The GOP now only holds a one seat majority in the Senate since Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore, who faced numerous sexual misconduct allegations, in the Alabama Senate special election.

That loss made the 2018 elections even more crucial for the GOP. Is it possible for the party to keep or even add to their majority? Or will Democrats pounce and take over? Politico listed these races as the ones to watch in the new year.

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D) Reelection

Politico listed this race #6 in its list, but I think this is the top one and a race I honestly think the GOP could take. Manchin is a moderate Democrat, well known for working with the GOP, voting with the GOP, etc.

Despite that, the people of West Virginia may choose to replace him with an actual GOP senator. The state overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump with 69% of the vote. Plus Governor Jim Justice switched to the Republican party in August.

He also has a stain on him given the fact that his daughter is CEO of Mylan, which came under fire after it hiked up the price of their EpiPen, a life saving allergy shot.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Rep. Evan Jenkins have thrown their hats into the race against him. Polls have shown Manchin with a lead over both so far. That could change.

Missouri’s Claire McCaskill (D) Reelection

Trump also easily won Missouri over failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, which could spell trouble for incumbent Claire McCaskill. She also faces a tough opponent: Attorney General Josh Hawley. The man has received support from Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Lots of super PACs have thrown their support behind him, too. Unfortunately for the Democrats, Hawley’s top opponents in the primary dropped out.

Arizona’s Jeff Flake (R) Retiring

Jeff Flake shocked everyone a few months ago when he decided he wouldn’t run for reelection. Politico says he chose that route since it “became clear he had no path to winning reelection.” Trump won the state, but it has shown blue popping up recently. The GOP could keep the seat with Rep. Martha McSally, “one of the first female fighter pilots in the Air Force.” She even received praise from McConnell last week.

She ran against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2016, but lost.

But it may not be McSally since she will face Republican Kelli Ward for the seat. In a state that is slowly going blue, McSally may be the choice since she has shown to be a moderate Republican.

Politico reported that Rep. Kyrsten Sinema may “be the DSCC’s best recruit of the cycle” and has also grown a reputation as a moderate Democrat.

Basically it seems you have to be purple to win Arizona.

Another Arizona Race?

Politico didn’t list this one, but I will. No matter your feelings on John McCain, cancer sucks and it’s always sad. McCain is suffering from brain cancer, stage 4 glioblastoma, which is a “rare and highly aggressive form of the cancer.” The survival rate is 14 months and only 5-10 percent of patients live past 5 years.

He missed the Senate vote for the GOP tax bill so he could fly out to Arizona after receiving treatment and celebrate Christmas with his family.

I assumed he did this because it might be the last Christmas with his family. Other hints came after his daughter Meghan McCain moved up her wedding to Ben Domenech.

So there is a chance Arizona may face another Senate election in 2018 if something happens to McCain.

North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp (D) Reelection

Like West Virginia, Trump easily won North Dakota over Hillary in 2016. Heitkamp has shown some moderate tendencies like Manchin, especially on energy issues, but that may not be enough to win reelection. Politico wrote that she is “trailing Republicans by small margins.” However, the GOP doesn’t have a candidate yet. The party has eyes former state legislator Tom Campbell and Rep. Kevin Cramer. Campbell has decided to run, but Cramer is still thinking about it.

This shocks me considering it could be an easy race for the GOP to win.

Florida’s Bill Nelson (D) Reelection

This has the GOP on the edge of its seat. If Republican Governor Rick Scott jumps into the race it could spell doom for Nelson. Without Scott, Nelson could easily win reelection. Politico wrote that the GOP has imagined Scott “outspending Nelson and forcing Democratic groups to spend in Florida’s multiple expensive markets, limiting their ability to defend other incumbents or go on offense.”


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