That’s it for the potentially competitive State Senate races. So, let’s take a look at the Senate landscape and ask some important questions. First, do Democrats have a chance to take a majority? The answer is no, not this year and not under the current map.
Do Democrats have a chance to roll back Republicans’ veto-proof majority in the upper chamber? There’s a possibility, but they face a complicated path.
First, the good news for Democrats: Republicans aren’t in a position to gain any Senate seats of their own. They’re pretty much reached their ceiling of 34 seats. Democrats have been reduced to black majority seats and a few white liberal districts. So, there’s that.
Now, the bad news. Democrats failed to recruit strong candidates in a number of competitive seats. Even a Democratic wave in November probably wouldn’t be enough to unseat several conceivably vulnerable Republicans simply due to this fact. The way I see it, there are only six seats that will be reasonably competitive in any scenario.
So, how do Democrats wipe out Republicans’ veto-proof majorities? First, they have to win two of the Senate contests where they’re most competitive: SD-09 in New Hanover County and SD-17 in Southwestern Wake County. Those are swing seats where Democrats recruited strong candidates. Currently, I’m rating them as Leans Republican. Winning those seats would give Democrats 18 seats (they need 21 seats to make a Governor Roy Cooper’s veto power effective).
Next, they need to beat Chad Barefoot in Senate District 18. That’s also rated as Leans Republican. Barefoot has proven to be a tough campaigner, but taking him out is doable in a Democratic wave. That gives Democrats 19 seats.
After that, things become a bit more difficult. Democrats have recruited decent candidates in Senate Districts 1 and 50, but those seats have become very Republican recently. And those aren’t suburban seats, so Donald Trump is unlikely to drag down the incumbents there.
Finally, there’s Senate District 27, which is only going to go Democratic in a blue wave. Hillary Clinton would probably need to be winning the state by a substantial margin in order for Trudy Wade to go down.
So, when all is said and done, Democrats better hope for a wave if they hope to roll back Republicans’ veto-proof majorities in the upper chamber. Right now, there’s certainly a possibility of that happening, at least if this week in the Trump campaign is any indication.
Coming soon – analysis of the competitive State House races.
John Wynne is the “conservative voice” at PoliticsNC, where he also provides polling analysis and commentary on legislative campaigns. When not writing about politics, he enjoys gardening and listening to opera. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.