While I continue to agitate to push the fall offensive into the 50-60 potentially competitive House races (we need to win 30 for control), the race for control of the Senate is looking better and better. Here’s Politico’s updated Senate race rankings.
Democrats feel that they have two main allies right now in their quest for a majority: Hillary Clinton, whose ground game and advertising are aligning with most of the key Senate swing states, and Donald Trump, whose awful August also brought some Senate Republicans’ poll numbers crashing down.
Democrats need to capture five seats to retake the Senate majority outright, though four would do if they get a tiebreaking Democratic vice president. And while Republicans have made significant progress in Florida and Ohio, which both fell in our rankings, the Senate story of the summer is a shifting and expanding map that looks better than ever for Democrats.
Here’s the Politico list of 15 races. Note that precisely one of them is currently Democratic-held, Harry Reid’s Nevada seat.
1. Illinois — GOP Sen. Mark Kirk is running for reelection (Previous ranking: 1)
2. Wisconsin — GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is running for reelection (2)
3. Indiana — GOP Sen. Dan Coats is retiring (previously unranked)
4. Pennsylvania — GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is running for reelection (5)
5. New Hampshire — GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte is running for reelection (4)
6. Nevada — Democratic Sen. Harry Reid is retiring (7)
7. North Carolina — GOP Sen. Richard Burr is running for reelection (10)
8. Florida — GOP Sen. Marco Rubio is running for reelection (3)
9. Ohio — GOP Sen. Rob Portman is running for reelection (6)
10. Missouri — GOP Sen. Roy Blunt is running for reelection (9)
11. Arizona — GOP Sen. John McCain is running for reelection (10)
12. Iowa — GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley is running for reelection (12)
13. Georgia — GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson is running for reelection (previously unranked)
14. Kentucky — GOP Sen. Rand Paul is running for reelection (13)
15. Louisiana — GOP Sen. David Vitter is retiring (15)
Florida and Ohio are fading, but North Carolina and Indiana are moving up fast. I have long held the suspicion that John McCain is living on borrowed time, and watch Missouri.
The more the conditions are created for a wave election, the more these “sort of close” races become crapshoots. The worst thing would be for national Dems to play it safe, and wake up the morning after Election Day to see that we’ve come up just short in four or five Senate races and 15-20 House races.
Nationalize this election, Hillary!