All the ways the Democrats could flip the Senate or House

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Democrats have a really good shot at winning the House majority on Tuesday night and a considerably less good shot at winning control of the Senate.

But where do those efforts stand right now? We’ll regularly update this post with the results and scenarios that suggest where things stand.

The House

The majority math in the House runs through approximately 30 races regarded as “toss-ups” by the Cook Political Report — almost all of them seats held by Republicans. As long as everything else breaks the way we expect, Democrats would need to win just 7 of these 30 races to gain the 23-seat gain they need. Those would seem to be pretty good odds.

(Basically, Democrats are favored in 18 GOP-held districts, while Republicans are favored in two Democratic seats, which would put Democrats at plus-16 to start out. That means they need seven more to get to plus-23.)

Here’s a list of those 30 toss-up seats, which we will update as they are called for Republicans or Democrats.

Districts Republican wins Democratic wins Undecided
1 CA-10
2 CA-25
3 CA-39
4 CA-45
5 CA-48
6 FL-15
7 FL-26
8 GA-6
9 IA-3
10 IL-14
11 KS-2
12 KY-6
13 ME-2
14 MN-1
15 MI-8
16 NC-9
17 NC-13
18 NJ-3
19 NJ-7
20 NM-2
21 NY-19
22 NY-22
23 OH-12
24 PA-1
25 PA-10
26 TX-7
27 TX-32
28 UT-4
29 VA-2
30 VA-7

If we broaden it out to include districts that are considered likely to flip and ones that “lean” toward one party or another, we get a universe of 75 vulnerable Republican seats and just six vulnerable Democratic ones. Democrats need to win 29 of those 81 total seats to win the majority. That seems less favorable, but again, many of those 81 are already seen as favoring Democrats — 21 of them, in fact.

Here’s how that currently looks. Just remember you need to see 29 total blue dots in the “Vulnerable D” and “Vulnerable R” categories combined. As long as three-eighths of them are blue as the night goes on, Democrats are on-track for a majority.

The Senate

The majority math in the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of two seats, likely boils down to three states at the minimum: North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. Democrats need to win at least one of them to achieve the net gain of two seats they need for a majority. But that also requires them to hold on to several other seats in red states that they are defending.

It’s tough.

The most likely scenario for Democrats flipping the Senate would seem to run through Tennessee, where former governor Phil Bredesen (D) has been polling close to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). If Democrats win that race, gain two other apparently easier pickup opportunities in Arizona and Nevada, and lose a seat in North Dakota, as is expected, that would be plus-2. They would have a 51-49 Senate majority. (A 50-50 Senate would effectively be under GOP control, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie.)

Here’s how that would look on a map featuring just the 10 states that are “toss-up” or lean toward flipping by Cook:

From there, you can basically just shuffle the states how you want. If Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) wins in Texas, it would allow Democrats to lose a state like Missouri or Indiana.

Democrats basically need to win 8 of these 10 races, but nine of them were red states in 2016, and seven of them went strongly for Trump. And it is just as easy — if not easier — to see how the math quickly falls apart for Democrats if they lose red states like Indiana and Missouri.

This would be a one-seat Republican gain, and that’s hardly unthinkable.



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