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Tipsheet

Midterms Roundup: Here's Where the GOP Currently Stands in Key Races

The allegation that Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker paid for his girlfriend's abortion in 2009 has thrown that already tight and combustible race into potential chaos.  Walker adamantly denies it, but one of his children has been blowing him up on social media, making the situation uglier -- and there are appears to be at least some evidence supporting the claim.  If this firestorm causes just a fraction of pro-life voters to reject Walker, that could pose an insurmountable electoral challenge.  Lefties are amplifying the alleged scandal far and wide -- not because they're offended by abortion, of course, but because they see it as damaging hypocrisy that could drive down Walker's support among social conservatives. I'm sure pollsters are back in the field right now, seeking to gauge the impact of this claimed revelation, which will almost certainly come up at the candidates' lone debate next week.

We'll see what the fallout looks like as this matter percolates in the state, but even a small shift away from Walker could be sufficient to get Raphael Warnock -- a supporter of no-limits, taxpayer-funded elective abortion-on-demand-through-birth -- re-elected.  If, and right now it's just an 'if,' Walker falls, Republicans' path to a Senate majority just got even narrower.  (This exhaustive thread, incidentally, is a reminder of the very serious oppo that has dropped on Warnock over the last few years, and which didn't prevent him from getting the full backing of his party and winning).  This is roughly where I am on this, politically speaking:  

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I'd even say ten years ago.  Anyway, it increasingly looks like Republicans need to hold all of their somewhat vulnerable current seats (OH/NC/FL), which seems fairly likely, plus keep the Wisconsin seat, which is also appearing stronger.  Nevada continues to look like their most promising pickup opportunity, and fresh polling out this week suggests that Democrats might be in real trouble in the Silver State this year:


If all of those seats go red, the whole landscape comes down to Pennsylvania and Georgia.  Given the developments in Georgia, it's conceivable that Republicans may find themselves rooting hard for Dr. Oz to complete his comeback against John Fetterman -- because if the GOP can successfully defend all of its current seats, they need just one flip to gain a small majority in the chamber.  Oz is hammering Fetterman on multiple fronts, especially his radical record on crime:

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Given Fetterman's infamous episode in which he chased down an innocent black man with a gun, wrongly believing him to be a criminal, I'm surprised we haven't heard more about this incident:


The New York Times' Nate Cohn has acknowledged movement in the Republicans' direction in crucial races, Real Clear Politics elections analyst Sean Trende recently told me he believes the Keystone State's Senate fight to be a pure coin flip, and the Cook Political Report has just adjusted it to a toss-up. The GOP may end up needing that one to break their way.  If not, there are other options out there, including in Arizona, Colorado, New Hampshire and Washington State, in order from most to least promising, in my view.  Arizona's Senate battle continues to tilt toward the Democrats, though a strong red night could pull Blake Masters over the top.  Colorado, New Hampshire and Washington all feel equally challenging for Republicans, but one never knows what a wave could do.  Republicans are fielding strong candidates in the two western states, and a more mainstream nominee in New Hampshire would likely be giving unpopular incumbent Maggie Hassan serious heartburn.  It amazes me that this ad in the Washington State contest is considered remotely problematic:

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It's an effective spot, highlighting a real issue.  Smiley isn't inventing the fact that Starbucks has sounded the alarm on public safety, or that a local newspaper has reported on the epidemic.  They may not like that a Republican decided to notice such things, and it's revealing that they're offended by her, but reality is reality.  This ad is totally above board.  Being annoyed that a political party you don't support is highlighting your words is not a sound basis for a cease and desist demand, in my view.  Smiley is making a dent with this messaging; she should keep at it.  Meanwhile, in neighboring Oregon, there is a very competitive gubernatorial race, plus a handful of key House races.  If Republicans can't gain in that state under these circumstances, it's hard to imagine them ever doing so:

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I'll leave you with this clip from a decidedly non-competitive Senate race, courtesy of the inimitable Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana:

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