October 24, 2018


The 2018 Senate map is brutal for Democrats. It may be even worse in 2020. (David Faris, October 24, 2018, The Week)

There is simply no plausible path to a Democratic Senate majority that doesn't run through successful campaigns in both Nevada and Arizona. And if Heitkamp is really a goner in North Dakota, Democrats will need Tennessee or Texas, too. Texas Democrat Beto O'Rourke is a sensation, but he's down by an average of 7 points to Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in recent surveys. And that's to say nothing of close races in Missouri and Florida. Incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill is tied in polling averages with Republican Josh Hawley, and in Florida, the flagging campaign of Democrat Bill Nelson may be getting a lift from gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, a potential national star. Nelson looks like he has a small lead, but those races could still easily go either way.

So, things are not looking good! But those hoping for a reprieve from this kind of steep incline have probably not had a look at the climb facing the party in 2020.

Only Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) occupy Republican-held seats in Clinton states, and neither will be easy to unseat in 2020. Democrats also have to defend the Alabama seat improbably captured in December 2017 by Doug Jones, which will be a struggle against any Republican who managed not to seduce teenagers in his 30s.

But there are a few seats that might be in play if the national environment remains as bad for Republicans as it is today, or if the economy goes into a long overdue recession -- including those of Joni Ernst in Iowa, David Perdue in Georgia, and Thom Tillis in North Carolina. And Democrats will get another crack at an Arizona Senate seat, because Jon Kyl's abbreviated term as fill-in for the late John McCain will be expiring. But if that's the landscape of flippable targets, Democrats may very well be underdogs everywhere but Colorado.

Posted by at October 24, 2018 4:16 AM