- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri are the most vulnerable Democrats heading into the 2018 mid-term elections, according to a new forecast.

Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana also remain top pickup opportunities for Republicans, who are dreaming of gaining a veto proof 60-seat majority.

“We see Donnelly, Heitkamp, and McCaskill as being on shakier ground,” Kyle Kondik, of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said in a new breakdown of the races. “Donnelly and McCaskill lucked out in 2012 when each faced GOP opponents who submarined their campaigns with extremely controversial statements on abortion. Presumably the Democrats will face stronger opposition from more competent candidates this time.”

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“Heitkamp, meanwhile, only won by about a point in 2012 and appears to be in for another hard race,” he said. “These contests all start as coin flips.”

He said there are fewer opportunities for Democrats to flip seats and the top targets could end up being Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and more likely Dean Heller in Nevada.

Republicans now hold a 52- to 48-seat majority over the Senate Democratic caucus.

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