The folks at NBC News have a ranking they’re calling the “list of the Top 10 Senate seats that could switch parties in November.”
Second on that list, behind Republican Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, is North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Here’s their reasoning:
Republicans are divided over whether this race or the Senate contest in Missouri is their best pick-up opportunity now that GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer has decided to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. But the tiebreaker goes to North Dakota, given that Trump got 63 percent of the vote there in 2016 versus 56 percent in Missouri.
Cramer entering the Senate race has certainly changed the political landscape. That North Dakota represents (arguably) the best chance for picking up a Senate seat for Republicans means both political parties are going to pour money and resources into the race.
On a related note, it’s interesting that 7 out of the 10 most vulnerable incumbents listed by NBC News are Democrats. Republicans control the Senate. Democrats need to see a net gain of two Senate seats in November to take control.
There has been a lot of talk about Democrats feeling energized this election cycle. About Donald Trump being a drag on Republicans, and stoking the flames of what could be a Democratic brush fire come election day.
Maybe that will be the case. It’s hard to be sure of anything in the post-Trump political world. But the way things are looking now, Republicans may actually gain ground in the Senate.