Between a Trump and a hard place

By Andrew Menezes
Posted October 16, 2019 at 3:38pm

Republican senators up for reelection in swing states have a delicate balance to strike. They need to get almost all GOP voters in their column while reaching out to independents and Democrats. And President Donald Trump does not make that easy.

CQ Roll Call elections analyst and Inside Elections publisher Nathan L. Gonzales explains the politics. For instance, in Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner finds himself up next year in a state increasingly trending Democratic. Inside Elections rates his race a Toss-up.

From his conversations with pollsters in the field, Gonzales says that even if Gardner were to unify Republicans in the state, he would still be well short of where he needs to be to secure a victory. That means he needs Democrats and independents. But the closer he hews to Trump and GOP loyalties, the harder it is to build that kind of coalition. 

Gardner is not alone, either. Other potentially vulnerable Republican senators like Susan Collins in Maine, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Martha McSally in Arizona and Joni Ernst in Iowa all have balancing acts to perform as they look to convince voters to send them back to Washington.