My home state of North Carolina features three marquee matchups for president, Senate and governor. Normally a purple-tinted red state, North Carolina has become much more purple in recent times. And last year’s controversial HB2 bathroom bill has added to its competitiveness – and the national focus on it. I believe these three races are linked together by 2 or 3 points, with the North Carolina Senate race being the least vulnerable to Republicans and the governor race being the most vulnerable.If I’m right, then Richard Burr should fare 2 to 3 points better than Donald Trump, and Pat McCrory should come in about 2 to 3 points worse than Trump. That means if Burr wins by just a point or two over Democrat Deborah Ross, then Trump and McCrory are likely to lose. On the other hand, if McCrory could pull out a narrow victory (which, looking at the North Carolina Governor polls, might be a bit of an upset at this point), then Trump should carry the state with some breathing room and Burr should win pretty comfortably, say 6 or 7 points. Given recent actions by the GOP, however, it appears they may fear Republicans going 0-3 here.
After years of successfully holding off Democratic gains in this rapidly changing state, Republicans are scrambling to pour new resources into North Carolina in the face of unexpectedly close contests in the presidential and Senate races.Republicans here are increasingly nervous about the prospects in November for both presidential nominee Donald Trump, who held a rally in Asheville on Monday evening, and Sen. Richard Burr, who is in a tight race with a relatively unknown Democratic opponent. The state’s Republican governor, Pat McCrory, also is in danger of losing his reelection bid. It’s a dramatic change in fortune for a party that had reasserted control of North Carolina after President Obama narrowly won the state in 2008.
In New Hampshire, Republican incumbent Frank Guinta won a close primary race in CD2 against businessman Rich Ashooh in District 1. His victory is actually good news for Democrats. Marred by fundraising scandal, Guinta appears to be damaged goods. That doesn’t bode well for his re-election chances – especially give the fact that his opponent, Carol Shea-Porter, has already beaten him in the district during the presidential year of 2012. Interesting tidbit on this race. This election marks the fourth time in a row that Guinta and Shea-Porter have battled each other for this seat. David Wasserman at the Cook Political Report says this may be another Shea-Porter triumph.
Thanks to the presidential cycle and Guinta’s ethics troubles, the pendulum may swing back to Shea-Porter: an August WMUR/UNH poll found Shea-Porter leading Guinta 48 percent to 29 percent.Neither candidate is well-liked, but this district is a ping pong ball and 2016 may simply be Shea-Porter’s turn.
Election Projection moved the rating for this race from Weak DEM Gain to Mod DEM Gain today based on Cook’s reassessment and the poll mentioned by Wasserman.
Though I’ve highlighted two stories negative to the GOP, Republicans have had plenty to encourage them recently. The presidential outlook for Donald Trump has improved significantly over the last two weeks. On September 5, Hillary Clinton held a massive 357-181 lead in the projected Electoral College. With yesterday’s update, that lead had dwindled to just 38, 288-250. Trump has seen Ohio, Florida, Georgia, and Nevada come over to his column. Of course, losing a close one is still losing, and Trump will need a couple more states to flip before he can become president.