Senate races 2018

Here is a compact table listing all of the Senate candidates.

The current breakdown of the Senate is as follows (where we count the two independents as Democrats):

  • 26 Democratic seats up for reelection in 2018 and 23 seats not up, for a total of 49 seats
  • 9 Republican seats up for reelection in 2018 and 42 seats not up, for a total of 51 seats

In a reversal from 2016, the Democrats will be playing defense, trying to hold the 10 seats in states that Donald Trump won. There is only one Republican seat, that of Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), in a state that Hillary Clinton won.

The Democratic-held seats are listed first below, in alphabetical order by state, with the Republican ones following.

Click on a picture for the candidate's webpage.
Click on a name for the candidate's entry in Wikipedia.
Click on a party (D) or (R) for the state party.

The indicates a race to watch.

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Democratic-held seats

California

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Dianne Feinstein
Dianne
Feinstein

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Dianne Feinstein will be 84 on Election Day, which is well past retirement age in most professions, but is middle aged in a body where members sometimes linger past the century mark (see Thurmond, Strom). She's definitely planning to run for her fifth term, and she will probably get it. The only real threat to Feinstein is a challenge from the left; her generally moderate political positions are not a great match for a state where the Democratic base loathes Donald Trump and is out for blood. She has drawn one serious opponent, Kevin de Leon, President Pro Tem of the state senate. He is going to make her age and centrist leanings a big issue. If the hatred of Trump is the dominating factor up to primary day, de Leon might have a chance, but Feinstein is still the clear favorite.

Connecticut

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Chris Murphy
Chris
Murphy

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Nothing to see here. Murphy is popular in his home state, is a leading Trump critic, and won his first Senate election by 11 points. This time, he figures to win re-election by an even larger margin. His Republican opponent last time was self-funding WWE millionaire Linda McMahon. She presumably won't be back, since she is now Administrator of the Small Business Administration for the Trump administration. If the Connecticut GOP can't find more cannon fodder—er, another self-funder—in 2018, they may not even bother fielding a challenger.

Delaware

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tom Carper
Tom
Carper

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Given how many seats the Democrats need to defend in 2018, they are lucky that quite a few of them are safe. Delaware is in that category; the state is very blue, and Carper has a 3-to-1 approve-to-disapprove ratio. He's been earning a lot of attention for his battles with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and appears set to make global warming and the environment the centerpiece of his re-election pitch. The Republican bench in the Diamond State is paper thin, and unless state treasurer Ken Simpler decides to make a run, Carper's opponent—if he ends up with one—will likely be an unknown.

Florida   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Bill Nelson
Bill
Nelson

(D)
Rick Scott
Rick
Scott

(R)
Nelson enjoys wide approval, has collected nearly $4 million in contributions already, and seems likely to benefit from the national political climate. After all, if Democrats can make R+10 and R+16 districts competitive thanks to anti-Trump sentiment, then an R+2 state should be a relative cakewalk. However, term-limited Gov. Rick Scott needs a new job and has decided he wants Nelson's. Scott has universal name recognition in Florida and more-or-less unlimited personal funds to spend on the campaign, so this will be the mother of all Senate races. Scott is no shoo-in, however. He won each of his gubernatorial races by 1 point. In contrast, Nelson has won three Senate races by 5-, 22-, and 13-points respectively. Finally, the reelection rate for senators in the opposition party in midterm elections is 91%. It is sure to be a real humdinger.

Hawaii

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mazie Hirono
Mazie
Hirono

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Hawaii is the bluest state in the Union, and Hirono has solid approval ratings. The only thing she has to fear is a challenge from the left, and the likeliest candidate to do so—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D)—has already opted out of the race. Hirono may not draw a GOP opponent; the Republican in both of Hawaii's last two senate races was John Carroll, a perennial candidate who has also run twice for the governorship of Hawaii and once for the House of Representatives. Though Carroll has served in the state legislature, he last held office in 1980, and will be 86 on Election Day 2018. He presumably won't run again, and if he does, he won't be a factor.

Indiana   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Joe Donnelly
Joe
Donnelly

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
This is shaping up to be a tough race for Donnelly. On one hand, he has a good (but not great) approval rating, his fundraising is going well (almost $4 million so far), and he's got the advantages of incumbency. On the other hand, Indiana's a red state that Donald Trump won by 19 points, and Donnelly only won his first Senate race because tea partier Richard Mourdock shared his views on rape being a part of God's plan. The Republican bench is deep in Indiana, and several prominent members of the Party are running in the primary, including Rep. Todd Rokita (R-MO) and Rep. Luke Messer (R-MO). Donnelly was one of only three Democrats to vote for SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch, so he is trying to act as centrist as he can.

Maryland

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Ben Cardin
Ben
Cardin

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
If Ben Cardin wants a third term, he can have it. However, he will be 74 on Election Day, and hasn't yet decided if he wants to run again. If he were to call it a career, the likeliest replacement is Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is a rising star in the Democratic Party. The Republicans actually have a bench in the Old Line State, starting with Governor Larry Hogan, but no serious GOP challenger has shown an interest in running as yet.

Massachusetts

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth
Warren

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Warren has a huge national profile, is leading the 2018 field in fundraising ($14.6 million), has one of the highest approval ratings in the Senate (64%), and is a leader of the opposition to President Trump. In short, although she took only 54% of the vote in her first Senate election, she's a heavy favorite to win a second term. Massachusetts is not averse to electing Republicans, including Gov. Charles D. Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. The problem the GOP is facing is that none of their top-flight candidates wants to run. This being the case, they are stuck with a collection of second-tier options, none of whom is a threat to Warren.

Michigan   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Debbie Stabenow
Debbie
Stabenow

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Debbie Stabenow eked out a victory in her first Senate race, defeating incumbent Spencer Abraham (R) 49.5% to 48%. Since then, she's won by 16 and 21 points, so she's favored to win election a fourth time. That said, her approval ratings are only middling (49%), and Michigan is very purple these days. Republicans have thus targeted Stabenow's seat as a pickup opportunity, and the state GOP is already running a commercial making hay out of the Senator's vote against SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch. There aren't too many places where Donald Trump's successes in the next year, or lack thereof, will matter more. At the moment, given the President's struggles, the GOP is having trouble recruiting a top-flight candidate. Thus far, the only declared Republican is Lena Epstein, a newcomer whose campaign will be financed by her family's oil money. In terms of possible opponents, Reps. Justin Amash and Fred Upton have both been mentioned, as has former Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville. And, now that we live in a political world where experience doesn't matter, the names of musicians Ted Nugent and Kid Rock have also been floated. Amash and Upton could pose a serious challenge to Stabenow; the others, not so much.

Minnesota

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Amy Klobuchar
Amy
Klobuchar

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Amy Klobuchar is one of the most popular members of the Senate (67% approval), has already banked $4.1 million for her re-election campaign, and won her previous Senate elections by 35 and 21 points. She's going to benefit from the fact that the Minnesota governor's mansion will be open, and so will be a much more attractive target for both aspiring Republicans and Democrats. It may also help her that five different Minnesota house races are expected to be highly competitive; these could suck up most of the political donations and make it hard for a GOP challenger to gain the financial traction that is needed for a Senate run. Indeed, so far only Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) has even admitted to considering it. Add it all up, and it's likely Klobuchar draws a second-tier challenger and then scores another big victory, keeping her 2020 presidential aspirations alive.

Minnesota-special

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tina Smith
Tina
Smith

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Al Franken's seat wasn't up in 2018, but due to his resignation from the Senate, a special election will be held for it in 2018. Appointed senator Tina Smith is expected to run. Minnesota is fundamentally a blue state, so she is probably the favorite. It is too early to say whether there will be a Democratic primary. Probably not, though. On the other side, the Republicans are having trouble finding an A-list candidate now that former governor Tim Pawlenty has said he is not interested.

Missouri   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Claire McCaskill
Claire
McCaskill

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Few incumbents face a more daunting challenge in 2018 than Claire McCaskill. Her approval ratings are not far above water (48% approve, 36% disapprove) and Donald Trump won her state by nearly 20 points. She's already the subject of a commercial blitz hammering her for her support of Planned Parenthood, her opposition to the AHCA, and her failure to solve Missouri's opioid-addiction crisis (as if a U.S. Senator somehow has the power to end drug abuse). McCaskill is doing what she can to fight back, though she's got to walk a fine line. For example, she has been put in an odd position by VoteVets, which is running ads touting her pro-veteran voting record. While the Senator is pleased to have that information publicized, VoteVets is a super PAC funded by the sort of "dark money" that McCaskill has opposed, and so the commercials make her look hypocritical. Ergo, she's disavowed the ads, despite their being pro-McCaskill. The GOP's #1 choice to run for the seat, Rep. Ann Wagner, opted out. However, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is running, so the GOP has a candidate who has previously won statewide election. It is probably a toss-up.

Montana   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jon Tester
Jon
Tester

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Montana is a tough state to get a read on. On one hand, Donald Trump won there by 20 points, and Greg Gianforte just claimed a comfortable victory in the race for the state's only Congressional seat despite having beaten up a reporter on the eve of the election. On the other hand, Montana's governor is a Democrat, and Tester has managed to get elected twice (albeit by slim margins). If his opponent was Ryan Zinke, Tester would be sweating right now, but Zinke chose to become Secretary of the Interior instead, and—barring a change of plans—won't be running. Instead, the GOP's favored candidate will be State Auditor Matt Rosendale, who is quite conservative, but has the liability that he's a fairly recent arrival in Montana (2000), which makes him a bit of a carpetbagger compared to Tester (whose family has been in the state for a century). Two other Republicans have also declared; State Senator Albert Olszewski and businessman Troy Downing, but both are big underdogs to Rosendale. Whoever emerges on the Republican side will have an uphill battle, as Tester has the advantages of incumbency and a solid approval rating (57% approve, 32% disapprove).

New Jersey   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Bob Menendez
Bob
Menendez

(D)
Bob Hugin
Bob
Hugin

(R)
New Jersey hasn't sent a Republican to the Senate since 1972, so this seat is likely to remain in Democratic hands next year. However, Bob Menendez has been connected to a shady eye doctor named Dr. Salomon Melgen, who is now a convicted felon, and Menendez was indicted for taking bribes from him. The trial resulted in a hung jury and the government decided to drop the case, so Menendez got off. The voters may or may not be so kind, however. The Republicans came up with Bob Hugin, a wealthy former pharmaceutical executive who can (and will have to) pour millions of dollars into a campaign with ads in the expensive New York and Philadelphia markets. Hugin has a couple of problems though, including ties to former governor Chris Christie and Donald Trump, both of whom are toxic in the Garden State. His company was also sued for $250 million for marketing drugs for unapproved uses. Also, Hugin used to be a Democrat. Menendez is strongly favored.

New Mexico

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Martin Heinrich
Martin
Heinrich

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Martin Heinrich is only moderately popular in his home state, but New Mexico's blueward trend works in his favor. So too does the fact that the New Mexico governor's mansion will be vacant, making this yet another state where that may prove a more attractive alternative than taking on a sitting U.S. Senator. Term-limited Gov. Susana Martinez (R) may choose to challenge Heinrich, and if she does, she could make it interesting. At the moment, however, his only opponent is businessman Mick Rich, an unknown with no political experience. So, the seat is safe for now, and likely leans Democrat even if Martinez does enter the race.

New York

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten
Gillibrand

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Donald Trump is not popular in his very blue home state, and Gillibrand has been a leader of the anti-Trump forces in Congress, giving her national stature. Though New York is very populous, the GOP bench is pretty thin, and few Republicans want to subject their career to the Gillibrand buzz saw. In the state's last two Senate elections, Wendy Long was the GOP's sacrificial lamb; She lost to Gillibrand by 53 points in 2012, and to Sen. Chuck Schumer by 43 points in 2016. Whether Long returns for a third serving of humble pie or not, this one is about as safe as it gets for the Democrats.

North Dakota   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Heidi Heitkamp
Heidi
Heitkamp

(D)
Kevin Cramer
Kevin
Cramer

(R)
There's no question that North Dakota is Trump territory—he won the state by 36 points. Further, Heitkamp is the only Democrat serving North Dakota at the state or federal levels, and her first Senate victory—aided by the coattails of Barack Obama—was very thin, 50.5% to 49.5%. So, she certainly has her work cut out for her. That said, the Senator knows how to win in the Roughrider State: Essentially, pretend you're not a Democrat. After all, the official name of the state party is the North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party. Heitkamp has pointedly refused to "join" the Trump opposition, and has given her vote to more of his cabinet nominees than any other Democratic senator, while also supporting many of his regulation rollbacks. The GOP was hoping that Rep. Kevin Cramer would agree to challenge Heitkamp, but he said no. Then he said yes. Despite the Republican tilt of the state, Cramer is no shoo-in. Heitkamp has won statewide election three times, has a ton of money in the bank, and is personally quite popular. It may well be a close race.

Ohio   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Sherrod Brown
Sherrod
Brown

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Democrats are watching this one carefully, not only because it's a battleground state, but because Sherrod Brown might provide a template for how the party can win in the Midwest going forward. He's a liberal, but one with strong populist leanings. He laments trade agreements, for example, and is strongly pro-union. At the same time, Brown disdains the divisiveness of Donald Trump, declaring that you have to be for all the "little guys" or for none of them. He's also been critical of many Trump appointments, remarking that the White House "looks like a retreat for Goldman Sachs executives," and has insisted that the financial sector must be reined in. Because Brown has played his hand so well, Ohio is another state where the GOP is having trouble recruiting top-notch talent. State Treasurer Josh Mandel entered the race but later dropped out due to issues with his wife's health. Term-limited Gov. John Kasich would certainly give Brown a run for his money, but he's insisting his political career is over, and is more likely to run for president again if it's really not. Rep. Jim Renacci and author J.D. Vance are considering a run.

Pennsylvania   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Bob Casey
Bob
Casey

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Casey has made an interesting choice, given that he comes from a state won by Donald Trump: He's rapidly evolved from a quiet moderate to an outspoken member of the resistance. It's probably a wise call; Trump won the Keystone State by the barest of margins, and Casey is counting on Democratic enthusiasm to carry the day next November. Working to his advantage, given how expensive it is to campaign in Pennsylvania, is that he's doing very well in the fundraising department—his $6.6 million trails only five of his colleagues. Also in his favor is that Republicans are lining up in droves to challenge him. State Reps. Jim Christiana and Rick Saccone are already in, as are businessman Jeff Bartos and Berwick Councilman Andrew Shecktor, while state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman and U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly, Lou Barletta, and Tom Marino are giving a run serious consideration. The odds are good that the Republicans will bloody one another, and drain each other's bank accounts, while Casey watches from the sidelines. This race may not be a slam dunk for the Democrats, but it's still pretty safe.

Rhode Island

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Sheldon Whitehouse
Sheldon
Whitehouse

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Rhode Island is one of the bluest states in the country, with a grand total of zero Republicans holding office at the state and federal levels. Whitehouse won his last Senate race by 30 points. So, there's not much drama here. State Rep. Robert Nardolillo has volunteered himself as Whitehouse's victim, er...opponent. Thus far, no other Republicans have signaled an interest in joining him.

Virginia

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tim Kaine
Tim
Kaine

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Kaine has very solid approval numbers (53% approve; 25% disapprove), and comes from the only Southern state to go for Hillary Clinton. He's been raking in the money (nearly $8 million so far); that, and the high stature that comes from his VP run means that he's in great position to be elected to a second Senate term. A long list of Republicans, from tea partier Rep. Dave Brat, to talk show host Laura Ingraham, to former HP Executive Carly "I'll Run in Any State in the Union" Fiorina, have signaled interest in challenging Kaine. They will undoubtedly be given pause by the fact that early polls have the Senator trouncing any of them by 20-plus points. The most serious threat would probably be popular Rep. Barbara Comstock (R), but she's currently keeping things close to the vest. The only declared Republican is Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair Corey Stewart, who is fresh off an unsuccessful run for governor. Stewart is a Trump man, through and through, who does not seem to have noticed that Virginia went for Clinton-Kaine by six points. He's not going to cause Kaine to lose much sleep.

Washington

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Maria Cantwell
Maria
Cantwell

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Cantwell is an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump, and has hewed to a Bernie Sanders-style party line, including a $15 minimum wage, aggressive protections for the environment, and healthcare for all. All of this makes her very popular in Washington, and an overwhelming favorite to be elected to a fourth term. While there are some heavy-hitting Republican politicians in the Evergreen State, most notably Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler, none of them has given the slightest indication that they want to die on this particular hill. Cantwell won her last Senate race by 20 points, the one before that by 26, and given the apparent lack of opposition, figures to improve on those numbers in 2018.

West Virginia   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Joe Manchin
Joe
Manchin

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
West Virginia went for Donald Trump by a mind-boggling 42 points, which leaves Joe Manchin dead in the water, right? Not so much. Manchin has won five statewide elections, most of them in landslides. In 2004, for example, he was elected governor by 30 points, and he won his last Senate election by 24 points. He's also one of the 10 most popular members of the Senate, with a 66% approval rating. The upshot is that he knows how to keep his constituents happy, joining with the Democrats on some issues (pro-labor, pro-Obamacare) and jumping ship on others (pro-coal, pro-life, pro-gun). He's going to get a challenge from the left, in the form of environmentalist Paula Jean Swearengin, who is apparently unaware that West Virginia's economy is based on coal. Manchin will defeat her with ease, and then will tangle with a serious Republican challenger, either Rep. Evan Jenkins or West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey. West Virginia is being rated as a battleground state because of its deep redness, but that raises an obvious question: What has changed since Manchin won those five elections? The answer is: Not much, as the Mountain State has been very red for Manchin's entire career. So, this is likely not the pickup opportunity that many Republicans are hoping it is.

Wisconsin   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tammy Baldwin
Tammy
Baldwin

(D)
no R
 
 

(R)
Given Baldwin's middling approval ratings (45%) and Wisconsin's redward trend, the national GOP sees Wisconsin as one of their best pickup opportunities. To that end, various super PACs are already airing ads blasting the Senator for her support for the Iran deal, for her failure to cure Wisconsin's opioid crisis, and for being part of the "establishment." That's the bad news for Baldwin, now the good news. Her fundraising is brisk ($6 million so far), and the DSCC has made clear that she will be a major focus for their efforts. Further, the GOP's most attractive challenger, Rep. Sean Duffy, has already opted out. Baldwin will still draw a serious Republican foe, possibly Rep. Mike Gallagher or Rep. Glenn Grothman, or maybe Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, but none has the name recognition of Duffy (who is, like the President, a one-time reality TV star). This will be a tough fight for the Wisconsin senator, but she's still a moderate favorite.


Independent-held seats

Maine

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Angus King
Angus
King

(I)
no R
 
 

(R)
King is very popular in Maine and, as an independent, can reasonably expect to get both Democratic and Republican votes. Of course, that means he can also reasonably expect to face both a Democratic and Republican challenger, all the way to the bitter end. Thus far, the only Democrat is Diane Russell, a one-time state representative. She's no real threat; since King caucuses with the Democrats, he will have the Party's de facto endorsement. His biggest challenges have always come from the right side of the aisle. On that front, however, King got good news when Gov. Paul LePage decided not to run. That leaves only State Senator Eric Brakey, who has limited name recognition statewide. Assuming that stronger challengers do not present themselves, which does not seem likely, King will get his second term.

Vermont

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Bernie Sanders
Bernie
Sanders

(I)
no R
 
 

(R)
Bernie Sanders is the single most popular senator in America, with a staggering 83% approval rating. As a leader of the Trump resistance, he's a great match for a state that gave 70% of its votes to non-Trump candidates. Given that he's a Democrat in all but name, he may not draw a challenger from that direction. And the Republicans are probably only going to be able to come up with a perennial candidate like Scott Milne, who ran for governor in 2014 and for the Senate in 2016. Oh, and if the Bern needs cash, all he needs to do is shake the donor money tree he built in 2016. This one is about as certain as it gets.


Republican-held seats

Arizona   

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
no R
 
 

(R)
Kyrsten Sinema
Kyrsten
Sinema

(D)
The Democrats see this as one of their best pickup opportunities. Jeff Flake is one of the least popular senators, so he decided to "retire" before the voters retired him. The Republican establishment supports Rep. Martha McSally, but she first has to knock off tea party favorite Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary. The Democrats got their preferred candidate, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, the only openly bisexual person in Congress. She is conservative enough to have a decent chance in Arizona.

There could be a second race in Arizona, as well, depending on what happens with Sen. John McCain (R), who has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. If he steps down, his replacement would also be chosen on election day. If this comes to pass, the Democrats will go all out in Arizona with their advertising and their get-out-the-vote operations. This could also encourage higher-profile Democrats to throw their hats into the ring.

Mississippi

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Roger Wicker
Roger
Wicker

(R)
David Baria
David
Baria

(D)
There was a time when Democrats could win elections in Mississippi by just showing up, but then the Civil Rights Movement happened. The last time the state sent a Democrat to the Senate was in 1982, when John C. Stennis was elected to the final term of a career that began in 1947. Roger Wicker is going for a third term in 2018. The only possible fly in the ointment is Chris McDaniel, who narrowly lost the 2014 senatorial primary in a very bitter fight. McDaniel is a hard-right tea party candidate who has had enough of black folks "whining" about slavery and more. Against Wicker, the Democrats have no chance, but against McDaniel, well, the Democrat has about as much chance as a Democrat would have in Alabama. Oh wait ... Knowing that, Mississippi House Minority Leader David Baria has entered the race. Could he win? He might want to check with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) on that one. Also possibly important here is that Mississippi has a larger percentage of black voters (37%) than Alabama (25%), so if Baria can turn out all the black voters and the white suburban voters, he might actually have a chance, especially if he has a damaged or weak opponent.

Mississippi-special

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Cindy Hyde-Smith
Cindy
Hyde-Smith

(R)
no D
 
 

(D)
Thad Cochran resigned due to ill health and Gov. Phil Bryant appointed the state agriculture and commerce secretary, Cindy Hyde-Smith to the Senate to replace him. She and Chris McDaniel will have an extremely bitter fight in November. McDaniel is going to hit her over the head with the fact that she was a Democratic state senator until 2011. If McDaniel and the Democrat come in first and second in November, they will be in a runoff in December, and the Democrat has an actual chance to win because McDaniel is so far to the right that suburban Republicans are likely to vote for the Democrat. In addition, 37% of Mississippi residents are black, and the Democrat is likely to get nearly all of their votes.

Nebraska

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Deb Fischer
Deb
Fischer

(R)
no D
 
 

(D)
Fischer has moderate approval ratings (54%), and is having some success at fundraising ($2.4 million). However, her real Achilles' heel is healthcare—Nebraska would be among the states hurt most by the AHCA, and Fischer has already faced more than one angry town hall crowd. Depending on how things unfold on that front, a seat that is currently safe for the GOP could be put in play. However, that would also require finding a viable challenger, and the Democratic bench is paper-thin. The only member of the blue team currently holding office at the state or federal level is Crystal Rhoades, who is Public Service Commissioner for District 2. Not exactly a springboard for those who aspire to higher office, generally speaking. Maybe the Democrats can dig up William Jennings Bryan and run him.

Nevada   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Dean Heller
Dean
Heller

(R)
Jacky Rosen
Jacky
Rosen

(D)
Heller is the most endangered Republican senator in 2018, first and foremost because he's the only one from a state won by Hillary Clinton, but also because he's aggravated Latino voters with his support for Donald Trump and women voters with his votes to defund Planned Parenthood. He's also getting flayed for his health care votes, and so his approval rating is badly underwater (22% approve, 55% disapprove). To make it worse, he is first going to have to face a Steve Bannon-approved candidate, Danny Tarkanian, in the primary. That is sure to draw blood. Flake is probably going to win that one, but it could be costly. The Democrats have now settled on their candidate, Rep. Jacky Rosen, and she doesn't appear to have any serious competition. She has the backing of former senator Harry Reid's considerable machine, so she may end up without serious Democratic competition at all.

Tennessee

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
no R
 
 

(R)
Phil Bredesen
Phil
Bredesen

(D)
When Donald Trump hounded "Liddle Bob Corker" out of the race in 2018, he may not have done his party a favor. The open seat attracted two-term governor Phil Bredesen. The Republican front runner is Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who many Republicans feel is too right-wing to beat the popular Bredesen. Corker was thinking of reentering the race, but he said he would only do that if Trump endorsed him, which he didn't. So it looks like Bredesen vs. Blackburn, making the election potentially a Democratic pickup.

Texas

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Ted Cruz
Ted
Cruz

(R)
no D
 
 

(D)
There's no doubt that Cruz is currently a solid favorite to win election to the Senate for a second time. He has huge name recognition, a solid base of support, and has outraised all of his colleagues besides Elizabeth Warren, with receipts of $11.7 million. That said, his approval rating is only middling (52%), and many Texans are none too thrilled that he's using them as a stepping stone to bigger and better things, and/or that he's flip-flopped so dramatically on Donald Trump. Plus, if there's one guy the RSCC won't go out of its way to help, it's Ted Cruz, who is pretty much universally loathed by his colleagues. He drew a serious Democratic challenger in Beto O'Rourke, whose Catholicism, folksy manner, and ability to speak Spanish fluently play well in the Lone Star State among Latinos. Some day Texas will become a purple state, but unless Cruz makes a huge blunder, it won't be in 2018.

Utah

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Mitt Romney
Mitt
Romney

(R)
no D
 
 

(D)
Orrin Hatch has decided not to run for reelection, leaving the path open for Mitt Romney to take over his seat. The Democrats may or may not bother to field a candidate. If some wealthy Utah Democrat wants to throw his money away, the party won't stop him, but Romney will be the next senator from Utah. Although Romney is a standard conservative Republican, he has little interest in Senate business, but would use his platform to lambast Donald Trump daily. During the campaign, Romney is likely to focus entirely on Utah issues because although he is a Mormon, he grew up in Michigan and has lived most of his adult life in Massachusetts, so he is open to charges of being a carpetbagger. By staying in state the entire campaign and holding lots of town halls and rallies, he can make his campaign about helping the people of Utah, rather than about his dislike of Trump. However, after he is elected (not "if he is elected"), the gloves will come off and he will be in Trump's "hair" all the time.

Wyoming

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
John Barrasso
John
Barrasso

(R)
no D
 
 

(D)
And finally, it's the biggest slam dunk of them all for the Republicans. Barrasso's 73% approval rating trails only Bernie Sanders and Sen. Susan Collins. Wyoming is ruby red, and the last three Senate elections have been decided by 55, 54, and 47 points, respectively. Barrasso could beat up a reporter the night before the election, and then get caught in bed with a live boy, a dead girl, and a billy goat and he'd still win. The Democrats don't have a candidate yet, and are still trying to figure out if any members of the Party actually live in Wyoming.