Most election-watchers have their eyes firmly fixed on November, but there are still some outstanding primary races to be settled — some of which could shake up the overarching battle for control of the Senate.
Democrats have a narrow majority in the chamber with 53 seats, counting two independents who align with them, while Republicans hope to climb up from their 47 seats and retake control.
Nominees have already been chosen in most of the 33 Senate races this cycle, but there are still a few unsettled primaries remaining. Here is a quick overview of the states with contested races still to come.
Texas Republican primary runoff, July 31
Republicans — no matter who they nominate — are strongly favored to hold on to the seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. But the primary represents an increasingly tense fight between establishment Republicans and tea party activists.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is backed by Gov. Rick Perry and much of the state party establishment. But former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz, who has picked up support from tea partiers and national conservative activists, is closing in. Dewhurst led the first round of the May 29 primary, 45 percent to 34 percent — not enough to clear the 50 percent threshold mandated by Texas law to win the nomination outright.
The two candidates met for a feisty debate Tuesday night, after which Dewhurst rolled out a new surprise: The endorsement of the third-place candidate in the first primary, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.
The PollTracker Average shows that the tables might have turned: Cruz now leads 46 percent to 44 percent.
Missouri Republican primary, Aug. 7
Three Republican candidates are in a heated race to face endangered Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill: former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Rep. Todd Akin and businessman John Brunner.
Steelman and Brunner have been trading attacks — which have also had the Steelman campaign playing down any suggestion that they might be copying Sarah Palin-style imagery. But intentional or not, the Palin-isms paid off this week, when Palin endorsed Steelman.
Hawaii Democratic primary, Aug. 11
In the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, Hawaii Democrats must choose who will face former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle.
The party is officially backing Rep. Mazie Hirono, whose campaign recently sent out an internal poll showing her with a 15-point lead over former Rep. Ed Case. Another poll, however, showed the race tied.
Connecticut Democratic and Republican primaries, Aug.14
Neither party has a clear-cut nominee in the race to succeed retiring independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, though there are favorites on each side.
Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy is likely to defeat former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz; and former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon, who ran in 2010, is favored to beat former Rep. Christopher Shays.
Wisconsin Republican primary, Aug. 14
Democrats quickly united around Rep. Tammy Baldwin in the race to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl. The Republican side, too, was once thought to be a lock for former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson. But the picture has become much more foggy in recent weeks.
Thompson hasn’t been on the ballot in over a decade, during which time the state GOP base has shifted much further to the right. Thompson is now locked in a four-way primary in which self-financing businessman Eric Hovde is quickly rising. Former Rep. Mark Neumann and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald are also in the mix.
The crowded race could benefit Thompson — conservatives may be burdened with too many alternatives to the former governor. Conservative outside groups have already split between Hovde, who has Freedomworks’s backing, and Neumann, who has the support of the Club for Growth.
Arizona Republican primary, Aug. 28
Arizona is another state in which the Republican frontrunner has fallen back in recent weeks. Republicans originally united around Rep. Jeff Flake — now they appear less certain he’s their guy.
Flake is being challenged by businessman Wil Cardon, who thus far has self-financed his campaign to the tune of $7.5 million, according to the latest FEC filings. Last week, the GOP brought out the big guns for Flake — in the form of endorsements from Kyl and Sen. John McCain.