The “Hillary Effect” is causing major problems for Republican senate candidates.
The same voters who gave Hillary Clinton her historic nomination in the Democratic primary are giving Republican senate incumbents headaches in their races as well. Let’s call it the “Hillary Effect.”
John McCain is facing his toughest re-election campaign to date. Challenger Ann Kirkpatrick has matched McCain’s fundraising efforts, raising $1.8 million in this past quarter. And moreover, she’s galvanizing women voters to supporting her campaign. McCain still holds a slim lead, within the margin of error, but when you look at the party breakdowns, the results are more telling. Kirkpatrick is bringing out 70% of registered Democrats and McCain has only 63% of registered Republicans backing him. No doubt the Latinx vote has been galvanized to support Kirkpatrick over McCain’s Trump endorsement, since Hillary’s support among Latinx voters in Arizona is a stunning +67.
Tammy Duckworth continues to run a strong campaign against Sen. Mark Kirk, who has spent considerable time and effort to battle the “Trump Effect” dooming his campaign, which is why he was the first Republican to actually retract his endorsement. National polling is scarce in Illinois, but even Kirk’s internal polling show Duckworth in the lead, and if fundraising is any indication, support continues to dwindle. Duckworth raised $2.7 million to Kirk’s $1 million in the second quarter. Maybe Kirk is recognizing the Hillary Effect and that’s why his latest ad focuses on further distancing him from the GOP.
Kelly Ayotte tried to tread a very fine line of supporting Donald without outright endorsing him. So far, Granite Staters have been unimpressed. Ayotte has also taken a big hit from Sandy Hook relatives and other gun control advocates, a cause near and dear to many a mother’s heart. So perhaps it’s not surprising to see the Hillary Effect boosting her challenger, Maggie Hassan, with female voters. Hassan is leading Ayotte overall, but especially with women voters, 50% – 33%.
Kate McGinty is tightening up the race against incumbent Pat Toomey, according to PPP, which is showing the race effectively tied and Toomey’s previous lead shrinking pretty significantly. It’s an impressive trend when factoring in the number of really negative ads Toomey has launched against McGinty, for which the Philadelphia Daily News has slammed him as “toxic fear mongering.” As is the case in almost all of these races, the percentage of female registered Democrats supporting McGinty is significantly higher than female registered Republicans supporting Toomey, 42% – 36%. And her support among people of color is even higher.
The prospect of getting Russ Feingold back in the Senate is really gearing up Wisconsin voters. Latest polls have him consistently ten points up over incumbent Ron Johnson, whose fear mongering to Latina women has backfired badly. Feingold’s lead among women voters has him sixteen points ahead. And with people of color? It’s not even close.
It will be a historic election come November, no matter the outcome. But it looks likely that in addition to shattering that final glass ceiling once and for all, the Hillary Effect may end up bringing in a wave of Democrats into the Senate, which can only be good news for getting the people’s work done.