Catherinze Cortez Masto

Watch: Members Talk About Their Hispanic Heritage

House and Senate Preview: New Faces and a Lame Duck

As Senate Races Heat Up, the Map Shifts
New candidates, disappointing nominees have changed expectations

Former Sen. Evan Bayh put Indiana into play when he entered the race last month. (Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images)

Since June, Marco Rubio has (possibly) saved a Senate seat in Florida for Republicans, Evan Bayh has turned Indiana into a top-tier pickup for Democrats, and marquee candidates from both parties have unexpectedly stumbled.  

It’s been that kind of summer in the fight for the Senate majority. A battleground map that once seemed set in place has instead seen a series of individual-state transformations, leaving both parties excited over newfound opportunities and worried over unforeseen liabilities.  

Former NRSC Officials: Sharron Angle Didn't Know How Social Security Worked
Some who worked with 2010 Nevada Senate nominee say she can't be allowed to win 2016 primary

Sharron Angle is again seeking the GOP nomination for Senate in Nevada. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)

In the summer of 2010, Sharron Angle visited with top officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in their Washington headquarters. It was the first time the two parties had met, just weeks after Angle had won a surprise upset in Nevada’s Republican Senate primary.  

The NRSC leaders wanted to talk about politics and policy with their newly minted nominee, but when the conversation turned to Social Security, they learned they had a big problem. Angle, according to two people in the room, talked about the entitlement program as if its cash reserves were literally stored in a “lockbox,” located in a government facility in West Virginia.  

Surprise Candidate Enters Nevada Senate Race
The conservative challenger could thwart Heck's chances of winning the swing-state seat

Sharron Angle addresses attendees at the National Federation of Republican Assemblies Presidential Preference Convention in Nashville in August 2015. (Jason Davis/Getty Images)

The Republican Party's path to winning Harry Reid's Senate seat became more complicated Friday when Sharron Angle -- the tea party favorite who won the GOP's 2010 nomination -- unexpectedly decided to run for the Nevada post.  

The Nevada secretary of state's office said Angle filed to become a candidate for Senate, and she confirmed the run in an interview with the Associated Press .