November 17, 2017
While still facing long odds, a Democratic win in Alabama next month would create a viable path for the party to win back control of the Senate in the midterm elections. As controversy swirls around Republican nominee Roy Moore, that race is now seen as a toss-up by The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections, while Sabato's Crystal Ball has it as Leans Democrat. The most recent poll of the race, from Fox News, has Democrat Doug Jones up by 8 points. That said, Alabama is a deeply red state, where Donald Trump won by 28 points in 2016. Given that the December 12th election is still several weeks out - there is no early voting here - a Jones win is by no means a sure thing.
Democrats need a net gain of 3 seats to take control in 2019. Their problem, as we've noted before, is that 25 of the 34 seats up for election are currently held by the party. They would need to defend and hold all 25 of those seats - including 10 in states won by Trump in 2016 - and flip the more competitive Republican-held seats in Arizona and Nevada, just to get to 50-50. That's not enough, however, as VP Mike Pence would break the tie, keeping the Republican majority. All the other seats were presumed to be safe for the GOP, making Democratic control in 2019 just about impossible. However, an Alabama win next month, coupled with the above, would give the party 51 seats and the majority. Clearly, a lot has to go right (or wrong, depending on your point of view), for that to happen.
Click or tap the map to game it out:
Here is a summary of the Battle for Control, based on the aforementioned pundit ratings for each race: