Reviewing the Senate

By Jim Ellis

July 7, 2017
— Considering Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-MO) surprise decision not to challenge Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) and last week’s Arizona maneuverings among Democrats vis-à-vis a challenge to Sen. Jeff Flake (R), it’s become a good time to examine the various competitive US Senate situations in order to review the campaigns most likely to be competitive.

The status listed below reflects the candidates and potential candidates who appear to be credible contenders at this time:

• Alabama: Appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R)
Special election schedule: Aug. 15 primary; Sept. 26 run-off; Dec. 12 general
Sen. Strange (R) – Announced
Rep. Mo Brooks (R) – Announced
Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) – Announced
Dr. Randy Brinson (R) – Announced
Ex-US Attorney Doug Jones (D) – Announced

• Arizona: Sen. Jeff Flake (R)
Sen. Flake (R) – Confirmed
Former State Sen. Kelli Ward (R) – Announced
State Treasurer Jeff DeWit (R) – Possible
State Rep. Randy Friese, MD (D) – Possible
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) – Possible
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton (D) – Possible

• Florida: Sen. Bill Nelson (D)
Sen. Nelson (D) – Announced
Gov. Rick Scott (R) – Probable

• Indiana: Sen. Joe Donnelly (D)
Sen. Donnelly (D) – Confirmed
Rep. Luke Messer (R) – Probable
Rep. Todd Rokita (R) – Probable
State Sen. Mike Delph (R) – Possible

• Michigan: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D)
Sen. Stabenow (D) – Likely to Run
Former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Young (R) – Announced
Trump Michigan Co-Chair Lena Epstein (R) – Announced
Rep. Fred Upton (R) – Possible

• Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D)
Sen. McCaskill (D) – Announced
Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) – Possible
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) – Possible
State Treasurer Eric Schmitt (R) – Possible
Retired NASCAR Driver Carl Edwards (R) – Possible

• Montana: Sen. Jon Tester (D)
Sen. Tester (D) – Confirmed
Businessman Troy Downing (R) – Announced
State Sen. Al Olszewski (R) – Announced
District Judge Russell Fagg (R) – Possible
State Auditor Matt Rosendale (R) – Possible
Secretary of State Corey Stapleton (R) – Possible

• Nevada: Sen. Dean Heller (R)
Sen. Heller (R) – Announced
Rep. Jacky Rosen (D) – Confirmed

• North Dakota: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D)
Sen. Heitkamp (D) – Likely to Run
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) – Possible
Ex-Congressman Rick Berg (R) – Possible
State Sen. Tom Campbell (R) – Possible
State Rep. Rich Becker (R) – Possible

• Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown (D)
Sen. Brown (D) – Announced
State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) – Announced
Investment Banker Michael Gibbons (R) – Announced

• Pennsylvania: Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D)
Sen. Casey (D) – Announced
State Rep. Jim Christiana (R) – Announced
State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) – Announced
Businessman Jeff Bartos (R) – Announced
Businessman Paul Addis (R) – Announced

• Texas: Sen. Ted Cruz (R)
Sen. Cruz (R) – Announced
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) – Announced

• Virginia: Sen. Tim Kaine (D)
Sen. Kaine (D) – Confirmed
Former CEO & Presidential Candidate Carly Fiorina – Possible
Radio Host Laura Ingraham (R) – Possible
Prince William County Board Chair Corey Stewart (R) – Possible
Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) – Possible

• West Virginia: Sen. Joe Manchin (D)
Sen. Manchin (D) – Likely to Run
Environmental Activist Paula Jean Swearengin (D) – Announced
Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) – Announced
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) – Probable

• Wisconsin: Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D)
Sen. Baldwin (D) – Confirmed
State Senate President Scott Fitzgerald (R) – Possible
Businessman Eric Hovde (R) – Possible
State Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R) – Possible

The following states host 2018 Senate races but are not viewed as competitive at this time:
Connecticut (Sen. Chris Murphy-D), Delaware (Sen. Tom Carper-D), Hawaii (Sen. Mazie Hirono-D), Maine (Sen. Angus King-I), Maryland (Sen. Ben Cardin-D), Minnesota (Sen. Amy Klobuchar-D), Mississippi (Sen. Roger Wicker-R), Nebraska (Sen. Deb Fischer-R), New Mexico (Sen. Martin Heinrich-D), New York (Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand-D), Rhode Island (Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse-D), Utah (Sen. Orrin Hatch-D), Vermont (Sen. Bernie Sanders-I), Washington (Sen. Maria Cantwell-D), and Wyoming (Sen. John Barrasso-R).

Special Mention:
• California: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) is a retirement possibility
• Massachusetts: While Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) is a heavy favorite for re-election, an impending 2020 presidential campaign could put her in a precarious position. She has already drawn a credible Republican opponent in the person of four-term state Rep. Geoff Diehl who will have a national fundraising base that allows him to wage a strong campaign. Therefore, this race could become a very interesting political sideshow.
• New Jersey: Sen. Bob Menendez (D) faces a federal corruption trial in September. If he’s convicted, the New Jersey Senate race will likely be thrown into chaos.
• Tennessee: Though Sen. Bob Corker (R) is expected to seek re-election, the two-term incumbent still maintains he has not yet finalized the decision to run again.

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