US Senate Elections 2018 Predictions and Results

Democratic defense in many seats could prevent them from retaking the Senate.

US Senate Elections 2018 Predictions

This is the hub for Electionarium’s coverage of the US Senate Elections 2018, featuring our seat-by-seat predictions and election results.

Control of the United States Senate is up for grabs in President Donald Trump’s first mid-term election. His Republican Party has a 51 to 49 majority, trimmed down from 52-48 when Doug Jones won Alabama for the Democrats. The Democrats need a net gain of two to retake the Senate after four years of minority party status.

Democrats defend 26 seats in this cycle (including Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King in Maine). Both of Minnesota’s Senate seats are holding elections this year, with Amy Klobuchar seeking re-election and Al Franken’s vacant seat holding a special election (Tina Smith is the incumbent). Republicans have just nine seats on the block for this election cycle. Two of them are in Mississippi, where just like Minnesota, there is a regular Senate election and a special election.

We don’t do tossups here, but our predictions may change during 2018. Those amendments can be found deeper into this big-time article.

Other 2018 US Election Pages: US House Election 2018 | US Governor Elections 2018

NAVIGATE US SENATE ELECTIONS 2018: Overall | State-by-State | Rating Changes | Analysis

US Senate Elections 2018: Overall Results

2018 US Senate Election Results

2018 US Senate Election Results Seats

US Senate Elections 2018 Seat Safety Key
| Weak Lean (1)
|| Somewhat Safe (2)
||| Safe (3)
|||| Very Safe (4)

US Senate Elections 2018: State-by-State

Arizona
Jeff Flake (R) — NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION
Predict: Dem GAIN |
Actual: Dem GAIN (Kyrsten Sinema elected, 49.7%)
California
Dianne Feinstein (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||||
Actual: Dem Hold (Dianne Feinstein re-elected, 53.8%)
Connecticut
Chris Murphy (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Chris Murphy re-elected, 58.4%)
Delaware
Tom Carper (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||||
Actual: Dem Hold (Tom Carper re-elected, 60.0%)
Florida
Bill Nelson (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |
Actual: Rep GAIN (Rick Scott elected, 50.1%)
Hawaii
Mazie Hirono (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||||
Actual: Dem Hold (Mazie Hirono re-elected, 72.7%)
Indiana
Joe Donnelly (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |
Actual: Rep GAIN (Mike Braun elected, 51.0%)
Maine
Angus King (I)
Predict: Ind Hold |||
Actual: Ind Hold (Angus King re-elected, 54.2%)
Maryland
Ben Cardin (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||||
Actual: Dem Hold (Ben Cardin re-elected, 64.2%)
Massachusetts
Elizabeth Warren (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Elizabeth Warren re-elected, 60.5%)
Michigan
Debbie Stabenow (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Debbie Stabenow re-elected, 51.8%)
Minnesota
Amy Klobuchar (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Amy Klobuchar re-elected, 60.9%)
Minnesota – Special Election
Tina Smith (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||
Actual: Dem Hold (Tina Smith re-elected, 53.0%)
Mississippi
Roger Wicker (R)
Predict: Rep Hold |||
Actual: Rep Hold (Roger Wicker re-elected, 58.8%)
Mississippi – Special Election
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R)
Predict: Rep Hold ||
Actual: Rep Hold (Cindy Hyde-Smith re-elected, 53.9%)
Missouri
Claire McCaskill (D)
Predict: Rep GAIN |
Actual: Rep GAIN (Josh Hawley elected, 51.4%)
Montana
Jon Tester (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |
Actual: Dem Hold (Jon Tester re-elected, 50.3%)
Nebraska
Deb Fischer (R)
Predict: Rep Hold |||
Actual: Rep Hold (Deb Fischer re-elected, 58.0%)
Nevada
Dean Heller (R)
Predict: Dem GAIN |
Actual: Dem GAIN (Jacky Rosen elected, 50.4%)
New Jersey
Bob Menendez (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||
Actual: Dem Hold (Bob Menendez re-elected, 53.7%)
New Mexico
Martin Heinrich (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||
Actual: Dem Hold (Martin Heinrich re-elected, 54.1%)
New York
Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||||
Actual: Dem Hold (Kirsten Gillibrand re-elected, 66.4%)
North Dakota
Heidi Heitkamp (D)
Predict: Rep GAIN |
Actual: Rep GAIN (Kevin Cramer elected, 55.1%)
Ohio
Sherrod Brown (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||
Actual: Dem Hold (Sherrod Brown re-elected, 53.2%)
Pennsylvania
Bob Casey (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Bob Casey re-elected, 55.7%)
Rhode Island
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||||
Actual: Dem Hold (Sheldon Whitehouse re-elected, 61.4%)
Tennessee
Bob Corker (R) — NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION
Predict: Rep Hold |
Actual: Rep Hold (Marsha Blackburn elected, 54.7%)
Texas
Ted Cruz (R)
Predict: Rep Hold |
Actual: Rep Hold (Ted Cruz re-elected, 50.9%)
Utah
Orrin Hatch (R) — NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION
Predict: Rep Hold ||||
Actual: Rep Hold (Mitt Romney elected, 62.6%)
Vermont
Bernie Sanders (I)
Predict: Ind Hold ||||
Actual: Ind Hold (Bernie Sanders re-elected, 67.4%)
Virginia
Tim Kaine (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Tim Kaine re-elected, 55.3%)
Washington
Maria Cantwell (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |||
Actual: Dem Hold (Maria Cantwell re-elected, 58.4%)
West Virginia
Joe Manchin (D)
Predict: Dem Hold |
Actual: Dem Hold (Joe Manchin re-elected, 49.6%)
Wisconsin
Tammy Baldwin (D)
Predict: Dem Hold ||
Actual: Dem Hold (Tammy Baldwin re-elected, 55.4%)
Wyoming
John Barrasso (R)
Predict: Rep Hold ||||
Actual: Rep Hold (John Barrasso re-elected, 67.0%)

Please note that Mississippi’s US Senate non-partisan “jungle primary” takes place on November 6, 2018. Should no candidate win a simple majority, the special election runoff takes place on November 27, 2018.

US Senate Elections 2018: Rating Changes

Most recent amendments at top.

November 4, 2018
No changes
October 20, 2018
No changes
October 7, 2018
Delaware (D3 to D4), Minnesota-special (D3 to D2), New Mexico (D3 to D2), Pennsylvania (D2 to D3)
September 16, 2018
Tennnessee (D1 to R1), Texas (R2 to R1), Virginia (D2 to D3)
August 15, 2018
Indiana (R1 to D1), Missouri (D1 to R1), North Dakota (D1 to R1)
July 22, 2018
New Jersey (D3 to D2)
June 16, 2018
Tennessee (R1 to D1), Texas (R3 to R2)
April 9, 2018
Florida (D2 to D1), Tennessee (R2 to R1)

US Senate Elections 2018: November 4, 2018 Analysis

One more pass through our Senate ratings this year and we opted to keep everything just the way it is.

The realistic Democratic best-case scenario is probably a 50-50 split unless they somehow pull out a Senate race they “shouldn’t” win like Tennessee, Texas, or even at this point North Dakota. Meanwhile, the Republican best-case scenario in realistic terms is about 55 Republicans and 45 Democrats, including the two independents. The latter would be one hell of a shocking election result given how well Democrats are expected to do otherwise. It would mean the GOP holding all of its seats and gaining North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, and Florida. Neither of these scenarios is outlandish at this stage.

Our hardest race to predict this time was Arizona. Republicans have a hefty early-vote lead, though not as robust as usual. If we assume, based on recent polling internals, that Kyrsten Sinema is carrying independents and getting a little more of a Republican crossover than Martha McSally is Democratic, you get a McSally lead on the early vote, but a thin one of maybe 20,000 to 30,000 votes. McSally needs to hope to at least tie on election day votes, which are expected to only be about a third of the total. (Link: Washington Examiner) It’s too close, and the prudent thing to do seems to be keeping the prediction the way it is.

Democrats would have to pull at least one surprising upset in order to have any chance of taking the Senate. It is far more likely Republicans will maintain or even increase their majority.

US Senate Elections 2018: October 20, 2018 Analysis

We did not make any changes to our US Senate ratings this time.

As you well know, Electionarium does not rate any races as toss-ups, so we can’t truly hedge our bets. We can, however, offer some words on a few of the races we considered for ratings changes.

Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema has been our pick to win since the campaign began in earnest, but are we convinced she’s going to win? No. In fact, we would say this race is teetering on the brink. Martha McSally seems to be doing better, and part of that is because Sinema has taken a few hits via bad press. This one looks very close.

Florida: Rick Scott is giving Bill Nelson a tough race, but if he’s ahead, he’s just barely ahead. The surprising thing is that Andrew Gillum might run a little in front of Nelson on election night. At least Scott has shown some evidence (as in, scattered polls here and there) that he’s level or ahead of Nelson, whereas Ron DeSantis has not. This is to say it’s more likely Scott wins than DeSantis at this stage. Are we ready, however, to say Scott WILL win? No.

Missouri: Republicans can’t get Claire McCaskill out, but they feel like this is their year. For now, we still agree with them. It’s been three weeks since McCaskill led in a poll, though there have been a few ties. 2006 (her first run) was a tough year for Republicans, and 2018 might be as well, which might be what saves her.

Montana: We’re keeping this a Democratic hold as that’s what the evidence would suggest, but this is a sleeper race. Incumbent Jon Tester has not yet put this race away and we’re watching it closely.

Nevada: There has been recent reason to think Dean Heller might actually pull this out in November. I think we need to acknowledge this as a possibility after having written this race off for months. We’re not there yet for moving it into the GOP column, but it’s a great possibility than it was three weeks ago.

US Senate Elections 2018: October 7, 2018 Analysis

Not many changes in the look of our Senate predictions, at least in terms of the bottom line. Of the Democratic incumbents, Heidi Heitkamp appears to be the weakest and we were closer to shoving that race over another notch than you think. For now, we will keep it where it is, but she is for certain behind in her North Dakota race, and has been for some time.

The political reality is that West Virginia is intensifying its red tint, and Joe Manchin voting against Brett Kavanaugh would have hit his poll numbers, maybe hard. Within the last few weeks of the campaign, the numbers might start to solidify in his direction and so might our rating.

New Mexico has a weird Senate race about which you probably know nothing. It’s a three-way race in a year where the Democratic incumbent, Martin Heinrich, would have been re-elected with ease. Gary Johnson is running as a Libertarian and the polling consensus is that he is well into double-digits. Libertarian-backed polls have him in a somewhat close race with Heinrich, but while we won’t go that far, anything can happen when the vote starts splitting and an incumbent is under 50 percent. Johnson was a two-term governor of the state and a former presidential candidate who will, if nothing else, take a sizable portion of the vote. Away from whom is another matter.

Of the six most vulernable Democratic senators, we have organized them from most to least-likely to lose:

Heitkamp (ND), McCaskill (MO), Donnelly (IN), Nelson (FL), Tester (MT), Manchin (WV).

US Senate Elections 2018: September 16, 2018 Analysis

The easier of the two chambers for the Republicans is going to be the Senate. As of now, we predict they will maintain control.

With a tie going to the GOP and a much larger number of seats to defend for Democrats, they have their work cut out for them. In order for Democrats to win the Senate, they must walk a political tightrope. Grabbing a net gain of two when Republicans have only nine of 35 seats at stake is hard enough, and then consider Republicans’ defense includes states like Wyoming, Nebraska, Utah, and Mississippi (twice). The playing field is quite small for Democrats going on offense.

Republican Senate seats in play are Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and maybe Texas. Meanwhile, Democrats have at least a realistic shot of losing any of the following: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and West Virginia. Take out both Texas and West Virginia and I have to see them to believe them. That’s three at risk for the GOP and four for Democrats. The Democrats would have to win two of the remaining three and hope they don’t lose any, but considering a loss of one or two is likely, the math gets very difficult for them.

What the Democrats need is a blue wave to materialize, but it could be that like the 2010 Tea Party wave in the House, it doesn’t crash onto the shores of the Senate.

US Senate Elections 2018: July 22, 2018 Analysis

We are holding our Senate prediction right where it is, save for notching down New Jersey on some bad poll numbers for Bob Menendez (D). There are a number of races, however, right on the borderline. They are, in alphabetical order: Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota (special election), Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia. That’s a big playing field, and with the possibility of a 50-50 tie or a narrow majority either way, all of these states matter.

The Democrats’ problem for attaining a majority of any size is mathematical reality. Republicans have much fewer seats at stake, and a number of those are safe. National political climate notwithstanding, the Democrats have more to lose and it would therefore not be surprising if the GOP held onto the Senate by flipping one of the above Democratic seats.

US Senate Elections 2018: June 16, 2018 Analysis

At this point, the polling has been consistent enough in Phil Bredesen’s favor that we are moving Tennessee to a weak Democratic tilt. This shifts our Senate prediction to a 51-49 Democratic majority. We also shifted Texas down a notch, but before Democrats get excited, it’s still a we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it proposition.

Florida, we’re still on the fence. Rick Scott (R) is polling well, but it’s probably going to be a Democratic year. There are actually other states in which the Republicans could make a play, like Missouri, Montana, and North Dakota. We are not buying West Virginia because Joe Manchin always finds a way despite the state going from hard blue to hard red in the last 20 years.

US Senate Elections 2018: April 9, 2018 Analysis

Let’s talk about two Senate races that are making moves this spring: Florida and Tennessee. In the former, the Republicans got the biggest recruit they could have gotten: Governor Rick Scott. While certain opinion polls indicate that Nelson would win such an election, it’s very early, and that was before Scott announced his candidacy. Of course, the governor won both of his general elections by less than 1.5 percent, and Bill Nelson is more popular than either of his previous Democratic opponents. Expect this to be one of the nastiest Senate races in the country in 2018.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, the Democrats pulled a big get in this open Republican seat. Former governor Phil Bredesen, the last Democrat to win a statewide election in Tennessee, will almost certainly be his party’s nominee. We’ve known he’s running for some time, but we are shifting this race closer to the center. Two March polls had Bredesen in the lead over likely Republican nominee Rep. Marsha Blackburn. (Links: Middle Tennessee Poll, Public Policy Polling). That’s not enough to tilt the race for us in April, but the Republicans could find themselves having to defend this seat for dear life. Bredesen is perhaps the only Democrat in Tennessee who could win.

US Senate Elections 2018: February 8, 2018 Analysis

One month into tracking the US Senate races across the country in 2018, and we have no ratings changes. It remains early in the election cycle, and many potentially vulnerable senators have yet to draw top-shelf opposition. One that we think has is Joe Donnelly in Indiana, who will get a tough run in the red Hoosier State from whichever congressman wins the GOP primary. This assumes that the primary doesn’t badly wound the Republican winner.

US Senate Elections 2018: January 1, 2018 Analysis

Our first 2018 US Senate predictions have a Democratic gain of one, which would bring a 50-50 split to the chamber. While the Democrats have a realistic chance of taking the Senate, there is a limit to how well they can do. Further, if they take a majority, it will be a slim one. Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming are very unlikely to flip, giving the Republicans 48 seats no matter what. The Democrats’ best-case scenario, which is taking Arizona, Nevada, and even a surprise win in Tennessee gets them 52. Should they fail to take Tennessee with Bob Corker retiring, that’s 51.

Had Doug Jones not won in Alabama, the above scenario would see a likely maximum of 51 seats for the Democrats, with a more reasonable expectation of 50. The latter, by the way, is a Republican majority with Mike Pence as the tiebreaker. Now it’s more conceivable that the Democrats can squeak out a majority. Yet, what if something goes wrong in red Indiana, or the GOP holds in Arizona, which hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988? While this is supposed to be a favorable electoral climate for Democrats, the math is thin and they have to win all their close races.

You can see the American election calendar at any time by visiting that page.

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