With more candidates launching their campaigns this month, the prospect of competitive primaries has become more real – especially on the Republican side. That’s especially true in the top three seats most likely to flip, which represent the GOP’s best chances to pick up the one or two seats they’d need to control the chamber, depending on who wins the presidency. (Rankings are based on CNN’s reporting, fundraising figures and historical data about how states and candidates have performed.)
West Virginia’s GOP primary – mainly between the governor and a congressman – was already brewing, but it’s looking even more contentious with outside groups like the Club for Growth’s political arm touting the millions they’re planning to spend. This race will be a marquee battle between the national GOP’s more establishment forces and the conservative outside group. And, as in other races like Montana and Nevada, this one will test the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s new strategy of picking sides in primaries.