on average) over Republican nominee Karin Housley. And Wisconsin incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin has a double-digit advantage over her Republican adversary, Leah Vukmir.
However, the midterm enthusiasm edge once held by Democrats has notably disappeared, according to a new NPR/PBS/Marist poll of registered voters. This could theoretically bring the Manchin, Baldwin, and Smith races from safe seats to contested races.
Is a “red wave” possible for the GOP? Was the media wrong about a blue wave all along? Did the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings re-energize Republicans to take to the polls? We’re only a month away from finding out.