As the GOP presidential nominating contest winds down (or grinds to a clanking stop, depending on how you look at it), I’ll be spending more time here looking at down-ballot races, from the Senate to the battle for control of state legislatures.

There are a variety of credible and interesting independent handicappers of congressional races, among them the folks at Larry Sabato’s Crytal Ball. Today they released a preview of Senate contests, and rated them: 16D, 9R, 8-Toss Ups (FL, MA, MO, MT, NV, NM, VA, WI). Split those down the middle and you’ve got a 50-50 Senate with the next vice president breaking the tie.

It will be an interesting and in all likelihood intensely competitive year, with the interaction between the presidential race and down-ballot contests. and the underlying battles over voter mobilization and battleground-state targeting, providing a lot of the drama. It will be fun, if it doesn’t make us all crazy.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.