Senate Republicans have been forced into a defensive crouch as they head into the final weeks of their campaign to protect their endangered majority.
The party is plowing some $100 million — nearly all of its Senate war chest — into reelecting eight senators in tough races. The few GOP candidates with a shot at picking off a Democratic seat have been left to fend for themselves, with no significant air cover from the national party for now.
The GOP is still confident it will win back Jeff Sessions’ old seat in Alabama that Democrat Doug Jones won in 2017 a special election — and they’re spending to do so. But that’s the only offensive target where Republicans are currently engaged: The party, for instance, has no outside money invested in Michigan between now and Election Day despite Trump carrying the state in 2016 and the GOP touting its candidate, veteran and businessman John James.
Steven Law, the president of SLF, said the group was “keeping a close eye on Michigan” and called James a "compelling candidate," praising his fundraising ability. But like other Republicans, he pointed to Joe Biden’s lead in the state as a factor down the ballot.
“I think the big question is going to be whether the presidential contest ends up narrowing,” Law said. “If it does, that's a race that could close.”
“In 2014, we basically ran the table,” Law added of the broader lack of offensive targets. “What that means is there isn’t a lot of low-hanging fruit left in this Senate class — except in a state like Michigan, where the Democrat was fortunate to run against a very weak candidate in 2014.”Lindsey Graham has a fight. Lisa Rab at Politico:
Jaime Harrison, the first African American chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party and now associate chair of the Democratic National Committee, has shattered fundraising records and forced Graham to play defense, running attack ads that cast Harrison as too liberal for his state. Harrison’s campaign raised nearly $29 million by the end of June, compared with Graham’s $30.9 million. Two recent polls, by Morning Consult and Quinnipiac University, showed the two men were virtually tied. Several political forecasters, including the Cook Political Report, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and POLITICO’s Steve Shepard, rate the contest as “likely” Republican, but RealClearPolitics now calls it a toss-up.