WASHINGTON — For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, yesterday produced good news and bad news for him.
We’ll start with the good news: Establishment-backed Roger Marshall last night defeated Kris Kobach in Kansas’ Senate GOP primary — after Democrats spent more than $4 million to prop up Kobach’s candidacy.
And Marshall’s win gives Republicans a much better chance of holding on to Kansas’ Senate seat. (After all, we saw how Kobach on the ticket fared for the GOP back in 2018.)
So the Senate table is mostly set for 2020, and here is where the map stands on our inaugural Senate Takeover List for 2020, based on the likelihood of the Senate seat switching parties, according to polling and our conversations with Democratic and Republican strategists. (The party listed in parenthesis is the incumbent party.)
- Alabama (D)
- Colorado (R)
- Arizona (R)
- North Carolina (R)
- Maine (R)
- Montana (R)
- Iowa (R)
- Georgia (R – Perdue seat)
- Texas (R)
- Georgia (R – Loeffler seat)
- Michigan (D)
- Kansas (R)
- South Carolina (R)
- Alaska (R)
- Kentucky (R)
- New Mexico (D)
The first five races on our list — from Alabama to Maine — are lean or likely flips. And if they all flip, Democrats will net the three Senate seats they need to win back the chamber if they also win the White House.
So despite Marshall’s win last night, McConnell is still staring a Senate map that leans Dem takeover.
Races No. 6 to No. 8 — Montana, Iowa and Sen. David Perdue’s Senate seat — are pure tossups. And if Democrats win them, they would add to any Senate majority.
Races No. 9 and No. 10 — Texas and Georgia’s other Senate seat — lean in the direction of the incumbent party holding on to the Senate.
And races No. 11 to No. 16 are likely or extremely likely that the incumbent party holds on to the seat.
The races not listed are those we don't view as competitive — at least not yet.
McConnell admits Senate GOP has lost the leverage in relief negotiations
But here was the bad news for McConnell yesterday: He admitted that Senate Republicans don’t have leverage in the negotiations over the coronavirus relief bill.
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded Tuesday that he will lack Republican support to pass further coronavirus aid and instead will rely on Democrats to fashion a deal with the White House,” NBC’s Ginger Gibson writes.
"If you're looking for total consensus among Republican senators, you're not going to find it," McConnell said. "We do have division about what to do.”
Data Download: The numbers you need to know today
4,729,248: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 53,172 more cases than yesterday morning.)
158,061: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far. (That’s 1,307 more than yesterday morning.)
58.24 million: The number of coronavirus tests that have been administered in the United States so far, according to researchers at The COVID Tracking Project.
10: The number of terms served by Rep. Lacy Clay, who lost his Missouri House primary to 44 year-old progressive activist Cori Bush last night.
6.6 percentage points: The margin of victory last night for a Missouri amendment to expand Medicaid eligibility under the ACA.
At least 100: The death toll in Beirut after a massive explosion at a warehouse housing ammonium nitrate.
$280 million: Joe Biden’s latest reservation of TV and online ad time, including time in expansion states like Texas and Georgia.
70 percent: The share of U.S. Latinos who say that the worst of the coronavirus is still ahead of us, per a new Pew survey.
2020 Vision: Two more incumbents go down to defeat
Here’s our breakdown of last night’s primaries, which includes Roger Marshall’s Senate GOP primary win over Kris Kobach in Kansas, as well as the defeat of two incumbent members of Congress.
Kansas Senate: In a positive development for Senate Republicans’ chances of holding on to this seat, Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., defeated2018 gubernatorial nominee Kris Kobach, 40 percent to 26 percent, with Bob Hamilton getting 19 percent. Marshall will face Democratic nominee Barbara Bollier in a race the Cook Political Report is keeping as Lean Republican for now.
Kansas 02: The first of the incumbents who lost last night: Rep. Steve Watkins, R-Kan., went down to defeat against state Treasurer Jake LaTurner.
Missouri 01: The second of the incumbents who lost: Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., whose family has held this St. Louis-area congressional seat for half a century, was toppled by progressive Cori Bush, 49 percent to 46 percent. Bernie Sanders endorsed Bush in this contest.
Also in Missouri last night, voters narrowly approved of Medicaid expansion in this red state.
Michigan 13: Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is currently ahead of Democratic primary Brenda Jones by a 2-to-1 margin, but there’s a substantial amount of the vote that still hasn’t been counted.
Tweet of the day
Ad watch from Ben Kamisar
Today’s Ad Watch is a reminder — voters are voting on Thursday in Tennessee for the GOP primary, a race that’s gotten quite chippy in recent weeks.
The two leading candidates in the race are former Japanese Ambassador Bill Hagerty, who has the backing of President Trump, and Manny Sethi, a doctor and medical professor.
It’s been a knock-down, drag-out fight on the airwaves, with both sides trying to frame the other as Republicans in Name Only.
Hagerty has spent the most by far on TV and radio, $4.3 million, according to Advertising Analytics, while other groups are also helping — Standing with Conservatives has spent $1.2 million and America One PAC has spent $244,000 to boost Hagerty on the airwaves.
Getting closer to a deal
After another day of talks, it seems the White House and Democrats are inching closer to a coronavirus relief package.
NBC’s Hill team reports that both sides agree on a timeline: Finish an agreement by the end of the week and have the vote next week. While neither side provided details on where they landed with unemployment insurance, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told reporters, “I’d say we’ve had extensive discussions on the unemployment.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s take on the meeting was perhaps the definition of a compromise being made: not everyone is happy with everything.
“They made some concessions which we appreciated. We made some concessions which they appreciated. We’re still far away on a lot of the important issues but we're continuing to go at it.”
The Lid: America, not exactly first
Don’t miss the pod from yesterday, when we looked at how Americans are assessing the U.S. response to coronavirus in contrast to other countries around the world.
ICYMI: What else is happening in the world
The president flip-flopped on his stance on mail voting, now saying that it’s reliable in Florida but not necessarily in other states.
The Trump campaign is suing Nevada over its plan to mail ballots to all registered voters.
The Trump administration is considering using the White House as the site of the president’s convention address, the latest in a sharp break with the presidential tradition of keeping campaign activity off the White House grounds.
Team Biden has a new website.
Republicans say they have a favorite Biden VP pick to go on offense against — Susan Rice.
Politico reports that Karen Bass gave a eulogy a Communist Party USA leader. (Who is dropping the oppo on Bass?)
What exactly is going on with Kanye West? At least two people linked to his campaign are active in GOP politics.
Here’s the latest on allegations that the Secret Service detained and handcuffed two young black mothers on the National Mall without explanation.
Elizabeth Warren wants an SEC investigation into insider trading at Kodak after the photo company got a big deal to make drug ingredients.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave an interview to Politico about her handling of the pandemic.