Democrats will Control the Senate if we win the White House
Democrats are well positioned in 2016 to retake the United States Senate. Unlike in 2014, a majority of the seats up for election are current Republican seats, many of which are in states that Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. Since this is a Presidential election year, turnout will be high. If Democrats flip 5 seats from Republican control, we will once again control the agenda in the Senate. This article lists the key seats up for grabs. Some are seats currently controlled by Democrats, and we must retain those. Others are open seats currently held by Republicans. And the rest are seats where incumbent Republicans are vulnerable to electoral defeat.
SEATS TO HOLD [NV & CO]
Nevada: This seat is technically a toss up, and we must retain it after Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid announced his retirement from the Senate. The likely nominees are Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto (Former Attorney General of Nevada) and Republican Rep. Joe Heck (NV-03). The Presidential primary campaigns in NV will be mindful of that state's Senate seat and hoping to flip it. We must continue to hold this seat.
Colorado: This seat is in danger as Democrats have suffered in Colorado in recent years. Incumbent Senator Michael Bennet has been struggling to obtain the re-election support needed, especially with the gun lobby heating up in the state. We must help reelect Senator Bennet.
SENATE SEATS WE CAN FLIP [WI, IL, OH]
Wisconsin [Priority]: Progressive uproar in recent years against Governor Scott Walker's anti-union agenda could facilitate taking back the Senate seat in this state. Popular former Democratic Senator Russ Feingold announced his bid late last year to take down the candidate that beat him during the red wave in 2010 -- incumbent junior Republican Senator Ron Johnson. All polling done so far in the state shows Feingold with a considerable lead over the incumbent senator. Feingold's popularity could take back this senate seat for Democrats.
Illinois [Priority]: War hero and progressive Democratic champion Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) last year declared her run to challenge incumbent junior Republican Senator Mark Kirk. Duckworth's impressive resume and brave service to her country could help her win back this important Senate seat that President Barack Obama once held, as a recent PPP poll shows her leading the sitting Senator.
Ohio [Priority]: Although incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman remains in good standing with the GOP establishment despite his support for marriage equality, it is possible to convert this long-held Republican seat to Democratic hands with a strong Democrat at the top of the ticket this year. Currently, the two Democratic candidates running for the nomination are former Governor Ted Strickland and Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld. With Strickland’s strong name-ID, he has been narrowly leading Senator Portman in recent polling. Strickland also has a record of narrowly winning toss-up seats. He took back his former House seat after having lost it for one term during the 1994 Republican wave. However, he lost his gubernatorial re-election to Governor John Kasich, so this will be a tough battle in the November election.
TOSS UPS [FL, NH]
Florida: As Senator Marco Rubio tries to obtain the Republican nomination for President, his senate seat is open and currently a toss up. The top Democratic candidates are Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-09) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (FL-18). Rep. Alan Grayson has organized a progressive base fighting for more social security funding and one that is angry at the Republican establishment. Both Democratic contenders are polling well in matchups against possible Republican nominees in the state. The likely Republican nominees are Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) and Rep. David Jolly (FL-13). We must take advantage of the progressive uproar in Florida and make this seat Democratic.
New Hampshire: Another state currently with a progressive uproar is New Hampshire. Incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte is struggling to make inroads with liberal-independent voters and tea-party voters, thus making her seat a toss up that looks good for Democrats. A Presidential election year is a great opportunity to make this seat blue again. The likely Democratic nominee is Governor Maggie Hassan and polling averages have suggested that she is well within the margin of error. We must make this toss up seat a priority in order to regain control of the Senate.
Possible But Not Likely: With Senator Rand Paul's sinking popularity and a light Democratic wave occurring in Kentucky, as well as Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards's resounding victory in the red state of Louisiana, both Kentucky and Louisiana are purple, and a strong field campaign will be important to turn the states more Democratic. In the pink state of Pennsylvania, Democrats shouldn't hold their breaths, but Pennsylvania voters are growing increasingly disappointed with their Republican representation in Washington. Openings for Democrats will come in this state in the next couple cycles, as well as in Texas as some analysts have predicted.
If the polling continues to go the way it is, the Senate could be evenly split (50-50) between the two parties come January 2017. The last time this happened was for the first three weeks of January 2001, between the outgoing Clinton Administration and incoming Bush Administration, when Vice President Al Gore gave the Democrats the tie-breaker and majority control in the Senate. We must win the presidency in 2016 in order to break any possible ties in that chamber and push the Democratic agenda forward in light of unprecedented Republican obstructionism. If Democrats reclaim both Ohio and New Hampshire, it will leave Democrats with a narrow majority (51-49) in the chamber.
HOW TO HELP
Visit the candidate websites provided and volunteer or donate to their campaigns. Or you can contribute to the Democratic Party, help make remote phone calls through the DNC, or visit the states of Nevada and Colorado to help turn out the vote.
SOURCES: Real Clear Politics polling averages, The Hill - Senate's Most Vulnerable 2016, 270towin.com, Wikipedia.