Senate incumbents in Nebraska, Pennsylvania breeze past primaries with big money leads

Incumbent senators in Nebraska and Pennsylvania breezed through their primaries Tuesday night, leaving them with healthy funding advantages over their rivals for the general election campaign.

Republican Deb Fischer in Nebraska and Democrat Bob Casey in Pennsylvania won their respective party nominations in those at states primaries.

Casey will face off against four-term Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, who won a last-minute endorsement from President Donald Trump.

Trump also endorsed Fischer, who will now run against Democratic primary winner Jane Raybould, a member of the Lincoln, Nebraska, City Council.

Democrats are hoping to wrest control of both the House and Senate from the GOP in this fall’s midterms where 435 House seats and 35 Senate seats are up for grabs, including two Senate special elections.

In the Senate, Democrats are defending 24 of those seats, while only nine Republican incumbents are running. (Two seats are held by independents, who caucus with the Democrats.)

Both Nebraska and Pennsylvania are considered safe for their respective incumbents based on both past voter turnout and the substantial fundraising advantage those incumbents enjoy.

Nebraska remains a solidly red state, with Republicans capturing roughly 60 percent of the vote in the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016. Fischer won her seat in 2012 by more than 15 points.

With roughly $2.6 million in cash at the start of the general election race, Fischer also holds a substantial financial lead over Raybould, who had about $300,000 on hand as of her latest campaign finance filings, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Though Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016, Casey captured his seat in 2012 by a healthy margin, and he currently enjoys a double-digit lead in the polls against Barletta.

Casey also enters the general election campaign with a war chest of about $10 million, more than seven times as big as Barletta, according to the latest campaign finance data.

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