9 Senate Races That Will Change the Balance of Power
Policy + Politics

9 Senate Races That Will Change the Balance of Power

The race for control of the Senate is turning into an epic political battle which may not be decided until the final days of the campaign – or possibly even after the Nov. 4 general election.

With the Senate currently under control of the Democrats by a margin of 55 to 45, the Republicans will have to pick up six net seats in order to reclaim control of the Upper Chamber for the first time in nearly a decade.

Related: Dems Have 30 Days to Turn It Around and Prove the Polls Wrong

But this time, most political analysts are predicting a narrow Republican victory even though there are vulnerable candidates on both sides of the aisle. The GOP is being helped by an unpopular President Obama who has tamped down enthusiasm for Democratic candidates. 

Republicans are virtually certain of picking up three open Democratic-held seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia, where the Democrats have nominated weak candidates. That leaves three more seats the Republicans must pick off to achieve their goal.

Their best prospects are in seven states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina and New Hampshire. However, Republican candidates are vulnerable in two other states – Kansas and Kentucky.  

Related: Why the GOP Can’t Count on a Midterm Wave Election

Some analysts say we might actually end up with a “50-50” split between Democrats and Republicans – an extraordinary deadlock that in this case would be broken in the Democrats favor by Vice President Joe Biden, who is president of the Senate under the Constitution. Finally, a few believe the Democrats might actually pull out a narrow victory in their own right – although that would require an enormous amount of good luck and things breaking their way.

While the race in the end likely will be determined by voters in two or three pivotal states, there are nine states in all that are currently considered true “tossups” or simply still too-close to  safely call. Below is a list of nine Senate races that will help to make history this year. We’ll roll out our analysis over the next weeks. Click on the first, Alaska, to see the Begich vs. Sullivan match-up.

State Democrat Republican
ALASKA Mark Begich Dan Sullivan
LOUISIANA Mary Landrieu  Bill Cassidy 
KANSAS  Greg Orman (Independent) Pat Roberts 
ARKANSAS     Mark Pryor  Tom Cotton 
COLORADO Mark Udall  Cory Gardner 
NEW HAMPSHIRE  Jeanne Shaheen  Scott Brown  
IOWA Bruce Braley  Joni Ernst 
NORTH CAROLINA  Kay Hagan  Thom Tillis
KENTUCKY Alison Lundergan Grimes  Mitch McConnell

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