Democrats are fighting to win seats in a few traditional swing states, and a few unexpected ones to win control of the Senate this election year. After six years of Republican control, Democrats hope to regain the upper hand by winning several key races that could give them the majority. The fate of the Senate rests in the hands of voters of six states now, three of which historically vote Republican.
Twenty-four Republican senators are up for reelection, compared with just ten Democrats, but with widening discontent with the GOP, particularly over Donald Trump's controversial campaign, Democratic Senate candidates have caught up to their Republican opponents. Political analysts are confident in the results of all but six states, which may determine which party takes control of the Senate.
News reports indicate Hillary Clinton has some $150 million in campaign funds, which she could decide to give to the campaigns of Democratic senators, though the FBI's announcement that it will renew investigations into her private email server may lead her to spend the money on her own campaign.
Indiana - Democrat Evan Bayh is running after having been an Indiana senator from 1999-2011. His opponent, congressman Todd Young, has focused his campaign on emphasizing Bayh's absence from Indiana for the last five years, claiming he abandoned the state and has become a Washington insider. Bayh still holds a lead over Young, though it has dwindled from double to single digits since a string of attack ads from his opponent.
As of Tuesday, RealClear Politics (RCP) polls had Bayh leading by just two points.
Missouri - Republican Senator Roy Blunt was riding off Trump's popularity in the red state, but as the presidential candidate's ratings have slipped, Blunt's have as well. His opponent, Jason Kander, is a young veteran who has mentioned Blunt's deferments from Vietnam to win support in the pro-military state.
Kander released a campaign video in which he assembled an assault rifle blindfolded, which he says he learned to do in his time in the military, while stating his commitment to second amendment rights but also to background checks, ensuring guns stay out of the hands of terrorists.
Blunt, who has served as a senator since 2011, was leading by one single point Friday, according to RCP polls.
Nevada - Senate minority leader democrat Harry Reid will be retiring this year, leaving the Senate race in the diverse state of Nevada up for grabs. Republican candidate Joe Heck has faced criticism recently for his decision to unendorse Trump. Though Heck has carried a strong lead over the past year, his opponent Catherine Cortez Masto has been slowly catching up in recent months. It's difficult to poll the Hispanic vote in Nevada, which may be the determining factor in this race.
Cortez Masto was leading by 6 points Friday, according to RCP polls.
New Hampshire - A recent poll released by the University of New Hampshire shows Democratic governor Maggie Hassan winning a strong lead over incumbent Kelly Ayotte, though analysts and citizens alike are skeptical. Ayotte only recently disavowed Donald Trump this month, following harsh criticism for her saying he was a role model for children. Vice President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders have thrown their support behind Hassan in one of the closest races in the country.
Ayotte held a 6-point lead over her opponent Friday, according to RCP polls.
North Carolina - In the southern state of North Carolina, incumbent Richard Burr, who vowed not to campaign until October, is running against democrat and former state legislator Deborah Ross. Trump is trailing in the historically red state, and the GOP, including republican governor Pat McCrory, is suffering after passing widely unpopular legislation, including the infamous "bathroom bill" which critics say puts transgender people at risk as they are forced to use the bathroom which corresponds with their gender at birth.
Still, Burr held a narrow 1-point lead over Ross by Friday, according to RCP polls.
Pennsylvania - The race in Pennsylvania is relatively focused on the presidential candidates, with democratic challenger Katie McGinty strongly backing and backed by Hillary Clinton, and calling out her opponent, incumbent Pat Toomey, for not yet declaring whether he would be voting for Donald Trump. McGinty would be Pennsylvania's first female senator.
McGinty was leading by 2 points Friday, according to RCP polls. But more than most other democratic Senate candidates, McGinty may see a drop in numbers following the FBI's renewed investigation of Hillary Clinton's emails.