Today, we look at five states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. First up…
In the gubernatorial race, Republican Eric Holcomb will likely prevail in his reelection bid against Woodrow Myers, his Democrat opponent. There are two open House races- one Democrat and one Republican- in the First and Fifth Districts, but the GOP will maintain a 7-2 advantage in their US House membership when all is said and done while Trump takes the state’s 11 electoral votes.
Likewise, no one is expecting a change in the 6-2 advantage the GOP enjoys in the House in Missouri. Some Democrats seem to believe they have somewhat of a chance in the 2nd District since Clinton carried the district in 2016 coupled with Ann Wagner’s relatively close victory in 2018. Still, look for Wagner to prevail. The only other race of interest is the gubernatorial one where GOP incumbent Mike Parson is up for reelection. Thankfully, outside Kansas City and St. Louis, the state is red enough to offset those urban centers.
Democrats hold the advantage here 13-5 in the House. But first, there is no way in hell Republican Mark Curran is going to defeat Dick(head) Durbin for his Senate seat, so all the action will be at the Congressional level.
Forget about crazy Chicago which is in a battle with Baltimore to reclaim the mantle of murder capital of the country. When a somewhat “moderate” (by today’s Democrat standards) like Dan Lipinski loses his primary, we should start considering lopping off Cook County and let it drift into Lake Michigan. Of their 18 districts, only four are of interest.
In the oddly-shaped (i.e., gerrymandered) 6th, Republican Jeanne Ives is up against Sean Casten. It would be an outside shot for Ives to take this seat. At the southern tip of the state in the 12th, some believe Republican Mike Bost could be a target since Cook rates it dead even and Trump only prevailed by about 5 points and Bost by only 6 points two years ago. His opponent, however, is heavily underfunded.
In the 13th, Republican Rodney Davis prevailed in 2018 by about 2,000 votes over Betsy Londrigan and she is back for a rematch this year. This might be a tough one which requires a very close watch.
Finally, there is the 14th district which is way too close to Chicago for my liking. The Democrat incumbent is Lauren Underwood who will face Jim Oberweis. Other than his state senate seat, he has a losing pedigree in Illinois politics losing three Senate bids (two in the primary), a gubernatorial bid in the primary, and both a special and general election in a Congressional district race. Although winning a state senate seat, he showed a decline in his reelection bid.
There is a ballot question this year which would institute a graduated state income tax. This has been a liberal dream in Illinois and voters will decide the issue. This could potentially create increased voter turnout, especially in the more conservative southern part of the state.
Still and all, I believe the GOP will win either the 6th or 14th district and be given scares but retain the 12th and 13th. Like New York… baby steps.
In the Volunteer State, Lamar Alexander is retiring from the Senate leaving an open seat. On the GOP side is Bill Hagerty, a former ambassador to Japan, taking on Marquita Bradshaw for the Democrats. We are talking Tennessee here, a state where Trump remains popular. Bradshaw’s position on the issues is straight out of the AOC manual for disaster and it is doubtful that outside the few liberal enclaves, it will play well. Her “popularity” and Democrat confidence is revealed in the fundraising figures- Hagerty is way ahead by a lot.
There is one open Congressional race in the First District as Republican Phil Roe is retiring. His likely replacement in the House will be Republican Diana Harshbarger. After all is said and done, Tennessee’s 11 electoral votes go to Trump, their delegation to the House remains a 7-2 GOP advantage, and Alexander is replaced by a Republican.
Finally, there is Kentucky which features a Senate race of interest pitting GOP incumbent and perennial whipping boy Mitch McConnell against the sort-of Democrat cause du jour Amy McGrath. I say “sort of” because she was the choice of all the Lefty Democrats until some white cop put his knee on the neck of George Floyd. Then suddenly, all that McGrath support dried up and everyone ran to Charles Booker because he was… wait for it… African-American.
Admittedly, McConnell is not the most popular Senator nationally, and not even in his home state. Republicans of all stripes complain about him for one thing or another and some of the gripes are legitimate. But, the man does win, he can play hard ball at times, and he knows the Senate every which way to Sunday.
And sorry, libs, but every time you call him “Cocaine Mitch” or “Moscow Mitch,” the cash registers at his campaign headquarters go “Ka-ching!” He wins…no doubts about it. Besides: McGrath is just a retread of Alison Lundergan Grimes of 2014 fame who Democrats were fawning over and dancing on the political grave of Mitch McConnell until reality (i.e., election results) seeped in. As for the Congressional races, expect the GOP to maintain that 5-1 advantage.
Running Totals to Date
Although Trump doubles Biden in electoral votes here, he still trails 144-90 as Biden crosses the halfway mark to the requisite 270 electoral votes to take the White House, thanks largely to Illinois and their army of dead voters. In the House, the GOP narrows the gap, but still trails 99-80 in favor of the Democrats. Schumer’s tingle in his leg subsides as the GOP narrows the gap in the Senate, but still trails 30-22.
America’s Bread Basket- the Midwest