Some of these people on the list in fact have decent polling leads and are probably less vulnerable then the linked piece implies….
Democrats continue to dominate the latest list of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents two months out from Election Day, with North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp moving into the top spot.
The Democrats battling for re-election in states that backed President Donald Trump remain among the most vulnerable senators.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson moved up a spot ahead of West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III, even though Trump won West Virginia by 42 points. Manchin’s opponent, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, had to contend with a costly primary, while Nelson’s opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, has showed he’s willing to spend millions on his race.
As always, these lists are compiled after consultation with strategists from both sides of the aisle and the race ratings from Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. We look solely at vulnerable incumbents and do not include open seats that are likely to flip….
Here’s the early September Sabato Crystal Ball view on the Senate races….
— In what is a somewhat unusual development, the incumbent party is not a clear underdog in any single Senate race with just two months left to go. But there are at least a couple of cases where the incumbent party is likely behind.
— Republicans remain favored to hold the Senate, but the Democrats do have a path.
— Texas goes from Likely Republican to Leans Republican.
With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, the race to Election Day is on. The national picture remains favorable to Democrats, but because of the Senate playing field, the Republican majority still will be difficult for Democrats to dislodge even in an optimal environment.
One oddity as we reach the final stretch of the campaign is that while there are many very competitive Senate races, we don’t consider the incumbent party to be a clear underdog in any seat they currently hold at this juncture. That’s not to say the incumbent party is leading in every seat they already hold — in at least two states that does not appear to be the case, as we will discuss below — but no seat appears to be a write-off loss. That’s a change from the past several cycles at around Labor Day. In 2016 at this time, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) seemed like an almost sure loser, and he did lose; in 2014, open Democratic seats in Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia did not appear salvageable for Democrats. In 2012, Angus King (I-ME) was well on his way to winning an open seat in Maine and was widely expected to caucus with Democrats (he still does and is a big favorite for reelection this year), and Republicans were in the driver’s seat to pick up an open seat in Nebraska. We could go back further, but we hope you get the point. So this cycle is different in that we do not have any single race rated worse than a Toss-up for the incumbent party….