Troubled Times for 10 Senate Democrats

July 13, 2017

The 25 Democratic senators who face re-election in 2018 are already gearing up for a fight. Their latest quarterly fundraising reports, released over the past two weeks, show impressive totals, ranging up to $3.1 million. But for the 10 Democrats from states carried by President Trump, a well-stuffed war chest may not be enough.

This is especially true for six senators in states where Mr. Trump’s victory last November was huge. He won Joe Manchin’s West Virginia by an astonishing 42 points; Heidi Heitkamp’s North Dakota by 36 points; Jon Tester’s Montana by 20; Joe Donnelly’s Indiana and Claire McCaskill’s Missouri by 19, and Sherrod Brown’s Ohio by 8.

Four other Democrats—Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin and Florida’s Bill Nelson —are in states where Mr. Trump’s margin of victory ranged from 0.2% to 1.2%. None of them can take re-election for granted.

They must all keep an eye on the president’s favorability ratings. On Election Day, Mr. Trump was viewed favorably by 37.5% of voters and unfavorably by 58.5%, according to the RealClearPolitics average. As of this Wednesday, his ratings stood at 40.4% favorable and 53.6% unfavorable.

Mr. Trump is likely to be more popular in states he won than his national average: The larger his margin in those states last November, the better he stands now. If this trend holds through 2018, Democrats in states Mr. Trump won by double or nearly double digits could face stiff re-election contests.

Though many endangered Democrats are now making bipartisan or even pro-Trump noises, voters won’t forget these incumbents’ loyal support for President Obama’s agenda. They can try hiding from their voting records but can’t escape them.

Furthermore, these Democrats are highly partisan. For example, Mr. Tester once led the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Ms. McCaskill can’t restrain herself from making needless partisan jabs. All eagerly campaigned for Hillary Clinton. Even Mr. Manchin personally pushed her last fall to make an appearance in West Virginia.

Cozying up now to Mr. Trump doesn’t square with the Democrats’ “resistance” agenda. For example, after hyping rumors that she might be named Mr. Trump’s agriculture secretary, Ms. Heitkamp voted to sustain an Obama administration regulation on methane emissions that North Dakota’s energy industry strongly opposed. She was trying to dampen opposition from the Democratic left, which was angry at her for playing footsie with the new president.

Consider also Indiana’s Mr. Donnelly. The Washington Examiner reports that he emphasized his strong support for ObamaCare in a fundraising email on June 21—the same day news broke that two of the four insurers remaining in Indiana’s health exchanges were pulling out. Another fundraising appeal a few days later claimed that Sen. Donnelly was “fighting back against Trump’s extreme agenda,” complicating his effort to look like a bipartisan moderate. Facing similar balancing acts, all these Democrats could easily fall off the beam.

Republicans do have their own 2018 challenges. Sen. Jeff Flake must play defense in Arizona (which Mr. Trump won by 3.5%) while Sen. Dean Heller is fighting an uphill battle in Nevada (which Mr. Trump lost by 2.4%). It doesn’t help that Mr. Heller has stumbled by threatening to scuttle his party’s plan to replace ObamaCare. Both seats are crucial to keeping the GOP’s Senate majority.

To continue reading this article, visit

Related Article

July 20, 2017 |
Republicans began 2017 with impressive advantages. For the first time in a decade, they controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. ...
July 06, 2017 |
Cork, Ireland The Continental Congress approved it on July 4, but it was July 6 before the Declaration of Independence was printed in a newspaper, namely the Pennsylvania Evening Post (“price two coppers”). ...
June 29, 2017 |
President Obama has been busy since leaving office. In February he was photographed kite surfing with billionaire Richard Branson in the British Virgin Islands. March brought a visit to Hawaii, followed by four weeks in French Polynesia and yachting with ...
June 22, 2017 |
Karen Handel ekes out a victory and upsets the Democratic narrative for 2018. Before Tuesday’s special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, many journalists were ready to declare a victory by Democrat Jon Ossoff proof the GOP is doomed t...
Button karlsbooks
Button readinglist
Button nextapperance