Democrats pressed panic button after Virginia collapse

The dismal performance of Democratic candidates in New Jersey and Virginia is causing a sense of panic among Democrats who now view their Senate and House majorities as a serious danger in the 2022 midterm elections.

In Virginia, a state President BidenJoe Biden Five Takeaways from a Bleak Night for Democrats Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor’s Race Michelle Wu Chosen as Boston’s First Mayor MORE won by 10 points a year ago, Democrats saw the former governor. Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffe Democrats must stop infighting and four other lessons from the 2021 election Democrats feel new urgency on Biden’s agenda after Virginia defeat Republican optimism soars over Democratic debacle MORE fall to defeat in a state that polls suggested he had been leading months ago.

In New Jersey, the solid performance of little-known former Republican Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli against Gov. Phil Murphy (D) was too close to call. Democrats expected Murphy to win easily.

Republicans immediately went on the offensive, announcing a new bet to go after swinging Democrats in the House. Minority leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthy Citations are a real concern for lawmakers facing Jan.6 questions Watch Live: McCarthy Holds Weekly Press Conference The Hill’s Morning Report – Brought to you by Facebook – Democrats have many roadblocks ahead MORE (R-Calif.) He said his party could change up to 60 seats.

The Republican Party needs to flip a net of just five seats to regain a majority in the House. If they can get a seat in the Senate, they will take control of that chamber.

Both goals seemed to be within reach after Tuesday.

Sabato’s crystal ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics moved Senate elections in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada from the column of “lean democrats” to “tournaments.”

Dave Wasserman, an analyst for the Cook Independent Political Report, tweeted that Tuesday’s results “are consistent [with] a political environment in which Republicans would comfortably win back both the House and Senate in 2022. “

Democrats had felt more confident about maintaining control of the Senate in 2022 due to a favorable electoral map. Twenty Republican-held seats are at stake, including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which were won by President Biden in 2020.

But Biden’s approval numbers have plummeted amid a paralyzed Congress, and his dismal grades were another anchor at McAuliffe in Virginia. It was also impossible not to interpret the tight race in New Jersey as a reflection of broader problems.

Its. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) Menendez Republicans express concern over Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Germany Biden sparks high-stakes fight over spending framework Why is Trump undermining his administration’s historic China policies? PLUS (DN.J.) said the exceptionally close result revealed a worrying lack of enthusiasm, especially among minority voters.

“It certainly is something to see; it’s certainly somewhat unexpected, ”he said, acknowledging that Murphy was seen as a solid favorite just a few weeks ago.

Menendez said Republicans beat expectations in the state, which Biden topped by 16 points just a year ago, due to “questions about the economy, people with COVID fatigue and minority communities not coming out as they should.”

Senate Democratic Whip Dick durbinDick DurbinManchin, Murkowski reviewed John Lewis’s voting rights bill. (Ill.) He warned that majorities in his party are at risk if Democrats don’t learn from the political reverse in Virginia.

He said it was imperative to move forward with Biden’s legislative agenda, which has been stagnant as Democrats fight each other.

“I was disappointed, but not surprised. Terry McAuliffe was quite explicit in the final weeks of the campaign that Virginia voters felt our failure here to come to terms, ”he said.

When asked if Republican victories in Virginia and elsewhere can predict a tough election for Democrats in 2022, Durbin responded: “Of course. If we ignore it, it certainly does. “

Fueling the growing sense of anxiety are memories of 2009, when Democrats suffered losses in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections only to lose 63 House seats and six Senate seats in the 2010 midterm elections.

Its. Tim kaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine Democrats face monster December collision Biden triggers high-stakes fight over spending framework Manchin says he will support .75T price tag for MORE spending plan (D-Va.) He said Wednesday that the stalemate on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which has yet to come up for a vote in the House, and the $ 1.75 trillion reconciliation package, which remains stalled in the Senate, “hurt” McAuliffe and other Democratic candidates.

“The Democrats disappointed Terry,” he said. “If we had made the infrastructure [and] reconciliation invoices in October that we will definitely do before the end [November], it would have been a great help to him. “

The centrists led by Sen. Joe manchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment – Presented by the American Petroleum Institute – Biden seeks to tackle methane Biden rallies nations to reduce methane emissions Democrats give Manchin warning about lack of progress on spending bill MORE (DW.Va.), which has slowed negotiations on the reconciliation package, says the message from Tuesday’s election is that voters have serious concerns about the huge spending and tax package moving through Congress.

“I’ve been saying this for many, many months, people have concerns, people are concerned,” he said, repeating his fear that another $ 2 trillion spending package would fuel more inflation.

He also warned that voters are nervous about tax increases, even though Democrats have promised not to raise taxes on anyone who earns less than $ 400,000 a year.

“We are talking about renewing the entire tax code. That is mammoth. We have not had hearings, we have not had open hearings, “he said. “They are scared to death.”

Republicans, for their part, are confident.

Senate Minority Whip John thuneJohn Randolph Thune Overnight National Security & Defense – Frustration grows with NDAA delay Republican senators accuse Democrats of prioritizing social spending over military Senate Republican Party ranks behind Trump-backed candidates MORE (RS.D.) said Tuesday “suggests that the environment is very conducive to major Republican strides.”

Some lawmakers believe Tuesday’s losses reflect a broader lack of enthusiasm for McAuliffe, Murphy and the rest of the Democratic “establishment,” which has struggled to find a political message that can resonate with voters since defeating the former. President TrumpDonald Trump Republicans are poised to sweep Virginia, wowing Democrats Five takeaways from a bleak night for Democrats New Jersey’s gubernatorial race is too close to call for MORE in last year’s election.

There is also concern among some Democratic lawmakers that a decision to water down a proposal to empower the federal government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and dramatically increase the cap on state and local tax deductions (SALTs) is hurting the party with the voters.

“It is a colossal failure on the part of the Democratic Party to have something for the voters to join in,” complained a Democratic senator, who requested anonymity to comment frankly on the election results.

The senator said his party could take big losses in 2022 “if we suck.”

“If we really did some things for the American people that made a difference at their kitchen table and if we didn’t pass a bill that cuts taxes on the rich, which is what we’re talking about now, I think we have a chance.” said the legislator, referring to the debate within the Democratic caucus about the elimination of the SALT deduction limit.

A second Democratic senator who requested anonymity to comment on the political environment said “the rank and file is extremely depressed.”

The lawmaker, who has spoken with several Democratic donors in recent days, said Democrats outside of Washington are frustrated that Biden has been unable to close a deal with Manchin on the budget reconciliation package despite multiple meetings at the White House. .

“We are paralyzed here, and the president has been handicapped by his inability to hold a meeting in the Oval Office to close the deal,” the source said.

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