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Democratic Senate candidates in key states launch joint fund to split donations

Associated Press-Ben McKeown/Greg Nash
Democratic Senate candidates Cheri Beasley, of North Carolina; Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.); and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) reported large fundraising hauls.

Democratic Senate candidates seeking to flip five key swing states are joining financial forces with the “Flippable Five Fund,” which will allow donors to split campaign contributions evenly among the quintet of candidates.

Reps. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Val Demings (D-Fla.), Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D), and former North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) are all involved.

“A 50/50 Senate is not cutting it,” Beasley wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The North Carolina Democrat said the five races “are Democrats’ best chance to pick up seats this November and bring change to Washington.”

The program’s launch comes as Democrats are becoming more optimistic about their chances of expanding their Senate majority in November. The upper chamber is currently split 50-50, but Democrats have a slim majority with Vice President Harris’s tiebreaking vote.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats are currently favored to win the Senate over Republicans, 63 percent to 37 percent.

One of the most closely watched Senate races this cycle has been Fetterman’s battle against Republican Mehmet Oz in the Keystone State to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Fetterman has a healthy lead over Oz, 49.3 percent to 38.9 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average. Last week, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report switched the race from “toss up” to “lean Democrat.”

In Ohio, Ryan — a nine-term congressman from the Buckeye State — is running against “Hillbilly Elegy” author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance, who received former President Trump’s endorsement during a fierce primary. The two men are vying to replace Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is retiring at the end of this term.

Ryan currently has a slight lead over Vance, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average, 44.8 percent to 43.8 percent. The Cook Political Report says the race is “lean Republican.”

Demings, who has served in the House since 2017 and previously served as chief of the Orlando Police Department, is looking to oust Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) from his perch representing the Sunshine State in the upper chamber.

Rubio is currently leading Demings 48.6 percent to 42.8 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics average, but a poll released by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab last week showed Demings up by 4 points. The Cook Political Report rates the race as “lean Republican.”

In Wisconsin, Barnes is challenging Sen. Ron Johnson (R) for his seat in the upper chamber. Two polls last week showed Barnes, a progressive, outpacing Johnson. The race is labeled a “toss up” by The Cook Political Report.

And in North Carolina, Beasley is running against Republican Rep. Ted Budd to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr. The two are neck and neck in FiveThirtyEight’s average, with Beasley ahead of Budd by 0.1 points, 44 percent to 43.9 percent. The Cook Political Report currently rates the seat as “lean Republican.”

Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), were confident last year that the upper chamber would flip red in November, citing President Biden’s poor approval ratings and the historical trend of the party not in control of the White House — in this case the GOP — winning seats in midterm elections.

But in recent weeks, McConnell has changed his tone, asserting that the Senate breakdown following the November races will be close.

Last week, he told reporters that the House has a better chance of flipping red than the Senate.

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome,” McConnell said when asked about his midterm expectations for the upper chamber.

“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” he added.

Beasley on Twitter on Monday said Democrats must expand their majority in the Senate to take action to codify Roe v. Wade, lower costs, and make progress on climate and voting rights.

Tags Biden Cheri Beasley John Fetterman Mandela Barnes Marco Rubio Rob Portman Tim Ryan Val Demings

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