Seven Senate Races to Watch

Republicans have held a Senate majority for a decade. It’s been a rough go for Democrats, but for the first time in ten years they have a real shot to flip the Senate. There are a number of key races that will determine whether Democrats can win back control, and these are the ones we’re looking at the closest.

South Carolina

This one’s the biggest name on the marquee. Incumbent Republican Senator/Trump lapdog Linsday Graham finds himself in a real fight with Democrat Jaime Harrison, who’s basically done nothing but break fundraising records over the last couple months. As of now, they’re running at a virtual tie. Graham going down would represent the biggest rebuke of Trumpism yet (unless, y’know, Trump himself loses).


Former Colorado governor and presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is running against incumbent Cory Gardener. He’s doing well, too—at latest tally, Hickenlooper is up by anywhere between 8 and 9 points. He’s still basically a Republican with a D next to his name who had no business running for president, and Dems could’ve easily run someone further left and still likely won. Still, every seat matters, even if it’s going to a milquetoast moderate.


The Peach State has both its senate seats up in 2020, but WNBA owner/COVID insider trader/generally annoying person Kelly Loeffler is enjoying a healthy polling lead. The other race, however, is a toss up—incumbent Republican David Perdue is running in a virtual tie with Democrat Jon Ossoff, who you might remember lost a close House race for Georgia’s 6th congressional district in 2017. He was hailed as the first Democrat to run a campaign as a referendum on Trump, and running against Perdue he’s got even more ammo. You wanna see a dead body?


Democrat Mark Kelly has run a strong campaign against incumbent Martha McSally. It wasn’t exactly hard, either—McSally is a hardline Trumper in a state that seems to be morphing from red to blue. Even Trump doesn’t seem to like her very much. Just look at how he introduced her at his rally on Wednesday.

Don’t tell me—he was joking, right?


At least McSally got some stage time. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst went to Trump’s rally in Omaha Tuesday night and couldn’t even muster a picture with the president, let alone a speaking spot. She settled for a solo shot in an empty parking lot, presumably after it had been cleared of freezing Trump supporters. RealClearPolitics’ average currently has her 2.2 points behind Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield, who sonned Ernst on corn prices and made her look straight-up silly on soy beans.


Our Lady of Perpetual Concerns/Incumbent Republican Senator Susan Collins is up against it. She’s trailing Democratic challenger Sara Gideon in virtually every poll, though RealClearPolitics still classifies their race as a toss up. Turns out empty statements about being appalled, troubled, and disappointed while still voting along with Trump and helping push through his crappy judicial nominees doesn’t win you points with voters who are tired of that crap. When you’ve got a facetious outrage-o-meter named after you, you’re in trouble.


Michigan is one of a few states with an incumbent Democrat being challenged by a Republican. Senator Gary Peters is polling decently ahead of challenger John James, but RCP still classifies this one as a toss up. If Dems wind up losing races in Michigan, Montana (another toss up), and Alabama (almost certainly a loss), flipping the Senate becomes a much more daunting task. There are more Republicans facing legit Democratic challenges, but all it takes is a couple polling margins of error to turn a landmark election into a painful one.


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