That is the conclusion of Larry Sabato and Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
They predict that if Donald Trump is the GOP presidential nominee it would dramatically change the landscape of the battle for the Senate. They refer to this shift as a “Trumpmare” for the Republican Party.
Under their current projections, Democrats would flip two seats (Illinois and Wisconsin) but would still be at just 47 total. Republicans, on the other hand, would have 50 seats. Therefore, the Democrats would have to sweep all three toss-up states (Florida, Nevada and New Hampshire) and win the presidential tie-breaker to take the Senate.
In this scenario, PA is categorized as Lean R.
With Trump as the nominee, however, Democrats would hold 51 seats. Illinois and Wisconsin would become Likely D while Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania would be Lean D states. The GOP would have just 48 seats with only one true toss-up (Ohio) remaining.
Furthermore, according to Sabato and Kondik, Toomey’s seat would be the most dramatically affected as it would be the only one to move two whole categories.
The Senate majority is considered extraordinarily important this time around because it appears Justice Scalia’s seat won’t be filled until next year. This is especially important given the partisan and ideological makeup of the Court.
Justice Anthony Kennedy was appointed by Pres. Reagan and Justice Clarence Thomas by Pres. George H.W. Bush. Pres. George W. Bush chose Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
On the other side, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Stephen Breyer were nominated by President Clinton. President Obama appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Elena Kagan.
The Court is evenly divided between four conservatives nominated by Republican Presidents and four progressives nominated by Democratic Presidents. As a result, this November’s election could determine the next President, which party holds the Senate majority as well as which side has the advantage on the Supreme Court.
Once again, Pennsylvania will be right in the middle of that battle.