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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

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Government organizations - US

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Sherrod Brown

Tammy Baldwin

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US Senate

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.

Confirmed Cases: 30901

Reported Deaths: 1964
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9040531
Lake3191167
Cass15796
Allen121365
St. Joseph113234
Hendricks110365
Hamilton109291
Johnson1065102
Elkhart93827
Madison57658
Bartholomew46733
Porter46521
Clark45038
LaPorte38721
Tippecanoe3563
Jackson3531
Howard34417
Delaware34027
Hancock31527
Shelby31121
Floyd31138
Boone27935
Morgan25724
Vanderburgh2402
Decatur22131
White2128
Montgomery21114
Clinton2041
Harrison18321
Grant17820
Noble17420
Dubois1712
Greene16723
Warrick16326
Dearborn16221
Monroe15810
Henry1556
Lawrence14222
Miami1351
Vigo1357
Putnam1297
Jennings1264
Orange12222
Scott1153
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll882
Daviess8116
Steuben762
Newton7210
Wabash722
Kosciusko711
Wayne665
Marshall611
LaGrange592
Washington521
Jasper521
Fayette504
Fulton461
Rush452
Jefferson411
Jay410
Clay381
Pulaski380
Randolph373
Whitley342
Brown331
Sullivan311
Starke303
Owen301
DeKalb281
Knox240
Benton240
Crawford230
Perry230
Huntington222
Tipton221
Wells220
Switzerland190
Blackford191
Fountain172
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer141
Gibson132
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Martin100
Union80
Vermillion80
Pike50
Unassigned0152

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 31408

Reported Deaths: 1956
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5097224
Cuyahoga3851207
Marion260821
Hamilton2349128
Lucas2087228
Pickaway203835
Mahoning1317169
Summit1204159
Butler75025
Stark67089
Lorain63759
Montgomery57814
Trumbull51442
Columbiana47750
Belmont38112
Miami34630
Warren31919
Portage30958
Tuscarawas3062
Delaware29211
Ashtabula27431
Medina27419
Wood26945
Lake26312
Geauga25029
Wayne24850
Fairfield2333
Licking20110
Clark1956
Allen18431
Richland1793
Mercer1783
Clermont1775
Darke14716
Erie1374
Madison1327
Washington11618
Morrow1041
Crawford1043
Greene925
Ottawa877
Putnam8514
Monroe719
Sandusky6510
Hocking643
Ross622
Jefferson622
Auglaize583
Williams511
Huron491
Hancock481
Muskingum440
Clinton430
Union420
Hardin380
Logan380
Shelby372
Wyandot362
Fulton350
Fayette340
Defiance322
Preble301
Guernsey300
Carroll282
Lawrence280
Champaign261
Brown241
Coshocton240
Knox231
Holmes221
Vinton190
Highland181
Perry171
Seneca172
Ashland170
Henry140
Scioto140
Athens131
Paulding130
Jackson110
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Meigs60
Pike60
Noble50
Morgan50
Van Wert50
Unassigned00
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Huntington
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Decatur
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