NEW YORK (AP) – The possibility of a major red wave remains high.
but as 2022 mid-term elections Entering its final two-month sprint, prominent Republicans acknowledged that their party’s gains could slip, even as Democrats face the weight of their presidency, deep voter pessimism and history this fall.
The political landscape, while still in flux, follows a string of President Joe Biden’s Legislative Victory On climate, health care and gun violence, Donald Trump’s hand-picked candidates struggle to broaden their appeal in electoral battleground states such as Arizona, Georgia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. But no one has stymied the GOP more than The shocking decision of the Supreme Court in June to end abortion protectionWhich led to a rapid response even in the reddest of red states.
“This midterm looks and feels quite different than it did six months ago,” said veteran Republican pollster Neil Newhouse. The abortion decision “has energized some areas, particularly the Democratic constituency, and it has thrown up a ditch, at least to some extent, in the hopes of winning a ton of seats.”
History shows that Republicans should dominate November’s elections.
In the modern era, the party that occupies the White House has lost congressional seats in the first midterm election of nearly every first-term president. Ronald Reagan lost 26 of the House seats, 52 to Bill Clinton, 63 to Barack Obama and 40 to Trump. In its first midterm following the September 11 terrorist attacks, only George W. Bush’s Republican Party gained a modest eight seats.
Nine weeks before election day, key activists in both parties expect Republicans to take about 10 to 20 House seats, which would give the GOP a narrow majority in the chamber in November and break Democrats’ control of the federal government. But there are many Republicans Losing faith in high-stakes battle for Senate majority and dominant governance across the country.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro argues that his focus on public safety, education, the economy and freedom is driving his momentum, but maintains that his rivals are also a major factor.
“People count on me to get it done,” Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, told the Associated Press. “And in fairness, in part, it’s because I’m running against a man who is by far the most extreme and dangerous candidate in the country.”
In one of the most important swing states in the country, Republicans nominated Doug Mastroiano as their candidate for governor, even after learning of him Leading role in Trump’s push to reverse 2020 election,
A state senator and retired military officer helps organize a state effort to submit fake presidential voters to Trump and is seen outside the Capitol as pro-Trump protesters attack police on January 6, 2021. He alienated liberal voters and even some Republicans. With divisive positions on a range of issues, including abortion, which he opposes in all circumstances.
Maastriano’s campaign did not respond to an interview request for this story.
Shapiro will launch his first fall campaign TV ad on Tuesday, citing Maastriano’s blatant opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage as threats to Pennsylvania’s economy. The ad marks the first in a $16.9 million television advertising investment, a campaign reserved for nine weeks until Election Day.
Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel acknowledged that the GOP should intensify its message on abortion, given the clear momentum of the Democrats.
“We cannot allow them to control the narrative,” McDaniel said in an interview.
He emphasized Republican leaders’ record of supporting exceptions to abortion in cases of rape, incest and a mother’s life, sidestepping questions about candidates such as Maastriano, Georgia Senate candidate Herschelle Walker and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. , which oppose such exceptions.
“I’m not going to talk about every candidate and where they are,” McDaniel said. “But the last four Republican presidents since Rowe believe in exceptions, and that’s where I think a lot of Americans are voting wise. But they also believe in limits, and the Democrats have decided to put no limits. Has shown no inclination for it.”
On the Republican Party’s broad midterm outlook, McDaniel said the top race was always likely to be tight, despite Conventional wisdom that a giant red wave was forming,
“Many of these states are battlefield states,” she said. “It’s going to be tight.”
On paper, Republicans continue to enjoy tremendous advantages.
Beyond the weight of history, Democrats are saddened by Biden’s low favorability rating because nearly 7 in 10 voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. Democratic strategists acknowledge serious political hurdles such as inflation and pessimism, but they note that gas prices have plummeted, pandemic concerns have eased and Biden has won major legislative victories on a range of key issues.
“Republicans haven’t taken advantage of the bad political climate. And they focused on having an agenda or doing nothing,” said Biden pollster John Enzalon, who at the beginning of the summer was far less confident about the mid-term outlook.
“Historically, this has to be a 30- or 40-seat victory by Republicans,” he said. “The whole Republican Party has been a big mistake for the last four or five months.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell has blamed the GOP for “candidate quality” as to why his party was more likely to win the House than the Senate.
Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who leads the Senate GOP campaign arm, sees it differently.
He and I clearly disagree on this, he said. I think we have great candidates,” Scott told the AP, citing opportunities to challenge Democrats in blue states like Colorado and Washington state. “I think we’re doing fine.”
Scott acknowledged some uncertainty surrounding Trump’s role in the coming weeks.
The former president helped his loyalists, most of whom embraced his conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, win primary elections across the country throughout the spring and summer. But it’s not clear how Trump will help him, if the election goes downhill.
“He has a choice about what he wants to do. He clearly has some candidates he wanted to get through the primaries and he did,” Scott said. “He will make his own decision on what he wants to do.”
At the same time, a large number of women are registering to vote. And if recent voting patterns hold, that’s good news for Democrats.
In at least seven states, after the reversal of Roe v. Wade, women made up a high proportion of newly registered voters, according to an AP analysis of voter data from L2, a non-partisan data provider.
Five weeks after the court struck down the constitutional right to abortion, women made up 64% of new Kansas registries. Then, on August 2, Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure Which would have allowed state lawmakers to impose new restrictions on abortion.
Trump-backed Republicans opposing abortion rights are fighting for momentum in several swing states.
A prominent Republican Senate super PAC recently canceled television ad reservations in Arizona, where Blake Masters is running, while Ohio has a $28 million commitment to help Trump loyalist J.D. Vance, a state Trump said. Got 8 points in the last election. In Pennsylvania, there are concerns that Maastriano is pulling down the rest of the Republican ticket, while Trump-backed GOP Senate nominee Mehmet Oz grapples with residency questions. And in Georgia, Walker is facing tough questions about her past and her opposition to abortion in all respects.
Representative Tom Emmer, a Minnesota Republican who leads the House GOP campaign arm, warned his party against taking anything for granted.
He said the majority of seats Republicans are targeting this fall are set in districts carried by Biden, unlike previous elections where Republicans found success in GOP-leaning districts.
“Don’t measure the curtains,” Emmer told the AP in a message to Republican aides. “It’s not the typical mid-term we’re talking about.”
Associated Press writers Aaron Kessler, Hannah Fingerhut and Zeke Miller in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.
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