For down ballot races, there is nothing more certain about this election cycle than its uncertainty. This is a cycle without precedent. As the presidential primary contests for both parties demonstrated, history and experience proved only marginally useful in analyzing and trying to predict outcomes. The battle for the majority in the U.S. Senate hasn’t been immune from this uncertainty, as the presidential contest creates no shortage of questions, particularly for Republicans. Does Trump hurt GOP Senate incumbents and challengers on the ballot? Will increases in turnout among minority voters doom GOP Senate hopefuls in tight races? Will voters buck recent trends and split their tickets? Can Senate candidates walk away from Trump? Is there a middle ground? For Democrats, do voters supporting Bernie Sanders eventually rally around Hillary Clinton now that she is the Democratic nominee, or do just some of them sit out the election? One couldn’t blame Senate strategists on both sides of the aisle for wishing that Senate races were occurring in some parallel universe that is free from the turbulence of the presidential contest. Here
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