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this page updated June 12, 2018

U.S. Senate Races, 2017-18               

  • Starting balance Jan. 2018:  51R, 47D, 2I.*
  • 35 seats at stake in 2018:  24D, 9R, 2I.**
  • 4 retirements:  4RFlake (AZ), Corker (TN), Hatch (UT), Cochran (MS)
  • 31 seeking re-election:  23D, 6R, 2I.
  • Balance after Nov. 6, 2018:  tbd.

*In AL, Doug Jones (D) won the Dec. 12, 2017 special election and was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2018; he will face election in 2020.
**For MN Sen. Al Franken (DFL) resigned effective Jan. 2, 2018; Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (DFL) was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2018 and will face election in Nov. 2018.
**For MS, Sen. Thad Cochran (R) announced on Mar. 5, 2018 that he would resign effective April 1.  Gov. Phil Bryant (R) appointed Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith to replace him.  There will be a special election in Nov. 2018; if no candidate gets 50% + 1 there will be a runoff.

Party Committees:  DSCC  [Organization]   |   NRSC  [Organization]   |   FEC 
Key Super PACs:  D - Senate Majority PAC (+)  |   R - Senate Leadership Fund

Alabama Special Election (Dec. 12, 2017)
Roy Moore (R)   |   Doug Jones (D)   |   Ron Bishop (L) w/in   |   Lee Busby w/in launched Nov. 27

Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball
The Cook Political Report

Overview
:
Of 34 seats at stake, 24 are held by Democrats, two others by Independents who caucus with the Democrats, and eight by Republicans.  While Democrats only need a net gain of two seats, due to the map they face long odds in achieving that goal. 

The Dec. 12, 2017 special election in Alabama proved to be a big headache for Republicans.  Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore defeated appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R) in the Sept. 26 primary.  Allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in November, but Moore refused to withdraw.  Republican leaders posited all manner of scenarios, including running a write in candidate, possibly Strange or Attorney General Jeff Sessions; having Strange resign and hold a special election; and voting to expel Moore from the Senate if he were in fact elected.  The Democratic nominee, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, faced long odds in this very red state;
the last Democrat to represent Alabama in the Senate was Sen. Howell Heflin, who retired in 1996.  As Election Day drew close Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell changed his tune, stating on Dec. 3 that, "I'm going to let the people of Alabama make the call."  On Dec. 4, President Trump endorsed Moore; in one tweet he stated, "Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama. We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!"  Following Trump's move, the RNC quickly restored its support for Moore.  McConnell did say that if Moore were elected his case would be put to the Senate ethics committee.  Meanwhile Democrats started using the RNC's support of Moore to attack Republican candidates (+).  On Election Day, propelled by high turnout among black voters, Jones achieved the upset, defeating Moore by 1.5 percentage points (+); he is expected to take office in January and will not be up for re-election until 2020.

On Dec. 7 Sen. Al Franken (DFL-MN) announced he would resign amid sexual harrassment allegations.  On Dec. 13 Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) announced he would appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (>) to fill the seat.  Franken resigned on Jan. 2, 2018; Smith succeeded him and there will be a special election in Nov. 2018.  This adds another seat for Democrats to defend.  The prospect of two seats up in Minnesota may make things interesting.   There will also be two seats up in Mississippi, where Sen. Thad Cochran announced on March 5 that he would resign effective April 1 due to health reasons.
 

The 2018 primaries will set the stage for the general election. 
Steve Bannon's threat to primary GOP senators who have not been sufficiently supportive of President Trump received a lot of attention, but observers questioned whether he would be able to field credible candidates.  He appears completely marginalized after the Moore campaign debacle and after he lost his position at Breitbart.  On the Democratic side, it would be a surprise if any incumbents are upset in primaries.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), 84 years old and first elected in a 1992 special election, faced some grumbling but seems in a strong position.  Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ) seems to have weathered his corruption trial. 

For Republicans, the narrow majority in the Senate has proven difficult to work with; they would like to pick up some seats.  Although the political climate may make that difficult, there are a number of possibilities.  Ten of the Democrats represent states that voted for Trump in 2016, and five of those states are generally considered Republican (IN, MO, MT, ND and WV). 
Thus the campaigns of Sens. Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Manchin will be closely watched.  President Trump helped convince U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci to challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer to challenge Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.  Sen. Dean Heller (NV) is seen as most vulnerable Republican, and Democrats are also eying Arizona and Texas. 

Thus far only four senators have announced retirements, all Republicans.  Sens. Bob Corker (TN) and Jeff Flake (AZ) had stood up to Trump at times.  Sen Orrin Hatch (UT), 83 years old and first elected in 1976, is retiring, and Sen. Thad Cochran (MS) retired effective April 1 due to health reasons.  Eleven of the 24 Democrats and one of the eight Republicans seeking re-election (or election) are women.

2018

Primary
DEM. INCUMBENT
REP. CHALLENGER
MORE
CA
June 5
Dianne Feinstein vs. Kevin de León n/a
n/a
CT
Aug. 14
Chris Murphy


DE
Sep. 11
Tom Carper


FL
Aug. 28
Bill Nelson


HI
Aug. 11
Mazie Hirono


IN
May 8
Joe Donnelly
Mike Braun

MD
June 26
Ben Cardin


MA
Sept. 4
Elizabeth Warren


MI
Aug. 7
Debbie Stabenow


MN
Aug. 14
Amy Klobuchar


MN
Aug. 14
Tina Smith [Al Franken]


MO
Aug. 7
Claire McCaskill


MT
June 5
Jon Tester
Matt Rosendale
Steve Kelly (G)
Rick Breckenridge (L)
NJ
June 5
Bob Menendez
Bob Hugin
Madelyn Hoffman (G)
Murray Sabin (L)
indep.:
Hank Schroeder N. Lynn Rivera Kevin Kimple Tricia Flanagan
NM
June 5
Martin Heinrich
Mick Rich
Aubrey Dunn (L)
NY
Sep. 11
Kirsten Gillibrand


ND
June 12
Heidi Heitkamp
Kevin Cramer

OH
May 8
Sherrod Brown
Jim Renacci

PA
May 15
Bob Casey Jr.
Lou Barletta
Neal Gale (G)
Dale Kerns (L)
RI
Sep. 12
Sheldon Whitehouse


VA
June 12
Tim Kaine
Corey Stewart
Matt Waters (L)
WA
Aug. 7
Maria Cantwell


WV
May 8
Joe Manchin
Patrick Morrisey

WI
Aug. 14
Tammy Baldwin




Primary
IND. INCUMBENT
DEM. CHALLENGER
REP. CHALLENGER
ME
June 12
Angus King
Zak Ringelstein
Eric Brakey
VT
Aug. 14
Bernie Sanders





Primary
REP. INCUMBENT
DEM. CHALLENGER
MORE
AZ
Aug. 28
Jeff Flake  ...retiring

MS
June 5
Roger Wicker runoff June 26:
David Baria vs. Howard Sherman

MS
Nov. 6
Cindy Hyde-Smith [Thad Cochran]   ...retired effective April 1, 2018


NE
May 15
Deb Fischer
Jane Raybould
Jim Schultz (L)
NV
June 12
Dean Heller


TN
Aug. 2
Bob Corker  ...retiring

TX
Mar. 6
Ted Cruz
Beto O'Rourke
Neal Dikeman (L)
UT
Jun 26
Orrin Hatch  ...retiring

WY
Aug. 21
John Barrasso






Senate Primary Dates
Mar.

May
June

Aug.
Sept.
6-TX

8-IN
8-OH
8-WV
15-NE
15-PA
5-CA
5-MS
5-MT
5-NJ
5-NM
12-ME
12-NV
12-ND
12-VA*
28-MD
28-UT

2-TN
7-MI
7-MO
7-WA
11-HI
14-CT
14-MN
14-VT
14-WI
21-WY
28-AZ
28-FL
4-MA
11-DE
11-NY
12-RI
none in Apr., July.             NCSL Primary Dates

 

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