There comes a point in every election cycle where senior strategists in both parties turn nervous. Usually, that point comes later, when polls go bad or candidates make some avoidable gaffe.
But this year, nerves are running high, underscoring both the stakes involved in the fight for control of the Senate and the uncertainty surrounding a presidential contest sure to have far-reaching consequences down the ballot. Many Republicans believe Donald Trump will cost their party the Senate; some Democrats are starting to fret that the new voters Trump is turning out could hurt their candidates just as much.
Democrats need to net five Senate seats to achieve a clear 51-seat majority, while Republicans are stuck defending a handful of incumbents first elected in the 2010 wave that swept the GOP to power. Here’s where the races stand in our third set of race rankings, sorted by those seats most likely to change party control: