Following key wins in New Jersey and Virginia last year, Republicans are planning to expand their battleground map ahead of the November midterms. With continued low approval ratings in the White House, GOP officials are now seriously eyeing the gubernatorial races in New Mexico and Connecticut, Senate races in Colorado and Washington State and an array of House races in districts with an increasingly bluish hue.
The Hill reports:
“This year, the first midterm after a president’s been elected with both houses of Congress, it sets up really well,” said one GOP strategist with experience working in Colorado. “And there’s been nothing, literally nothing to date, that looks to disrupt a really, really positive environment for candidates running in red, purple and blue areas. That’s why the map has a really huge opportunity to stretch.”
In New Mexico, where Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham prevailed in 2018, Republicans have jumped on the spike in violent crime, especially in Albuquerque, to releasing several ads criticizing her handling of the situation.
In the Senate race in Colorado, Republicans are taking aim at two-term incumbent Michael Bennet (D). Bennet has never won more than 50% of the vote in his two reelection campaigns. Despite Colorado’s transition from a ruby red to a light blue states, polls show Bennet statistically tied with a generic Republican. Moreover, two of the leading GOP candidates are independently wealthy, meaning they can pour millions into their campaigns practically on a whim.
“You could see a dynamic in 2022 where, if you have a slight overperformance from a really good, compelling candidate that’s well-funded, that’s how you get into a coin-flip territory,” said the strategist with experience in Colorado. “By no means are we saying that Colorado is a coin flip. It’s simply that with the environment, with the right candidate, with the right resources drawing the right contrast against Bennet, this is very winnable.”
Despite the GOP’s target rich environment, Democratic campaigns suddenly finding themselves in the crosshairs argue things look better than they seem.
“Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is in one of the strongest positions an incumbent governor of New Mexico has ever been in,” said campaign spokeswoman Kendall Witmer, who also noted Lujan Grisham’s family history in New Mexico predates statehood.
“Michael Bennet delivers for Colorado and is in a strong position to win in November,” added Justin Lamorte, Bennet’s campaign manager.
Only time will tell if the GOP’s expanded target list will yield dividends come November.
But with stiff political headwinds and President Biden’s anemic approval rating, there’s no doubt that Democrats would privately prefer to be where Republicans are currently sitting.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of American Liberty News.