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GOP Senate Prospects Looking Brighter, Prognosticators Say

Ratings changes in five Senate races are largely favorable for Republicans, though one state is now more favorable for Democrats

Joe Manchin Media

The Cook Political Report announced Thursday that they are changing their race ratings for five midterm Senate contests.

Indiana and Missouri moved from “Lean D” to “Toss Up,” meaning Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) are more vulnerable in the eyes of the prognosticators at Cook.

President Trump carried both states by a massive margin of 19 points in 2016, and each state is producing strong Republican challengers. NTK reported on Monday that Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who recently formed an exploratory committee to challenge McCaskill, has the backing of the Club For Growth, which has set aside $10 million for his would-be campaign.

North Dakota has slipped from “Likely D” to “Lean D.” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is seen as vulnerable in a state Trump won by 36 points in 2016. State Sen. Tom Campbell has jumped in the race on the GOP side, prompting the race rating change. But more well-known challengers may be waiting in the wings.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) was always going to be vulnerable in West Virginia in 2018, and the folks at Cook moved the race from “Likely D” to “Toss Up” as Rep. Evan Jenkins and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey jumped in the race. Trump carried West Virginia by 42 points in 2016.

The only race to move in an unfavorable direction for the GOP is in Nevada where Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a first-term congresswoman, announced she would challenge Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid.