Thursday, August 18, 2016

Race of the Day- Kansas U.S. Senate

81 Days Until Election Day

Status: Republican Incumbent
2012 Presidential Result: Red State (Midwest)

Outlook: Safe Republican

As he seeks a second term, GOP Senator Jerry Moran has far less to stress about than when he faced a competitive primary in 2010 for an open Senate seat against a fellow Congressman. Once he won that battle, the general election was a mere formality in heavily Republican Kansas, which has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate since 1932. Fours years later though, Moran had to keep his eye trained at home, when as Chairman of the Republican Senate Committee, he had to concern himself with the possibility that his senior Republican Senate colleague might somehow lose his seat to an Independent. Moran and the NRSC helped Pat Roberts win though, and just about every close race in the country went their way too, as Republicans reclaimed a Senate majority.

Moran will easily be reelected this year, and faced no formal primary challenger. Still, Kansas Republicans have been deeply split for many years now, and the chasms are increasing in different respects. It just happens though that not a lot of Kansans are voting Democrat lately. Moran is seen as someone from the more business and farmer friendly establishment wing of the Kansas GOP and in 2010, he won his primary over an opponent more associated with religious conservatives and the Tea Party movement. Some in the Kansas Republican Party may never love Moran, and that might keep his poll numbers artificially down a bit, but he captured 70 percent of the vote in 2010 and will probably about equal that this time.

Democrats are running a Senate nominee this year and it seems like it might be a long-awaited consolation prize for attorney Patrick Wiesner, who first had to get past a primary opponent who was a quasi-black nationalist and took over a third of the vote. This was a far better result for Wiesner though who finished in fourth place in the 2010 primary and lost again in the 2014 primary, only to see that Democrat nominee quickly quit the race, as the party rallied around a wealthy Independent, hoping he would win and caucus with Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Moran has nothing to worry about this fall, even as Kansas may prove to be surprisingly close on the Presidential level. The Senator held out a very long time in endorsing Donald Trump, but eventually expressed some support. More recently, he has seemed to state that he understands that Kansans will have to make up their own minds on that race.

Moran campaign link:

Senate races predicted thus far:
5 D (3 Safe, 1 Likely, 1 Leans)
10 R (4 Safe, 3 Likely, 2 Leans, 1 Tossup)

Overall predicted thus far: 41 D, 40 R


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