Cook usually gets the Senate races right-- but not 'til after the votes are counted. Today they moved Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, all states with Democratic incumbents, from "lean Democrat" to "toss up." Arizona and Georgia have contested Republican primaries and Biden won all three states, but narrowly; I've included Pennsylvania is the list:
Arizona- 1,672,143 (49.36%) to 1,661,686 (49.06)
Georgia- 2,473,633 (49.47) to 2,461,854 (49.24%)
Nevada- 703,468 (50.06%) to 669,890 (47.67%)
Pennsylvania- 3,458,229 (50.01%) to 3,377,674 (48.84%)
Pennsylvania's Senate election for next year is for an open seat, currently held by conservative Republican Pat Toomey. The strongest Democrat running is progressive Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has led in every public poll. The latest-- last week's Civiqs poll-- shows him beating all the other Democrats combined. Schumer and the rest of the corrupt Democratic establishment recruited arch-conservative, Conor Lamb (a would be Kyrsten Sinema, 2022) to run against Fetterman and grifter outfits EMILY's List and 314 recruited Val Arkoosh. If the primary were held today:
John Fetterman- 52%
Conor Lamb- 12%
Malcolm Kenyatta- 5%
Shariff Street- 2%
Val Arkoosh- 2%
General election polls show Fetterman strongly beating Jeff Bartos and beating Sean Parnell in one poll and Fetterman and Parnell tied in another, although long before the public became aware that Parnell was beating up his wife and kids. Conor Lamb would narrowly beat Jeff Bartos (one point) and narrowly lose to Parnell (2 points).
Trump has endorsed Parnell, but Pennsylvania Republicans are still scratching their heads over him. That same Civiqs poll doesn't reflect any damage from the wife-beating trial.
Sean Parnell- 31%
Carla Sands- 8%
Kathy Barnette- 7%
Jeff Bartos- 6%
Sean Gale- 2%
If the wife-beater rap takes hold, there are a number of candidates poised to jump in including former Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braitwaite and former congressmembers Ryan Costello, Keith Rothfus and Charlie Dent and current congressmembers Dan Meuser and Glenn Thompson. And then there's scam-artist Mehmet Oz, a former Trump health adviser, better know as Dr. Oz from the Dr. Oz Show, which promotes the kind of pseudoscience female Republicans (and Oprah fans) gobble up.
Today, Politico writers Holly Otterbein andNatalie Allison reported that Dr Oz is running and the Pennsylvania GOP doesn't know what to make of it. He's hiring staffers and consultants and is looking for a home in the Philly suburbs. He lives in New Jersey and voted there last year.
It’s a sign of the unsettled nature of the current GOP primary field, which has party insiders alarmed by the absence of a strong candidate in one of the nation’s most important Senate races.
The frontrunner so far, Sean Parnell, has been accused by his estranged wife of domestic violence in a high-profile child custody case. He has denied the allegations. Less well-known contenders have been knocked within the party as too boring, divisive or inexperienced.
“It’s ripe for somebody to parachute in and take it,” said Rob Gleason, former chair of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party.
The contest is critical for Republicans: They must hold onto the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey to take back control of the chamber, and in theory, they should be able to. Inflation is high, President Joe Biden's approval rating is sagging and the party flipped Democratic seats in this month's elections, including in critical battleground suburbs. A net gain of just one Senate seat would put the GOP in charge.
But Republican activists, party officials and donors are concerned that Parnell, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, can't win a general election after being accused of striking his wife and child.
Jeff Bartos, a real estate developer who is also running, has attacked Parnell as “unelectable”-- and Republicans fear that, too, makes him an imperfect candidate who has alienated supporters of Parnell and even Trump. At the same time, many said Carla Sands, a former ambassador under Trump, has not gained much traction.
That has led to a churn of would-be candidates, and would-be political consultants, leaving the field unsettled and the party unsure of what to do to fix the problem. Several Republicans told Politico they aren’t convinced that Dr. Oz is the savior they’re looking for, however.
"I don’t know a single politically involved person in Pennsylvania who’s not being paid who wants to be involved in this effort,” said a Pennsylvania Republican strategist, adding that the “pretty much universal response has been ‘LOL.’”
“There’s no one who thinks the solution to the Sean Parnell issue is Dr. Oz."
An aide for Oz did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon, which first reported his interest in the race, that “Dr. Oz has received encouragement to run for the U.S. Senate, but is currently focused on our show and has no announcement at this time."
Parnell’s child custody dilemma “kind of opened the door to other candidates considering jumping in,” said a top Republican aide in Pennsylvania. “It’s also to some degree a political consultant-driven process, so it behooves some of these firms to go out and find a wealthy, highly visible, well-known candidate to run them.”
Supporters of the current candidates pushed back on the idea that the field is subpar. Jackie Kulback, chair of the Cambria County Republican Committee and a Bartos backer, said Bartos is the most electable candidate in the race and that other county leaders are worried that Parnell would lose in a general election.
“We’ve got to get someone who can win,” she said. “If the Republicans get this wrong, we’re going to live with this for generations. Because how Pennsylvania goes is how goes the country.”
A person close to the Parnell campaign said he would only get out of the race if he loses his children in the custody fight. Otherwise, the campaign expects he’ll survive.
“His entire campaign comes down to whether he keeps custody of his kids or not,” the source said.
...The 61-year-old television personality and cardiothoracic surgeon is already being tagged by critics as a carpetbagger. Oz was registered to vote in New Jersey, where he cast an absentee ballot in October 2020. He registered in Pennsylvania two months later, voting in the state by absentee ballot last month.
Having largely avoided making public comments on politics in the Trump era, Oz would also likely face questions in the Republican primary about his conservative bona fides.
Describing himself in 2007 as a “moderate Republican,” Oz at the time listed Arnold Schwarzenegger and Theodore Roosevelt as his role models in politics.
Oz has faced criticism for promoting obscure supplements and products on his show that have not been proven to be effective, including during a Senate consumer protection subcommittee hearing in 2014. Then-Sen. Claire McCaskill at the time lambasted Oz for touting “miracle” pills and “magic weight-loss cures.”
A year later, a group of physicians at Columbia University Medical Center, where Oz remains on staff, sent a letter urging the medical school to drop their affiliation with him, writing that Oz “manifested an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain.”