A week out, here are the most competitive Senate races

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • Georgia tops list of most competitive
  • Kansas, North Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado all within 3 points.
  • If polls are right, they point to a narrow GOP majority

Down to the wire: We’ve written a lot about the top takeovers, with Republicans needing to net six seats to take control of the U.S. Senate. But what about the closest races? And a lot of them are close. Of the 36 states where Senate contests are happening, only 17 are considered potentially competitive. And of those, 10 are still within 5 points in the polls and five of those are within just 3 points. It could go either way on Election Night (or beyond) and knowing who controls the Senate will very likely come down to the wire. But there’s a consistency here, tipping toward Republicans. Give them Montana, South Dakota, and West Virginia for three. If the polls are right, Republicans will take control, because Louisiana, Arkansas and Alaska are all tilting toward the GOP — unless Democrats pick off Georgia or Pat Roberts loses in Kansas. Here are the most competitive Senate races, based on the Real Clear Politics averages, in order of tightest races:

  1. Georgia – Even
  2. Kansas – Orman (I) +1
  3. North Carolina – Hagan (D) +1
  4. Iowa – Ernst (R) +2
  5. New Hampshire – Shaheen (D) +2
  6. Colorado – Gardner (R) +3
  7. Alaska – Sullivan (R) +4
  8. Kentucky – McConnell (R) +4
  9. Arkansas – Cotton (R) +5
  10. Louisiana* – Landrieu +3 on Election Night; Cassidy (R) +7 in runoff
  11. Michigan – Peters (D) +11
  12. Minnesota – Franken (D) +11
  13. Virginia – Warner (D) +11
  14. South Dakota – Rounds (R) +12
  15. Oregon – Merkley (D) +14
  16. West Virginia – Capito (R) +17
  17. Montana – Daines (R) +18

*Louisiana holds essentially an open primary on Nov. 4. If one candidate gets above 50 percent, then they are declared the outright winner. But if no one reaches that mark, then it heads to a Dec. 6 runoff.

What’s in a name? It’s that time of year when the race to the finish brings out some of the, shall we say, more creative attempts to break through. If you were watching the Redskins-Cowboys game in the D.C. area last night, just hoping to catch a good game (and it was, 20-17 Redskins in overtime), then you were probably taken aback when an Ed Gillespie political ad popped up on your screen about the Redskins name. He answers a question he proposed to himself. Answer: He opposes the Redskins changing their name. Roll Call calls it Gillespie’s “Hail Mary.” As NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins tweeted, “I think @EdWGillespie would win A LOT more votes if he promised to get rid of Dan Snyder.”

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Cleveland. What document is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty’s tablet and who was the principal author? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to David Schooler ‏(@GandTMan) and EmGusk (@EmGusk) for guessing Monday’s trivia: Teddy Roosevelt is still the youngest person to assume of the office of the presidency; who is the runner up? The answer was: JFK.


  • President Obama’s approval rating sits at 43 percent, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. The poll also showed, among likely voters, that 50 percent would vote for Republicans and 44 percent would vote for Democrats if the election were held today for the House of Representatives.

  • More than 8.6 million people have voted already, and Republicans have narrowed Democrats’ early voting advantage in places like Iowa, Reid Wilson reports.

  • A USA Today/Suffolk University poll released Tuesday shows Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu leading Rep. Bill Cassidy 36 to 35 percent. But in a head-to-head matchup between just the two of them, Cassidy has an edge of 48 to 41 percent.

  • More outsiders are getting in on the neck and neck Iowa Senate race. The National Education Association is up with a new ad claiming that Republican Joni Ernst wants to cut “almost a billion dollars from Iowa schools.”

  • The National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling their remaining ad spending in South Dakota now that former Republican Gov. Mike Rounds’ lead has stabilized.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., released a new ad that talks about making campaign ads … and it ends with him petting bloodhounds.

  • Americans for Responsible Solutions, the PAC started by former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, attacks Iowa Republican Joni Ernst in a new ad alleging that she supports a loophole that would let domestic abusers get guns.

  • Democrats are not having a good midterm election, but there is one issue they’re doing well on with voters: the minimum wage.

  • Business resumes cut both ways for Republicans. On Monday, former Dollar General CEO David Perdue defended his outsourcing record near what was once a Sara Lee plant in Georgia, saying, “One man does not decimate an entire industry.”

  • Not only is Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s job at risk, writes Dan Balz, but he’s “at risk of becoming an object lesson in the limits of conservative governance in a conservative state.”

  • The nephew of Phil Robertson, the “Duck Dynasty” star, is fighting to unseat “kissing congressman” Vance McAllister, R-La., and he’s getting some help from his uncle in a new campaign ad. In the spot, Robertson says to the camera, “Bibles and guns brought us here and bibles and guns will keep us here. Zach Dasher believes in both.”

  • Another candidate getting an ad endorsement is Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, from former President Bill Clinton.

  • Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is launching a new ad praising Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts for voting against sending money to “countries that hate us.” Paul will campaign in Kansas on Tuesday.

  • Campaigning for Gov. Rick Scott in Florida, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was forced to answer questions about the release of the quarantined nurse his state is sending home to Maine.

  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has to decide soon whether he’ll be running for the Democratic nod in 2016. But for now, he’s shown no interest in contrasting himself with Hillary Clinton. Instead, he criticizes Mr. Obama on everything from failing to build the party to his handling of the border crisis.

  • Democrats aren’t just running against President Obama this election; they’re also distancing themselves from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

  • The Portland, Maine, ad market has gone to the bears.

  • Money is pouring into politics, even when there’s no race. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is running unopposed, but somehow he has still managed to rack up just under $1 million in campaign spending.

  • “Voter shaming” mailers have landed in Alaska.

  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.


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