Democratic senators fighting to hold on to their seats next year are increasingly worried about a troubling reality: Russia appears set to mess with U.S. elections — again. The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee warned last week that Russia’s second straight attempt to upend a major election appears certain. They pointed to hacked emails, fake news stories and other evidence of interference in France, Montenegro and elsewhere over the past year as signs Moscow remains determined to monkey with voting. Democratic senators such as Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Jon Tester of Montana — who hail from states President Donald Trump won in 2016 — know they’re already facing stiff reelection challenges.
Now they’re concerned the Trump administration is dragging its feet on thwarting sophisticated Russian cyber operations that could have significant impact on their races — and could even sway which party wins control of the Senate. The red- and purple-state Democratic seats are top targets for Republicans hoping to expand their two-seat majority in the Senate; Democrats likely would have to hold all of them if they are to have any hope of retaking the chamber.
“If there isn’t some effort to take steps against Russian interference, every campaign is going to have to be on guard and working against it,” said Casey, describing himself as “very concerned.”