‘Trump Effect’ Doesn’t Appear To Be Hitting Down-Ballot Senate Races

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is strengthening her lead in key swing states in the wake of GOP nominee Donald Trump’s latest controversy, but the billionaire’s woes don’t appear to have negatively impacted down-ballot races.

With just 26 days until the election, a number of Republicans once considered lost causes by many have managed to dramatically close the gap in their races.

Chances of the Democratic Party taking control of the Senate dropped dramatically since the uptick seen after the Democratic National Convention in July, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections.

Recent polls, both internal and public, show Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson — who once trailed his opponent, former Sen. Russ Feingold by 8 points — leading or within the margin of error despite Clinton’s 6 point lead in the state.

The latest Susquehanna poll, released Tuesday, shows GOP Sen. Pat  Toomey ahead of his Democratic challenger Katie McGinty by 4 points — signaling Trump’s latest scandal is not shaking the Pennsylvania Republican’s chances of retaining his seat.

According to a Pennsylvania Republican close to the campaign, the combination of having a strong record on issues like national security, a history of being able to work across the aisle and running against a flawed candidate has helped the senator stay ahead in the polls in a state that hasn’t gone to a Republican at the top of the ticket since 1988.

New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte, who disavows Trump, is in a virtual dead heat with Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Even former Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who once held a double-digit lead over Republican Rep. Todd Young is now tied in his race.

Republicans are also managing to secure strong leads in Florida, Ohio and Arizona — once considered competitive races.

While the GOP is managing to gain ground in its quest to hold the majority, Democrats are increasing their odds in Illinois and Colorado in recent days.

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