Where We Stand

ITEM One: I continue to be calmly stunned that the battle for control of the House still does not seem settled. Any Republican margin is likely to be so minuscule that it amounts to something of a poisoned chalice for Kevin McCarthy and the GOP generally. As I’ve noted repeatedly, the debt ceiling remains the sui generis, overriding thing. But if you set that aside, given that Democrats will not get 52 senate seats, in purely political terms there’s actually some real advantage in having Republicans hold the House by only one or two seats.

ITEM Two: I haven’t seen media calls. But I think we can now consider the Arizona Senate race over. This has seemed pretty likely since the early hours of Wednesday morning. But the numbers now seem immovable. Overnight, Dave Wasserman called it for Kelly. That’s good enough for me. Catherine Cortez Masto looks pretty likely to get reelected too. But it’s a bit too early to consider it a certainty. Jon Ralston’s our guy for that race. Watch what he says. Laxalt needs an inside straight and then a lot of luck.

ITEM Three: Assuming item two is correct, Democrats will go into the Georgia run-off with the tie-break majority in hand. Warnock had more votes in round one and that was when Walker had the advantage of a popular Republican governor at the top of the ticket. Those two factors have to give the advantage, albeit an extremely narrow one, to Warnock. My own hunch is that Senate control not being in play also helps Warnock. This is a much more speculative calculus since control not being at stake changes things pretty dramatically on both sides. But polls have shown pretty consistently that people in Georgia like and respect Warnock, even many who didn’t support him. Republicans were willing to forgive Walker almost anything because of the larger stakes surrounding his reelection. I’m not expecting any collapse of support. Polarization doesn’t work that way. But it seems more likely than not that some smattering of Georgia Republicans decide that Walker and his baggage are too heavy a lift if control of the Senate isn’t in play.

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