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Opinion These are the 9 Senate seats most likely to flip. Things don’t look good for Republicans.

We’ve been away for a bit, watching and writing as protesters fight for a better world. But now we’re back with a somewhat less inspiring type of political movement: It’s Round 64 of the Power Ranking. I’m David Byler.

The Commentary

For over a year, the Ranking Committee has been laser-focused on presidential politics — who is going to win the Democratic primary, the veepstakes, the race to be the next outsider candidate and more. But if the Trump-Pence or Biden-TBD team wants to accomplish their goals in 2021, they’ll need to do the super-fun-and-not-at-all-arduous work of moving legislation through Congress.

And that’s why the battle for Senate control matters so much.

From a 30,000-foot view, this map looks bad for the GOP. Republicans are playing a lot of defense: They’re defending purple seats in Colorado, Maine, Arizona and North Carolina, and they might end up having trouble in red states such as Iowa, Montana, Georgia or even Texas. Democrats, on the other hand, don’t have many weak spots. Doug Jones will very likely lose the Alabama Senate race, and Republicans could try for a win in swing-y Michigan or red-trending Minnesota. But for the most part, the blue team is playing offense this year.

National poll numbers don’t look great for the GOP, either. President Trump’s approval rating is low, and Joe Biden leads him by an eight-point margin per the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. Any election forecaster worth their salt will tell you that Senate elections are at least partly nationalized — that is, if Trump ends up losing bigly in Colorado and North Carolina, there’s a good chance Republican Sens. Cory Gardner and Thom Tillis will go down with the ship. This works both ways — if Trump manages to pull off a comeback victory, he could save some Republican senators along the way.

But these Senate races aren’t determined by national numbers alone. Details really matter; candidate quality, issue positions, strategy, money and all sorts of other local factors will shape these races. So this week, the Ranking Committee has decided to pick the seats that are most likely to flip.

— David Byler

The Ranking

Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.

Senate Seat
1. (TIE)
Arizona (Martha McSally)
R to D
1. (TIE)
Alabama (Doug Jones)
D to R
Colorado (Cory Gardner)
R to D
Maine (Susan Collins)
R to D
North Carolina (Thom Tillis)
R to D
Montana (Steve Daines)
R to D
Kansas (open)
R to D
8. (TIE)
Georgia (Kelly Loeffler)
R to D
8. (TIE)
Iowa (Joni Ernst)
R to D

Previous round: Round 63 | Biden vetting rumors are circulating. Here are the VP finalists we see.

From the Annotations

Susan Collins stayed in D.C. when Trump visited her state, but she cannot conceal her votes for Brett Kavanaugh and for acquittal on impeachment. Independent-minded Mainers didn’t sign up for a Trump enabler, which is precisely what Collins has become.
— Jennifer Rubin, on Maine
Alabama is still ... Alabama.
— Karen Tumulty, on … Alabama

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, get your fill on these folks before their defeats — America has at last decided that it’s done with monuments for losers.

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