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Which US Senate seats are likely to flip parties next year?

Republicans had far more Senate seats at risk in 2016 than Democrats (24 Repub seats to just 10 Dem seats), but the Trump surge meant they defended the seats and unexpectedly kept the Senate.  2018 is different; Republicans have only 8 incumbents running, while Democrats have a whopping 25, including 10 who are in states where President Trump carried the 2016 vote.   But how many seats are likely to "flip," and what, if anything does this mean for the current Senate Republican control?

 

According to The Hill, the seven most vulnerable Senators are:

 

1. Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada.  Trump has not been a fan, and the state still hasn't recovered from the housing meltdown of 2008-09.

 

2. Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri.  Trump won Missouri by 19 points, but the state is famous for being a battleground between the parties.

 

3. Joe Donnelly, Democrat of Indiana.  Trump won by 19 points, and Pence is from there.  Will they help Repubs flip this seat?

 

4. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona.  Trump is at war with Flake, but Senators McCain and McConnell say Flake is their man.  Could Dems steal this seat?  (Could Flake lose in the primary to a Trump-favored candidate?)

 

5. Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia.  The Senate's most conservative Dem knows he will have to campaign extra hard this time.  In the past Repubs thought HE might switch parties, to no avail.

 

6. Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat of North Dakota.  Trump won this state by 36 points.  Repubs would love to get this seat, but she is a tough campaigner.

 

7. Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana.  Trump won this state by 20 points.  Tester is no liberal though.

 

These seats will help determine whether Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer call the Senate shots in 2019.  Most neutral observers say the Repubs will likely keep the Senate, and could even expand their 52 seats to 54 or 55--but if we learned anything from the 2016 Presidential race, it's that conventional wisdom is often of little use once voters show up at the polls.  And the next election is still many news-filled months away.