Notes from Norm
The battle for the Senate continues with Georgia on our minds. Polls suggest that the race between Senator David Perdue and Jon Ossoff and the race between Senator Kelly Loefflerand Raphael Warnock are both very close. Mail-in ballots have gone out to voters who requested them, and early voting begins on Monday.
Welcome to the overtime stage of the 2020 elections. The presidential election is still not finished. We know that Democrats will retain the House of Representatives - albeit with a significantly narrowed majority. But the battle for the Senate will only be settled on January 5, 2021 when Georgia holds two run-off elections.
Over the last few months, I've used this space to discuss the key races in - and the stakes of - the battle for the Senate. With just five days to go before Election Day, the battle has never been more intense, and the stakes have never been higher.
One of the biggest challenges of preserving the GOP's Senate majority is overcoming the Democrats' financial advantage. Not that Republican candidates haven't worked hard and raised impressive sums, but the Democrat money machine, powered by liberals on the East and West Coasts, has shattered all previous fundraising records.
Back in July, in a "Notes from Norm" about the North Carolina Senate race, I discussed the contest pitting first-term incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis against Democrat Cal Cunningham. I said that this race was likely to come down to whether Tillis could convince voters that his opponent would be a liberal Schumer loyalist, despite his efforts to portray himself as a moderate.
Back in July, I wrote in this space about the key race in Maine, where my friend Senator Susan Collins is facing off against State House Speaker Sara Gideon. I noted that Senator Collins is a model Senator who has never missed a vote in twenty-four years and sets the standard for bipartisanship and effectiveness. I also emphasized that she is a reliable supporter of the US-Israel alliance while her opponent has aligned with J Street.
Back in early August, I wrote in this space about Senator Lindsey Graham – a dear personal friend of mine and a champion of the causes RJC members believe in – who is facing a real race from Democrat Jamie Harrison. I noted that Lindsey was being outraised by Harrison thanks to a massive effort by the challenger to appeal to out-of-state liberals, who are still furious about Senator Graham's strong defense of Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
Back in July, I told you about the Senate race in Georgia that pits incumbent David Perdue, a major business leader before he became a Senator, and Jon Ossoff, a 33-year-old filmmaker best known for losing a prior congressional race. I noted the contrast between Perdue's strong record of support for Israel and opposition to the Iran deal with Ossoff's support from J Street.
Alaska's Senate race wasn't on anybody's list of competitive races at the beginning of the year. First-term Republican Senator Dan Sullivan, who previously served as the state's Attorney General and Commissioner of Natural Resources, is well-liked and effective. He gets a big share of the credit for opening up a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration - a state priority that had been stymied for decades.
In previous messages in this space, I've told you about Senate races where the GOP is fighting to retain seats we currently hold. For a change of pace, let's examine a race where Republicans are on offense - the Alabama contest pitting Democrat Sen. Doug Jones against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville