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Dems May Take Back The House — But Senate Chances Look Slim

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While the path to winning back the House of Representatives is a real possibility for Democrats this year, it’s less clear whether the Senate is attainable for the party as it seeks to capitalize on what appears to be a “blue wave” election season.

The Constitution requires every House seat to be up for election every two years. Yet only a third of Senate seats are up for grabs every federal election cycle, and it appears this round of Senate races may confound Democrats in their aim to reclaim complete control of Congress.

The Constitutional quirk means that Democrats are defending more Senate seats than they are trying to gain, even though voters are signaling they’d rather have a Congress that stands up to the president than one that aligns with him. Ten of the Senate seats in play are in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016, making the ambitions of the candidates and Democratic incumbents in some of those states all-the-more difficult to attain.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a conservative political action committee with ties to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is targeting five Democrats in the so-called “red” states of Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee. The PAC intends to spend $1.4 million in ads against Democrats within these states.

Eight races in total at this time are considered to be “toss-up” contests, according to the Cook Political Report. Republicans only need to win two of those races, and retain the remaining seats deemed “safe” for them, in order to keep the Senate a split 50-50 vote. Along those partisan lines, Vice President Mike Pence would break any tie-breaking votes within that chamber.

If it’s any consolation to Democrats, the same prognosis was apparent in 2006 — a year where the current class of senators were also up for election. Democrats had a slim chance, albeit better chance than they have today, to recapture the chamber, and proved able to do so during that year, providing then-President George W. Bush with a lame-duck session.

Nobody knows what will happen for certain come November. But prognosticators are more certain of a House takeover than they are a full-on Congressional takeover for Democrats.

Featured image credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr, CC BY 2.0


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