By Jim Ellis
Oct. 5, 2018 — As we approach one month remaining in the 2018 election cycle, it is a good time to begin forecasting what may be the plausible outcome of this national midterm election campaign. Today, we look at the Senate; tomorrow, the House.
In the Senate races, 17 of the 35 feature serious competition. With a 51-49 Republican majority margin, Democrats need only two seats to gain control. Their problem is to defend 26 of the 35 in-cycle Senate states, and that ratio yields too few targets to make a realistic run for the majority.
The forecasts listed below are based upon a series of factors including current polling numbers, voter history, candidate personal and job approval favorability, fundraising, other races on the state ballot that could drive turnout, and outside issues such as the confirmation vote for Judge Brett Kavanaugh that could change the turnout model, etc.
The competitive Senate campaigns are rated as to what we believe will happen on Nov. 6, and not about what might occur if the election were today. Certainly, time still remains for the outcome in many of these races to change, and currently unforeseen events in a dynamic election cycle could obviously alter the final results.
Democratic Seats Staying Democratic
• Michigan – Sen. Debbie Stabenow
• Ohio – Sen. Sherrod Brown
• Pennsylvania – Sen. Bob Casey Jr.
Democratic Seats Probably Remaining Democratic
• Minnesota – Sen. Tina Smith (appointed)
• Montana – Sen. Jon Tester
• New Jersey – Sen. Bob Menendez
• West Virginia – Sen. Joe Manchin
• Wisconsin – Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Democratic Seats in the Democratic Cusp
• Indiana – Sen. Joe Donnelly
Republican Seats in the Democratic Cusp
• Nevada – Sen. Dean Heller
Democratic Seats in the Republican Cusp
• Florida – Sen. Bill Nelson
• Missouri – Sen. Claire McCaskill
Republican Seats in the Republican Cusp
• Arizona – Rep. Martha McSally (R) – Open Seat (Flake)
• Tennessee – Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) – Open Seat (Corker)
Democratic Seats Probably Going Republican
• North Dakota – Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
Republican Seats Probably Remaining Republican
• Mississippi – Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (appointed)
• Texas – Sen. Ted Cruz
If this categorization were 100% accurate, Republicans would gain a net two seats and move the Senate majority to 53R – 47D.