Indiana Senate Race Moves Out of Safe

by Nathan L. Gonzales March 24, 2015 · 12:32 PM EDT

GOP Sen. Dan Coats’ retirement creates a takeover opportunity in Indiana next year. But Democrats will likely need some breaks to move the race from a potential gain to a top tier contest.

Coats would have started the race as a clear favorite for re-election, but now that he is retiring, his open seat could become competitive. We’re shifting The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report rating of the Indiana Senate race from Safe for the GOP to Republican Favored until the candidate fields on both sides start to take shape. The new rating reflects both the state’s fundamental bent and the lack of a proven incumbent.

In 2014, Democratic retirements added to the list of GOP takeover opportunities and gave Republicans multiple paths to the majority. Democrats are hoping the same thing happens, but they also don’t need to win Indiana this cycle to secure a Senate majority. On the other hand, a Republican loss in the Hoosier State would be disastrous.