While the big race next year is for president, who controls the Senate is also important. Currently, the GOP has a six-seat edge, 53-47. They were able to hold onto the Senate while the House went decisively Democratic last year because Democrats had more seats at risk. Also, it was the moderate Democrats who lost.
Just days after last year’s election, this story was already in print at the business site, CNBC: “The seven senators most likely to lose.”
The  election could have gone worse for Democrats: 26 Democratic senators and independents who caucus with them faced re-election this year, while only nine Republican-held seats were up for grabs. . .[But next year] The GOP is expected to defend 22 seats, including a special election for the late Sen. John McCain’s office, while Democrats are set to face re-election in 12 states. . .
Here are the seven seats most likely to flip in 2020. . .
Alabama (held by Democratic Sen. Doug Jones)
Colorado (held by Republican Sen. Cory Gardner)
Arizona (special election for GOP-held Senate seat)
Maine (held by Republican Sen. Susan Collins)
North Carolina (held by Republican Sen. Thom Tillis)
New Hampshire (held by Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen)
Iowa (held by Republican Sen. Joni Ernst)
Not on that list last year was Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. But that may be changing. The Hill notes that a new poll shows McConnell’s approval rating at 33%–lower than Donald Trump’s!
About 33 percent of registered Kentucky voters polled approve of the job McConnell is doing, while 56 percent disapprove and 11 percent are unsure. Additionally, 32 percent think McConnell “deserves to be reelected,” and 61 percent think it’s “time for someone new.”. . .
Despite low approval ratings, McConnell holds a razor-thin lead against a generic Democratic opponent. About 45 percent of Kentucky voters say they would vote for the Senate leader and 42 percent say they would support a “Democratic opponent.” About 12 percent are unsure. . .
McConnell consistently polls poorly but has been serving in the Senate since 1985. Morning Consult found last month that the Kentucky Republican was the third most unpopular senator in the country, with 47 percent of Kentuckians disapproving with his job performance. He was only more popular than Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who retired, and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who was voted out of office.
In the poll, McConnell led a “generic’ Democrat by three points, but this is Kentucky, where Donald Trump won Kentucky by the largest margin of any Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972, and swept counties across the state.
Democrats think they may have a chance to knock off McConnell—if they find a Democrat who is not just “generic.” The Daily Caller notes that McConnell’s counterpart in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, is trying to talk a woman—with military experience—to run against McConnell.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with failed House candidate and Marine veteran Amy McGrath in January to discuss a possible run against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020, according to a Politico report Tuesday. . .
Republicans painted McGrath, who grew up in Kentucky, as a “Pelosi liberal,” reported The Hill. The Democrat hit back with ads touting her reputation as the first female Marine to fly in an F-18 in combat.
“After 89 combat missions, there’s nothing a party leader can say that can force me to do anything,” McGrath said in one ad. “Congressman, how about you?”
McConnell has to worry about Democrats, but he has not been faring well with conservatives, either. Sean Hannity has called him a “weak, spineless leader.”
Hannity called the senator from Kentucky a “weak, spineless leader who does not keep his word.” He also called on the senator to “retire.”
We noted above that Doug Jones is probably vulnerable in Alabama. We bring it up because Jones’ opponent seemed to be running against McConnell, instead of the Democrat, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Republican Senate primary in Alabama centered on McConnell’s failures. Stephen Bannon, on television before Roy Moore’s victory, declared McConnell guilty of “economic hate crimes” against the middle class. There is delightful timing in Moore winning his primary battle against the McConnell-funded Sen. Luther Strange on the very day that McConnell surrendered in the health-care fight. . .
Since becoming majority leader, McConnell, Ky., has repeatedly sided with more moderate and liberal Republican senators at the expense of those whom the base supports; Ted Cruz. Texas, Mike Lee, Utah, Rand Paul, Ky., and others have routinely been victims of McConnell-generated negative press. . .
The president is forced to work with McConnell and must play the game. But they believe in their hearts that Trump would much prefer a person such as Moore — someone who could be counted on to fight back against McConnell in the Senate.
Kentucky is a Republican State. And McConnell has a history of doing better in the election than in the polls leading up to it. But his battles with Trump, and inability to pass some of Trump’s pet projects, such as killing Obamacare, may dampen Republican support. McConnell is the longest serving Senator in Kentucky history (since 1985). Since 2006, McConnell has been the GOP face in the Senate. But his problem is back home.
With a 49% disapproval rate in 2016, McConnell had the highest disapproval rating of all senators. McConnell has repeatedly been found to have the lowest home state approval rating of any sitting senator.