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this page updated January 2, 2018

U.S. Senate Races, 2017-18               

  • Starting balance Jan. 2018:  51R, 47D, 2I.*
  • 34 seats at stake in 2018:  24D, 8R, 2I.**
  • 3 retirements:  3RFlake (AZ), Corker (TN), Hatch (UT)
  • 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 is to be sworn in on Jan.3, 2018; he will face election in 2020.
**In MN Sen. Al Franken (DFL-MN) resigned effective Jan. 2, 2018; Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (DFL) is set to succeed him and will face election in 2018.

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 and two others by Independents who caucus with the Democrats.  Democrats only need a net gain of two seats, but Republicans are only defending eight seats. 

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 will succeed him and there will be a special election in Nov. 2018.  This adds another seat for Democrats to defend.

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 question whether he will be able to field credible candidates.  Certainly the Moore pick backfired.  On the Democratic side, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), 84 years old and first elected in a 1992 special election, may face a competitive primary, the corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez (NJ) could have an effect, and the prospect of two seats up in Minnesota may make things interesting. 

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).  
Sen. Dean Heller (NV) is seen as most vulnerable Republican, and Democrats are also eying Arizona and Texas. 

Thus far only three 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 also retiring.  Eleven of the 24 Democrats and one of the eight Republicans seeking re-election (or election) are women.

2018

Primary
DEM. INCUMBENTS
CA
June 5
Dianne Feinstein
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
MD
June 26
Ben Cardin
MA
tbd.
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
NJ
June 5
Bob Menendez
NM
June 5
Martin Heinrich
NY
Sep. 11
Kirsten Gillibrand
ND
June 12
Heidi Heitkamp
OH
May 8
Sherrod Brown
PA
May 15
Bob Casey Jr.
RI
Sep. 12
Sheldon Whitehouse
VA
June 12
Tim Kaine
WA
Aug. 7
Maria Cantwell
WV
May 8
Joe Manchin
WI
Aug. 14
Tammy Baldwin


Primary
IND. INCUMBENTS
ME
June 12
Angus King
VT
Aug. 14
Bernie Sanders



Primary
REP. INCUMBENTS
AZ
Aug. 28
Jeff Flake  ...retiring
MS
June 5
Roger Wicker
NE
May 15
Deb Fischer
NV
June 12
Dean Heller
TN
Aug. 2
Bob Corker  ...retiring
TX
Mar. 6
Ted Cruz
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
11-DE
11-NY
12-RI
none in Apr., July; tbd: MA             NCSL Primary Dates

 

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