Even before they were forced to reconcile whether to support Donald Trump and whether to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Senate Republicans had their work cut out for them to keep control of the chamber they won in 2014. They’re defending 24 of the 34 seats up in 2016, and seven of those are in states that voted for Obama not once but twice.
The latest complications on the national level have only made Republicans’ job more difficult. Eight of the top 10 Senate races we list here as the most likely to change parties in November are Republican-held, and University of Virginia electoral experts Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik think if Trump is Republicans’ nominee, it will move nearly every race on this list (and then some) closer to Democrats’ reach.
3. Florida (R): The race to replace outgoing Sen. Marco Rubio (R) is messy on both sides. Republicans are in a seven-way primary, with the most recent contender to jump in being wealthy home-builder Carlos Beruff. On the Democratic side, Rep. Patrick Murphy’s (D) hopes for a relatively easy path to the general election have been stymied by Rep. Alan Grayson (D), a controversial and unconventional liberal congressman who has dragged Murphy into a nasty primary battle. Official Democratic Washington is doing what it can to help Murphy: Obama and Biden recently endorsed Murphy, and Reid has called on Grayson to drop out. Whatever happens in both side’s August primaries, Florida has gone for the Democratic presidential candidate each of the last two cycles — and could mirror the hard-fought presidential race in the state again in 2016.