The battle for control of the U.S. Senate in the next election cycle has already begun. In 2016, Democrats will need to win five seats to take back control (regardless of who wins the presidency). They will have the geographic advantage with only 10 seats up for election, while the Republicans must defend 24 seats. And seven of those Republican seats are in states President Obama won twice (Florida, Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin). This election will look like the inverse of 2014.
But Democrats do have to play some defense. They must hold Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada and Michael Bennet’s seat in Colorado. And, although Bennet may begin the race in a better position than his recently defeated colleague Mark Udall, he is already targeted by the national pundits (Bennet on List of Tough Re-elections). By all accounts, Colorado will be a presidential battleground state and Bennet’s chances will rise and fall with the presidential race.
The battle for the 6th Congressional seat could flare up again if Congressman Coffman elects to challenge Bennet, or if the Democrats can find an exceptional candidate. Turnout will be better for Democrats in 2016 than it was in 2014.
The Colorado Legislature will also have several highly contested races. Republicans want the House and hope to pad their one vote margin in the Senate, and Democrats want to regain the senate majority.