Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appear to be in a downward spiral as their respective opponents are outperforming them in the polls and fundraising. As a result, top election forecaster Larry Sabato has shifted his projection for the Maine and South Carolina contests towards Democrats.
The news comes as Senate Republicans are poised to begin likely explosive confirmation hearings over President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The outcomes of the elections in these two critical states could determine whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, who has vowed to fill the seat amid the election, retains control of the upper chamber.
As noted by Salon, “Maine’s Senate race has switched from toss-up to “leans Democratic” as incumbent GOP Sen. Susan Collins continues to struggle in the polls. Sabato also nudged South Carolina’s Senate race in the direction of Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison, moving incumbent Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s seat from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican.”
Collins has seen her support erode following her critical vote to confirm another Trump nominee to the high court: Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Collins is trailer her, Democratic opponent, by 13 points in the latest poll.
Graham, who was one of the leading Republicans who rejected taking up former President Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland ahead of the 2016 election, is also losing ground in his home state.
A recent poll found Harrison and Graham tied at 44%, and another Quinnipiac survey last week showed a tie again last week at 48%.
“Jaime’s grassroots movement to bring hope back to South Carolina is growing every day,” Harrison campaign manager Zack Carroll told Salon in a statement. “Voters in South Carolina want leaders they can trust, who will use their power to look out for them. But after 25 years in Washington, Lindsey Graham has changed and he’s lost his moral compass — he has left South Carolina values behind.”