2018 U.S. Senate Elections
Great Pro-Life opportunities abound
By Karen Cross, National Right to Life political director
Editor’s note. This appeared on page one in the February digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please read the entire 39-page edition and pass it along using your social networks to pro-life family and friends.
In 2018, there are many opportunities to replace a pro-abortion United States Senator with a pro-life Senator.
Next year Democrats are defending 25 seats, while Republicans are defending only eight. Generally speaking, the best pickup opportunities are in states that voted for pro-life President Donald Trump in 2016, but which have pro-abortion Democratic senators.
According to political pundits, 15 of the 25 Democrat Senate seats are considered “safe Democratic,” while 6 of the 8 Republican seats are considered “safe Republican.”
Let’s discuss the 10 Democratic seats which are at varying degrees of vulnerability, and two pro-life Republicans who may need to be protected.
Currently, four Senate Democratic seats are considered “tossups.” They are:
- In Indiana where Sen. Joe Donnelly claims to be pro-life, but who has a 22% pro-life voting record for this Senate term, as scored by National Right to Life. His challenger is expected to be pro-life Reps. Luke Messer, Susan Brooks, or Todd Rokita.
- In North Dakota pro-abortion Sen. Heidi Heitkamp faces an uphill battle if she is challenged by pro-life Rep. Kevin Cramer. President Trump carried North Dakota by 36 points.
- In West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin will likely face a strong challenge by either pro-life Rep. Evan Jenkins or pro-life state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. West Virginia voted 69%-27% for Trump, a whopping 42 point difference.
- In Missouri potential challengers against pro-abortion Sen. Claire McCaskill are pro-life Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Ann Wagner.
Three Senate Democrat seats considered “tilt Democrat” are:
- In Wisconsin, there are two pro-life challengers whose names are mentioned as possible challengers to pro-abortion Sen. Tammy Baldwin. They are Rep. Sean Duffy or state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald. Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 47%-46%, and pro-life Senator Ron Johnson came from behind to win his seat with 51% of the vote.
- In Florida, pro-abortion Sen. Bill Nelson, who has a dismal 0% pro-life record since 2001, may face a strong challenge by pro-life Gov. Rick Scott, who is term-limited in 2016.
- In Montana, where in 2012 pro-abortion Sen. Jon Tester, who has a 0% pro-life voting record during his tenure in the Senate, only won 49% of the vote. President Trump carried the state, winning 57% of the vote.
There are other potential pro-life pickups against incumbent pro-abortion Democrats, depending on who the challenger is:
- In Ohio, pro-abortion Sen. Sherrod Brown will be running in a state that voted for President Trump, 52%-44%.
- In Pennsylvania, pro-abortion Sen. Bob Casey has a dismal 22% pro-life voting record during this Senate term.
- In Virginia, pro-abortion Sen. Tim Kaine has a 0% pro-life voting record.
As noted above, six of the eight pro-life Republican senators running for re-election in 2018 are considered “Safe Republican.” The two potential “pro-life protects” who could face pro-abortion Democrats, are:
- In Nevada, pro-life Sen. Dean Heller may face pro-abortion freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen.
- In Arizona, pro-life Sen.Jeff Flake may be challenged by pro-abortion Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
However both Nevada and Arizona are “likely Republican” seats.
These ratings will fluctuate, depending on who the challengers are, or whether there’s an open seat because an incumbent retires.
In addition, there are other pro-abortion Democratic senators who may become vulnerable. For instance:
- In Michigan. When President Trump defeated Clinton 47.5%-47.3%, it demonstrated that Republicans can win statewide. Pro-abortion Sen. Debbie Stabenow could be vulnerable if a strong challenger emerges from the Republican primary. Michigan’s attorney general and the Lt. Governor are considering a 2018 Senate run.
- Likewise, in Massachusetts and Minnesota. If strong pro-life candidates emerge from the Republican primary elections, pro-abortion Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar could face tough re-elections. In a recent poll, 46% of Massachusetts voters said someone other than Warren should be elected, with 10% more undecided. Trump lost in Minnesota by only 1.5 points.
It’s critical that strong pro-life challengers make it through the Republican primary elections. We need a really big win in the Senate next year to reach a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.
Historically, big Senate swings go against the sitting president’s party. However the opposite happened in 1934, when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s party gained ten Senate seats. Fortunately, there’s a “new normal.”
It’s easy to think that the next federal election is in two years. Keep in mind, November 6, 2018, IS NEXT YEAR!!!
The 2018 election will be here before you know it.