Sununu’s departure underscores the GOP’s uncertain path to winning a Senate majority

Senate Republicans harboring visions of securing a majority in next year’s midterm elections took a hit Tuesday when perhaps their most valuable potential recruit, the governor of New Hampshire. Chris sununuChris SununuSununu Says He Will Decide On The Senate Run ‘In The Next Week Or So’ New Hampshire Debates A Big And Controversial Shift In The Map Of The US House Of Representatives Biden And Progressives Lead Democrats To The nature MORE (R), said that he would not challenge the Sen. Maggie hassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSununu Says She Will Decide On The Senate Run ‘In The Next Week Or So’ desert MORE (DN.H.).

But a year before Election Day, Republicans and Democrats alike have reason to cling to optimism, and harbor deep doubts, about their chances of reclaiming control of the US Senate. The GOP’s path to majority will not be easy, Democratic strongholds are not fully strengthened, and a challenging year for both parties is ahead.

“We have to win these seats one by one,” said Martha McKenna, a Democratic strategist who held senior positions on the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC). “These are local races.”

For Republicans, Sununu’s decision to give up a race is a substantial blow. He won reelection in 2020 with 65 percent of the vote, 20 points more than the previous one. President TrumpDonald Trump Meat industry groups pledge to meet Paris Agreement emissions targets by 2030 Judge dismisses part of DC AG’s lawsuit against Trump’s inaugural committee Representative Gosar publishes anime video showing him hitting Biden, Ocasio-Cortez MOREPerformance in the same election. The Republican Party suffered a second setback on Tuesday when the former senator. Kelly ayotteKelly Ann Ayotte Poll: New Hampshire’s close race for Senate is likely Biden will turn to Robert Califf to return as head of FDA Poll: Possible showdown between Sununu and Hassan in NH is a draw MORE (RN.H.), who lost to Hassan by just over 1,000 votes six years ago, made it clear that she would not run either.

“We will continue to focus on our family, careers and the Republican election here at home,” Ayotte said in a statement, hours after Sununu’s announcement.

But Republicans have a chance to regain several seats held by Democrats, including two lost in special elections in the past year, one held by the senator. Mark KellyMark Kelly: Senators Throw Bipartisan Women Into The Trump STEM Caucus To Attend Fundraiser For Arizona Republican Senate Candidate ‘An Earthquake’: GOP Rises High After Beating By Democrats Tuesday MORE (D-Ariz.), The other for Sen. Raphael warnockRaphael Warnock The Senate Republican Party fears Trump could derail the majority bid. (D-Ga.).

“We have great candidates across the country, while Joe Biden and the Democratic Party numbers are crumbling everywhere,” said Chris Hartline, spokesman for the National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC).

Republicans will also challenge Sens. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez Masto’An Earthquake ‘: GOP Rockets After House of Democrats Tuesday Shelled Immigration Provisions in Latest Build Back Better Hillicon Valley Package – Feds Targeting Security Critical Groups national MORE (D-Nev.) And Michael BennetMichael Farrand Bennet ‘An Earthquake’: GOP soars after beating from Democrats Tuesday as Democrats face Manchin, make new push for family to leave Colorado Supreme Court signs new map of Congress PLUS (D-Colo.), And Hassan is unlikely to get a free pass.

“I truly believe that Republicans can win 53, 54 seats in the United States Senate, and that includes New Hampshire,” Sununu told reporters as he retired from the race. “It’s not just Chris Sununu who can win this seat.”

The Republican Party sees the wind in its sails after an off-year election in which its party’s candidate regained control of the Virginia governorate for the first time in a dozen years, and at a time when President BidenJoe Biden Nicaragua Ortega Prepares to Win Election Amid International Criticism Representative Gosar Releases Anime Video Showing Him Hitting Biden, Ocasio-Cortez Overnight Energy & Environment – Presented By ExxonMobil – Activists Cry Over COP26 Draft MOREThe approval rating has fallen to its lowest point.

“There are many challenges for the Democratic Party. There is history; it is the year of rest; there is always a headwind. What is different for the Democrats this time is that they are not unified, which is unusual when the party has the White House, “said Rob Jesmer, former executive director of the NRSC. “There is usually a greater sense of unity. I don’t see them really getting fixed anytime soon. “

But Republicans are also on the defensive in states that Biden narrowly won or lost in 2020. In three of those states, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Georgia, along with Ohio, where Trump won by a wider margin, the primaries Republicans have already descended into a cavalcade of negative ads and ill will.

The crowded primaries, several of which have turned into a contest for Trump’s attention, raise awkward comparisons to the contests of 2010 and 2012, when arch-conservative Republicans like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, Rep. Ken buckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckMatt Stoller: Amazon’s Bezos Likely Lied Under Oath In Congress Hillicon Valley – Presented By Xerox – Agencies Sound the Alarm on Ransomware Targeting Agricultural Groups Legislators Question Whether Amazon Misled Congress MORE (R) in Colorado, Sharron Angle in Nevada, Richard Mourdock in Indiana and then-Rep. Todd Akin (R) in Missouri lost every general election after winning the Republican primaries over more palatable rivals.

“Certainly there is no Glenn youngkinGlenn YoungkinTrump Beats Up Christie After Former New Jersey Governor Calls On Republican Party To Exceed 2020 Election Claims Former Clinton Strategist: Virginia Results Show Democrats’ Left Too Much Left On Key Issues for educated suburban voters’ Murphy’s campaign calls on Ciattarelli to yield New Jersey’s Governor’s Election MORE in any of these Senate primaries across the map, ”said David Bergstein, DSCC spokesman, referring to Virginia’s governor-elect. “Senate races don’t always go with the national environment.”

Democrats are not immune from their own crowded primaries, in an era when party leaders on both sides have lost the ability to effectively elect their candidates. The Democratic infighting on Capitol Hill is a microcosm of a larger struggle for the party’s soul between factions that traded blame for Virginia’s defeat.

The next front in that fight is likely to play out in the party’s own Senate primaries, in places like Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In those states, the archetypal Democratic candidates that party leaders once favored are competing against progressive and populist contenders who, in some cases, are raising money at a torrid pace.

Another crowded field of Democrats is vying for the right to face the senator. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold Johnson Biden touts agenda while celebrating Milwaukee Bucks at McConnell White House: 2022 midterm will be ‘very good pick for Republicans’ Clyburn endorses Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor for Senate MORE (R-Wis.), Whose poll numbers are suffering in a state Biden narrowly led. And Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita Demings Democrats brace for a flood of retirements after Virginia defeated Representative Brown to run for Maryland attorney general The Senate’s Republican campaign arm outrages its Democratic counterpart in September MORE (D-Fla.) He’s mounting a credible challenge to Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio Rubio Republican senators request military aid for Taiwan amid pressure from China Republican Jason Miyares wins race for Virginia AG Emanuel’s nomination advances despite Democratic opposition MORE (R), albeit in a state that has tended toward Republicans in recent years.

Recent midterm elections have not been kind to a president’s party, with the notable exception of 2018, when Republicans won two Democratic seats at the same time they lost control of the United States House. But if Democrats can hold on to any hope, it’s with a year to go until the midterm elections, a year in which money from the bipartisan infrastructure bill will start flowing, Democrats appear to be on track to pass a massive reconciliation measure and the economy continues to recover. .

All of that, Democrats hope, will conspire to increase his fortunes and Biden’s approval ratings.

“Their numbers will improve as a couple of things happen: We get construction projects and construction jobs moving, we get cybersecurity and broadband jobs going. Parents are breathing in relief that younger children are being vaccinated and you have fewer lumps in your throat when children go to school every morning, ”McKenna said. “The numbers are going to improve as we move into a year of action.”

Republicans see next year in a very different direction: Voter perceptions of economic strength are at odds with what economists say is a strong recovery, and Republicans interpret voters’ sentiment on the Democratic reconciliation package. as very negative, which they consider increases their odds.

“We are outraging Democrats every month because voters across the country are rejecting the failed policies and agenda of the Democrats,” said Hartline of the NRSC. “We are very confident that next November we will celebrate a new Republican majority in the United States Senate.”

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