6 Key 2018 Midterm Senate Races to Watch

With the 2018 midterms three weeks away, some on the left are hoping for a “blue wave” to regain control of Congress while others are hoping that conservatives will turn up to ensure that both chambers of Congress stay under Republican control with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.

While some are optimistic about Democrats’ chances to retake control of the House, the route to retaking the Senate seems less likely with at least 10 Democrats defending seats in states Trump won in 2016.

“The challenge is undeniable … it’s an uneven playing field,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez recently told The Washington Post.

Yet, history has not looked kindly on the party of the sitting president during midterm elections. As PolitiFact notes, the president’s party has averaged losses of two Senate seats in midterm elections dating back to 1862. The GOP only has a 51-seat majority as it stands right now, with 47 Democrats and two Independents.

With 35 Senate races up for grabs, there is no telling what could happen on Nov. 6 and who will be most energized to vote in a political climate where most voters don’t vote in the midterms.

In the following pages are six 2018 senate races that are considered toss-ups or are races in which polling data disfavors the incumbent.

Missouri

One of the more high profile Senate races of 2018 is incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill versus Republican Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

The race also includes Libertarian, Green Party and Independent candidates that could act like wildcards in this race.

Hawley is a former clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and previously worked for the religious freedom law firm Becket, where he wrote briefs in cases such as Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Hawley is endorsed by the National Right to Life, while McCaskill is endorsed by Planned Parenthood.

In 2016, Donald Trump won 57.1 percent of the vote in the Show-Me State, while Hillary Clinton picked up 38 percent and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won 3.5 percent of the vote.

A Real Clear Politics average of available polling data shows that Hawley has a 46.3 percent to 45.8 percent lead over McCaskill, who has been in office since 2007.

Nevada

Republican Sen. Dean Heller appears to be the one Republican senator in most danger of losing his seat in 2018.

In 2016, Clinton won Nevada with 47.9 percent of the vote to Trump’s 45.5 percent. A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that Heller has a slim 46 percent to 44.3 percent advantage over Democrat challenger Jacky Rosen, who has represented Nevada’s third congressional district on Capitol Hill since 2017 and has the backing of former President Barack Obama.

Heller came under fire for his support of newly confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. While much was made last month about the four decades’ old sexual misconduct accusation made against Kavanaugh by Christine Ford, Heller was quoted as saying that the issue was merely a “hiccup.”

Heller has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Since Trump took office, FiveThirtyEight reports that Heller has voted in line with Trump’s positions 92 percent of the time.

Florida

A Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson in a neck-and-neck race with two-term Florida Gov. Rick Scott. Both are averaging 46.3 percent in the polls.

Trump won Florida in 2016 with a 49 percent plurality over Clinton, who had 47.8 percent of the vote.

Nelson, who has been in office since 2001, is the only Democrat in a statewide elected office in Florida.

While Nelson is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, Scott is pro-life and signed a bill into law this year to give state funding to pro-life pregnancy centers.

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Source: Christian Post