Senate control in play heading into November

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(NewsNation) — Going into the November elections, the picture has looked fairly dim for the Democratic Party, with President Joe Biden’s approval numbers down and the Republicans on the attack across the country.

The Senate map is the most interesting, because with an already evenly divided chamber, control can hinge on flipping even one seat.

Here are four Democrats who will be fighting for their political lives come November:

In Georgia, newly elected Sen. Raphael Warnock will have a tough race. He’s likely to be opposed by former NFL star Herschel Walker, who’s got high name recognition and the backing of Donald Trump in a state where Trump’s support still means something, although not as much as some had forecast in past races.

Sen. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire is also vulnerable. Her chances improved dramatically when popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said he would not run against her, but she’s got a tough seat to protect nonetheless.

In Nevada, Sen. Katherine Cortez Masto is threatened by the fact that Biden’s approval rating is under water in the state. She’s popular, but she’ll need a strong turnout from Democrats to keep her seat, something that’s been problematic in the past.

Finally, in border state Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly could face trouble depending on how the Title 42 issue works out. Arizona is a purple state with a lot of Republican voters, so he’ll have to work hard to hold onto his seat.

Among the Republicans, there’s really only one senator facing any kind of serious challenge. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson comes from a state where the governor and other senator are Democrats, and his favorability numbers haven’t been very high. Depending on who emerges as his challenger, he could face a tough fight.

The Republicans have three longtime senators who represent traditional swing states retiring, also. Richard Burr in North Carolina, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Rob Portman in Ohio are all stepping down. Democrats hope to flip at least one of those seats.

As ever, a lot of success for either party in November will hinge on the president’s approval ratings. If Biden can pull his popularity out of the cellar, the Democrats could find themselves in solid control of the Senate. If his numbers continue to be in the doldrums, it could be a far different picture.

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