2016 US Senate News: November Edition

ARIZONA: We have limited polling out of Arizona showing that [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] would handily defeat his main primary opponent, Kelli Ward, by an obscene margin.  In a hypothetical general election against likely Democratic opponent [mc_name name=’Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000368′ ], he would also win.  However, about one-third of the general electorate is undecided.

ARKANSAS: The DSCC recently endorsed Conner Eldridge as their man in Arkansas after a recruiting campaign.  Democrats have not done so well recently in this state.  Hence, enter the name of Bill Halter as another Democrat considering a run.  Halter, you may remember, challenged former Senator Blanche Lincoln six years ago and forced her into a nasty and expensive runoff where Lincoln was pitted against Halter and his union millions in outside money.  However, the filing deadline came and went and no Bill Halter was to be found.

COLORADO:  Ryan Frazier was once seen as a rising star in the GOP despite dropping out of a previous Senate race, losing a House race and the mayor’s office in Aurora.  He’s been biding his time on conservative talk radio, but recently resigned leading to speculation that he will take on Democratic incumbent Bennet.  No sooner did the rmors start, he entered the fray.  Meanwhile, it appears that Republican El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton will enter the race. Americans for Prosperity is hitting Bennet with commercials critical of Obamacare and the Senator’s support if it.

FLORIDA:  The big news out of the Sunshine State is that none of the Republican candidates posted particularly impressive fundraising totals in the last quarter.  But there are two very good, valid reasons for that.  First, many state donors have been distracted by the Bush/Rubio dynamic at the presidential level.  That is diverting some money and until that rivalry appears to be headed towards settlement, the Senatorial race is taking a back seat.  Second, some donors may be waiting to see if state CFO Jeff Atwater will run.  As noted last month, he seemed to rule himself out back in April since he seemed(s) to have his eye on the Governor’s office in 2018.  However, he is apparently reconsidering and some polls show that he would be a formidable GOP primary candidate.  As for Atwater himself, he continues to send mixed signals and “seemed” to rule out a run a second time, although it was not definitive.

On the Democratic side, [mc_name name=’Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001191′ ] continues to rack up the endorsements getting ones from AFSCME and the Florida Teamsters in his primary battle against [mc_name name=’Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000556′ ].

ILLINOIS: Democrat Napoleon Harris recently entered the race and released a poll showing he would beat Andrea Zopp, but lose to [mc_name name=’Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000622′ ].  However, the poll shows that 56% of Democratic voters are still undecided.  If true, then Zopp or Harris would have an outside shot.  He could simply be showing that at this stage he is a better option versus Zopp.  Surprisingly, entrenched Democratic [mc_name name=’Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’D000619′ ] decided to endorse Zopp in the Democratic primary.  It is a really “nothing to lose” proposition and will not likely sway too many voters either way.

LOUISIANA:  Scott Angelle came very close in the gubernatorial jungle primary to defeating fellow Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’V000127′ ].   Many are now thinking that he may run in the Senatorial race since Vitter will not be seeking reelection in 2016 after his gubernatorial defeat.  This will be a fluid race going forward.  Both GOP Congressmen Charles Boustany and [mc_name name=’Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’F000456′ ] are also seeking this Senate seat.

NORTH CAROLINA:  The latest PPP poll, a polling company that skews to the Left, has Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’B001135′ ] up ten points over Democrat Deborah Ross.  Ross, as noted last month, may be the best the Democrats could do here.  What is disturbing for Ross, however, is that her favorability rating remains stagnant since the last polls taken.  Regardless, Ross may be a little too liberal for North Carolina in a general election and these numbers are proving that point.

PENNSYLVANIA: Earlier this year, before anyone else of significance was on the horizon, Harry (Black Eye) Reid was apparently burying the hatchet against fellow Democrat Joe Sestak.  All that changed when Katie McGinty entered the race in the Democratic primary to take on incumbent Pat Toomey.  Citing Sestak’s weak fundraising, Reid seems to be leaning towards McGinty now.  This has the potential to be a close race, but Toomey’s ratings in Pennsylvania are not bad.  In early polling, he leads both Sestak and McGinty.  However, a good fight on the Democratic side would help even further.  Once you get out of the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas, Pennsylvania has some serious conservative territory and guns may be a big issue between the GOP and the Democrats in this state.

Ratings- no changes since last month:

R. Shelby- AL (M. Rubio- FL) OPEN K. Ayotte- NH M. Kirk- IL
L. Murkowski- AK (D. Coats- IN)- OPEN R. Johnson- WI
J. Boozman- AR R. Paul- KY
J. Isaakson- GA (D.Vitter-LA)- OPEN??
M. Crapo- ID R. Blunt-MO
C. Grassley- IA R. Burr-NC
J. Moran- KS R. Portman- OH
J. Hoeven- ND P. Toomey- PA
J. Lankford- OK
T. Scott- SC
J. Thune- SD
M. Lee- UT
(B. Boxer- CA)- OPEN M. Bennet- CO (H. Reid- NV)- OPEN
R. Blumenthal-CT (B. Mikulski-MD) OPEN
B. Schatz- HI
C. Schumer- NY
P. Leahy- VT
P. Murray- WA