According to the latest forecast from FiveThirtyEight.com, Democrats have a 2 in 9 shot, or a 27.7 percent chance, of taking control of the Senate away from Republicans in next month’s elections.
But Democrats have a 7 in 9 chance — 76.7 percent — of winning control of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Democrats need to pick up an extra 23 seats to win control in the House. Part of the equation includes holding on to competitive seats Democrats already hold — which brings us to Nevada.
In CD4, where Democrat Ruben Kihuen is not seeking reelection, FiveThirtyEight forecasts a pretty substantial 86 percent chance that Democrat Steven Horsford will beat Republican Cresent Hardy.
In CD3, Democrat Susie Lee is given a 70 percent chance of beating Republican Danny Tarkanian.
Of course a U.S. Senate race carries all manner of importance of its own. For one thing, senators, not House members, approve judges, including Supreme Court nominees.
But if Democrats win only one house of Congress, it is difficult to overstate how much that would change the dynamic in Washington, D.C.
Forecasts can be wrong — perhaps the much-touted “blue wave” will materialize, Democrats will hold on to the 10 Senate seats they are defending in states Trump won, and Democrats will flip the two seats they need to win a Senate majority. As the only GOP senator on the ballot in a state Trump lost, Heller is universally regarded as the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent Republican senator. (Democratic excitement over Beto O’Rourke’s surprisingly strong challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas notwithstanding, the other Republican-controlled Senate seat most likely to flip is in Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is running to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake).
But forecasts can also be right, and they often are. And according to the forecasts, in Nevada, the competitive race most likely to be part of flipping control of one house of Congress isn’t the U.S. Senate race, but the contest between Lee and Tarkanian in CD3.