All that “doom and gloom” talk from Republicans about how Donald Trump endangered their Senate majority may be for naught.
Democrats either need a net gain of four seats and the White House or a pickup of five seats in order to regain control of the Senate this fall. After some initial hand-wringing over how Donald Trump could be a drag on down-ballot candidates this fall, Republicans are beginning to feel more confident that they’ll be able to weather the storm and keep their majority in the upper house of Congress.
In the critical states of Ohio, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, GOP candidates are running as strongly as they were before Trump became the party’s presidential nominee.
“If the election were held today, it’d be exactly like a midterm election. Good campaigns are going to win. There’s no landslide,” said David Carney, a New Hampshire-based Republican strategist. “The bases are baked in. I don’t see dramatic shifts anywhere.”
Republicans and Democrats say the fight to win control of the 115th Congress will start in earnest this weekend, now that both parties have laid out their markers during national conventions.
“Democrats haven’t really started the process of tying Trump around Republican necks,” said Jon McHenry, a prominent Republican pollster. “The swing state Republicans who hold their seats this fall will be those with a good story of vision and accomplishment to tell that allows them to run independently of Trump.”
Democrats currently lead in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana. Three more Senate races are effectively tied – Ohio, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. A voter backlash against Trump could tip those seats to Democratic control.