Washington (CNN) – The National Republican Senatorial Committee, a group tasked with getting Republicans elected to the Senate, believes Republicans have expanded the 2014 playing field with five more contested races as the GOP seeks to retake control of the chamber.
In a memo released to consultants Friday morning, NRSC political director Ward Baker writes that Republicans have become competitive in Colorado, New Hampshire, Virginia, Oregon and Minnesota since the start of the year.
That's in addition to nearly 10 Senate seats the NRSC has been aggressively targeting.
Democrats currently hold a 55-45 majority in the upper chamber, including two independent senators who caucus with them. They're defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win a majority.
The NRSC has already had been trying to take down vulnerable incumbents in red or purple states, such Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.
Republicans also feel confident about their chances in races in South Dakota, West Virginia, and Montana—states where Republicans would gain seats. The NRSC feels the GOP has also picked up momentum in open races in Michigan and Iowa.
The memo cites Republican and Democratic-leaning polls that show Republican candidates doing well in those races. It also points to fund-raising figures and analysis by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report to help bolster its case.
Recent campaign announcements are also tilting the battle for the Senate further in the GOP's favor, the memo argues. With the entry of Rep. Cory Gardner in the Colorado race and with former Sen. Scott Brown now running in New Hampshire, Republicans view those states as potential pick-ups.
In Virginia, the NRSC acknowledges that incumbent Sen. Mark Warner leads in the polls, but the group points to Republican challenger Ed Gillespie's $2.2 million cash haul in the first quarter, about half a million behind Warner's.
CNN's 2014 analysis rates those three races as "tilting Democrat."
As for the other two states that are "expanding" the map for Republicans, the NRSC cites polling that shows Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley in Oregon and Sen. Al Franken in Minnesota are more vulnerable than the NRSC expected.
CNN rates those two states as "safe for Democrats."
The memo doesn't mention a major toss-up race and what some political observers expect to be the most expensive contest of the year. Democrats are hoping to throw Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell out of his seat in Kentucky, and they point to Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes as a threat. Grimes outraised him for the second time in the past three quarters, though McConnell has far more money in his campaign war chest.
McConnell also faces a challenge from the right from businessman Matt Bevin, who enjoys tea party support and financial backing from major conservative groups in Washington.