Democrats' surprising 2-man team to hold the Senate

It is the most diverse freshmen class in congressional history. It is also a group of lawmakers whose time in Washington was marked by insurgency and hyperpolarization.

Republican senators said in interviews that their job now is to find someone who can compete with well-funded senators who could see their fortunes grow with the economy. John Watson, the former Georgia GOP chairman, said “it’s crazy we don’t have a top-notch candidate right now” to challenge Warnock.

If Republicans can “team up behind someone who is eligible, then I think these races are very competitive and we have a good shot,” said Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), The Minority Whip. “If we don’t get it right, it’s a whole different shooting game.”

Both senators raised more than $ 4.4 million in the first quarter of this year. Kelly has almost that amount in the bank, and Warnock has more than $ 5.6 million – both big numbers, so far from the 2022 elections. They became two of the most productive small dollar fundraisers in their party in the last cycle, and these donors are already being wooed by their campaigns.

Mike Nellis, Authentic CEO and digital advisor, compared Warnock and Kelly’s fundraising programs to those of presidential candidates.

“You usually see a significant drop in base donations after you’ve won. But the back-to-back elections and the unique national attention they both received are tremendous benefits to online fundraising, ”said Nellis.

Aside from their amazing fundraiser, Kelly and Warnock spent their first few months in Washington on separate routes. Kelly has joined a non-partisan negotiating group and will often speak to the late Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) When speaking about the importance of his work.

Instead of running to the middle, Warnock has a progressive agenda. He is particularly keen to pass voting laws and is ready to ridicule the GOP for its opposition.

“Their main focus on electoral repression shows that they understand how much trouble they are in,” Warnock said of Republicans.

The GOP is still trying to recruit Ducey to take on Kelly and fears within the party that a Trump-leaning candidate could win a winning race. Mark Brnovich, the attorney general, is seriously considering an offer, according to a GOP employee familiar with his thinking. In addition, Peter Thiel invested $ 10 million in a Super PAC to support Blake Masters, the chief operating officer of his company Thiel Capital.

Kelly declined to criticize the volatile GOP in Arizona, saying he had a “good relationship” with Ducey, dubbed the “second worst Republican governor in America” ​​by former President Donald Trump. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), who recently met with Ducey, said, “He went from no to, ‘Well, I’ll listen’. That made me more hopeful.” Kelly predicted that he “will have an opponent who will work hard and be well funded.”

Two thousand miles to the east, Trump calls on former professional soccer star Herschel Walker to face Warnock. Former Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) Could also pose a challenge, although she has so far been postponed. Collins and former Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.) Both passed the race, although two lower-profile candidates are already running: veterans Kelvin King and Latham Saddler.

Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.) Attacked their budget change vote results last month for a preview of how the GOP will dull the two senators. Regardless of the economic climate, Republicans will see Warnock and Kelly as outliers in their states who will vote across the party line when it comes down to it.

“Kelly voted against border security three times. I wouldn’t do that in Arizona, ”said Scott, the Senate campaign director for the GOP.

Regarding a budget change to allow coronavirus aid verification eligibility, he argued that Warnock “voted to give stimulus checks to rapists, pedophiles and murderers. If I had been running a campaign … these are the things I would be talking about. “

The National Republican Senatorial Committee previewed this month’s cycle-length attacks, comparing the voting results of Warnock, Kelly and other Democratic incumbents to Schumer and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Kelly and Warnock have downplayed their focus on their reelection races in interviews. But Democratic leaders see their campaigns never really stopped after Kelly won in November and Warnock triumphed two months later. Now they face another battle for a full six years.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) Gave some advice, saying that the way to win in her state is “You show up to work, work really hard, and make sure the Arizonans know it’s election time.” comes. “

It’s a notable sprint for the duo in states that were considered Republican strongholds a decade ago. Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich.), His party’s new campaign leader, admitted that holding tough elections “isn’t great for them as individuals,” but makes them all the stronger next November.

“They’ve shown they know how to win. And if you look at the Republican side, they still have the Republican Civil War,” Peters said. “We’re not defending hard turf. We are defending turf that we know will vote democratically. “

But Republicans are counting on a snapback. While both states elected two Democratic senators and backed Biden, those victories all came while Trump was in office. Watson, the former Georgia GOP chairman, said the race was winable for his party in a “drama-free environment” but Warnock had a “really good chance” if there were more GOP fights.

“Warnock is a nice guy and he’s going to have a lot of money. He’s also a great activist, “said former Georgia MP Jack Kingston, who lost a Senate primary in 2014.” However, the wave will be against the White House party. “

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