It's been a month of ups and downs for Senate Democrats looking to defend their slim majority in 2022. The Virginia and New Jersey elections showed massive cracks in states President Biden had carried by double digits just a year earlier, offering concrete proof that the political environment is increasingly perilous as the midterms approach.

But just days later, the party did get a reprieve as the long-delayed bipartisan infrastructure bill passed, and with Biden’s social safety net Build Back Better bill passing the House this morning as well, now gives them legislative accomplishments to sell to voters. And then, in an unexpected move, New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu decided to pass on challenging Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, which would have been the marquee race of the cycle. Now Republicans are left searching for a replacement recruit after other top possibilities, including former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who only lost to Hassan by just over 1,000 votes in 2016, passed on the race.

So which will win out next November — climate or candidates? Democrats have to hope

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Charlie "Chuck" Cook