The Battle For The Senate (updated November 15)


     Republicans currently have a 51-49 majority in the Senate, with two independents caucusing with Democrats. With Vice President Pence as the tie-breaker in the Senate, Democrats need to flip a net of two seats in 2018 to win back the majority.

The Battle is Formidable

     Democrats are defending 26 seats — 10 of which are in states that President Trump carried — while Republicans have nine seats on the ballot, and only one (Nevada) in a state that Hillary Clinton carried. 

   In 2018, the numbers clearly work for the Republicans in Senate elections to retain and even expand their majority.

     Five Thirty Eight, Nate Silver’s Political Calculus (updated Nov 1 ) estimates that Democrats have a 14.6% chance of winning control of the Senate .


Its Theatre 

 Democrats need to keep 26 seats.

 If you analyze the data below, 15 Senate seats are considered to be safely or solidly Democrat. That means 11 seats are in play.

Six Democratic Senators are fighting for their seats:  Florida*, Indiana*, Missouri*, Montana*, North Dakota* and West Virginia*.

Five additional seats were not considered solid or safe originally. But now polls show that Democratic support is surging in 4 of the 5:  Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin*. Recently,  New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has slipped down to a toss up by the Cook Rating. 

 Democrats need to flip 2 seats, while keeping all of the above.

 Republicans are striving to keep 9 seats. Four Republican seats are considered to be safely or solidly Republican. 

This has left 5 Republican Senators fighting for their seats:  Arizona*, Mississippi*, Nevada*, Tennessee* and Texas*. 

*Though there are 35 Senate seats up for re-election, the bulk of so-called outside spending is being deployed in the most competitive races. The pace of spending is on track to set a record, in part because of recent changes in campaign finance rules that allow for unlimited spending by hundreds of political groups and a handful of wealthy individuals.

In the end, Democrats would have to keep all of the seats above and flip 2 Republican seats to win back Senate control.

The latest Cook Political Report 2018 Senate Race Ratings  (updated Oct 26) codes the Senate seats’ vulnerability.  The Cook Political Report is an independent, non-partisan newsletter that analyzes elections and campaigns for the US House of Representatives, US Senate, Governors and President as well as American political trends.

     Sabatos is  a comprehensive, nonpartisan political analysis and handicapping newsletter run by the University of Virginia Center For Politics.  Sabatos Crystal Ball’s Senate Race Ratings Table  (updated Nov 5) was another way to analyze each seat’s risk. 


     Volunteer if a Democratic candidate is local, or within driving distance. This can take the form of phone banking (can be done at home), canvasing, fundraising, and/or attending public events, rallies, debates, and organizing. Post this list on any Indivisble group site you belong to across the nation to get the word out.

     What can we do from afar?  Donate. To all. To a few. No amount is too small. Find the blank section of the donation section and add your own amount

     Forward this list to friends and family across the country.  Don’t exclude citizens over 60 who accounted for 39.4 percent of all voters- the largest single voting bloc in the last midterm election.  Second were people between 45 and 59, who made up 30.3 percent of voters. Offer to support an online donation on anyone’s behalf who is technology shy. They can send you a check.

The Democratic Front

5 Endangered Republican Seats  The objective is to flip each seat from Republican to Democrat in each of these states. I’ve provided a link to each Democratic candidate’s website where you can gather information about his or her priorities, values, and beliefs. These five Democratic candidates need all the support you can give to get them elected:  

Senator Dean Heller
*, + Support Democrat Jacky Rosen
Election Results: Democrat (50.4 vs 45.4)

*, + Support Democrat Kristen Sinema
Election Results: Democrat (50 vs 48)

 *, # Support Democrat Phil Bredesen 
Election Results: Republican (54.7 vs 43.9)

Open (appointed Senator Cindy Hyde Smith)
#,  ## Support Democrat Mike Epsy 

Election Results: To Be Determined  Runoff  Nov 27

Senator Ted Cruz, Texas
*, # Support Democrat Betto O’Rourke  

Election Results: Republican (50.9 vs 48.3)

The Democrats’ Defensive Position

Three Endangered Democrats who might lose their seat  Republicans are focusing on flipping these districts. We must support these 3 endangered, incumbent Democrats.

*, + Support Senator Bill Nelson
Election Results: To Be Determined

*, # Support Senator Joe Donnely
Election Results: Republican (51 vs 45.1)

*, # Support Senator Claire McCaskill

Election Results: Republican (51.5 vs 45.5)

Three Democrats who are vulnerable, as Trump won by 20 points in that state. We must reinforce the campaigns of these incumbent Democrats:

*, +  Support Senator John Tester

Election Results: Democrat (50.1 vs 47)

North Dakota
#,  # Support Senator Heidi Heitkamp

Election Results: Republican (55.4 vs 44.6)

West Virginia
+, +  Senator Joe Manchin
Election Results: Democrat (49.5 vs 46.3)


Cook 2018 Senate Race Ratingsupdated Oct 26. This will be followed by the score given by University of Virginia Center For Politics’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball updated Nov 5.

Solid  Democrat SD
Likely Democrat ++
Leans Democrat +
Toss Up *
Leans Republican #
Likely Republican ##
Solid Republican SR

Five Democrats who are not as solid or safe as they can be. Yet, Republicans have struggled to attract strong candidates. Continue to support these candidates in your local state by attending town halls, public events, rallies, and debates:

++, SD  Senator Debbie Stabenow Election Results: Democrat (52.2 vs 45.8)
New Jersey
*,  ++  Senator Bob Menendez Election Results: Democrat (53.7 vs 43.1)
++, ++ Senator Sherrod Brown Election Results: Democrat (53.2 vs 46.8)
++, SD Senator Bob Casey Election Results: Democrat (55.6 vs 42.7)
+ +, ++  Senator Tammy Baldwin Election Results: Democrat (49.6 vs 48.4)

Fifteen Democratic seats that are considered “Solidly Democrat”  by Cook and “Safely Democrat” by University of Virginia’s Center For Politics Sabato’s Crystal Ball  .

California – Senator Dianne Feinstein
Connecticut – Senator Chris Murphy
Delaware – Senator Tom Carper
Hawaii – Senator Mazie Hirono
Maine – Senator Angus King
Maryland – Senator Ben Cardin
Massachusetts – Senator Elizabeth Warren
Minnesota  – Senator Amy Klobuchar
New Mexico – Senator Martin Heinrich
New York – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Pennsylvania – Senator Bob Casey (considered Safely Democrat by Crystal Ball)
Rhode Island – Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Vermont – Senator Bernie Sanders (I)
Virginia – Senator Tim Kaine
Washington – Senator Maria Cantwell 

Four  Republican seats that are considered “Solidly Republican”  by The Cook Political Report and “Safely Republican’ by University of Virginia’s Center For Politics Sabato’s Crystal Ball 

While these seats seem secure, still choose to volunteer if a Democratic candidate campaign headquarters  is local, or within driving distance. This can take the form of phone banking (can be done at home), canvasing, fundraising, and/or attending public events, rallies, debates, and organizing.

Mississippi  – Senator Roger Wicker
Support Democrat David Baria 

Election Results: Republican (58.8 vs 39)

Senator Deb Fisher, Nebraska
Support Democrat Jane Raybould

Election Results: Republican (58.1 vs 38.3)

Utah  Senator Orrin Hatch – retiring Mitt Romney, Republican Primary Winner
Support Democrat Jenny Wilson

Election Results: Republican (62.6 vs 31.2)

Wyoming – Senator John Barrasso
Support Democrat Gary Trauner

Election Results: Republican (67.1 vs 30.1)


“ I worked for the troops my entire time in the United States Armed Forces because we know in the United States Armed Forces that it’s not the generals and the colonels that win battles, it’s the soldiers: it’s the people at the front, the mechanics with their wrenches, the drivers moving the logistics back in the rear. “
Wesley Clark , Retired General , U.S. Army

We are the people at the front, the mechanics with their wrenches, and the drivers moving the logistics who must fight the Battle for the Senate 2018. 


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About Debra29

I am a retired public school teacher who believes that a strong democracy rests on the shoulders of its citizens. This blog was created as a central resource of civic engagement. Together, we can make a difference. Follow me on Twitter: Determined@2AlterTheCourse
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