Rough waters for Democratic US Senate hopes….

Larry Sabato’s people game out the chances of Chuck Schumer getting Mitch McConnell’s job as Senate Majority Leader….

….from August….*(Sen .Corker IS Retiring….Sen. Collins is thinking hard about it)

Right now we have four Toss-ups: two held by Republicans, and two held by Democrats. If one assumes a 50-50 split on the Toss-ups, and every other seat goes the way we currently rate it, there would be no net change in the Senate. Given the map, that would be a substantial Democratic accomplishment and a missed opportunity for Republicans. But the election’s a long way off and the potential exists for Republicans to make gains next year, too, even if the president’s approval rating doesn’t improve. That would be an unusual result historically, but history is merely a guide. It guarantees nothing, particularly on a Senate map where Democrats are stretched historically thin.

One final point: It is highly unusual that there have not been any retirements so far*. Usually there are at least a couple of open seats, and typically more than that, according to the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs’ Smart Politics blog. This is just a guess, but there probably will be at least an open seat or two by the time we get to next fall. Maybe one of the long-rumored retirees, like Feinstein in California or Hatch in Utah, ultimately opts to retire after making moves in recent months to run again. Such a retirement would do little to the Senate bottom line because both of those states lean so heavily to one party. More impactful would be a shocker that truly changes the calculus in one of these states — like one of the Toss-up senators making the calculation later this cycle that they don’t have a path to another term, or that they don’t want another term….

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Much has been made of the fact that next year Senate Democrats are defending 10 seats in states Trump won in the presidential race, while Senate Republicans are defending only one seat in a Clinton-won state, held by Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). These represent the vast majority of the 14 total “crossover” seats in the Senate, those held by a party different than the one that captured the state in the 2016 presidential race. The other three crossover-state senators are Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI), a Democrat in a Trump state up for reelection in 2020, and the aforementioned Gardner of Colorado and Collins of Maine, also up for reelection in 2020. So Republicans hold a 52-48 advantage right now despite holding only three seats in Clinton-won states, while Democrats have 11 Trump-state seats and are still in the minority.

That speaks to the GOP advantage in the Senate right now. Even though Trump lost the popular vote by two percentage points, he won 30 states in the Electoral College, while Clinton won only 20. Because all states are created equal in the Senate, the median state in the Electoral College gives us a sense of the GOP tilt of the states overall. In ranking all the states by presidential margin from most to least Republican, the median falls between Arizona and North Carolina, which Trump won by an average of about 3.6 points, so presidential performance in the median Senate seat is roughly 5.5 points to the right of the nation. That’s about the same Republican lean of the median House seat by presidential performance…..

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Update…

Race Rating Change: Flake’s Arizona Senate Seat Moves to Tossup

Ten Democratic senators are running for re-election in states President Donald Trump carried in 2016, yet Republican Jeff Flake looks like the most vulnerable senator in the country right now. Even though Trump won Arizona, Flake’s adversarial relationship with the president has caused him to be vulnerable in the primary and general elections. And Arizona’s emergence as a Democratic takeover opportunity complicates GOP efforts to hold and expand their majority….

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