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11 Races That Could Determine Who Controls The Senate In 2019

These are the races everyone is focusing on.


Currently, the Senate is split 51-49, in favor of Republicans. This slim majority and the number of Democrats from Republican states up for reelection mean there are a bunch of races worth paying attention to:

1. Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema (D) vs. Martha McSally (R)


Arizona hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is retiring from the Senate, and his party has nominated Rep. Martha McSally to take his seat. But polls have consistently shown a tight race between her and Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

Polls are mixed. One poll shows McSally leading by six points, while another places Sinema ahead by three.

2. Florida: Bill Nelson (D) vs. Rick Scott (R)


Bill Nelson is Florida's only Democrat to hold a statewide office and is seeking a third term as senator, but Democrats worry that he doesn't have the flash, name recognition, or fat wallet of his challenger, Gov. Rick Scott.

Recent polls have shown a nearly tied race.

3. Indiana: Joe Donnelly (D) vs. Mike Braun (R)


Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly is seeking reelection in a state Donald Trump won by a big margin. Republican challenger Mike Braun, who previously served as state representative for Indiana's 63rd district, is barely trailing behind.

4. Missouri: Claire McCaskill (D) vs. Josh Hawley (R)


Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill is seeking her third term representing a red state, but is locked in a tight race with Republican challenger, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley. Recent polls have the two functionally tied. Hawley has made McCaskill's decision to vote against Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a big issue in the race.

5. New Jersey: Robert Menendez (D) vs. Bob Hugin (R)


Democratic incumbent Robert Menendez has served as New Jersey senator since 2006, but a recent corruption trial has dogged his campaign for re-election. Despite this, his Republican challenger, pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin, has consistently trailed behind in the polls.

6. Nevada: Dean Heller (R) vs. Jacky Rosen (D)


Republican Sen. Dean Heller is seeking his second term in the Senate. Nevada has generally been trending toward Democrats, and Democrats hope challenger Jacky Rosen, a Democrat and representative of Nevada's third district, can help flip the Senate in their favor.

Polling throughout the spring and summer saw these two equally matched, with one recent poll putting Heller ahead by two points.

7. North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp (D) vs. Kevin Cramer (R)


Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is another Democratic incumbent facing reelection in a red state, and she recently voted against confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. A recent poll showed her trailing North Dakota Representative Kevin Cramer by 12 points.

8. Tennessee: Marsha Blackburn (R) vs. Phil Bredesen (D)


Republican Sen. Bob Corker is retiring from this state Trump won in a landslide, and Republicans are hoping to keep the seat. However, past polls put Democrat Phil Bredesen, a two-term ex-governor with high name recognition, in a tight race with Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

The most recent poll shows Blackburn leading by eight points.

9. Texas: Ted Cruz (R) vs. Beto O'Rourke (D)


Texas hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz began the race expected to win a second term. However, Rep. Beto O'Rourke's campaign has steadily gained momentum through massive fundraising and savvy campaigning.

Most polls of the race still show Cruz leading.

10. West Virginia: Joe Manchin (D) vs. Patrick Morrisey (R)


Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin is an unusual case. He's a Democrat in a red state who appears to be doing well, even with Trump campaigning for his opponent, Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

Recent polling shows Manchin leading, but Republicans hope Trump's support will help to close the gap.

11. Montana: Jon Tester (D) vs. Matt Rosendale (R)

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Democrat Sen. Jon Tester is in a close race for a third term in a state Trump won in 2016. Republican Matt Rosendale, the state auditor, has the support of both the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr.

Polls currently show a tight contest, with Tester a little bit ahead.

Here's the deal: The 2018 midterm elections are fast approaching, and with so many close races this year, your vote matters more than ever.

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Kevin Valente / BuzzFeed

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