Hotline’s Senate Rankings: The Senate Seats Most Likely to Flip in 2016

Aug. 13, 2015, 1:01 a.m.

Much has changed since our spring Sen­ate power rank­ings. Some pre­vi­ously un­ex­pec­ted can­did­ates like Alan Grayson and Joe Heck have jumped in, while some an­ti­cip­ated ones like Kay Hagan have passed on the 2016 elec­tions. One thing we do know, though, is that the race for con­trol of the Sen­ate re­mains pre­cari­ously bal­anced between the two parties.

Three clear tiers of Sen­ate races have emerged 15 months away from the next elec­tion, when Demo­crats would need to win four seats (five if they lose the White House) to re­cap­ture con­trol of the cham­ber.

Re­pub­lic­ans look more likely than not right now to lose two blue-state seats. But after that, it’s far too early to say wheth­er one party or the oth­er holds a defin­it­ive ad­vant­age in five toss-up seats—four held by Re­pub­lic­ans and one by re­tir­ing Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er Harry Re­id.

After that, an­oth­er hand­ful of five swing states could po­ten­tially come in­to play later—but only if something dra­mat­ic hap­pens. Ul­ti­mately, many if not all of these races are go­ing to track closely with the pres­id­en­tial cam­paign, but each party is still man­euv­er­ing and pre­par­ing to raise and spend mil­lions of dol­lars in the hope that a per­cent­age-point swing here or there could end up swinging the Sen­ate.

Without fur­ther ado, here’s our look at the 2016 Sen­ate land­scape, ranked in terms of which seats look most likely to change hands next year:

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) speaks during a news conference. National Journal
The Honorable Ron Johnson (R-WI), Chairman, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs delivers keynote remarks. National Journal
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (2nd L) speaks to members of the media as Senate Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) (L) and Senator John Thune (R-SD) (3rd L) listen after the Senate Republican weekly policy luncheon November 19, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Senate Republicans participated in the luncheon to discuss Republican agendas.  National Journal
Senate Budget Committee member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) listens to testimony from Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall during a hearing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 17, 2015 in Washington, DC. Hall told the committee that federal debt would climb to over 100-percent of the total GDP by 2040 without major spending course correction. Chip Somodevilla AFP/Getty
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 06: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) walks with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) toward Marine One to depart the White House November 6, 2013 in Washington, DC. President Obama is traveling to Dallas, Texas to attend fundraisers and talk about the Affordable Health Care Act. National Journal
Senator John McCain looks on during a meeting with Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah at the Sapedar Palace in Kabul on December 25, 2014.  National Journal

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