Democrats Shift Cash To Senate Long Shots

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from The Wall Street Journal,

With Control of Chamber More in Doubt, a New Plan Emerges.

Democrats, worried as polls show their chances of retaining control of the Senate dwindling, are plowing money into long-shot races in unexpected states as embattled incumbents elsewhere seem to be slipping behind.

The party last week put $1 million into the contest for a GOP-held seat in Georgia, attempting to capitalize on polls now shifting in its favor, as it also makes a play against long odds to hold its own seat in South Dakota with another $1 million in spending. At the same time, the party pulled back from advertising in the race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

In Georgia, polls show Democrat Michelle Nunn gaining ground. Republican David Perdue had a consistent lead during September, but the former business executive lost altitude in the face of Democratic claims that he moved manufacturing jobs overseas during his business career.

South Dakota represents a more complex riddle for both parties. Former Gov. Mike Rounds, the GOP nominee, leads in publicly available polls, but a pair of challengers is within striking distance: Democrat Rick Weiland and former Republican Sen. Larry Pressler, who is running as an independent. But it is unclear whether either can win.

“The only way the Democrats hold the Senate is if they pull off surprises,’’ said Peter Fenn, a Democratic political consultant. “Do the math: Democrats are going to have to pull an inside straight on this one.”

One former Democratic senator sounded resigned when asked about the state of the competition. “Our chances of holding the Senate are less than 50-50,” the former senator said, adding that some hope remains in the large element of uncertainty remaining in many contests. “The close races are very volatile.”

Democrats are looking for new building blocks for a majority in unexpected places in part because prospects seem to be fading for three of their incumbents, in Alaska, Arkansas and Louisiana, while a fourth, in Colorado, has come under pressure.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

Democrats’ New Senate Move: Backing Long-Shot Candidates