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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic Senate candidates across the board are campaigning on a message to reform the filibuster as they seek to increase their party's majority next year.

Why it matters: Candidates have traditionally run by telling voters what policies they'll enact in office. Now, they're highlighting the tool they want to use to pass such things as voting rights legislation, a minimum wage increase and abortion access safeguards.

In Pennsylvania: Lt. Gov. John Fetterman told Axios: "It's incumbent on us as a party to use the opportunities that we have," referring to Democrats' Washington trifecta of controlling the House, Senate and White House.

  • "Voters gave us a mandate and we need to get things done, especially in the areas of like voter suppression and Roe v. Woe and minimum wage."
  • Two of his primary Senate campaign rivals, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta and Val Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, also support nixing the filibuster.

In Wisconsin: Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes supports eliminating the filibuster as a means of passing voter rights legislation that's been stalled in the U.S. Senate.

  • Barnes and three of his rivals, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, all see abolishing the filibuster as a first step to increasing protections for workers trying to organize.

In North Carolina: Cheri Beasley, former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court now seeking a Senate nomination, recently clarified her position after saying she'd been misquoted.

  • She called the filibuster "a tool of gridlock, which stops and prohibits the passage of the kind of legislation that the majority of the American people support."

Driving the news: In some of the most competitive Senate races, a vast majority of Democratic candidates agree on at least one thing: doing away with the Senate’s 60-vote threshold for major legislation.

  • Many are in favor of removing the threat of the filibuster altogether, while others advocate carveouts for issues such as voting rights.
  • Their position is a reflection of a caucus that — with a current 50-50 chamber — is increasingly interested in finding a way to push through legislation with the simple majority Vice President Kamala Harris provides when she votes in the Senate.

Between the lines: The current 60-vote rule empowers Republicans, even though the Harris tie-breaking vote puts them in the minority.

  • It also means holdout Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have outsized influence on major policy items, including abandoning the filibuster itself.
  • They can dictate policy on things like President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan, because their defection deprives Democrats even of their simple majority.
  • Midterm trends, redistricting and current polling make it extremely unlikely Democrats will secure a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority, but picking up two or three open seats — say, in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina — would open the opportunity to circumvent the filibuster in 2023.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Wisconsin state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski's stance on the filibuster.

Go deeper

King family leads Arizona rally to mobilize support for voting rights bills

Martin Luther King III addresses a "Let's Finish the Job for the People" rally near the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 14, 2021. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Family members of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. honored his birthday Saturday with a rally in Arizona to mobilize support for voting rights legislation.

Driving the news: The rally comes days after Martin Luther King III admonished Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) on Thursday, saying history will remember her "unkindly" for voicing her opposition to abolishing the filibuster to pass major voting rights bills.

Democratic retirements spark worry over holding House majority

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) are the latest lawmakers to announce that they will not seek re-election this year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 28, compared with 14 Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Hope King, author of Closer
45 mins ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.