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By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

WASHINGTON — Exactly three weeks out until Election Day 2018, the name of the game for Democrats is to net the 23 House and two Senate pickups to win back control of these chambers. Today, we walk you step by step — and race by race — through how Democrats could get to a House majority in November.

The Democratic Defense (6)

First thing’s first: Democrats aren’t playing defense very many places, and they can probably afford to (and expect to) lose a few seats. Here are six they currently hold and are most likely to lose. (In order of final poll closing time — all times ET)

NH-1 (8pm): OPEN —previously held by Carol Shea-Porter (D). Eddie Edwards (R) v. Chris Pappas (D). Seat went 48-46 for Trump.

PA-14 (8pm): OPEN — previously held by Conor Lamb (D) who is running in a new district. Guy Reschenthaler (R) v. Bibiana Boerio (D). Redistricted. New seat estimated to be Trump +29. (Note: due to redistricting, this is expected to flip)

MN-1 (9pm): OPEN — previously held by Tim Walz (D). Jim Hagedorn (R) v. Dan Feehan (D). Seat went 53-38 for Trump.

MN-8 (9pm): OPEN —previously held by Rick Nolan (D). Pete Stauber (R) v. Joe Radinovich (D). Seat went 54-38 for Trump.

NV-3 (10pm): OPEN — previously held by Jacky Rosen (D). Danny Tarkanian (R) v. Susie Lee (D). Seat went 48-47 for Trump.

NV-4 (10pm): OPEN — previously held by Ruben Kihuen (D). Crescent Hardy (R) v. Steven Horsford (D). 50-45 for Clinton.

The Most Probable Flips (15)

Strategists on both sides of the aisle believe that these races are most likely to flip from Republican to Democratic. Democrats aim to get almost all of these seats in the hunt for a majority.

VA-10 (7pm): Incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) v. Jennifer Wexton (D). Seat went 52-42 for Clinton.

FL-27 (8pm): OPEN — previously held by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R). Maria Salazar (R) v. Donna Shalala (D). 58-39 for Clinton.

NJ-2 (8pm):OPEN — previously held by Frank LoBiondo (R). Seth Grossman (R) v. Jeff Van Drew (D). 50-46 for Trump.

NJ-11 (8pm): OPEN — previously held by Rodney Frelinghuysen (R). Jay Webber (R) v. Mikie Sherrill (D). 48-47 for Trump.

PA-5 (8pm): OPEN — previously held by Patrick Meehan (R). Redistricted. Pearl Kim (R) v. Mary Gay Scanlon (D). New seat estimated to be Clinton +28. (Note: due to redistricting, this is extremely likely to flip)

PA-6 (8pm):OPEN — previously held by Ryan Costello (R). Redistricted. Gregory Michael McCauley (R) v. Chrissy Houlahan (D). New seat estimated to be Clinton +9. (Note: due to redistricting, this is extremely likely to flip)

PA-7 (8pm): OPEN —previously held by Charlie Dent (R). Redistricted. Marty Nothstein (R) v. Susan Wild (D). New seat estimated to be Clinton +1.

PA-17 (8pm): Incumbent Keith Rothfus (R) vs. Conor Lamb (D). Redistricted. New seat estimated to be Trump +1.

AZ-2 (9pm): OPEN — previously held by Martha McSally (R). Lea Marquez-Peterson (R) vs. Ann Kirkpatrick (D). 49-44 for Clinton

CO-6 (9pm):Incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R) v. Jason Crow (D). Seat went 50-41 for Clinton.

KS-3 (9pm):Incumbent Kevin Yoder (R) v. Sharice Davids (D). Seat went 47-46 for Clinton.

MN-2 (9pm): Incumbent Jason Lewis (R) v. Angie Craig (D). Seat went 46-45 for Trump.

MN-3 (9pm): Incumbent Erik Paulsen (R) v. Dean Phillips (D). Seat went 50-41 for Clinton.

IA-1 (10pm):Incumbent Rod Blum (R) v. Abby Finkenauer (D). Seat went 48-45 for Trump.

CA-49 (11pm):OPEN — previously held by Darrell Issa(R). Diane Harkey (R) v. Mike Levin (D). Seat went for 50-43 for Clinton.

The Majority Makers (23)

These are mostly toss-up races with recent momentum for Democrats. If Democrats have won all of the “probable flips” and lost only two of their own Dem-held seats, they need ten of the below to win the majority.

KY-6 (7pm):Incumbent Rep. Andy Barr (R) v. Amy McGrath (D). Seat went 55-39 for Trump.

VA-2 (7pm): Incumbent Scott Taylor (R) v. Elaine Luria (D). Seat went 48-45 for Trump.

VA-7 (7pm): Incumbent Dave Brat (R) v. Abigail Spanberger (D). Seat went 50-44 for Trump.

OH-1 (7:30pm): Incumbent Steve Chabot (R) v. Aftab Pureval (D). Seat went 51-44 for Trump.

FL-26 (8pm):Incumbent Carlos Curbelo (R) v. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D). Seat went 56-40 for Clinton.

IL-6 (8pm):Incumbent Peter Roskam (R) v. Sean Casten (D). Seat went 49-42 for Clinton.

IL-12 (8pm): Incumbent Rep. Mike Bost (R) v. Brendan Kelly (D). Seat went 54-40 for Trump.

ME-2 (8pm): Incumbent Bruce Poliquin (R) v. Jared Golden (D). Seat went 51-41 for Trump.

NJ-3 (8pm): Incumbent Tom MacArthur (R) v. Andy Kim (D). Seat went 51-45 for Trump.

NJ-7 (8pm): Incumbent Leonard Lance (R) v. Tom Malinowski (D). Seat went 48-47 for Clinton.

PA-1 (8pm):Incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick (R) v. Scott Wallace. (D). Redistricted. New district estimated to be Clinton +2.

MI-8 (9pm):Incumbent Mike Bishop (R) v. Elissa Slotkin (D). Seat went 50-44 for Trump.

MI-11 (9pm):OPEN — previously held by Dave Trott (R). Lena Epstein (R) v. Haley Stevens (D). Seat went 49-45 for Trump.

NM-2 (9pm): OPEN — previously held by Steve Pearce (R). Yvette Herrell (R) v. Xochitl Torres Small. 50-40 for Trump.

NY-19 (9pm):Incumbent John Faso (R) v. Antonio Delgado (D). Seat went 50-44 for Trump.

NY-22 (9pm): Incumbent Claudia Tenney (R) v. Anthony Brindisi (D). Seat went 54-39 for Trump.

TX-7 (9pm):Incumbent John Culberson (R) v. Lizzie Fletcher (D).Seat went 48-47 for Clinton.

TX-32 (9pm):Incumbent Pete Sessions (R) v. Colin Allred (D). Seat went 48-46 for Clinton.

IA-3 (10pm):Incumbent Rep. David Young (R) v. Cindy Axne (D). Seat went 48-45 for Trump.

CA-25 (11pm):Incumbent Steve Knight (R) v. Katie Hill (D). Seat went 50-43 for Clinton.

CA-45 (11pm):Incumbent Mimi Walters (R) v. Katie Porter (D). Seat went 49-44 for Clinton.

CA-48 (11pm): Incumbent Dana Rohrabacher (R) v. Harley Rouda (D). Seat went 48-46 for Clinton.

WA-8 (11pm):OPEN — previously held by Dave Reichert (R). Dino Rossi (R) v. Kim Schrier (D). Seat went 46-43 for Clinton.

Adding To A Majority — The Beginning Of A Big Wave (17)

These are races that will help determine if Democrats have a relatively slim majority or a more substantial one. More than a few wins here means that we’re probably heading for a 35+ Dem pickup.

VA-5 (7pm): OPEN — previously held by Tom Garrett (R). Denver Riggleman (R) v. Leslie Cockburn. Seat went 53-44 for Trump.

NC-2 (7:30pm): Incumbent George Holding (R) v. Linda Coleman (D). Seat went 53-43 for Trump.

NC-9 (7:30pm): OPEN — Rep. Robert Pittenger defeated in primary. Mark Harris (R) v. Dan McCready (D). Seat went 54-42 for Trump.

NC-13 (7:30pm): Incumbent Ted Budd (R) v. Kathy Manning (D). Seat went 53-44 for Trump.

WV-3 (7:30pm): OPEN — previously held by Evan Jenkins (R). Carol Miller (R) v. Richard Ojeda (D). Seat went 73-23 for Trump.

FL-16 (8pm): Incumbent Vern Buchanan (R) v. David Shapiro (D). Seat went 53-43 for Trump.

IL-13 (8pm): Incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis (R) v. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D). Seat went 49-44 for Trump.

IL-14 (8pm): Incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren (R) v. Lauren Underwood (D). Seat went 48-44 for Trump.

KS-2 (9pm): OPEN — previously held by Lynn Jenkins (R). Steve Watkins (R) v. Paul Davis (D). Seat went 56-37 for Trump.

WI-1 (9pm): OPEN — previously held by Paul Ryan (R). Bryan Steil (R) v. Randy Bryce (D). Seat went 52-42 for Trump.

TX-23 (9pm): Incumbent Will Hurd (R) v. Gina Ortiz Jones. (D). Seat went 50-46 for Clinton.

TX-31 (9pm): Incumbent John Carter (R) v. M.J. Hegar (D). Seat went 53-49 for Trump.

UT-4 (10pm): Incumbent Mia Love (R) v. Ben McAdams (D). Seat went 39-32 for Trump.

CA-10 (11pm): Incumbent Jeff Denham (R) v. Josh Harder (D). Seat went 48-45 for Clinton. n

CA-39 (11pm): OPEN — previously held by Ed Royce (R). Young Kim (R) v. Gil Cisneros (D). Seat went 51-43 for Clinton.

WA-3 (11pm): Incumbent Jaime Herrera Beutler (R) v. Carolyn Long (D). Seat went 48-41 for Trump.

WA-5 (11pm): Incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) v. Lisa Brown (D). Seat went 50-38 for Trump.

Tsunami Alert !!! (16)

If several of these races are close or breaking Democrats’ way, expect an historic wave.

  • AR-2
  • AZ-6
  • CA-4
  • FL-6
  • FL-18
  • GA-6
  • GA-7
  • IN-2
  • IA-4
  • MI-1
  • MO-2
  • NY-1
  • NY-2
  • NY-11
  • NY 27
  • OH-14

In first and only AZ-SEN debate, McSally accuses Sinema of treason

We told you this was the nasty race in the country… From NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard: “Arizona Republican Martha McSally accused her Democratic opponent Kyrsten Sinema of once advocating for ‘treason,’ calling out her rival's old comments during the pair's sole debate to fill the state’s open U.S. Senate seat.”

“‘You said it was okay for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us,’ McSally said, raising her voice and pointing emphatically at Sinema, who stood about ten feet away, as the debate neared its conclusion, referencing a 2003 radio interview. ‘I will ask right now whether you’re going to apologize to the veterans and me for saying it is okay -- it is treason!’”

“Sinema responded: ‘Martha has chosen to run a campaign like the one you’re seeing right now. She’s engaging in ridiculous attacks and smearing our campaign.’ She went on to call the claims that she supported Americans fighting with the Taliban ‘ridiculous’ in a scrum with reporters after the debate. The 2003 radio interview surfaced in a report by CNN over the weekend in which Sinema – a leader of anti-war efforts in Phoenix in the early 2000s – dismissively answered a probing question by a Libertarian radio host. She said: ‘Fine. I don't care if you want to do that, go ahead.’”

“McSally doubled down in comments to reporters after the debate in Downtown Phoenix. ‘I was taking shots at the Taliban when I was flying the A-10 Warthog,’ said McSally, who was stationed in Saudi Arabia with the Air Force in 2003. ‘This is the definition of treason, saying it’s okay for Americans to join our enemies. They’re responsible for 3,000 people dying on 9/11, and thousands of soldiers afterwards, and you think that’s okay? And she wouldn’t even apologize to us for that?’”

Brat, Spanberger clash in VA-7 debate

Speaking of debates, here’s the Washington Post’s write-up of last night’s clash between Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., and Dem challenger Abigail Spanberger in VA-7: “While Trump looms large over the race, the president was mentioned just once during the 90-minute forum. The name on Brat’s lips was that of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). He invoked Pelosi repeatedly as he tried to paint Spanberger as a liberal who supports ‘sanctuary cities’ and ‘a total government takeover of health-care.’”

“Brat referred so often to ‘the Nancy Pelosi liberal agenda’ that the phrase started drawing laughs. At one point he acknowledged that he’d said it ‘a million times.’ (More conservative estimates put the mentions at around 25.)”

“Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement agent and CIA operative who has positioned herself as a moderate, said flatly and repeatedly that Brat was misrepresenting her views: She would not support Pelosi for House speaker if Democrats won control of the chamber, she does not support the ‘Medicare for All’ plan he referenced, and she opposes sanctuary cities, which have policies protecting illegal immigrants. ‘I used to work every single day to keep the community I lived in safe,’ she said. ‘For you to allege anything else is frankly comical.’”

The Huffington Post says Brat said the word “Pelosi” 21 times.

As Pompeo meets king, Saudi Arabia discusses plan to admit Khashoggi was killed after entering consulate

NBC’s Josh Lederman: “Saudi Arabia’s government is discussing a plan to admit that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, three people with knowledge of the situation tell NBC News. According to two of the individuals, the Saudis are putting together an explanation that would absolve Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the putative leader of Saudi Arabia, of responsibility by giving him plausible deniability to say he didn’t order the killing and didn’t know about it.” (Saudi experts: How believable is it that MBS wouldn’t know about this?)

Meanwhile, “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dined with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss the disappearance and alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. President Donald Trump sent Pompeo to the kingdom where he will also meet and dine with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s putative leader,” NBC News adds.

And on Elizabeth Warren releasing that DNA test

In the Trump Era, almost everyone ends up bending to the president’s will. This is the latest example: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has faced repeated ridicule from President Donald Trump for claiming that she is of Native American descent, released a DNA test on Monday that says there is ‘strong evidence’ to back up her claim,” per NBC’s Mike Memoli and Adam Edelman. “The release of the test highlights how prepared Warren is to take on Trump — who has referred to her as ‘Pocahontas’ — over the insults and suggests the Massachusetts Democrat is working to shore up potential political weaknesses before a possible 2020 presidential run by addressing charges that she misrepresented her family background to gain unfair advantage in her career.”