The way I see it, the Democrats currently are very likely to at least gain some senate seats for the next session. In fact, a lot of Republican held seats have potential to flip this in this election. So what seats exactly are competitive this time around? I’ll go around and name the likelihood of a seat flipping from most likely to least likely (at least those who even has a slight potential of flipping.
Arizona: Martha McSally has run an abysmal campaign. Last time I checked she’s less popular than Kirsten Sinema, who’s a democrat. And with all that, Mark Kelly himself has run a solid campaign. I’d be surprised if this seat doesn’t flip.
Colorado: The state is definitely becoming quite solid towards the Democrats (Hillary won it in 2016), and Cory Gardner is not really liked there. And you have a former governor who was quite popular. So why do I put this seat as less likely than Arizona? Basically what puts it down is that Hickenlooper did have to deal with an ethics investigation this year, which I think hurts him slightly. Still, this seat will mostly be a dem pick up.
North Carolina: After Arizona and Colorado, there aren’t any seats that seem like guarantees. However, the next closest seat has to be North Carolina. Thom Tillis is quite wishy washy, and Cal Cunningham is running a solid campaign. Besides that, Tillis only won his seat by about a percentage point in a Republican wave year. That puts Tillis in a certain amount of danger. Could Tillis hold on? I’d say yes, but I do think at this point Cunningham is the favorite
Maine: Despite it’s blue lean I don’t think Maine is a guaranteed pick up. You see, Susan Collins was a very popular incumbent before the whole Kavanaugh situation, and she won by massive percentage points in the past. She won’t win by that large of a margin now, but she could very well eke out a victory ala Joe Manchin. Sarah Gideon is not a bad opponent though, which means this race is still competitive, and Gideon certainly could win
Iowa: I think Iowa is the most likely tipping point state of the dems win the senate race outright. This race is definitely a toss up. Joni Ernst is not really well liked as an incumbent, and Theresa Greenfield has done a decent job fundraising. Polling shows Greenfield ahead as well. The thing is, most people expect Iowa to vote for Trump in the presidential election, so the is on whether Greenfield would have enough Trump voters to put her on top. It’s certainly plausible. I think it’s too early to really know who’ll win.
Montana: This race is interesting. You have Steve Bullock who is still a quite popular governor running up against Steve Daines who, unlike many of the other senate candidates mentioned, is still quite popular. But Montana was also one of the few states to re elect a red state democrat, so it’s certainly plausible that Montana gets picked up. However, I do think the advantage goes to Daines at this point.
After Montana, there’s a steep drop off in chances of picking up seats from other Republicans. However, if there were seats that the dems could pick up, it’d go like this
South Carolina: If you told me that South Carolina would be competitive last year, I would be laughing my ass off. However, there’s some polling that indicates the race is much tighter than it should be. Jamie Harrison is also running a good campaign, and good candidates does help your chances of winning that seat. Still, I expect Lindsey Graham will win the seat, but it definitely could be closer than expected.
Georgia (regular): Tbh, I’m not really confident that this senate race is as competitive as people say, but the margins will probably be decently close. I don’t think Georgia’s quite there into being a true swing state, but hey, I’ve been surprised before.
Kansas: It’s really shocking that Kansas is being seen as potentially competitive. I thought once Kobach lost the primary the chance of this race being competitive would dwindle, but there are still polls that show the race is within a couple percentage points. Given the red lean of Kansas I still expect Roger Marshall to win, but I think there’s a small chance of an upset.
Alaska: Alaska is probably the most under the radar of all the races I’m mentioning, but Al Gross is running a pretty solid campaign. Also Dan Sullivan only won by about 2 percentage points last time. I still think the Republican lean will get Sullivan the win, but is the upset potential there. I’d say it’s possible
Georgia (special): it’s weird to see a somewhat swing state being below some reliably red states, but that’s how I feel about the special election. Reason is that the top two polled candidates currently is Kelly Loeffler, the incumbent Republican... and Doug Collins, a Republican representative. I’d be surprised if a democrat makes the run off tbh. The one thing that gives them a chance is that Loeffler is a corrupto, which might allow dems to steal second place behind Collins.
Texas: This seat should be more competitive, but MJ Hegar is not running a good campaign at all. That and Cornyn is not as unpopular as Cruz. If the Democrats nominated a better candidate, they might’ve had a better chance of picking this seat up (though I still think Cornyn would be the favorite). Definitely a wasted opportunity.
Mississippi: Cindy Hyde Smith is running against Mike Espy again, who was within 7 points of beating. It’s not impossible to think that Espy could improve on his margin, but even if he improves his margin Hyde Smith has about a 99% chance of winning.
Kentucky: Last, and certainly least, there’s Kentucky. Oh boy. Where to even begin with this one. Amy McGrath is such an abysmal candidate. In fact I think the only reason the dems wanted her is that she’s a good fundraiser. Plus, of all the states I’ve mentioned Kentucky is easily the most Republican leaning of them all. In fact, Charles Booker was a much better candidate than McGrath and would make that race much more competitive... and he would be struggling to defeat Mitch McConnell. Just because someone is super unpopular doesn’t mean they’ll get taken down is a solidly red state. Don’t donate your money to this race. You have a much better pick up opportunity in any of the races I mentioned above then you ever would in Kentucky.
Last thing I want to mention is that the Republicans don’t have a lot of pickup opportunities. They will certainly get Alabama. But there’s definitely a second potential seat the Republicans could pick up: in Michigan. Michigan will most likely go to the Democrats this time, and the incumbent dem Gary Peters will most likely win. Keep in mind, however, that Peters opponent John James got within 7 points of Debbie Stabenow, who was more popular than Peters. And there also was some polling that showed Peters leading less comfortably than he should be. So while I think it’s likely that Gary Peters win in Michigan, definitely don’t count out the possibility of John James pulling the upset and taking the seat from Peters.