Election handicapper moves Arizona Senate race to ‘leans Democratic’

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun12,2024

An elections handicapper moved its rating of the Arizona Senate race from “toss-up” to “leans Democratic” in response to a state Supreme Court ruling reinstating a 19th-century abortion ban. 

Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said in a release Wednesday that it moved its rating toward Democrats because of the “increased importance” of abortion rights following the court decision and the recent fundraising strength of the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). 

Gallego is not facing any opposition for the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), who is not running for reelection. He will likely face former Arizona GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake, who has consolidated Republican support behind her candidacy. 

The race is expected to be close and will help decide which party will have control of the Senate next year, with Democrats trying to defend their narrow majority. 

But Sabato’s Crystal Ball said it now sees Democrats as a slight favorite to win the seat. More fuel was added to the ongoing national debate over abortion rights following the overturning of Roe v. Wade when the Arizona Supreme Court last week upheld an 1864 state law that makes abortion illegal except to save the life of the mother.

The law makes performing or helping a woman obtain an abortion is a felony punishable by two to five years in prison. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. 

Both Gallego and Lake, along with several other Arizona politicians from both parties, issued statements opposing the ruling after it was handed down, but the Sabato’s Crystal Ball release says the ruling will likely help Democrats in the race.

The release notes that Lake has had a “hard-right reputation” as someone who has denied the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential and 2022 gubernatorial elections and previously voiced support for the 1864 law while running for governor. It said she will likely need to change that to win and took a step to do so with her statement.

The rating also changed because of Gallego having a stronger fundraising quarter over the first three months of the year, bringing in $7.5 million. 

The release said the rating does improve Democrats’ chances for winning the Senate, but Republicans will still have an easier path with the map of seats up for election this year.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Election handicapper moves Arizona Senate race to ‘leans Democratic’”
  1. I believe the shift in rating to “leans Democratic” is a reflection of the growing focus on abortion rights, especially after the state Supreme Court’s decision. Rep. Ruben Gallego’s fundraising success gives Democrats a strong edge. It’s crucial for the Senate’s control. This race will be pivotal, and Democrats are now favored to win the seat, highlighting the national debate on abortion rights.

  2. I believe the move of the Arizona Senate race to “leans Democratic” is a significant shift that reflects the current political landscape. The reinstatement of the 19th-century abortion ban undoubtedly played a crucial role in this decision. It’s evident that abortion rights are taking center stage in this race, and the Democratic nominee’s strong fundraising indicates a promising future. With the looming showdown between Gallego and Lake, the stakes are high, and this race will undoubtedly impact the Senate’s majority. The recent developments have heightened the debate on abortion rights, setting the stage for a contentious battle ahead.

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