“Our priority is to make sure that we win all our incumbent races,” Van Hollen said in an August interview. Then, “we have great pickup opportunities in Nevada and Arizona,” he continued. “And we have good candidates in other states, and we’re going to have more. We’re going to work to maximize our opportunities.”
Democrats’ path to 51 Senate seats in 2018 is exceedingly narrow. They would have to defend all of their Trump-state incumbents, including five in states the president won by double-digits. They would have to successfully pick off Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), the only two battleground-state Republicans up for reelection next year — though Flake in particular looks more vulnerable than expected after conflict with Trump this year. Then, Democrats would have to pull off a major upset in a state like Alabama, Texas or Tennessee, victories that would make their 2012 wins in states like Indiana, Montana and North Dakota look easy.