GOP Senate majority seems secure, for now

Apparently the hand-wringing over the Republican Party being ruined for ever because those pesky voters dared to nominate Donald Trump may be a bit premature, if not over-wrought.

According to The Hill, down ticket races are looking about the same as they did before Trump secured the GOP nomination:

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.

GOP pollster Jon McHenry notes that “Democrats haven’t really started the process of tying Trump around Republican necks,” but at this point it certainly appears that in the states where GOP senators are in the gravest danger the incumbents have already been effective in separating their cause for re-election with Trump’s cause.

Nevertheless, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania appear to be the most vulnerable seats to flip to the Democrats at this time. From there, Dems face considerable roadblocks on the way to 51:

Both sides are aggressively focusing on five states: Ohio, where polls show Portman and former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) essentially tied; Pennsylvania, where Toomey holds a slight lead over McGinty; New Hampshire, where polls show Ayotte in a dead heat with Gov. Maggie Hassan (D); Florida, where Sen. Marco Rubio (R) leads his likely Democratic opponent, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D); and Nevada, where Rep. Joe Heck (R) is battling former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) for retiring Reid’s seat.

2016 was always going to be a tough year for the GOP, but it isn’t looking nearly like the disaster the media was warning about just a couple months ago when Trump solidified the nomination.

As Mitch McConnell’s former Chief of Staff, Josh Holmes told The Hill, “If you’d have given Senate Republicans this exact situation in January 2015, they would have taken it before you got the last word out of the sentence.”

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