Statewide Watchlist/Senate Update (8/23)



In Florida, congresswoman Val Demings should coast to the Democratic nomination, setting up a November matchup with incumbent Republican senator Marco Rubio. This race was previously considered to be Safe Republican by us due to a combination of Rubio’s candidate strength and the expected Republican lean of the year. However, the post-Dobbs environment has shown marked improvement for Democrats across the board, and Florida is no exception, with the three most recent polls in the state showing a hotly contested race (including one with Demings leading Rubio, 48-44).

Carrying Florida is now a difficult task for Democrats and Republicans alike, and the reality is that the state is closer to a red state now than it is to a swing state. However, although it is eight points to the right of the nation, it has a high Democratic floor, some fairly elastic Hispanic voters, and a lot of left-trending white college-educated voters. This, combined with the improved electoral picture for Democrats (which points more closely to a neutral environment) and some strong fundraising numbers make us put the race at LIKELY REPUBLICAN. Rubio should win without trouble, but there remains the outside chance of an upset that will make this race worth watching, at least for now.


Congressman Markwayne Mullin will be facing former state representative T.W. Shannon in the runoff for the GOP nomination, which serves as the de facto general election in a state as Republican as Oklahoma. Mullin has led in every available poll of the race for some time now, and while upsets in runoffs are possible, it is increasingly difficult to envision it happening here (though by no means impossible). We rate this race as LEANS MULLIN, as we believe that the congressman’s strength out east is likely to be more than sufficient to counter Shannon’s projected overperformance in the Oklahoma City area. Whoever wins the race to succeed retiring Republican incumbent Jim Inhofe, however, will almost certainly be the next Senator from Oklahoma, as we rate the general as SAFE REPUBLICAN.



Florida has the lone gubernatorial primary today, where Governor and Republican nominee Ron DeSantis will seek reelection against the winner of the Democratic primary. Congressman Charlie Christ and Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried are competing for the Democratic line, and polling points towards a Crist victory. Crist will draw large margins from his Pinellas County constituents and the surrounding Tampa Bay region. Meanwhile, Fried is polling best in the Jacksonville area. Split Ticket handicaps the primary as LIKELY CRIST, and the general as LIKELY REPUBLICAN — while Crist is probably as strong of a candidate as Florida Democrats can put up in a year like this, the state has taken a hard tilt to the right and DeSantis remains a popular incumbent governor, meaning he will likely be very difficult to dislodge.

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