AZ, NV and Control of the Senate
These two sunny states could decide control of the US Senate.
In Nevada and Arizona, key battles in the US Senate are heating up. Both states have seen strong inroads from the Democrats in recent years at every level of office. Both of these once reliably Red States have been flipped Blue at Presidential level in 2020, all four US Senators are Democrats. But can the Republicans counter this and win back at least one, or maybe even both seats up for grabs in 2022?
Both Arizona and Nevada have large Hispanic populations. Polling shows a collapse in Hispanic approval for Biden, and this large and growing demographic is critical to the Democrat coalition. Democrat strategists generally believed that providing Hispanics show up to vote, they will mostly vote Democrat. That can no longer necessarily be guaranteed. This is especially true for Hispanic men, who like men of most races, lean more rightward than women anyway. The Democrats may hope that high Hispanic female turnout may soften their losses amongst Hispanic men.
Another issue the Democrats need to worry about is control of the US Senate. The Senate is currently on a knife edge, causing huge frustration to the efforts of Biden to pass signature bills and advance his agenda. This is largely caused by centrist Democrat Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Krysten Sinema (AZ), the latter of whom is not up for election this time. If she was this would cause the Democrats in AZ a headache, given the strong appetite for primaries against her by the base. Her fellow Arizona Democrat Senator Mark Kelly is facing re-election, but has been deliberately cautious in his comments about filibuster reform, a major point of contention with the Democrat base. Will this impact him?
The Arizona Republican Party continues to prepare its campaign. Perhaps nowhere else in the country has the Trump wing of the party become more dominant. There is a debate about just how powerful Trump's appeal is since his election loss in 2020, and the way he is shut out of most major social media platforms. However amongst the committed activist base his name still elicits excitement and energy. Will this energy be enough to flip AZ back Red at Senate level? Our research shows that if the GOP are going to re-take the Senate seat, they will need to take back Maricopa County.
In Nevada, all eyes are on Washoe County. As we have written about previously, success at any level of state-wide or federal office in Nevada seems to hang on the performance in Washoe County. If the Republicans do well here, they can possibly take the seat. If the Democrats counter with strong action, they may just hold on.
If the AZ and NV seats can be taken by the Republicans, this could give the Republicans overall control of the Senate (depending on results elsewhere). If that happens then Biden's term in office, and his attempts at legislative action will be limited. This could see an increase in Executive Orders.
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