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A Democrat Senate Majority Is Starting To Look Possible

A Democrat takeover of the Senate is still a long shot, but looking more likely.

The once-safe Republican Senate majority is starting to look vulnerable. A Democrat takeover of the Senate would almost certainly have to go through the Tennessee seat of the retiring Bob Corker. Although Tennessee is normally a red state, the race for Corker’s seat is shaping up to be a fight.

The Tennessee race is competitive at this early stage largely because the Democrats nominated Phil Bredesen, a popular former governor with widespread name recognition as their candidate. Bredesen is among the Southern Democrats who have not fully embraced the party’s leftward lurches, which helps make him palatable in the conservative South.

It also doesn’t hurt that Bredesen is a multimillionaire who, if elected, would be one of the wealthiest members of Congress. Both candidates have raised about $2 million so far, but Bredesen also has his significant personal wealth to draw on.

Republicans nominated Marsha Blackburn, currently the congressional representative for the state’s seventh district, which encompasses the suburbs of Nashville to the rural areas east of Memphis. Blackburn has served in the House since 2003 and is a frequent guest on Fox News.

Perhaps unexpectedly, current polling shows Bredesen in the lead. Every poll since March has put Bredesen out front with margins from eight to 20 percent. Ms. Blackburn led in only one poll that was taken last January.

Blackburn, who voted with Trump 90 percent of the time, has positioned herself as the pro-Trump candidate and President Trump has returned the favor. The president tweeted support for the “wonderful woman” in April and plans to headline a $44,000-per-couple fundraiser for her on May 29.

Sen. Corker, who has been no stranger to confrontation with President Trump, doesn’t seem to be doing much to help. Corker has praised Bredesen, a longtime friend and political ally, saying he was “a very good mayor, a very good governor, a very good business person.” Corker said he plans to vote for Blackburn, but won’t campaign against Bredesen.

“I think he’s got real appeal — I don’t think it, I know it,” Corker told the Christian Science Monitor. “The question is, in a state like ours that is still a red state, is it enough? I don’t know the answer to that.”

The Tennessee seat is almost a must-win for Democrats if they hope to take control of the Senate. Democrats need a net gain of two seats to win a majority. This is a taller order than it seems since Democrats are defending 26 seats while only nine Republican seats are being contested.

Nevertheless, two Republican seats in addition to Tennessee are considered toss ups by the Cook Political Report. Dean Heller’s seat in Nevada and Jeff Flake’s seat in Arizona, both critics of President Trump, are too close to call. Recent polling shows Heller in a dead heat at 40 percent with Democrat Jacky Rosen while Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads all potential Republican candidates ahead of the Arizona primary. Both races seem to be likely possibilities for another Democrat pickup.

Cook has also moved another three Republican seats into competitive territory. The seats of Cindy Hyde-Smith (who faces both Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Chris McDaniel in a three-way special election) in Mississippi, Deb Fischer in Nebraska and Ted Cruz in Texas have all been downgraded to “likely” Republican from “safe” Republican.

For their part, the Democrats also have several vulnerable seats. Six Democrat seats (Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia) are rated as toss ups. Another two (Minnesota and Ohio) are considered to lean Democrat.

If, as Democrats hope, the race hinges on Mr. Trump, Republicans could be in for a long night. Of the nine toss up states, Trump’s net approval is at or below zero in all but Indiana, Tennessee and West Virginia. A key question is whether voters will separate Mr. Trump’s personality from his increasingly popular policies.

It is more likely that these close races will hinge on local factors and the quality of the individual candidates. In some cases, primary battles have yet to be waged to determine the nominee. In many cases, polling is sparse and unreliable for the state-level elections.

Like many of the individual races, control of the Senate is a tossup at this early date, but Republican chances in some individual races appear to be slipping. Democrat control of the Senate is still a long shot given the dynamics of the election, but the party has made gains over the past month. If the expected blue wave emerges, it could conceivably cause the Senate to change hands as well as the House.

It's possible but the map isn't favorable. Even if the dems pick up extra seats they also have to worry about losing some as well. So overall it could be a wash.

I wouldn't expect the Senate to turn blue until 2020.

It's hard to believe Americans are so corrupt and dimwitted as to fail to realize Dems are now the party of godless EVIL, since the 2012 DNC clearly booed and voted God out of the party. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 I pray God hasn't decided we've gone too far in rejecting him and chosen to hand us over to our depravity as Romans says. God save us.

Um, you do know an increasing number of Americans are secular don't you?

The "oddballs" in America are increasingly Evangelical Republicans, if you examine recent political values surveys.

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Really? The Cook Report? That's a Democrat pollster who always presents a rosy scenario for them. Right now it would appear that the Republicans will pick up a couple of seats in the Senate and lose the House by a slim majority. This will probably end up as a nightmare for the Dems as Nancy Pelosi will be speaker in a fight within her own party giving Trump a perfect foil for the next two years .

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The TL;DR version is that there are 8 Tossup seats, three (AZ,NV and TN) held by the Republicans and five held by the Democrats (FL, IN, MO, ND and WV). The Democrats need to win seven to take over the Senate.

In regards to 2020, other than Greg Jones in Alabama, there are no Democrats up for election in States which the Republicans have taken a majority of the recent presidential elections (beyond just 2016)

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Russedav- no, the Dems did not "boo god'. Stop being one of those conspiracy laden Republicans...go form your own party somewhere. The booing had to do with the chair calling a voice vote that obviously went to the Nays for the Yays. They were booing the chair. I am a conservative, but I have decided I have had enough with "fake news" on all fronts. Stop spreading it.

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@russdave -- Most Americans see Trump as "the Republicans" and they sure don't see God anywhere near that party. Just saying.

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