The Top 10 Senate Races To Worry About

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Months ago, the political commentariat’s position was that the Democrats’ hold on the Senate was inviolable; only the House was in play. But in recent weeks, the story line has changed: maybe…the Senate, too. It does seem a heavier lift for the GOPers, but with the economy still in the tank and many polls suggesting the Dems are heading for a cliff, the Senate Democrats have become more vulnerable. NBC News’ “First Read” newsletter today put out a handy guide to the ten Senate races where there’s a good shot of a pick-up. Note that there’s not one Democratic possible gain on this list:

First Read’s Top 10 Senate Takeovers: Chew on this: Right now, Republicans have a better chance of flipping West Virginia’s Senate seat than Democrats have in picking up the one in Ohio. In fact, this is our first Top 10 Senate takeover list this cycle where we don’t have a single Dem pick-up opportunity. According to this list, Republicans—right now—would gain a minimum of five seats. Yet to take control of the chamber, they’d need to win all 10 on the list (or win a substitute outside the Top 10). The number in parentheses is our ranking from last month.

1. North Dakota (1): Get ready to ho-down with Republican John Hoeven (R); yes, we’re running out of Hoeven puns. Ranking: Solid GOP.

2. Delaware (2): Does Mike Castle (R) survive his primary against Christine O’Donnell (R)? The GOP’s likelihood of winning this seat depends on it. Ranking (with Castle as nominee): Probable GOP.

3. Arkansas (3): Bill Clinton campaigned this week for incumbent Blanche Lincoln (D), but it’s unlikely to change the dynamics of her race against John Boozman (R). Ranking: Probable GOP.

4. Indiana (4): Speaking of being able to change the dynamics, Brad Ellsworth (D) hasn’t caught up to Dan Coats (R). Ranking: Probable GOP.

5. Pennsylvania (5): After being dormant for the last couple of months, Joe Sestak’s (D) campaign has become more active, with Biden and Obama set to stump for him later this month. Right now, though, this is Pat Toomey’s (R) race to lose. Ranking: Lean GOP.

6. Illinois (7): The Alexi Giannoulias (D)-vs.-Mark Kirk (R) contest remains what we consider to be the truest 50%-50% race out there. Ranking: Toss Up.

7. Colorado (unranked): The Ken Buck (R)-vs.-Michael Bennet (D) race is close to being a pure 50%-50% race, too. Which force will be greater — the overall political environment, or the GOP’s woes in the state? Ranking: Toss Up.

8. Nevada (8): Now we enter the contests where Democrats might have an advantage by a fingernail. But the Harry Reid (D)-vs.Sharron Angle (R) race is going to close. Fasten your seatbelts. Ranking: Toss Up.

9. Wisconsin (unranked): As was the case in ‘98, Russ Feingold (D) is fighting for his political life. What makes this time more difficult for him is that this political environment is much different than ’98 was. Ranking: Toss Up.

10. Washington (10): If Republicans indeed catch a wave on Election Night, we’ll be pulling an all-nighter watching the returns from the Patty Murray (D)-vs.-Dino Rossi (R) race. Ranking: Toss Up.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate