U.S. Sen. Richard Burr Gets Big Break as Democratic Opponent Deborah Ross Fails to Make Top 10 Challengers U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, got a big break on June 30, 2016, when Roll Call’s Senate Challenger Rankings did not include his Democratic opponent, Deborah Ross, in the Top 10 challengers running in U.S. Senate
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr Gets Big Break as Democratic Opponent Deborah Ross Fails to Make Top 10 Challengers
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-NC, got a big break on June 30, 2016, when Roll Call’s Senate Challenger Rankings did not include his Democratic opponent, Deborah Ross, in the Top 10 challengers running in U.S. Senate races. Ross’ weak Roll Call evaluation, based on fundraising, election history, the quality of the campaigns and the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates, means she will struggle to raise money the remainder of the campaign.
Roll Call noted that Ross was “not the Democrats’ first choice,” and that her “tenure as head of the state American Civil Liberties Union is already coming back to haunt her.” Ross’ ACLU record was attacked by fellow Democrats in the primary, who argued that her opposition to a sex-offender registry and the Ten Commandments in public schools made her “unelectable.”
As of July 11, 2016, Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report, lists North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr in his “Leans Republican” column. UVA’s Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball also has Sen. Richard Burr in the “Leans Republican” column, as does the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report.
The Real Clear Politics average of all polling data in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race shows Burr with 42.3% over Ross’ 38.7%. The most recent poll in this race, conducted July 5-11 by NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist, shows Burr up 7 points over Ross, 48% to 41%.
First Quarter reports filed with the FEC show Burr’s fundraising at $7.2 million; Ross at $1.9 million. New reports, due any day, will tell whether Burr is maintaining a funding advantage.
Implications: You can’t beat a powerful incumbent without money, and you can’t raise money if the consensus is you are not a strong challenger. Although Deborah Ross is not seen as a strong challenger, Democrats may well take back the Senate in 2016.
Democratic Senate Majority Likely If Clinton Wins Presidency
Currently, Republicans enjoy a 54-seat majority in the United States Senate. However, Democrats only need to net five U.S. Senate pick-ups to regain the majority; four if they win the White House, as the Vice President breaks tie votes. Their opportunities are abundant.
- Democrats are defending only 10 seats; Republicans are defending 24 seats
- No Democrat incumbent is running in a state carried by Mitt Romney in 2012
- 7 GOP seats are in states Obama won in 2012 (FL, IL, IA, NH, OH, PA, WI)
The Cook Political Report lists those same seven U.S. Senate races (FL, IL, IA, NH, OH, PA, WI) as “Toss Up”, with only one Democratic-held senate seat on the list, Nevada, “Open” due to the retirement of Democratic senate leader Harry Reed.
Implications: If Democrats win the White House, they will likely win the U.S. Senate majority. If Republicans win the White House, they will likely hold the U.S. Senate majority.
U.S. Supreme Court: Either 6-3 Liberal or 7-2 Conservative
With the same party likely in power in the White House and the U.S. Senate after the 2016 elections, the U.S. Supreme Court will become decidedly liberal under Democrats or very conservative under a Republican administration (President appoints; Senate confirms).
The average age of retirement for Supreme Court justices is 79 years-old. In 2017, three justices will become 79 years-old or older: liberals Breyer (79) and Ginsburg (84), along with Kennedy (81), a frequent swing vote.
If all three Supreme Court justices 79 years-old or older were replaced by a Democratic president and U.S. Senate, and a liberal was appointed to the seat once held by Justice Scalia, who died February 13, 2016, the court would shift left with a 6-3 liberal majority.
If Republicans win the White House, they will hold the U.S. Senate majority and stack the federal judiciary with conservatives. If Breyer, Ginsburg and Kennedy retire during a Republican administration and a Republican-majority U.S. Senate, the U.S. Supreme Court would become a 7-2 conservative court, if you include a conservative replacement to Justice Scalia’s seat.
Implications: If Democrats stack the U.S. Supreme court with liberals, they will win litigated laws like abortion, ObamaCare, affirmative action, guns, election laws, executive power, immigration, religion, LGBT rights, the environment and regulatory authority. If Republicans stack the court with conservatives, they will prevail on all of those issues … to name a few.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Forsyth County two-term Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, is on track to win a third term.
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JDPR TrendLines is an executive summary feature of the John Davis Political Report. The objective is to provide readers timely assessments of the political implications of the latest opinion polls and breaking news.