Here Are the 12 Most Competitive Senate Races in the Country

This Oct. 15, 2013, photo, shows a view of the U.S. Capitol building at dusk in Washington. Even if Congress reaches a last-minute or deadline-busting deal to avert a federal default and fully reopen the government, elected officials are likely to return to their grinding brand of brinkmanship, perhaps repeatedly. House-Senate talks are barely touching the underlying causes of debt-and-spending stalemates that pushed the country close to economic crises in 2011, last December and again this month. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by, from left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, speaks with reporters just off the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, as lawmakers struggle with a stopgap spending bill that would prevent a partial government shutdown when the budget year ends next week. Tea party-leaning members of the House GOP caucus successfully attached language to that bill last week that would strip funding for President Barack Obama's health care program. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, accompanied by, from left, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Chris Cillizza, Aaron Blake, and Sean Sullivan, THE WASHINGTON POST

 

(The Washington Post)—Now is the time in an election cycle where the tectonic political plates undergirding key Senate races begin to shift in real and meaningful ways. Millions are spent. Debates happen. People start paying attention.

And so, before we ranked the 12 most competitive races in the fight for the Senate majority this fall, we chatted — via e-mail — with a half dozen strategists in both parties to get their sense of which races are moving where. With a few exceptions, their impressions jibed — private polling rarely lies — and suggested that Republicans should feel good but not great about their chances of picking up the six seats they need to retake Senate control in November.

In pursuit of clarity, we’ve broken down their thoughts into three categories:

1) Races that Democrats feel good about/Republicans don’t.

2) Races that Republicans feel good about/Democrats don’t .

3) Races about which opinion is mixed.

Obviously this is not a comprehensive guide to where the races will end up, but it reflects the thinking of several well-connected operatives who are seeing lots and lots of good polling. (Note: These categories don’t include three open Democratic seats — West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana — that everyone agrees will flip to Republicans.)

 

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