Right now the Republicans hold a 54-46 advantage. Democrats will need to pick up five seats for outright control. If Hillary Clinton wins, only four seats are needed with the Vice President breaking the ties. That sounds difficult but they only have to defend ten seats while the GOP has twenty-four in the mix. I have taken a close look at each race, and will offer up my prediction.
Let’s start with the Democrats. They have seven incumbents. They should cruise to easy wins in Connecticut, Hawaii, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Michael Bennett of Colorado is a likely winner. Open seats in California and Maryland are easy wins. The only possible trouble spot is Nevada where Harry Reid is retiring.
Things get more complicated for the Republicans. Twenty-two incumbents are trying to hang on to their seats. Twelve can win without breaking a sweat. Chuck Grassley of Iowa (one of three octogenarians running) should get a seventh term.
John McCain has angered many Republicans over his refusal to back Donald Trump. He first has to face three challengers in an upcoming primary. He should win but has a tougher time in November. I expect him to barely hang on.
Florida looked like a potential pickup for the Democrats. Now that Marco Rubio is running, the GOP should keep to the seat.
Missouri can be hard on incumbents but I expect Mel Blount to win. Richard Burr of North Carolina should also pull through. I also expect the GOP to keep the open seat in Louisiana.
That leaves Illinois, Indiana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin up for grabs. More about them next time.