WASHINGTON – To gain control of the House, Democrats need to gain 23 of the chamber's 435 seats.
Every one of those seats is on the ballot, but according to the Cook Political Report, 360 of them are comfortably in Democratic (194 seats) or Republican (166 seats) hands. That leaves 75 "competitive races" where either party has a shot at winning, which will determine which party end up in control of the House.
Of those 75 seats, only five were held by Democrats.
Another 50 races are considered "toss-ups," but only three of those are Democratic seats, while 45 Republican seats are at risk (which is why so many observers are saying a "blue wave" is possible on Tuesday).
In 16 of those congressional toss-up districts where the voter registration data was available, USA TODAY found that Democrats did better than Republicans in 10 of them.
In addition, there are 70 "open seats" in the House this year, an unusually high number according to Ballotpedia. Of those, 49 belong to Republicans. That is significant because 97 percent of House incumbents won re-election in 2016, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and open seats are considered far more vulnerable.
In the Senate, Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 majority. Democrats' chances to flip control there are slim, however, because only nine of the 35 seats on the ballot were in Republican hands. So, for the Republicans to lose a Senate majority, they would have to fail to flip a single Democratic seat and lose two of the nine seats on the ballot.
The Cook Political Report labels nine Senate seats as toss-ups. Five of them belong to Democratic incumbents – Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, Montana Sen. Jon Tester and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez. North Dakota's incumbent Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, appears headed for defeat and her race is labeled "lean Republican."
Two of the Republican-held Senate toss-ups are open seats: the late Sen. John McCain's seat in Arizona and retiring Sen. Bob Corker's in Tennessee. The other two belong to Nevada Sen. Dean Heller and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
The only other open seat is in Utah, where Sen. Orrin Hatch is retiring. But that seat is considered to be certain to return to Republican hands with the 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney running there with a comfortable lead over his opponent.
This news has been published by title Election Day 2018: The Open Seats And Toss Up Races That Could Shift Political Control
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