The 10 Most Important Mid-Term Senate Races

Posted by Jolie Peters
(@Jolie Peters)

The mid-term elections are less than a week away, and in true mass media form, there’s A LOT of political noise out there. This noise is designed to be an overwhelming distraction so that the average folk like you and me have no ‘effin clue who to support and where to cast our vote. Don’t worry, your Plan3000 pals have compiled a list of the 10 most important senate races so that you can maintain laser-sharp focus come November 6th. Why are these particular races important? As republicans cling to a 51-49 house majority, the results in these 10 states will determine who takes control of the chamber.

No matter if you typically stand for blue or red, we recommend educating yourself on the following politicians so that you can cast your vote next Tuesday in a way that’s meaningful to your morals and core values. Don’t let the biased media sway your opinion before you’re properly informed. And once you’re woke about each of these candidates, even if you don’t live in the states they’re running, take some time this weekend to educate your friends and family. It could be a matter of one vote that changes history forever. You can be that change-maker. 

Arizona: Martha McSally vs. Kyrsten Sinema

The Republican: Martha McSally

The Democrat: Kyrsten Sinema

We hate to send you into another Kavanaugh spiral, but remember the name Jeff Flake? You might remember him as the republican senator who voted to postpone the Kavanaugh hearing after two brave women bombarded him in an elevator. Well that dude is retiring, which makes the race in Arizona particularly interesting. Despite voting yes on most of Trumps’ agenda, Flake has been an outspoken proponent of our pres. For that reason, we’ve seen a tightening race in this particular state. While Sinema has lead the polls nearly all year, McSally has shrunk the dem’s lead to .2 points! McSally has revved up support by directly addressing her gender, and her history of sexual abuse during her campaign. We got a real nail biter here, folks! Get your popcorn – or salsa and chips in true Arizona-fashion – ready.

Indiana: Joe Donnelly vs. Mike Braun

The Republican: Mike Braun

The Democrat: Joe Donnelly

Fun fact: Indiana is one of the least-polled states in the country, which makes it hard AF to figure out who is actually leading the polls. What we do know is that Donelly, former U.S. Representative, was elected into senate in 2012. Why is this race so contentious? Indiana happens to be Vice Pres, Mike Pence’s home state. Trump won Indiana with 56% of the vote in 2016, leaving the nation curious as to where the state will swing come mid-terms.

Nevada: Dean Heller vs. Jacky Rosen

The Republican: Dean Heller

The Democrat: Jacky Rosen

Republican Dean Heller has been the Nevada State Senator since 2011. He is the only Republican Senator up for reelection in a state that Hillary Clinton won during the 2016 race. Heller received some bad press after his wishy-washy support of the Obamacare Repeal, leaving space for Dem Jacky Rosen to make some waves. The polls have been flip-flopping in Nevada, meaning this race is a total toss-up.


Missouri: Claire McCaskill vs. Josh Hawley

The Republican: Josh Hawley

The Democrat: Claire McCaskill

You may have heard of Missouri’s former Republican governor, Eric Greitens, as he was recently ensnarled in several public scandals, including sexual misconduct, before he was forced to resign. While McCaskill has been serving Missouri since 2006, Hawley turned the hate volume up in regards to Greitens and was instrumental in his demise. Hawley is a staunch proponent of the pro-life movement, while while McCaskill believes in expanding job and business opportunities, cutting wasteful spending and combatting sexual violence. This has helped his case in a state that also went red in 2016. With only 2 points separating the two (Hawley’s in the lead) this is another state that will come down to a matter of votes.

Florida: Bill Nelson vs. Rick Scott

The Republican: Rick Scott

The Democrat: Bill Nelson

The Parkland Shooting and the storm in Puerto Rico have set an interesting stage for the election in Florida. Bill Nelson is a Senate senior who has been serving his seat since 2000 (seems like lightyears ago). However, Rick Scott earned snaps from both Dems and Republicans when he stood up to the NRA after the tragic school shooting occurred. What makes this race particularly interesting is the budget behind each candidate. Scott has money to blow, and has outspent Nelson in a 4-to-1 margin. Experts believe his spending advantage has greatly helped his campaign, but Nelson is still currently leading by a small number in the polls. Which way will this sunny state sway? You’ll have to wait to find out.

Montana: Jon Tester vs. Matt Rosendale

The Republican: Matt Rosendale

The Democrat: Jon Tester

If you follow Trump on Twitter, you’ve probably already heard about Jon Tester. Spoiler alert: he’s not a huge fan of the current Senator who won his seat in 2006. Tester played a part in sinking Ronny Jackson, Trump’s pick for Veteran Affairs. This did not bode well with our current administration. However, despite the fact that Montana has been increasingly turning red, the approval ratings are still in Tester’s favor and he’s leading the polls by 4.2 points. While that number may seem like a comparatively large lead when considering the other races we’ve highlighted, it’s important to note that Rosendale started with a way larger gap and has increasingly closed it over the last few months.

Texas: Ted Cruz vs. Beto O’Rourke

The Republican: Ted Cruz

The Democrat: Beto O’Rourke

Ok, where do we even begin. Because of Cruz’s high profile, this particular battle has probably received the most media coverage. Considering Texas is a notoriously red state, it’s been more fun to binge watch what’s going down between these two than it has been to binge watch just about anything on Netflix recently (side note: do better Netflix, you’re slacking). O’Rourke is a rookie, and his Bernie Sander-esque policies have gotten him far with the millennial crowd (his dreamy looks haven’t hurt him either). As you may remember. Cruz was the closest candidate to trumping trump (HAH!) in 2016. Quite honestly, what’s shocking about this particular race is that there’s even a chance O’Rourke could win. We can’t wait to see what happens here.

Tennessee: Marsha Blackburn vs. Phil Bredesen

The Republican: Marsha Blackburn

The Democrat: Phil Bredesen

If this state’s election has taught us anything, it’s don’t sleep in the Swifty’s. If you’ve been living under a rock, than you might not know that Taylor Swift recently broke her political silence to back Phil Bredesen, which resulted in an overwhelming number of voter registrations. Since Republican senator Bob Corker is retiring, it leaves space for two new candidates to compete for his spot. One of the most contentious issues in this state is abortion, and Blackburn has been an outspoken pro-lifer. If Taylor Swift’s backing didn’t give Bredesen enough fuel for his fire, this may help her cause.

West Virginia: Joe Manchin vs. Patrick Morrisey

The Republican: Patrick Morrisey

The Democrat: Joe Manchin

We’re not sure what’s going on in West Virginia, but this race is as weird as it gets. Let’s start with Joe Manchin, who has been holding the Senate seat since 2010. Manchin has a reputation for being the most conservative democrat in the Senate. He is the only one who voted to confirm Kavanaugh. Experts are concerned that his stance on pressing issues may leave more progressive dems feeling uninspired to hit the polls. Patrick Morrisey is State Attorney General, but has received criticism from the GOP for being a carpetbagger, and across the board for his family’s ties to an opioid manufacturer. Similar to the 2016 election, there’s a mix of “anti-establishment” and “it can’t get any worse” emotions coming from this state. For that reason, we have to just wait and see how this craziness plays out.

North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp vs. Kevin Cramer

The Republican: Heidi Heitkamp

The Democrat: Kevin Cramer

Strong Republican fundamentals and a credible Democrat incumbent make this state’s race an interesting one. While North Dakota voted red in 2016, Trump’s approval rating has dropped tremendously in the state which leaves this election up to chance. Cramer has aligned himself closely with Trump to help his chances of winning, but Heitkamp is clinging to her vote that helped keep Obamacare in existence. What’s really interesting about this race is that Cramer currently has a staggering 14 point lead, even though Heitkamp has been in the Senate since 2012.