Tossups sizing up as determinants in who will lead Senate

Tossups sizing up as determinants in who will lead Senate

Tossups sizing up as determinants in who will lead Senate

A conservative political scientist is urging Republicans to wake up and get to work if they hope to turn around poll numbers in key races that show Democrats maintaining control of the Senate in 2022.


With the aid of two Independents and Vice President Kamala Harris (as the tie-breaking vote), Democrats have controlled the Senate agenda since Joe Biden took office. Going into the midterms, Republicans have been pushing hard to not just retain their current seats but also to flip the seats of vulnerable senators. According to the website 270 To Win, four 2022 Senate races are considered tossups: three of the seats (Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia) are currently held by Democrats; the fourth (Pennsylvania) is currently held by Republican Pat Toomey, who is retiring.

While those four contests are considered tossups, polls compiled by RealClearPolitics show Democratic leads in every race (see below). If the polls for those contests prove to be right and other Senate races go according to prediction, Joe Biden and the Senate Democrats would have a 51-49 majority for the final two years of Biden's term – giving him, among other advantages, the ability to appoint left-leaning, activist judges to the courts with impunity.

Dr. Charles Dunn is professor emeritus of government at Clemson University. He says these polls should be a wakeup call to those GOP Senate candidates.

"It tells these candidates you've got to work hard; you've got to raise more money," Dunn tells AFN. "They've been resting on their laurels. [Georgia Senate candidate] Hershel Walker? He's resting on his laurels as the greatest football player probably in Georgia history. Dr. [Mehmet] Oz [in Pennsylvania]? I think the same thing. So, it's a signal you've got to get with it."

According to Dunn, those running the Republican senatorial campaigns need to do a better job of connecting their opponents to the failed presidency of Joe Biden.

"They've got to attack Biden. Go where the negatives are with regard to Biden," he advises. "The people see it; they're saying they don't trust Biden."

Dunn points to Biden's latest approval ratings. "It just keeps dropping every day," he points out. "So, there are votes out there to be harvested – but you have to run a campaign that will appeal to those voters."

The longtime political strategist adds Republicans shouldn't let Biden get by with the disinformation campaign his administration has been running.

Latest poll averages from RealClearPolitics: Arizona Senate race; Nevada Senate race; Georgia Senate race; Pennsylvania Senate race

Editor's note: Earlier this year, The Cook Political Report considered the Wisconsin race a tossup. That seat is currently held by Republican Ron Johnson – and he is facing a tough challenge from several Democrats who are gunning for his seat.