9 Senate races that are shaping up to be nail biters and will determine which party controls the Senate

  • Control of the Senate will be determined in next Tuesday's midterm elections — and there are several races that could go either way. 
  • While pollsters predict Democrats will flip the US House in next week's midterm elections, they say chances are much slimmer that the "blue wave" will reach the Senate.
  • Here are nine Senate races to keep an eye on next week.

Control of the Senate will be determined in next Tuesday's midterm elections — and there are several very competitive races to watch. 

Democratic incumbents in 10 states that President Donald Trump won in 2016 are facing tough reelection contests. Meanwhile, Democrats are also facing uphill battles in red states where they hope to pick up seats, including Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Tennessee.

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight predicted on Thursday that Democrats have a 15% chance of flipping the Senate and asserted that Democrats would need "some type of systematic polling error to win the Senate."

While Democratic leadership remains bullish on flipping the upper chamber, many operatives are less optimistic. And Trump announced this week that the so-called Democratic "blue wave" is "dead," expressing confidence that the GOP will maintain its hold on the Senate.  

"I think we're doing very well ... I think we'll win the Senate, and I think we're gonna do well on the House," Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network on Wednesday.

Read more:SENATE BATTLEGROUND MAP: The race for control of the Senate is as tight as it can be

Here are the 9 most competitive Senate races to watch: 

9 Senate races that will determine which party controls the Senate
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9 Senate races that will determine which party controls the Senate

North Dakota: Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp vs. GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer

Incumbent Democrat Heidi Heitkamp was elected to the Senate with just 3,000 more votes than her opponent. And her reelection battle is shaping up to be just as tight, with the odds in Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer's favor.

Heitkamp hasn't led a poll since February, and her decision to vote against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation may have hurt her.

A recent Fox News poll has Cramer leading Heitkamp 51-42 among likely voters. And the non-partisan Cook Political Report recently moved the race to it's "Lean Republican" category.

Arizona: Republican Rep. Martha McSally vs. Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema

Arizona congresswomen Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema are locked in a very close race to fill retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake's seat as the number of the undecided voters in the purple state has dropped.

A recent Fox News poll has both at 46% among lightly voters, and a recent CNN poll has Sinema up over McSally 51% to 47% — a lead that's within the poll's margin of error.

Missouri: Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill vs. Attorney General Josh Hawley

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is tied with Missouri's Republican attorney general, Josh Hawley, according to a recent Fox News poll.

Trump won the deeply red state by nearly 19 points in 2016, and, evidencing her desperation, McCaskill tried to distance herself from more progressive members of her party this week, insisting in a radio ad that she's "not one of those crazy Democrats."

Nevada: Republican Sen. Dean Heller vs. Rep. Jacky Rosen

Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is trying to unseat incumbent GOP Sen. Dean Heller.

recent CNN poll has Rosen up by three percentage points over Heller. But Trump's approval rating as risen in the key swing state — to 49%, according to CNN's polling, among likely voters.

Texas: Republican Sen. Ted Cruz vs. Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke

In a race on which the entire nation seems to be hyper focused, Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke is giving incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, a 2016 presidential contender, a real run for his money.

A few indicators are pointing in the Democrat's direction: O'Rourke has raised more money than any Senate candidate in history — with no help from corporate PACs, voter turnout — particularly among millennials — is way up.

But Texas is a deeply red state and recent polls have Cruz ahead of O'Rourke. A new Emerson College poll released Thursday showed Cruz up by just three points.

Tennessee: Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn vs. Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen

Tennessee — a state Trump won by 26 points — is seeing an unexpectedly tight race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker.

Centrist Democrat Phil Bredesen, the state's popular former two-term governor who also once served as mayor of Nashville, is running against conservative hard-liner Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has Trump's strong endorsement.

A recent Fox News poll has Blackburn leading Bredesen by nine points among registered voters — a jump from the five-point lead she had in the same poll last month.

Montana: Democratic Sen. Jon Tester vs. Republican Matt Rosendale

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester is locked in a relatively tight battle with Republican Matt Rosendale, Montana's state auditor. A poll released by the nonpartisan group Gravis Marketing on Tuesday has Tester up by three points.

Tester has never won 50% of the vote in his red state, and Republicans hope the president's rallies — and his son Donald Trump Jr.'s multiple trips to Big Sky country — will help boost GOP enthusiasm.

Indiana: Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly vs. Republican Mike Braun

Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly currently holds the lead in his very competitive reelection contest in Indiana.

According to a recent NBC News/Marist poll, Donnelly is two points ahead of Republican Mike Braun, who has gained on the incumbent in a state Trump won by 19 points.

Florida: Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson vs. Republican Gov. Rick Scott

Incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson has a slight two-point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott among likely voters, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll.

But Scott is suffering from low favorability in the Sunshine state, where 45% of likely voters disapprove of the job he's done as governor, while 43% approve.


See Also:



SEE ALSO: 'Ridiculous' attack ads and bitter protests define a divisive Tennessee race that could determine control of the Senate

SEE ALSO: A Democratic campaign that looks nothing like the 'resistance' could be the Democrats' key to flipping the Senate

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