Senate Race Analysis 2015-2016

Senate 2015-2016:

Safe DLikely DLeans DTossupLeans RLikely RSafe R
New York

New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Dakota
South Carolina

Alabama Safe R Incumbent Richard Shelby (R)

On retirement watch list.  If Shelby does hang up his spurs, there are any number of Reps. and statewide elected officials to succeed him.  Whoever occupies this seat four years from now will be a Republican.

(12/29/14) Could retire.  Either way, Republicans will win this seat.

(2/2/15) Shelby in.  Now we see if Democrats perform better than they did in 2014.  In other words, actually field a candidate.

Alaska Safe R Incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R)

Lost the primary to a Tea Partier, ran as a write-in, won, and the Democrat still came in third.  Not a chance of trouble in the general, though she might face another contentious primary.

(8/3/13) Murkowski's net approval is now -9 among Republicans (+9 among Democrats and +15 among Independents).  She should be vulnerable to a strong (i.e., non-Joe Miller) primary challenge, though by whom I don't know yet.

(2/5/14) A majority of Republicans disapprove of Murkowski's job, according to PPP, while just 38% approve.  Definitely watch out for a primary challenger.

(11/7/14) With current Democratic Senator Mark Begich probably not coming back to the 114th Congress, he's being talked about as a potential candidate to run against Murkowski.  Even though 2016 is a presidential year, the fact that he (probably) lost here against Dan Sullivan suggests he'll probably lose to Lisa Murkowski.  Maybe if she loses her primary, he'll have a chance.

(12/29/14) Murkowski has pretty strong support among Democrats and Independents, so she should be safe in the general.  Her numbers among Republicans actually aren't as good, and she could definitely lose the primary if she gets a decent challenger (not Joe Miller).  A strong Democratic opponent like soon-to-be former Senator Mark Begich could win in the event of a sufficiently disastrous Republican primary choice, but aside from that, Republicans start out pretty well ahead here.

(4/23/15) I think we can count Begich out...

Arizona Leans R Incumbent John McCain (R)

There are two big questions: 1) Will John McCain finally retire? 2) Will Gabby Giffords be well enough to return to elected office?  If the answer to 2 is yes, then 1 doesn't matter, as the sympathy vote will probably carry her to victory.  If no, the Democrats have a number of Reps. they could nominate (assuming they survive 2014), or narrow 2012 loser Richard Carmona could give it another try.  If McCain bows out, the Republicans could nominate one of their Reps., or a statewide elected officer (I presume they will control these positions), or (presumably) then-former Gov. Jan Brewer.

(7/8/13) In 2012, former Air Force Colonel Martha McSally came within about 2,000 votes of defeating Democrat Ron Barber in the competitive 2nd district. Now she's running again.  Keep an eye on her.  If she wins in 2014, you can probably expect her to be heavily recruited by Republicans if McCain decides to retire.

(10/21/13) Rep. David Schweikert is definitely thinking about running.

(10/22/13) Now McCain says he's "seriously thinking" about running for reelection.  I expect Republicans would have a better chance of holding the seat if he did, even though he'll probably face a primary challenge. If he retires, we might see an all-out rush like is happening in Georgia this year.

(3/6/14) Maybe not.  PPP finds McCain is pretty unpopular - 30% approve to 54% disapprove.  The partisan crosstabs are interesting.  McCain is at 29/53 among Democrats, which is actually pretty good. Much of what's driving the bad topline numbers is terrible approval among Republicans (35/55), which isn't necessarily concerning in a general election (but very bad news in a primary).  To top it off, he's also well underwater among Independents (25/55), which is the most concerning from a general election perspective.  McCain does reasonably well in general election matchups, trailing Richard Carmona by 6, Gabby Giffords by 7, and leading Janet Napolitano by 8.  In both races with Carmona and Giffords, many more Republicans and Independents than Democrats (on the order of three times as many each) are undecided, which suggests the races are much closer than the toplines show.  Of course, this all assumes McCain makes it to the general, but those job approval numbers suggest he's very vulnerable to a primary.

(3/24/14) McCain says he hasn't decided to run for reelection yet, but he's already fundraising, just in case.

(4/16/14) A poll for Citizens United (which opposes McCain) has him in a perilous position in the primary, losing to Brewer and Rep. Matt Salmon by 18 points, and Schweikert by 6.

(11/7/14) McCain says he's leaning towards running.

(12/29/14) McCain is one of the Senators up for reelection most vulnerable to a primary challenge, with Rep. David Schweikert his most notable potential challenger.  Democrats' most obvious potential candidates all come from Congress: Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick, and Ruben Gallego.  Arizona is still a Republican state, but it will vote for the right Democrat under the right circumstances, so, while Republicans start out with a lead here, it's hardly insurmountable.

(1/28/15) Schweikert and Rep. Matt Salmon are both considering a primary challenge, though they won't both run.

(2/3/15) Sinema has started a fundraising PAC, which suggests she has statewide plans either in 2016 or 2018.

(2/5/15) McCain has been endorsed by fellow Senator Jeff Flake, who is considerably more popular among the conservative base.

(3/2/15) At least one group is trying to get state Sen. Kelli Ward to primary McCain.

(3/23/15) McCain has avoided one potential primary challenge: Rep. Paul Gosar out.

(4/3/15) National groups - Senate Conservative Fund, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks - are willing to support a primary against McCain, but Ward may not cut it as an option.

(4/8/15) McCain is officially running.

(4/11/15) Ward has created an exploratory committee.

(5/7/15) PPP finds McCain quite vulnerable in a primary.  His job approval among Republicans is underwater, and he starts just 2 points ahead of Salmon and 1 point ahead of Schweikert.  Ward has only just over 25% name recognition, but he only leads her by 13.  Meanwhile, the general-election results suggest McCain should be favored if he can make it out of the primary, while the race might be a Tossup if he loses the primary.

Arkansas Safe R Incumbent John Boozman (R)

Boozman flattened Blanche Lincoln for the seat by more than 20 points, though this may speak more to her weaknesses than his strengths.  If Mark Pryor narrowly loses in 2014, he might be encouraged to make a run for this seat; same for Bill Halter if he loses the governor's race.  The wild card his is soon-to-be former Gov. Mike Beebe, who would instantly make it competitive.

(8/7/14) For what it's worth, PPP has the still-extraordinarily-popular Beebe leading Boozman by 6. Boozman's job approval is a not-terribly-impressive 34%-28%, but he should still do fine against a more normal Democrat.

(12/29/14) Boozman isn't terribly popular, but Arkansas is a horrendous climate for Democrats right now.  The only Democrat who could conceivably overcome that lean is retiring Gov. Mike Beebe, but even that's far from certain, making it unlikely he'd try.

(1/29/15) So far there aren't too many rumors of a primary challenge for Boozman, but he's preparing for one anyway just in case.

California Safe D Incumbent Barbara Boxer (D)

Boxer has never been particularly popular, but 2016 is a presidential year, so the Republicans will face strong headwinds.

(12/8/14) Politico has a long list of potential Democratic candidates if, as expected, Boxer retires.

(12/29/14) Boxer should be pretty safe.  If she retires, it's possible there could be enough of a rush for this seat among Democrats that Republicans end up winning both top spots in the jungle primary, but that's really the only way Republicans could win here and, for now, it looks pretty unlikely.

(1/8/15) Boxer out.  This might be fun.

(1/8/15) Roll Call has a partial list of potential candidates here.

(1/10/15) Some more possible candidates from the Sacramento bee here.  At least one, billionaire donor Tom Steyer, is considering.

(1/11/15) Former LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is also taking a look at it.

(1/11/15) As is Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

(1/12/15) LG Gavin Newsom is out, which means there's a good chance AG Kamala Harris is in.  She starts out the frontrunner.

(1/12/15) DKE has a list of potential Democratic candidates, including three more who are considering - Reps. John Garamendi and Eric Swalwell, and former Rep. Ellen Tauscher.

(1/12/15) Harris in.

(1/14/15) Let's not forget the Republican side of things: state Rep. Rocky Chavez and former state party chairmen Duff Sundheim and Tom del Becarro are exploring runs.

(1/14/15) Back to the Democrats: Rep. Xavier Becerra is also examining a run.

(1/15/15) Elizabeth Warren is supporting Harris.  Meanwhile, Roll Call tosses out a couple more Democratic Reps. as potential candidates: Karen Bass, Raul Ruiz, and Jackie Speier.

(1/16/15) PPP did an internal poll for one of the Democrats back in December.  They tested two different fields.  In the first, Harris led the Democrats with 27% to 6-7% for Steyer, Sanchez, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, while Rep. Tom McClintock led Neel Kashkari 28% to 12% on the Republican side.  The second field, which replaced Garcetti with Speier, was pretty similar.  Harris and Steyer lost some support to Speier and Sanchez, but that's about the only difference.  The poll illustrates the difficulty Republicans would face in taking both the top-two spots, which would require both a Democratic split big and even enough to keep all the Democrats below 20% or so, and a Republican split small and precise enough to get two candidates with both around 20%.  In the poll, both Harris and McClintock are strong enough frontrunners to approach 30%.  If that holds, a Republican top-two victory is impossible.  One big caveat: Villaraigosa wasn't included in the poll.

(1/22/15) Steyer out, but Rep. Adam Schiff is a possibility.

(2/4/15) Garin-Hart-Yang just did a poll for the pro-Latino candidate Latino Legislative Caucus that has Republican Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin with 31%, Harris with 28%, Villaraigosa with 18%, and Schiff with 4%.

(2/11/15) Kashkari out.

(2/26/15) Villaraigosa out, which leaves Harris with a fairly clear path.  There are still other Democrats considering this race, but none are immediately as formidable.

(3/2/15) Swearengin out, but it looks like (Republican state Rep. Rocky) Chavez is in.

(3/6/15) Chavez in.

(4/1/15) Former Republican state party chairman Duf Sundheim is forming an exploratory committee.

(4/8/15) Harris raised $2.5 million last quarter.

(4/21/15) (Democratic Rep. Loretta) Sanchez says she'll announce by the end of the week.

(4/30/15) Former Republican state party chair Tom Del Beccaro is in.

Colorado Leans D Incumbent Michael Bennet (D)

The year to take Bennet out was 2010, as Ken Buck was widely expected to do.  He'll still probably fairly vulnerable particularly to a strong challenger, who will presumably emerge after passing on challenging Udall.  The Republican to watch will be Rep. Cory Gardner.  Rep. Mike Coffman is also a possibility, assuming he survives 2014; as are state officials Sec. of State Scott Gessler, Treasurer Walker Stapleton, and AG John Suthers.

(4/27/13) PPP has found Bennet with a fairly weak approval rating - -1.  He'll be a decent Republican target, but they're probably better off defending some of the seats they already have than trying to expand the map.

(1/5/15) While Cory Gardner proved last year that Republicans can win in Colorado in the right circumstances, it's still difficult, and without an immediately obvious Republican opponent of Gardner's caliber, Bennet starts out as the favorite.  Still, there are a number of solid Republicans, including Rep. Mike Coffman, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Secretary of State Wayne Williams, and AG Cynthia Coffman, that could potentially unseat Bennet.

(1/7/15) Coffman (Mike) is considering a run.

(1/16/15) Rep. Scott Tipton is also considering.

(4/8/15) Bennet raised a very formidable $2 million first quarter.

(4/14/15) Quinnipiac has a fairly close start to this race, with Bennet trailing Mike Coffman by 3 and leading Cynthia Coffman by 8.

Connecticut Safe D Incumbent Richard Blumenthal (D)

No major scandals.  Deep blue state.  Survived 2010.  There aren't that many Republicans who could challenge Blumenthal; maybe whoever runs for Governor in 2014 (assuming they lose), or maybe Linda McMahon will make a third try.

(1/5/15) There's no indication Blumenthal should be vulnerable here.

(2/3/15) Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker is thinking about running.  He should be a serious candidate, but it'll take more than that to threaten Blumenthal.

Florida Tossup Incumbent Marco Rubio (R)

Rubio's held up well.  Assuming he runs for President in 2016, there's an outside chance he would retire.  If he does, Republicans would have a number of potential candidates, including variety of congressmen, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, AG Pam Bondi, and state House Speaker Will Weatherford (again, all the caveats, they may not be still in office by then, etc. The Democrats have a number of congressmen as well (Alan Grayson v. Rubio would be particularly interesting), and former Gov. Charlie Crist (whether or not he becomes Governor again).

(3/13/13)  Carroll's probably out, given her sudden resignation (more at Florida Governor 2014).  That said, this probably doesn't affect the race much, as there is an extremely slim chance of an open seat (I must say, I didn't expect my caveat to apply so quickly, though this sort of thing wasn't what I had in mind).  Carroll's replacement might be a possibility.

(4/16/13) According to Kyle Kondik, Florida law would require Rubio not to run for Senate if he runs for President or VP.  The relevant statute is here.

(6/19/13) Allen West won't rule out challenging Rubio in a primary.  This is, of course, moot if Rubio has to retire.  I'll just say that I would love to see West and Alan Grayson go at it.

(7/18/13) Recently, there have been attempts to pass a law allowing recall of Senators - aimed at Rubio over his role in the immigration debate.  In the unlikely event these come to pass, they may face legal challenges.

(9/26/13) West says he won't primary Rubio, but will run for the seat if Rubio retires.

(9/27/13) Rep. and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz isn't ruling out a run either.  If Rubio retires, this race will not be a quiet one.

(10/3/13) Rubio leads Sink and Wasserman-Schultz by 3 each, and West trails by 6 and 4, respectively.  Rubio's net approval is -2.  I'm going to call this a Tossup.

(10/18/13) Sink had been looking at running for Congress in the tossup 13th district since longtime incumbent Bill Young decided to retire.  His death today will necessitate a special election.  If Sink runs in and wins the special she would be much better positioned for a 2016 statewide run than if she won in 2014.

(5/11/14) Rubio says if he runs for President, he won't be running for reelection to the Senate.

(6/10/14) PPP has Wasserman-Schultz trailing Rubio by 8 and West by 1.

(9/10/14) PPP has Rubio leading Wasserman-Schultz by 4 and Rep. Patrick Murphy by 5.

(1/5/15) Rubio should be reasonably safe assuming he doesn't run for President.   He's reasonably popular and Democrats might have trouble getting a top-tier candidate against him.  Potential Democratic candidates include Reps. Patrick Murphy and Gwen Graham (both of whom have good crossover appeal) and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.  Things should be more competitive if Rubio retires to run for president, but even if he does, Republicans should have a wealth of solid candidates, including LG Carlos Lopez-Cantera, AG Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater, Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, and former state House Speaker Will Weatherford.

(1/12/14) The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo also suggests Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn as a potential Democratic candidate and Reps. Vern Buchanan, Ron DeSantis, and David Jolly as potential Republican candidates if Rubio does not run for reelection, and that Murphy will probably run even if Rubio runs for reelection.

(2/4/15) Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson says he'll probably run if Wasserman-Schultz doesn't.  If he does run, expect an entertaining race.

(2/19/15) Wasserman-Schultz is seriously considering a run.  This should be a fun race.

(3/15/15) Politico has a roundup of some of the most likely candidates.  On the Republican side, Rubio appears to prefer Lopez-Cantera, with the other likely candidate being Atwater.  On the Democratic side, Murphy looks basically in, and Wasserman-Schultz basically out.  Charlie Crist is also thinking about running.  No word yet on which party.

(3/16/15) Crist out.

(3/17/15) Wasserman-Schultz out.  Ah well, there's still Alan Grayson.

(3/18/15) Mason-Dixon has Atwater beating Murphy by 14, which seems high.

(3/23/15) Murphy in.

(3/27/15) Murphy has a primary opponent!  It's not Alan Grayson, though.  It's attorney Pam Keith. She's already being compared to 2014 gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich and, well, here's how that worked out...

(3/27/15) PPP has a new poll out.  They have Grayson losing to Rubio by 9, Atwater by 1, and Bondi by 3, and beating Lopez-Cantera by 4, while Murphy loses to Rubio by 7, Atwater by 2,  and Bondi by 4, and beats Lopez-Cantera by 7.  Grayson, Murphy, Atwater, and Lopez-Cantera all have name recognition below 50%.  In the Republican primary Allen West (who's not running) wins with almost 40%, Bondi's at 25%, and Atwater and Lopez-Cantera are bouncing along the bottom with 12% and 8%, respectively.  When it's just the two of them, Atwater wins easily, 41% to 15%.  Meanwhile, the Democratic primary is very close, with 22% for Grayson and 21% for Murphy.

(4/6/15) Quinnipiac also has a poll out.  Atwater beats Murphy by 6 and Grayson by 10, while Lopez-Cantera loses by 4 to Murphy and beats Grayson by 1.  None of the candidates has name recognition over 50%.

(4/8/15) Bondi out.

(4/11/15) Atwater out.

(4/14/15) Rubio out, to run for President.  Lopez-Cantera seems very likely to run.  Others who still might get in: former state House Speaker Will Weatherford, former appointed Senator George LeMieux, and Reps. Ron DeSantis, David Jolly, Vern Buchanan, and Tom Rooney.

(4/21/15) Rooney out, but Rep. Jeff Miller is interested.

(4/23/15) Murphy raised $750,000 in the seven days after his announcement.

(4/30/15) Buchanan out.  Incidentally, I should probably switch this to Tossup without Rubio running.

(5/7/15) DeSantis in.

Georgia Safe R Incumbent Johnny Isakson (R)

Isakson is neither particularly popular or well known, but he's a Republican in a statewide race in Georgia.  If he retires, expect many of the 2014 Republican primary losers to shift over (heck, some may even if he decides to run again), with those elected in 2010 potentially getting in the mix as well.  The only significant Democrat not a continuation of 2014 I can think of would be Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

(8/22/13) The Senate Conservatives Fund has ads up targeting Isakson over Defund Obamacare.  Whether this will turn into a primary challenge I'm not sure, though Isakson had no primary opponent in 2010.

(8/24/13) Reed out.

(11/11/14) Isakson is announcing his candidacy for another term.

(11/21/14) Reed out, again.

(1/5/15) Isakson is already running for a third term, and should be pretty safe, thanks to a dearth of possible Democratic challengers.  Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is already out.  Two state Democratic rising stars - Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter - probably won't run, because even rising stars start to lose their luster after too many losses.

(4/19/15) Looks like Nunn's out.

Idaho Safe R Incumbent Mike Crapo (R)

(2/14/15) This general election should be pretty boring - no better illustration of this exists than the fact that I managed to go almost two years without noticing I'd forgotten about this race.  With a DUI under his belt, Crapo might face a primary challenge, though he's already managed to dodge his most serious opponent: Rep. Raul Labrador's not interested.

Illinois Leans D Incumbent Mark Kirk (R)

Kirk was perhaps the great fluke winner of 2010, benefiting from the national climate and a damaged opponent.  He would probably be an underdog against any decent Democrat, despite his solid approval rating.  There's talk Michelle Obama might seek the seat, and a poll's found her leading by ten points.  If she doesn't run, there's about a dozen congressmen, several of whom might mount bids, plus former US Sec. of Commerce and White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley and state AG Lisa Madigan, if they pass up the governor's race.

(4/29/13) Given the backlash in many quarters over the Toomey-Manchin bill, Kirk will probably benefit at least somewhat from supporting it.  That said, I'm not changing the rating until I see some hard numbers.

(6/29/13) One Democrat in particular to keep an eye on is Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

(10/9/13) Great.  Now Joe Walsh (former Congressman) is going around saying Kirk should be primaried.  That will help keep this seat Republican!

(12/3/13) Kirk has one of the lowest name recognitions of any Senator, according to PPP.  His approval/disapproval is even at 32 each, which is considerably worse than last time they tested.  He does have solid crossover appeal, and ties Madigan at 41 each (though I'll keep this as Leans D, as it's a lot easier for a Democrat than a Republican to go from 41% to 50% in Illinois).  His approval rating is barely even with Republicans though, so he might be vulnerable to that primary challenge Walsh mentioned.

(3/25/14) Kirk won't campaign for 2014 Senate nominee Jim Oberweis.  A reasonable decision, but probably not helpful in the primary.

(11/12/14) Surely Democrats can find someone better than just-ousted Governor Pat Quinn, but maybe not.

(1/5/15) Illinois is a tough state for Republicans, so even a moderate one like Kirk should have trouble here.  Part of Kirk's problem is a deep and strong Democratic bench, including AG Lisa Madigan, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Reps. Bill Foster, Cheri Bustos, and Tammy Duckworth. Kirk should get at least something of a sympathy vote from his stroke several years ago, but it's also kept him with a very low profile, which creates problems of its own, so ultimately I think he's got a better chance of losing than not, enough to warrant a tentative Leans D rating.

(1/20/15) Duckworth is taking a look at it.

(1/24/15) Rep. Robin Kelly is also considering a run.

(2/4/15) Kirk raised $625,000 in the last quarter of 2014 and starts out with $2 million in the bank.

(2/5/15) While Duckworth raised $460,000 and had $1 million.

(2/17/15) Former Rep. Joe Walsh is looking at a primary challenge against Kirk, but fortunately for Republican chances of holding this seat, he doesn't seem to be a particularly serious opponent.

(3/27/15) Duckworth looks like she's in.

(3/27/15) Duckworth in.

(4/1/15) Bustos out, but Urban League president Andrea Zopp may run.  Meanwhile, Kirk raised $1 million last quarter.

(4/11/15) Foster out.

Indiana Likely R Incumbent Dan Coats (R)

Indiana isn't polled that often - thanks, I'm told, to telemarketing laws - but, there's nothing to indicate Coats should be particularly vulnerable.  The biggest problem for Indiana Dems is that they don't really have any potential candidates unless Evan Bayh decides he wants his old job back (In which case, why did he leave in the first place?).  Another possibility is 2012 governor nominee John Gregg, who performed better than expected against Mike Pence.

(1/6/15) Coats should be pretty safe, particularly thanks to a fairly thin Democratic bench.

(3/24/15) Coats is retiring, which opens up the Republican field.  Among those reported to be interested in running are Reps. Susan Brooks, Todd Rokita, Todd Young, and Marlin Stutzman, as well as state House Speaker Brian Bosma, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, and Coats' chief of staff Eric Holcomb.  Indiana is pretty Republican, so this will stay Likely R for the time being, but Republicans have shown themselves perfectly capable of blowing races here, so a downgrade is a real possibility.

(3/27/15) Holcomb in.

(5/9/15) Stutzman in.

Iowa Likely R Incumbent Chuck Grassley (R)

Chuck Grassley is on the retirement watch list (he'd be 83, and have served in public office continually since 1958).  In the event he does run, he should fare pretty well.  A retirement would make the race more competitive, but still leaning Republican, as the Democrats wouldn't really have any obvious candidates unless US Sec. of Agriculture and former Gov. Tom Vilsack, who would presumably be out of a job after 2016 otherwise, runs.  The most obvious Republican would be Rep. Tom Latham, though other passing 2014 possibilities could be in contention as well.

(9/20/13) Grassley says that, with Harkin retiring, he'll run for a seventh term so Iowa will still have a very senior Senator.  Assuming he really is planning to run, I'll make this Likely R.

(3/5/14) Grassley leads even Vilsack by 7 points.

(9/20/14) 9 points.

(1/6/15) Grassley's one of the most popular politicians in Iowa, so he shouldn't have much trouble if (as he says he plans to) he runs for reelection.  Democrats' bad night here in 2014 has left them with something of a dearth of strong candidates.  Rep. Dave Loebsack and former Gov. Tom Vilsack are about their only major candidates.  Should Grassley retire, the race would be much more competitive, with Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, LG Kim Reynolds, and Rep. Steve King as potential Republican candidates.

(4/14/15) Grassley gets a 67-21 job approval and 53-34 'deserves reelection' from Quinnipiac.

Kansas Safe R Incumbent Jerry Moran (R)

The last Democrat elected to the Senate from Kansas was George McGill in ... wait for it ... 1932. Enough said.

(9/16/14) Unfortunately, my intro to this race may soon be overtaken by events - pop over to 2014 Kansas Senate to see more.  At any rate,  PPP has Moran still pretty safe even while other top Kansas Republicans are looking like they might be in trouble.

(1/6/15) Despite quite a nasty scare in 2014, Republicans should be pretty safe.

(1/8/15) Moran just avoided one serious potential primary challenge.

(2/11/15) But Milton Wolf is still looking at a run.

Kentucky Likely R Incumbent Rand Paul (R)

Paul is just controversial enough to keep this on the verge of closeness (though it's worth noting, according to PPP, his approval rating 22 points better than McConnell's).  The strongest Democrat would probably be Gov. Steve Beshear, though their statewide brand is strong and thus wouldn't have much trouble recruiting quality candidates from state offices.  If Ashley Judd doesn't completely flame out against McConnell, she might also run.

(4/9/13) I'm moving this to Likely R as Paul now (you have to scroll down a bit at the link) has a +7 approval rating and leads the still-quite-popular Beshear by 4 and Judd by 11.

(4/21/13) According to this site, Paul can't appear on two places in the Kentucky ballot at once.  If he were to run for president he'd have to retire or cede Kentucky's electoral votes to the Democrat.  If Paul wins the nomination (he could lose the nomination and still run for reelection), I could easily see him handing this seat off to ideological compatriot Rep. Thomas Massie then running in 2020 for McConnell's seat (McConnell will be 79, so I expect there's a better-than-even chance he'll retire).

(4/21/13) I should note Paul has already filed for reelection.

(5/28/13) Paul has now confirmed that he will run for reelection.  Legislators are reportedly looking at changing the ballot rules.

(1/6/15) Kentucky is not a very friendly place for Democrats at the federal level, so their chances of actually taking this seat are slim.  Likely R because of a strong Democratic bench (Gov. Steve Beshear, for one), and because there may be some primary chaos on the Republican side because Paul seems intent on running both for reelection and for President, and state Democrats seem intent on not letting him do that.  Should he win the Republican nomination for President, he'd have to withdraw from this race or forfeit Kentucky's electoral votes.

Louisiana Safe R Incumbent David Vitter (R)

Vitter might run for Governor in 2015.  If he loses or passes, he'll stay and win reelection.  If he runs and wins, he gets to appoint a successor, for which there is a dozen-plus candidates.  All I know is, they'll be a Republican.

(12/10/14) Rep. John Fleming is interested in the job.

(1/6/15) Vitter is running for Governor this year.  Should he win, he'll get to appoint his replacement. Should he lose, he keeps this seat and gets to run for reelection.  Either way, Democrats shouldn't be much of a threat.

(1/13/14) Rep. John Fleming will run for the seat if Vitter becomes Governor.

(1/24/15) State Treasurer John Kennedy is also interested in running.  His internal has Mitch Landrieu with 39%, Kennedy with 18%, Rep. Charles Boustany with 13%, and Fleming with 7%.

(2/4/15) Former Rep. Vance McAllister says he may run against Fleming if no other Republican will. Fleming may not have too much to fear.  In his last election (2014 reelection to the House), McAllister finished 4th, getting just 11% of the vote and 16% of the Republican vote.

Maryland Safe D Incumbent Barbara Mikulski (D)

See Connecticut.

(1/6/15) Despite Republicans' much-better-than-expected performance here in 2014, I don't see much chance for them here.

(3/2/15) Well, Mikulski is retiring.  Republicans still don't have much of a chance here.  Given that's it's an open seat in a blue state, the Democratic primary could get crowded (though if there's anything Democrats have been good at avoiding lately, it's crowded primaries).  The Democratic candidate will probably come from the House, with Reps. Chris van Hollen, Donna Edwards, and John Delaney as the likeliest possibilities.

(3/2/15) Rep. Elijah Cummings is another potential Democratic candidate.

(3/3/15) O'Malley out.  Roll Call has even more potential candidates, including Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger and John Sarbanes, state comptroller Peter Franchot, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, former state Del. Heather Mizeur, and several county executives.

(3/4/15) Van Hollen in.

(3/8/15) Politico reports that Edwards is very likely to get in soon.

(3/15/15) Perez out, but you can toss another name on the pile to replace him: former Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman is thinking about it.

(3/27/15) (Baltimore mayor Stephanie) Rawlings-Blake out.

(4/1/15) Very impressive: Van Hollen raised $1 million in about a month.

(4/9/15) Mizeur out.

(4/24/15) Oh, hey, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (most famous for somehow losing the 2002 governor's race to Bob Ehrlich) seems to want the seat as well.

Missouri Leans R  Incumbent Roy Barnes (R)

Missouri has only been reddening, so Barnes should start out as the favorite.  The Dems hold a number of statewide offices which will be their main recruiting areas.  Potential candidates include Sec. of State Jason Kander, AG Chris Koster, and Treasurer Clint Zweifel.  Well-liked Governor Jay Nixon would instantly make the race competitive.

(10/3/13) Roll Call suggests that Zweifel, who will not be running for Governor, is a good bet to run.

(12/7/14) It appears after the whole mess in Ferguson, Nixon isn't so well-liked anymore.  Remington has his approval rating at 28%.  Since this is so close to Ferguson and two years from the election, it's possible his approval could bounce back, but he's no longer the formidable statewide candidate he once was.

(1/6/15) Missouri has been trending pretty Republican in recent years.  With (formerly) popular Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon seriously damaged by the Ferguson mess, Blunt shouldn't have too much trouble.  But Missouri is still reasonably amenable to voting Democrat, so I'll keep this Leans R out of an abundance of caution.

(2/2/15) Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) is thinking about running.  With the hits Nixon's taken, Kander may be the best candidate Democrats could run here - young, elected statewide, military background, no major controversies - but still starts off as an underdog against Blunt.

(2/19/15) Kander in.

(2/26/15) And now Todd Akin is talking about a primary challenge.

(2/27/15) Oh, thank god.  Akin out.

(4/8/15) Blunt raised $1 million last quarter, while Kander raised $750,000 in the six weeks since announcing his campaign.

Nevada Tossup Incumbent Harry Reid (D)

Since Republicans maxed out their gains last time these seats were up, this is their best chance at a takeover.  Republicans' dream candidate would be popular Gov. Brian Sandoval, who would make this Leans or Likely R, but whether or not he runs may be determined by the Lt. Gov.'s race (Democrats hope they can deter Sandoval by winning this race, and thus ensuring he would have to hand over to a Democrat if he won, though I think it would still be worth it).  If Sandoval passes (he may have higher ambitions), potential Republicans include soon-to-be former Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, Reps. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei, and Danny Tarkanian.

(4/13/13) Looking through some polls of the 2012 race, Reid's job approval has been a pretty steady -6,-7.  If this holds he'll be in trouble against any decent Republican.

(10/7/13) Reid says he's running.

(10/9/13) Sandoval would be a formidable opponent for Reid - his approval rating now stands at 68-24, with even Democrats approving of him by 18 points. Meanwhile, Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston thinks Reid running for reelection isn't a certainty.

(1/31/14) Republicans have their first candidate: Las Vegas Councilman and former State Senator Bob Beers.  He's a fairly serious candidate - he won almost 30% of the vote in the 2006 primary for Governor, beating out the Lieutenant Governor.

(3/11/14) Both Reid and Sandoval are getting involved in the LG race.

(3/14/14) Politico Magazine has a very good piece on Reid/Sandoval here.  Meanwhile, Reid may be implicated in an investigation of illegal donations from the online poker industry.

(3/31/14) Reid's also in hot water over purchases of gifts for donors made with campaign funds at his granddaughter's jewelry shop.

(6/22/14) Reports are, libertarian activist Wayne Allen Root is running.

(6/24/14) Rasmussen has Reid's favorability more than 20 points underwater, 36%-59%.

(8/1/14) Harper has Sandoval beating Reid by 10.

(11/17/14) Heck probably out.

(11/19/14) Looks like Amodei's out as well.

(1/6/15) Reid should be the most vulnerable incumbent Democrat up for reelection, as he's not all that popular in Nevada.  One important asset he has is a reputation as a skilled and ruthless operator that may make a lot of Republicans whether they really should run against him.  Reps. Mark Amodei and Joe Heck have already declined to run.  Potential GOP candidates include outgoing LG Brian Krolicki and incoming LG Mark Hutchinson.  The GOP's dream candidate is incredibly popular Governor Brian Sandoval, but he doesn't look like a likely candidate.

(1/16/15) Krolicki is definitely taking a look at it.

(1/20/15) More evidence that Sandoval doesn't wan to run for Senate - this time from his State of the State address.

(2/11/15) Reid says he's running.

(2/17/15) Jon Ralston has another solid potential Republican candidate - state Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson.

(3/27/15) Reid out.  This will stay as a Tossup for now, until we see who's running in his place.  The most notable potential Democratic candidates are former state AG Catherine Cortez Masto, and former state Secretary of State Ross Miller.

(3/27/15) Democrats may face a primary: Reid seems to favor Masto, but Rep. Dina Titus may run as well.

(4/9/15) Masto in.

(4/24/15) Heck is reconsidering.

New Hampshire Tossup Incumbent Kelly Ayotte (R)

You'll recall my words of warning from my entry on this state under 2014, but I think Ayotte starts out as a favorite, even if for no other reason than her landslide in 2010 (how much of that was atmosphere-driven is unknown).  Potential Democrats include Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster (admittedly, neither may be in office two years from now), and Gov. Maggie Hassan.  Fortunately for Ayotte, former Gov. Lynch has already ruled himself out.

(4/24/13) Ayotte's approval has taken a serious hit recently and is now -2.  She also trails Hassan by 2, though Hassan is a particularly strong candidate.

(9/17/13) Ayotte has a net approval of -4, but now leads Hassan by one.  Be that as it may, I'm going to change this to a Tossup.  Ayotte's approval really isn't very good, and New Hampshire has a small Democratic lean, particularly in presidential years.

(11/18/14) It may be up to a year before Hassan decides whether she's going to run against Ayotte.

(11/24/14) Ayotte's favorability is pretty good.

(11/27/14) It looks likes Ayotte may have her first challenger, Shawn O'Connor, a businessman and recent transplant from New York.

(12/4/14) New England College has a pretty reasonable poll out with Ayotte beating Hassan by 5.

(1/7/15) New Hampshire can be a very swingy state, but it's been slowly trending Democrat.  That said, Ayotte is also a formidable politician, so things balance out nicely to a Tossup.  The big potential Democratic candidate is Gov. Maggie Hassan, but it's not clear (and probably won't be clear for a while) if she will run.

(2/15/15) NBC/Marist has Hassan beating Ayotte by 4.

(4/21/15) PPP has Hassan beating Ayotte by 1.

New York Safe D Incumbent Chuck Schumer (D)

See Maryland  (yes, I will keep doing this).

(1/7/15) There is absolutely no indication Cuomo will have any difficulty.

North Carolina Tossup Incumbent Richard Burr (R)

Burr's never been particularly well-liked but I'm calling this Leans R out of an abundance of caution.  Potential Democrats include AG Roy Cooper.

(8/21/13) The Senate Conservatives Fund has ads up attacking Burr for saying that the Defund Obamacare strategy was "the dumbest idea I've ever heard". The buy is pretty small so far - only $40,000 - but could be an indication of trouble he'll face later from the right.

(9/16/14) Burr says he's running again.

(12/10/14) There isn't really anything too out-of-place in PPP's new poll.  Burr has modest leads over former Senator Kay Hagan, state Treasurer Janet Cowell, and US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  None of them stand out as particularly popular.  I think this is more consistent with a Tossup, however, so I'll switch that rating.

(1/7/15) Burr has already declared his intention to run for a third term.  He's not terribly popular or well-known, and North Carolina is a very swingy state even if leaning slightly Republican.  I think this warrants a Tossup overall, albeit one of the less promising ones for Democrats.  Potential Democratic candidates include former Senator Kay Hagan, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, state Treasurer Janet Cowell, state Sen. Cal Cunningham, and Greenville Mayor Allen Thomas.

(2/4/15) PPP's new poll is a good reflection of the state of the race so far.  Burr, with middling name recognition and approval, leads a generally unknown field of Democratic candidates.  He leads Hagan by 6 (the only Democratic candidate with name recognition above 40%, which is undercut by a -16 net favorability), Cowell and former Rep. Mike McIntyre by 7, UNC President Tom Ross by 9, and Foxx by 11.

(2/11/15) Meeting Street Research has Burr beating Hagan by 4 points and Cooper by 3 points.

(3/15/15) According to Roll Call, Cowell is Democrats' second choice, in case Hagan doesn't run.

(4/8/15) Not much has changed since PPP's last poll, with a not particularly popular Burr holding large but presumably not solid leads over a large field of unknown or unpopular Democrats.  He leads Hagan by 12, Cowell by 11, former Rep. Brad Miller by 11, state Sen. Dan Blue by 11, state Rep. Grier Martin by 14, and state Sen. Jeff Jackson by 16.

(4/14/15) Burr is ramping up fundraising.

(4/14/15) Cowell out.

North Dakota Safe R Incumbent John Hoeven (R)

Hoeven won in 2010 by over 3 to 1.  Frankly, I'm not sure I'd bet against him if it came out he was an axe-murderer.

(1/7/15) One of the safest Senators up this cycle.

Ohio Leans R Incumbent Rob Portman (R)

Ohio votes Republican more often than not, and Portman won a huge landslide in 2010.  Interestingly, Republican dominance of redistricting and state government has almost left Democrats without a candidate.  Probably whoever runs for Governor in 2014 will become the frontrunner.

(4/18/13) State Rep. Bob Hagan is challenging Portman.  OK, then.

(4/24/13) Rep. Tim Ryan will probably also be much-talked about as a Democratic candidate.

(4/29/13) Portman's approval rating has now hit -8 (you have to scroll down at the link), most likely thanks to his vote on the Toomey-Manchin bill.  I'll move this to Leans R for now, though I expect his approval to increase by Election Day.  Either way, Democrats will probably need a stronger candidate than Hagan.

(6/26/13) Quinnipiac finds a similar result for Portman on gun control, but it doesn't seem to have affected his approval rating.

(10/16/14) The National Organization for Marriage is planning to take on Portman for his support of same-sex marriage.  Some sort of primary is most likely, but even if that fails (as it probably will), they are apparently willing to oppose him in the general.

(12/2/14) Portman says he's running for reelection.  Back to Likely R.

(12/3/14) One potential Democratic candidate to keep an eye on: retiring Columbus mayor Michael Coleman.

(12/3/14) Another one: Rep. Tim Ryan.

(12/11/14) A third: former Governor (defeated in 2010) Ted Strickland.

(1/7/15) Portman is already running for reelection.  He has a fairly moderate reputation and is a strong fundraiser.  That, combined with with a Democratic bench seriously weakened by geography, gerrymandering, and back-to-back disastrous midterms, means I don't see him in too much danger despite Ohio's status as the perennial swing state.  The list of Democratic potential candidates includes Rep. Tim Ryan, defeated former officeholders (former Rep. Betty Sutton, former Gov. Ted Strickland), and minor officeholders (Cincinnati Councilman PG Sittenfeld, state Rep. Bob Hagan).

(1/8/15) In the fundraising vein, Portman starts out the cycle with almost $6 million cash-on-hand.

(1/22/15) Sittenfeld in.

(1/30/15) Strickland in.  He is now the presumed Democratic frontrunner.  Daily Kos says he's Democrats' most formidable potential candidate, while one of Kyle Kondik's sources has a different opinion.  My own view is that it is entirely possible that Strickland is Democrats' best candidate - and that this says a lot about the Democratic bench in Ohio.

(2/13/15) Ryan out.

(2/26/15) Strickland in.

(4/6/15) Hm.  Quinnipiac has Strickland beating Portman by 9, in what may be the oddest result of their poll.  Portman and Strickland have similar favorability/approval.  I'm skeptical this will hold up over time, but I'll switch this to Leans R.

(4/11/15) Sittenfeld narrowly outraised Strickland for the whole quarter, but appears to have been badly outraised by Strickland after Strickland entered.

Oklahoma Safe R Incumbent James Lankford (R)

Coburn should be replaced by a Republican, though the same caveats apply as in 2014.  Potential Republicans include Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Jim Bridenstine, Gov. Mary Fallin, and AG Scott Pruitt.

(4/6/13)  Also keep an eye on rising-star House Speaker T W Shannon and Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

(1/9/14) Coburn may have to resign due to health problems sometime before the end of his term.

(1/16/14) He will resign at the end of this Congress.

(1/7/15) After just winning this seat, there's no indication Lankford will retire, and no indication he will be forcibly retired.

Oregon Safe D Incumbent Ron Wyden (D)

See New York.

(1/7/15) Oregon is only a semi-blue state, but there's nothing in recent history to indicate the Oregon Republican Party can seriously threaten Wyden.

Pennsylvania Tossup Incumbent Pat Toomey (R)

Toomey is one of the more endangered Republicans of the Class of 2010, thanks primarily to his close election and Pennsylvania's Democratic lean.  Potential Democratic candidates include AG Katherine Kane, Rep. Matt Cartwright, and 2010 candidate Joe Sestak.

(4/29/13) By Quinnipiac, Toomey has a +18 approval rating.  He definitely helped himself with the Toomey-Manchin bill.  This moves to Leans R for now.

(5/23/13) I can't believe I haven't written about this until now, but Sestak is exploring to challenge Toomey.  He'll be a formidable opponent.  It was perhaps too optimistic to call this Leans R, so I'm moving it back to Tossup until I see some head-to-head matchups.

(6/6/13) Quinnipiac finds with a still-solid net approval of +17.  He leads Sestak by 5, 42 to 37.  Given the high number of undecideds and Pennsylvania's Democratic lean, definitely still Tossup.

(6/24/13) Dem fundraisers David Cohen and Gail and Alan Kessler are raising money for Toomey.

(7/30/13) Sestak's fundraising has exceeded the legal amount allowable for exploration and thus he must either declare or disavow candidacy, according to the FEC.

(11/27/13) PPP has Toomey's approval 10 points underwater, and he ties Sestak with 42 each (and trails Kane by 4).  One caveat: Pennsylvania's Republican Governor Tom Corbett is horribly unpopular, and it's possible he's dragging the entire party down.  If, as is likely, Corbett gets defeated in 2014, Toomey's numbers might improve.

(12/16/13) Kane is definitely considering a run.

(2/26/14) Kane leads Sestak by 23 in the primary.

(6/3/14) PPP has Toomey trailing Kane by 2 and leading Sestak by 6, 2014 gubernatorial candidate Kathleen McGinty by 4, and Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro by 9.

(11/17/14) State Treasurer Rob McCord out.

(12/1/14) Sestak in.

(1/7/15) This should be one of the biggest races of 2016.  Toomey's past is a not-quite-great fit for a purplish-blue state, and Pennsylvania may be a presidential battleground to boot.  Former Rep. Joe Sestak, who narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010, has already been running against him for quite a while now, and many Democrats are looking for an alternative.  State AG Kathleen Kane looked to be one for a while, but she hasn't had a great year, so that sort of fell through.  Another potential candidate is Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro.

(1/10/15) Yeah, Kane isn't in a good position to start a Senate run.

(1/19/15) Sestak's only primary opposition may come from moderate former Rep. Chris Carney.

(1/20/15) PPP's new results seem fairly consistent with a Tossup.  Toomey has a 4-point lead over Sestak with 40%.

(1/30/15) Turning to some of the more minor primary opposition to Sestak: state Sen. Vincent Hughes is considering a run.

(2/11/15) Quinnipiac has Toomey beating Sestak by 10.

(3/28/15) For what it's worth, Franklin and Marshall has Toomey beating Sestak 34-29.

(4/6/15) Quinnipiac has Toomey beating Sestak by 13.

(4/9/15) Sestak's new potential primary challenger: Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.

(4/11/15) Meanwhile, a number of national Democrats still want Shapiro as their candidate.

(4/19/15) Pawlowski in.

(4/21/15) Toomey raised $2 million last quarter.  Sestak?  Just $300,000.

South Carolina Safe R Incumbent Tim Scott (R)

Making the safe presumption that Scott will win election in the 2014 special, he should have no problems here.

(1/7/15) Scott should have no trouble.

(2/23/15) A fact that PPP confirms.

South Dakota Safe R Incumbent John Thune (R)

Democrats didn't even try in 2010, why should they expect to win in 2016 (yes, I know I put some caveats on this line back in Arkansas 2014, but these are wildly different circumstances)?

(1/7/15) See above.

(2/19/15) Democrats could at least get a credible candidate in the form of recently-retired U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson, the son of former Senator Tim Johnson, but even if Johnson runs, Thune shouldn't have any trouble.

(3/18/15) And Johnson out.  So much for that.

Utah Likely R Incumbent Mike Lee (R)

Need I say more?  You remember this kind of race from 2014, when it seemed as if every Republican incumbent was in one.

(10/10/13) Hmm.  This could possibly end up being closer than expected.  According to a new poll form Brigham Young University, 51% of Utahns view Lee unfavorably - including 40% who view him very unfavorably, which is equal to his total favorability.  Of course, this only matters if Democrats can get a decent candidate.  Fortunately for them, they have one: Rep. Jim Matheson, who by this time may be looking for a new job anyway.  Matheson's statewide favorability is a very nice 58/36, and he's managed to win multiple elections in the hyper-Republican 2nd and 4th districts.  A PPP poll from a few years ago had him running ahead of both Sen. Orrin Hatch (whose approvals were not great, but better than Lee's) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz.  That said, a few caveats: 1) This is right after a government shutdown Lee played a role in starting.  Expect his numbers to improve with time.  2) Though Matheson has won election in a heavily Republican area, it's still far less Republican than the state as a whole, and he's barely won his last two races (and is no clear shot to win his next one).  3) If Democrats don't get Matheson, Lee is safe.

(10/23/13) On the other hand, Lee may have a problem in the primary.  A lot of Republicans in Utah aren't happy with the way he handled things in the shutdown.  Lee should be fine as long as the activist-dominated convention system remains.  If the anti-Lee forces succeed in getting rid of it, he may have more trouble. Some possible opponents: Josh Romney, former state party chair Timothy Wright, or State Sen. Dan Liljenquist (which is interesting, given that just over a years ago, he was trying to become Lee 2.0 against Orrin Hatch).

(12/18/13) Matheson is considering running.

(12/26/13) There is a good article about Matheson's future in the Salt Lake Tribune.  The weight of the evidence seems to be that a Senate run would be the better option for Matheson, though I would caution, again, that Lee's situation should improve as the government shutdown fades.

(3/14/14) Lee may be implicated in an investigation of illegal donations from the online poker industry.

(12/16/14) Basswood Research's poll for the pro-Lee Club for Growth has him very well positioned in a primary.

(1/7/15) Lee's controversial enough that a strong (Jim Matheson) could give him a challenge, but otherwise Utah is too Republican for him to be in serious danger.

(1/20/15) With Matheson out, Lee is safe.

(4/9/15) Hm. Though he may not be safe in a primary.'s new poll has him beating Josh Romney by only 13 points, which isn't a very good starting position.

(4/30/15) Romney out, so anti-Lee forces are now trying to get businessman Alex Dunn in.

Vermont Safe D Incumbent Pat Leahy (D)

Leahy's still fairly young despite being the most senior Senator, and thus could easily run for another term.  If he doesn't Rep. Peter Welch and Gov. Peter Shumlin jump to mind as the most obvious replacements. Either way, the Republican Party will nominate an unknown, poorly funded candidate, and this will be the first race to be called on Election night.

(1/7/15) No real chance Leahy loses.  Any serious Republican energy here will be directed at the Governor's race.

Washington Likely D Incumbent Patty Murray (D)

Republicans nearly defeated Murray in 2010, but 2016 is a presidential year, so she's probably not in too much trouble.  Potential Republican candidates include 2012 governor candidate former state AG Rob McKenna, who ended the race with solid favorability numbers.

(8/9/13) Rep. Dave Reichert is considering a possible run.  He'd be a solid potential candidate, having been easily reelected five times in a district that leans slightly Democratic.

(2/10/14) Murray says she's going to run again.

(1/7/15) The right Republican (Rep. Dave Reichert, for example) could defeat Murray under the right circumstances (Republican wave), but it doesn't seem likely.

Wisconsin Tossup Incumbent Ron Johnson (R)

In truth this one really straddles the line between Tossup and Leans D, as polling shows Johnson to be fairly unpopular, and the state leans Democrat.  He's down 10 against former Senator Russ Feingold, though he might face a weaker opponent, like Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Ron Kind, or former Rep. Steve Kagen.

(2/23/15) Johnson is one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for reelection - a bluish-state Senator who hasn't been as successful at moderating as some of his colleagues from 2010.  The campaign of Johnson's predecessor, Democrat Russ Feingold, for this seat, is all but official.

(4/3/15) Johnson raised $1.2 million first quarter.

(4/16/15) Marquette has Feingold beating Johnson by 16.  Maybe this should be Leans D instead of Illinois.


  1. Graphic at the top is missing Missouri (my home state)

  2. This is well thought, good work. Some input;

    John Boozman could face a primary.

    As random as it sounds, there is a FB page trying to draft Jay Leno in California, and to be honest; I wouldn't rule it out. He wouldn't be the first celebrity elected to the Senate. But I don't know, it's unlikely.
    Bob Beauprez is someone who isn't being talked about, who I think should be discussed in Colorado. Barely lost to Hickenlooper and seems to be backed by the national GOP.

    Tom Foley has been mentioned in Connecticut. (But as you said, whoever lost the Governor race).

    I would say Duke Aiona in Hawaii, but he said the only job he's interested in is Governor. So I would bet on an Aiona\Ige rematch come 2018.

    You forgot Idaho.

    I could see Dan Bongino, or even Ben Carson taking on Mikulski.

    Clint Zweifel's not running.

    Roy Cooper's running for Governor.

    I think Jaime Herrera Beautler is a another potential in Washington. Hispanic, young, smart and attractive.

    Sean Duffy may primary challenge Johnson.

    As I said though, good list!

  3. AZ:Kirkpatrick in.
    FL: Grayson in.
    IN: Former Rep. Baron Hill running for Democrats.
    LA: Vitter looks like he'll lose governorship.
    NH: Hassan in.
    NC: Hagan out. State Rep. Deborah Ross in.