CNN Senate Key Races: Democrats try to rebuild the Blue Wall

Donald Trump busted the Blue Wall in 2016.Democrats are poised to repair it in 2018.With 32 da...

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 6:33 PM
Updated: Oct 5, 2018 6:33 PM

Donald Trump busted the Blue Wall in 2016.

Democrats are poised to repair it in 2018.

Donald Trump

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Sherrod Brown

Tammy Baldwin

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With 32 days until Election Day, CNN is moving Ohio and Wisconsin from Lean Democratic to Likely Democratic in its Key Race Ratings. They join two other Great Lakes states, Michigan and Pennsylvania, as likely Democratic holds.

Together these represent four of the 10 states Trump won where Democratic incumbent senators are seeking re-election and a promising sign for Democrats hoping to overcome the favorable map Republicans enjoy this cycle.

The President won the Buckeye State by eight points -- a cushion of more than 440,000 votes. The other three had razor-thin margins. Trump captured them by fewer than 80,000 votes combined.

None of the four have emerged as competitive contests, a combination of solid campaigns being run by Democratic incumbents and GOP struggles to land top-tier recruits for those races.

Michigan and Pennsylvania have been firmly fixed in the Likely Democratic column for much of the year. In the Wolverine State, Sen. Debbie Stabenow holds a commanding lead in polls against businessman and veteran John James. The same is true for Sen. Bob Casey, who is facing a challenge from GOP Rep. Lou Barletta in the Keystone State.

In Ohio, two-term Sen. Sherrod Brown has developed a strong personal brand in the state, with a majority of likely voters holding a favorable impression of the Democrat according to a recent NBC News/Marist survey. Just 31% said they had an unfavorable opinion of the senator.

Brown and Casey were both first elected in 2006, taking seats from Republicans in a year when Democrats seized control of both the House and the Senate.

In some respects Brown is more aligned with the President than his opponent, GOP Rep. Jim Renacci, on issues such as trade. Brown has been a longtime critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade pacts. Renacci has been supportive of the President's strategy on trade, but he's backed agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea in the past.

Brown has spent $8.5 million on television compared with about $500,000 for Renacci, according to data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG. The incumbent has another $4 million budgeted for the final days of the campaign while his challenger does not have any future broadcast reservations.

The polls in Ohio show Brown up double-digits. While the final margin is expected to be closer, Brown's re-election prospects do not appear to be in any serious jeopardy.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin finds herself in a similar situation in the Badger State.

The first-term senator was the target of millions of dollars in outside spending early in the race, prompting Baldwin to ramp up her fundraising efforts to have the resources necessary to respond to the attacks. The latest Marquette Law School poll found 48% of likely voters in Wisconsin have a favorable view of Baldwin compared with 40% who hold an unfavorable opinion of her.

Baldwin's opponent, state Sen. Leah Vukmir, won a hotly-contested GOP primary in August that drained valuable resources to compete with Baldwin, who despite the flood of early spending entered the general election with an overwhelming financial advantage.

Vukmir is also running out of time to define herself in the race. More voters in the state hold an unfavorable view of her -- 38% -- than favorable view -- 26%. Another 28% don't know enough about Vukmir to form an opinion.

Like Brown, Baldwin holds a clear lead in polls, though given the political polarization in Wisconsin the spread should narrow on Election Day.

With Republicans holding a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, Democrats must gain two seats to win control of the chamber.

Even if Democrats are able to sweep the Great Lakes region, the party still must defend six other seats in state Trump won -- Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and West Virginia. North Dakota appears most vulnerable for a GOP takeover, with a Fox News poll released Wednesday showing GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer leading Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp by 12 points. The others are a mix of Toss-Ups and Lean Democratic in CNN's ratings, but they are all competitive.

Democrats, meanwhile, are targeting four states: Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas. The first three are Toss-Ups races, while Texas leans Republican.

Excluding the Lone Star State, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has described the other nine races as "too close to call and every one of them like a knife fight in an alley."

While Democrats still hold a narrow path to the majority, based on where things stand today it is more likely than not Republicans will retain control of the Senate when the dust settles from November 6.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 587049

Reported Deaths: 9287
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion810691296
Lake44121665
Allen31797541
Hamilton28178303
St. Joseph26684369
Elkhart24057340
Vanderburgh18519213
Tippecanoe17305121
Johnson14398284
Porter14342159
Hendricks13793241
Madison10509212
Vigo10432171
Clark10151129
Monroe9029108
Delaware8782129
LaPorte8721153
Kosciusko784677
Howard7834137
Warrick636790
Hancock633297
Bartholomew624294
Floyd6098105
Wayne5903156
Grant5799109
Dubois541670
Boone531467
Morgan512388
Marshall492484
Henry491164
Cass469060
Noble458757
Dearborn454544
Jackson413145
Shelby401178
Lawrence379475
Clinton363639
Gibson355056
DeKalb336363
Montgomery333851
Harrison326042
Knox325439
Miami308243
Steuben304940
Adams294435
Whitley292325
Wabash291645
Ripley290845
Putnam282447
Huntington281257
Jasper280733
White265738
Daviess260772
Jefferson248538
Fayette241348
Decatur241282
Greene232460
Posey230026
Wells228547
LaGrange223461
Clay216432
Scott216437
Randolph207540
Jennings191335
Sullivan188531
Spencer179917
Fountain178625
Washington175018
Starke170741
Jay162021
Fulton158829
Owen157837
Carroll151315
Orange150533
Rush148118
Perry145327
Vermillion144333
Franklin142533
Parke12788
Tipton127332
Pike113125
Blackford107022
Pulaski94637
Newton89020
Brown85530
Benton84110
Crawford7479
Martin69213
Warren6537
Switzerland6175
Union6063
Ohio4647
Unassigned0374

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 821507

Reported Deaths: 10135
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin96935704
Cuyahoga81526972
Hamilton60913438
Montgomery41445399
Summit33096726
Lucas29981591
Butler29513227
Stark24608400
Warren18792139
Lorain17916207
Mahoning16710335
Lake15255135
Clermont15053104
Delaware1374277
Licking12595132
Trumbull12352301
Fairfield1211380
Greene11532132
Medina11033165
Clark10557264
Wood9901154
Allen9481126
Portage8802105
Miami880173
Richland8748116
Marion7305113
Tuscarawas7095174
Columbiana7047124
Pickaway699850
Wayne6729162
Muskingum665342
Erie5866117
Hancock537090
Ross526087
Scioto514862
Geauga478255
Darke456089
Ashtabula437268
Union429228
Lawrence428951
Mercer423387
Sandusky419062
Seneca411755
Auglaize410959
Huron409138
Shelby408521
Jefferson400466
Belmont392840
Washington367940
Putnam363672
Athens36229
Madison337928
Knox334922
Ashland329138
Fulton324243
Defiance317078
Crawford311968
Preble310034
Brown294419
Logan291829
Ottawa280534
Clinton278143
Williams268966
Highland261318
Jackson255243
Guernsey239425
Champaign239227
Fayette224529
Morrow22194
Perry220517
Holmes217562
Henry208847
Hardin203032
Coshocton197120
Van Wert196244
Wyandot189949
Gallia189126
Adams165515
Pike163416
Hocking161923
Carroll148016
Paulding139021
Noble117540
Meigs102421
Monroe95227
Harrison8578
Morgan78227
Vinton65613
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