Cook Political Report shifts three Senate races toward Republicans

The Cook Political Report is shifting three hotly contested 2022 Senate races toward the GOP and into the toss-up column, a move that suggests a more favorable environment for Republicans. 

The Senate contests in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada once leaned toward Democrats. That changed on Friday, when the nonpartisan election handicapper reclassified them as toss-up races, meaning that they could go in either direction. 

All three seats are currently held by Democratic incumbents, Sens. Mark KellyMark KellyJuan Williams: GOP infighting is a gift for Democrats Koch Industries buys solar power company from GOP Senate candidate Conservative group targeting Kelly, Hassan, Cortez Masto in multi-million-dollar ad blitz MORE (Ariz.), Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockTrump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race Perdue announces bid for Georgia governor, setting up primary against Kemp Perdue to challenge Kemp in Georgia governor primary: report MORE (Ga.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoConservative group targeting Kelly, Hassan, Cortez Masto in multi-million-dollar ad blitz 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill Historic immigration reform included in House-passed spending bill MORE (Nev.). Republicans see those seats as their best pickup opportunities in 2022. 

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In Arizona, a crowded field of Republicans is vying for the nomination to challenge Kelly next year. While he remains among the best-funded Democratic Senate incumbents in the country, Kelly is still facing strong headwinds heading into his reelection bid, especially given Arizona’s relatively new status as a battleground. 

The Republican nominating contests in Georgia and Nevada are still unsettled, as well. But the GOP has clear front-runners in both states. 

In Georgia, former President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE and Republican leaders have endorsed former NFL star Herschel Walker to take on Warnock next year. Likewise, Trump has endorsed Republican Adam Laxalt in the Nevada GOP Senate primary. 

Republicans need a net gain of just one seat in the Senate next year to recapture control of the upper chamber. And while the GOP is defending more seats than Democrats are, the national political landscape has shifted in its favor. 

President BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE’s approval rating is at its lowest point since he took office, and recent polling suggests that voters are souring on congressional Democrats. The party is hoping to reverse its fortunes by touting its legislative accomplishments, including a recently signed infrastructure law that amounts to the largest investment in public works in decades. 

Still, Republicans are increasingly optimistic about their chances, believing that many of the voters who helped hand Democrats control of Washington in 2020 are moving back into the GOP’s corner.