Dems worried about crucial midterm pickups after DSCC, Senate Majority PAC’s lack of involvement in key races
With three weeks until the midterm elections, national Democrats lack of support for Democratic candidates battling to pick up key seats is stirring up worry among officials and party insiders that Democrats may not win enough contested seats to retain control of the Senate this November.
The stress arose after political experts and voters noticed a lack of engagement from the national Democratic Party for first-time Senate candidates in the North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
In North Carolina, local Democrats are worried that the party has robbed Cheri Beasley, the Democratic candidate who could become state’s first black senator, of the resources she needs in order to win her election, after a local North Carolinian said at a campaign event for Beasley that with election day drawing near, most of her friends still “don’t know who she is” and lamented that the majority of the ads running paint her in a negative light, the Washington Post reported.
Zeb Smathers, the mayor of Canton, N.C., told Washington Post that he had concerns about top Democrats’ lack of focus and attention on the North Carolina Senate race. “I hope we don’t wake up in a few weeks and realize, ‘Man, if we had just spent some more time, gave some more resources diverted from other places, we could have won North Carolina,’” Smathers said, while also claiming the race is “not getting the national attention,” he believes it deserves.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., who also spoke to the Post, said he’s hopeful the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) will provide the resources needed to win toss-up seats.
“[DSCC Chairman, Sen. Hary Peters] tells me that his first obligation is to take care of his incumbents, the Senator Warnocks and the like … and now it’s time to invest in red-to-blue seats in battleground states,” Butterfield stated.
“A couple of months ago everyone said Republicans would sweep the Senate — now the GOP is on defense across the map and Democrats are in position to protect and expand our majority,” David Bergstein, DSCC communications director, told Fox News Digital. “Our incumbents have the advantage in their races, and we have multiple pickup opportunities that remain strongly in play. In the closing weeks, we will continue making strategic decisions and investments to ensure Senate Democrats win in November.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senate Leadership Fund have supported Beasley’s GOP opponent Ted Budd, investing over $26 million into his bid for Senate, while a Schumer-linked Senate Majority PAC has only spent roughly $15 million on North Carolina this election cycle.
Beasley spoke to Fox News Digital, saying that although her campaign is powered by people, she is thankful for the national support she has received. “You know I’m grateful that we said early on that we would be a people-powered campaign, that we’ve had a lot of success and support from counties all over the state. And we know that this race matters a whole lot to North Carolina,” Beasley said. “We also know that it matters a lot to the national folks, and we’re thankful for the support that we’re getting.”
Democratic Ohio Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, recently unleashed his frustration on the Democratic Party regarding its lack of involvement in his race. “National Democrats have been known not to make very good strategic decisions over the years,” Ryan told The Washington Post. “There’s a frustration among the rank-and-file Democrats that the leadership doesn’t quite understand where we want this party to be.”
“We have 350,000 donors,” Ryan continued. “Those are the people that are frustrated.”
There is also “widespread disappointment” and “perplexity” circling the Senate Majority PAC’s involvement in the Pennsylvania Senate race, according to a source familiar with Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s campaign, reported first by Politico.
Doc Sweitzer, a Democratic consultant in Pennsylvania, said the Democrats are “paying” for the Senate Majority PAC’s lack of defense against the GOP in the potential swing state. “If you’re fighting anybody, you can’t let them up off the ground. And they let them up off the ground, and they’re paying for it now,” Sweitzer said.
In Wisconsin, Democrat Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes is seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in a race the Democratic Party is counting on to win the Senate majority. But like Beasley and Fetterman, supporters of Barnes worry he is not getting the support he needs to win on Election Day.
Democratic Strategist Irene Lin told Politico that though the Senate Majority PAC is not completely at fault, the Super PAC’s ads “clearly didn’t penetrate message-wise.”
Fox News Digital asked Veronica Yoo, spokesperson for the Senate Majority PAC (SMP), whether she believed Democratic candidates were provided with the resources they need in order to win November’s election.
“We have three weeks left to defend and expand our Democratic Senate majority—that’s what we’re focusing on, and we encourage our fellow Democrats to do the same,” Yoo said.
A source familiar with SMP’s strategy also noted that either SMP or Majority Forward, its affiliated nonprofit, has been airing ads in Wisconsin since May, highlighting their differences with Sen. Johnson on crime and abortion.
According to a recent Marquette University poll, Johnson is currently leading the race against Barnes, 52% to 46%. The poll was conducted from Oct. 3-9, with a margin of error of plus or minute 4.3 percentage points.
Fox News Digital reached out to Beasley, Fetterman and Barnes, asking them whether they think the Democratic campaign committees and outside groups are giving them enough resources to win November’s election. None responded.
Fox News’ Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report.