I'd say top of the ticket races always affect lower offices. But given your points about struggles for both parties in high office, I'd guess voter turnout efforts will be the key. And it being a non-Presidential year will favor the GOP slightly.
I'm excited about Diana's chances. I'm in no way underestimating an entrenched, long-term incumbent. But the numbers look favorable for Ms. Irey to give him a serious race.
This is Diana and Bob Irey at what looks to be a football game this past fall.