Senate 2016: the 10 hottest races

It's not too soon to talk Senate 2016 – where control is up for grabs. Republicans control the Senate 54 to 46, but the 2016 playing field favors the Democrats. They’re defending only 10 seats, versus 24 for the Republicans. 

Here’s a rundown of the hottest races: 

1. Wisconsin: Ron Johnson (R), incumbent

Cliff Owen/AP
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson speaks about a security threat that disrupted the committee's oversight hearing to examine the Transportation Security Administration's challenges on Capitol Hill on June 9, 2015.

The entry of former Sen. Russ Feingold (D) – a liberal icon – into the race against incumbent Senator Johnson has turned Wisconsin into a top Senate battleground. Johnson is now considered the most vulnerable incumbent this cycle. He beat Mr. Feingold in the great tea party-fueled wave of 2010, and now Feingold wants his seat back.

Feingold starts out with a big lead – 16 points and 9 points in the Marquette University and Public Policy Polling polls respectively. In 2014, National Journal ranked Johnson the ninth most conservative member of the United States Senate, in a state that leans Democratic in presidential election cycles. Late in 2014, Johnson began tacking to the middle, but so far Wisconsin voters aren’t buying it.

The Cook Political Report and Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report call the race a tossup. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball says it leans Democrat.

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