Skip to comments.State of the 2020 U.S. Senate Elections
Posted on 10/18/2020 1:18:46 PM PDT by Coop
For those who may be interested in two previous, related posts:
State of the 2020 election
State of the 2020 U.S. House Elections
There are 100 seats in the U.S. Senate, two per state. Washington D.C. has no senators, nor do the U.S. territories. As of today the U.S. Senate is comprised of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two independents (Bernie Sanders of VT, Angus King of ME) that caucus with the Dems. So numerically its a 53-47 GOP advantage, while recognizing that certain unnamed Republicans are reliably problematic when push comes to shove. So the GOP majority is functionally a bit tenuous. Primary elections can take care of those problem children another time. Right now we need to focus on confirming conservative judges and avoiding another Dem House impeachment farce.
The Vice President serves as the President of the Senate. S/he only gets to vote if theres a tie. Should the hair-sniffing, child-groping nepotist win next month, the Democrats would need to win only three Senate seats to reclaim the majority (meaning they chair the committees, and Chuckie Schumer would set the agenda). Senators serve six-year terms. Elections are staggered, so generally only a third of the seats are up during every even-year election. And normally both senators from one state would not be up for election during the same cycle. Special elections, such as those in AZ and GA this year, can throw off this model. Thats why in 2020 there are 35 seats up for grabs, four of which are open seats (no incumbent three R [KS, TN, WY], one D [NM]). As with the House and essentially all elections, the power of incumbency is real. Many of these Senatorial elections will not be particularly competitive. But a portion will be.
I respectfully request that readers of this thread chime in with information on events related to Senate races in their areas, info on fundraising, voter registration, endorsements, and [it pains me to say this] polls.
I do not anticipate significant ticket splitting in this election. If Trump does well, he could pull some races not generally viewed as competitive (NM, VA, NH) into contention. Of the Senate races on the ballot this November, 23 are Republican and 12 are Democrat. Advantage: Dems. However, 23 races are in states Trump won; of the remaining 12 states Trump lost, five were by <5 points (see emboldened state names). Advantage: GOP. As always, the Democrats will be very well funded. GOP candidates running in swing states (MI, NC, MN) will benefit from Trump & RNC money & get-out-the-vote operations. Republicans running in states like LA or IL will need more of their own campaign money & hopefully NRSC funding.
2016 Trump margins can be found here. The Cook partisan voting index (PVI) shows how a state leans, right or left, based on previous elections. New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are currently rated as even on the Cook scale, meaning they are as down the middle politically as states can get. R+3 means a state is about three points more Republican than NH, and D+8 means a state is about 8 points more Democratic than WI. According to Cook the most Republican state is Wyoming (R+25), and the most Democratic state is Idaho. Just kidding! Its Hawaii at D+18.
|State||2016 Trump Margin||Cook Rating||Republican Candidate|
|Alabama||28.3 pts||R+14||Coach Tommy Tuberville|
|Alaska||15.2 pts||R+9||Sen. Dan Sullivan*|
|Arizona||4.1 pts||R+5||Sen. Martha McSally*|
|Arkansas||26.6 pts||R+15||Sen. Tom Cotton*|
|Colorado||-2.8 pts||D+1||Sen. Cory Gardner|
|Delaware||-11.5 pts||D+6||Lauren Witzke|
|Georgia||5.7 pts||R+5||Sen. David Perdue|
|Georgia||5.7 pts||R+5||Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rep. Doug Collins*|
|Idaho||31.6 pts||R+19||Sen. James Risch|
|Illinois||-15 pts||D+7||Mark Curran|
|Iowa||9.6 pts||R+3||Sen. Joni Ernst*|
|Kansas (open)||21 pts||R+13||Dr. Roger Marshall|
|Kentucky||29.8 pts||R+15||Sen. Maj Leader Mitch McConnell|
|Louisiana||29.7 pts||R+11||Dr. and Sen. Bill Cassidy|
|Maine||-2.7 pts||D+3||Sen. Susan Collins|
|Massachusetts||-27.3 pts||D+12||Kevin OConnor|
|Michigan||0.3 pts||D+1||John James*|
|Minnesota||-1.5 pts||D+1||Jason Lewis|
|Mississippi||18.6 pts||R+9||Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith|
|Montana||20.5 pts||R+11||Sen. Steve Daines|
|Nebraska||26.3 pts||R+14||Sen. Ben Sasse|
|New Hampshire||-1.4 pts||Even||Corky Messner*|
|New Jersey||-13.2 pts||D+7||Rik Mehta|
|New Mexico (open)||-8.3 pts||D+3||Mark Ronchetti|
|North Carolina||3.8 pts||R+3||Sen. Thom Tillis|
|Oklahoma||36.4 pts||R+20||Sen. James Inhofe*|
|Oregon||-10.6 pts||D+5||Jo Rae Perkins|
|Rhode Island||-15.6 pts||D+10||Allen Waters|
|South Carolina||14.1 pts||R+8||Sen. Lindsey Graham*|
|South Dakota||29.8 pts||R+14||Sen. Mike Rounds|
|Tennessee (open)||26.2 pts||R+14||Bill Haggerty|
|Texas||9.2 pts||R+8||Sen. John Cornyn|
|Virginia||-4.9 pts||D+1||LTC Daniel Gade*|
|West Virginia||32.2 pts||R+19||Sen. Shelley Moore-Capito|
|Wyoming (open)||47.6 pts||R+25||Sec. Cynthia Lummis|
You might be wondering why there are two Republicans running in a second GA race (both candidate websites are linked). Last December, due to health concerns, Sen. Johnny Isakson announced his retirement prior to finishing his term, which would have expired in Jan 2023. Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Kelly Loeffler in January, to serve as senator until next months special election. There was no primary for this special race. All candidates (21 of them!) are on one ballot. The three biggest names are Sen. Loeffler, Rep. Collins, and a Dem preacher named Raphael Warnock. If no candidate exceeds 50% of the vote, a run-off takes place between the top two vote earners the following month. My gut says Warnock will face Collins in Dec. Regardless of who wins this special election, an election for a full six-year term will take place in Nov 2022.
If you believe that Joe Biden really is comfortably leading in the national polls, then 11/3 will be a bad night for the GOP Senate. Republicans will likely flip AL, hold the 3 open GOP seats and SC, but lose the CO, ME, MI, AZ, NH, MN, VA, NM (open), NC, and IA races, plus one or both GA elections. John Cornyn in TX could even have a late, worrisome night. That scenario would give Dems control with 52 or 53 seats. However, before you go climbing onto the ledge, I think such polls are garbage (see State of the 2020 election above for more details).
In a close (2016-ish) race I expect Republicans to hold the Senate as they hold the 3 open seats, flip AL & MI and keep the SC, AZ, IA and NC seats, plus Perdues GA seat. The other GA seat (Loeffler/Collins) will likely go to a Dec run-off. Susan Collins may have cost herself reelection with her recent Judge Barrett stunt, and Gardner in CO is still quite vulnerable. If Repubs lose ME and CO it basically would be a wash, with little change.
If Trump outperforms his 2016 victory, as I fully expect, then the Pubbies could gain Senate seats. A huge night could result in flipping AL, MI, MN, NM, NH and even VA without losing any current GOP seats, but one GA seat still going to run-off. Before the run-off that would be a total of 59 GOP seats. I dont expect all those races to fall our way, but you never know. The Dems drew to an inside straight in the 2000 Senate election cycle, winning all the close races they needed, and then taking control when turncoat Jim Jeffords switched parties. After next month plays out, I do expect that starting in Jan 2021 the GOP Senate will have more of a cushion to protect against back-stabber Mitt Romney and one or two others. But before this turns into a Romney-bashing thread, remember who fully endorsed his Senate run? Pres. Trump. Not one of his finer decisions.
That Sec. is not a typo above in the WY line. Cynthia Lummis is not yet a senator, but she served as Secretary of the Interior from 2017 to 2019. Shes also a cattle rancher.
Trivia question: Which GOP senatorial candidate listed above was a Supreme Court justice?
Coops favorite GOP underdog: Jayson Lewis, MN (see below for details).
Cutest Senate candidate? This hetero male votes for Lauren Witzke of DE.
Who was the first member of Congress to ever fly a plane around the world? Jim Inhofe of OK. Hes also been married to his wife, Kay, for 60 years!
Dark horse candidate? Mark Ronchetti of NM. Hes a well-known TV meteorologist. Trump lost the Land of Enchantment by 8.3 points, but former NM GOP governor Gary Johnson took 9.3% of the vote. GOPer Evan McMullin took another 0.7%, while Greenie Jill Stein only took 1.2%. If Trump does improve his performance among Hispanics, and Bidens position on fracking hits him hard in NM, this open seat could swing GOP. For that to happen Trump would almost certainly need to carry NM. Should we see a Trump rally scheduled in NM, look out!
Why didnt I list Sen. Joni Ernst as one of my two most vulnerable? Back in March of this year Jonis approval rating had slipped significantly, and she was considered one of the more vulnerable senators around. Her seat is listed by most as a Toss-up. Such a rating frankly makes me want to toss up my lunch. Trump won IA by 8.6 points, with Gary Johnson taking another 3.2 points. Trump pulled his advertising dollars from Iowa, and it aint because hes given up. Joni would have to significantly underperform Trump to lose her seat. We shall see.
I find it hard to believe the IA race is a toss-up, while due north Dem Sen. Tina Smiths seat in MN is rated as Solid D. Seriously? Trump lost MN by 1.5 points, and his campaign is making a full-fledged assault to capture MNs 10 electoral votes. Two MN House seats (see House link up top for details) are also prime for flipping R. MN Republicans are fired up to vote this election. Senate candidate and former Rep. Jason Lewis has deep roots in MN and plenty of name recognition from his time in Congress (MN-02), his radio show in the Twin Cities area, numerous TV programs, and his work as a contributing columnist at the Star Tribune. Why does everyone think unproven John James in D+1 Michigan is primed to knock off an incumbent, while high profile, former Rep. Jason Lewis in D+1 Minnesota supposedly doesnt have a chance? Makes no sense to this fella, even recognizing Sen. Smith is considered stronger than Sen. Peters.
Did you know that besides John James in MI there is another black GOP candidate for Senate? No? Me neither. Apparently, the RI GOP decided to pull its endorsement of Allen Waters due to an alleged domestic dispute in 2019 (the case was dismissed). Allen is still in the race.
As a Catholic I have been surprised at how many Catholic GOP candidates there are serving in/running for the Senate and House. Catholic Mike Rounds of SD is the eldest of 11 siblings!
The next time someone talks about the GOP being a party of old white men, not only can you call out SCs excellent senator Tim Scott (not up for reelection this year), but point to the seven current Republican women senators. Not listed with the five above are Sen. Deb Fischer of NE and Sen. Marsha Blackburn of TN (neither up for reelection this year). Cynthia Lummis is in prime position to join that group of ladies.
What can you do to help the GOP hold the Senate and keep confirming conservative judges nominated by President Trump? There really is still time to make a difference.
If you notice any errors on this thread, please point them out so I dont inadvertently give folks the wrong information or impression.
Trivia answer: Sen. John Cornyn of TX served on the Texas Supreme Court from Jan 1991 to Oct 1997.
I will answer all your questions in 16 days :)
The rest is just mental masturbation.
And that’s fun.
Up to an extent.
That fun of playing with the numbers and guessing on this race or that race ended 15 political threads ago :)
Oh, please, oh please, let Joni Ernst win. Greenfield is horrible. Ben Sasse... well, he’s better than the alternative, but what a tool.
Was there a question in all that? You’re quite the speed reader.
Earmarks were bad, right? So they got rid of them, but the result is that the most powerful people in the US today are the leaders of the House and Senate. All the members who are of the party of the leader must fall in line if they want anything at all for their state or district. That means Pelosi and McConnell are the real power brokers. This is why it is imperative that the Republicans control both House and Senate.
Well,if GOP loses Senate,a Trump win would be a four year impeachment lame duck with Stretch and Shmuck controlling everything essentially.
The one I can’t understand is John Gizzi of Newsmax. He thinks we’re gonna lose them all.
^^ THAT ^^ is what I'm hoping/praying for.
Thanks for the ping and all of the work putting this great info together!
Love the trivia question.
What is the accuracy rate of Gizzi’s predections?
Remember Guy Benson of Townhall in 2016? If memory serves cankles would be president now.
Then I speculate you think Trump will underperform his 2016 election results?
You're welcome. In addition to hoping/praying, I hope a LOT of us are also working for that outcome. My feet are sore from hitting the pavement yesterday and today delivering campaign literature and signs. I'm in Connectistan, so there's really not a POTUS campaign to speak of around here. But the local GOP candidates and GOP offices are noticing more energy and volunteers/new faces now than for the past few elections. Hopefully that translates into more GOP votes. DJT lost CT by over 13 points, so I don't expect him to pull a rabbit out of his hat. But I do hope he improves his margin by several points.
Alaska is looking solid. I’m hopeful about Minnesota
Since WWII every Republican president (5) has done better at reelection than election except GHW Bush in 1992 (lost). Ike, Nixon, Reagan, GW Bush
Since WWII every Democrat president (5 excluding Kennedy, DIO) has done worse at reelection than election except Clinton in 1996. 3/5 lost office.
Truman dropped out due to unpopularity (1952).
Johnson dropped out due to unpopularity (1968).
Carter lost (1980).
Obama’s victory margin was less in 2012.
Virginia is D+1 PVI. Did Cook miss an ending 0 there?
Collins in ME can pull through even if Trump loses the state.
I think for others, AZ, NC, MI, Trump needs to pull them across the finish line.
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