If the Democrats win the Senate it won’t be as big a shift as once we thought it would be.
If Hillary Clinton is elected president on Tuesday, which appears likely, the Democrats will need a net pickup of four seats to gain control of the Senate. Here’s the outlook regarding the eight Senate battleground contests.
dThere are 54 Republicans and 44 Democrats now in the Senate, with two independents, including former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who caucus with Democrats. On Election Day, 24 seats held by Republicans, and 10 held by Democrats, are on the ballot.
Florida Senator and former presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R) is fighting for his seat against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D). Rubio first said he would not seek re-election, but reversed that decision after dropping out of the presidential race, much to Republicans’ delight.
According to polls, Rubio is leading in a tight race, but that said all indications show that he will be returning to the Senate.
As of this morning, the only race as to which I am absolutely positive is that in Illinois, Tammy Duckworth will unseat incumbent Republican Mark Kirk.
I also think two other GOP incumbents will lose their Senate seats: Pennsylvania GOP incumbent Pat Toomey to Katie McGinty and Wisconsin GOP incumbent Ron Johnson to former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold. New Hampshire, Indiana, North Carolina, and Nevada seats are likely to to remain with incumbent parties.
The race that I think will give the Democrats control: Democrat Jason Kander over incumbent GOP Senator Roy Blunt in Missouri. Except for the Illinois race, however, I wouldn’t bet on any of these picks.
The good news for the Republicans is that they are virtually certain to regain control in two years, when numerous Democratic incumbents are up for reelection.
Jim Williams contributed to this column for background information.