Summary List Placement
As of Thursday evening, Democrats’ hopes of regaining the majority in the Senate, held by the GOP for the past five years, are looking increasingly precarious.
Control of the Senate now relies on Democrats winning two double-barrel US Senate runoff elections in Georgia, which will both be held on January 5, 2021.
As of Thursday evening, Republicans control 48 US Senate seats, and Democrats control 47, according to Insider and Decision Desk HQ projections, with Senate races in Arizona, Alaska, and North Carolina still not yet called.
Democrats have retained Sen. Gary Peters’ seat in Michigan and flipped the Senate seat in Colorado currently held by Republican Cory Gardner. Democrat Mark Kelly has also won the special election in Arizona for the late Sen. John McCain’s seat, defeating Sen. Martha McSally. He will serve out the rest of McCain’s term until 2022.
But Democrats have so far failed to oust incumbents in Iowa, Montana, Texas, and Maine, lost Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama to the Republicans, and appear unlikely to win back seats in North Carolina and Alaska.
With the odds of Democrats winning an outright majority in the chamber looking increasingly slim, their most likely path to reach a 50-vote tie with Republicans is to flip both US Senate seats in Georgia.
Then, if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins, Vice President Kamala Harris would also serve as president of the Senate and would be a tie-breaker vote.
Both Georgia Senate races go to January 2021 runoffs
If no candidate wins over 50% of the vote in Georgia elections, the race goes to a runoff between the top two vote-getters.
No candidate has received a majority in either the regularly-scheduled US Senate election between first-term Republican David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, and the special jungle election for Georgia’s other US Senate seat, which is currently held by Republican appointee Kelly Loeffler.
Loeffler, a wealthy businesswoman, was appointed to a US Senate seat in Georgia by Gov. Brian Kemp in late 2019 to replace Sen. Jonny Isakson.
She ran in a jungle special election with a slew of other candidates from parties on Tuesday, and will now face Democrat Raphael Warnock, a pastor, to serve out the rest of Isakson’s term until 2022, Decision Desk HQ projected.
The Georgia runoff elections, set to take place on the first Tuesday in January, will determine control of the US Senate for years to come, and are likely to see millions in outside spending.
The presidential race in Georgia between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is currently too close to call, with Trump leading Biden by a margin of fewer than 3,500 votes as of Thursday evening.
Sen. Gary Peters wins reelection in Michigan
Peters defeated Republican challenger John James, who also unsuccessfully ran against Michigan’s senior Senator Debbie Stabenow, to keep Democratic hopes in the Senate alive.
Susan Collins holds on to her longtime seat in Maine
Following state House Speaker Democrat Sara Gideon’s concession, Collins is projected to have won reelection for a fifth term, the closest election of her entire career.
Former Montana Governor Steve Bullock failed to unseat Republican incumbent Steve Daines
Bullock forced a highly competitive race in Montana — a reliably red state at the presidential level — but could not overtake Daines for the US Senate seat.
Joni Ernst fends off Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield in Iowa
Ernst, an Army veteran, was first elected to the US Senate in 2014 as part of a GOP wave. She faced a much tougher race against Democratic nominee Greenfield to secure a second term.
Trump ally Lindsey Graham holds on despite a tough race in deep-red South Carolina
Democrat Jaime Harrison put up a formidable fight in South Carolina, narrowly outpacing Graham in fundraising and tying polls leading up to the election. But as one of the most high-profile Republican Senators in the chamber, Graham managed to pull out the win in his historically Republican state.
Republican incumbent John Cornyn fends off close call from Democratic challenger MJ Hegar
Cornyn, who was first elected in 2002 and has served in a number of positions in Senate leadership, secured a fourth term in the US Senate by a narrow margin in a historically deep-red state.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated Republican Cory Gardner in Colorado
Hickenlooper, a former two-term governor and Denver mayor, unseated Gardner in Democrats’ first, and so far, only flip of a US Senate seat on election night.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defeated Democrat Amy McGrath in Kentucky
McConnell is one of the most high-profile politicians in the country and one of the most reviled among Democrats, helping McGrath raise an eye-popping $90 million for her campaign. Even despite McConnell’s unpopularity among Democrats and her own strong fundraising, McGrath was unable to topple the majority leader, who has held his Senate seat since 1986.
Democrats taking back the Senate majority would be a significant achievement toward either delivering on Joe Biden’s ambitious policy goals, or blocking President Donald Trump’s second-term agenda.
For Republicans, controlling the chamber for the past five years has allowed the party to confirm hundreds of conservative judges, including many younger ones, to lifetime appointments on the federal judiciary.
Key Senate races 2020
Here are the US Senate seats most likely to flip parties, the top races that could shift control of the chamber:
Alabama Senate: Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who won a 2017 special election in a major upset, lost in his tough reelection fight against former college football coach Tommy Tuberville in Alabama.
Alaska Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan is facing a more competitive than expected reelection challenge from Al Gross, an Independent who would caucus with Democrats if elected.
Arizona Senate special: Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat in late 2018, is running in a competitive special election against Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, and gun-violence-prevention advocate.
Arkansas Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Tom Cotton is running for a second term without any Democratic opposition.
Colorado Senate: Republican Cory Gardner lost his bid for a second term against former two-term Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Colorado has trended from a purple state to a reliably Democratic one in recent years, making this seat one of the most likely to flip.
Delaware Senate: Democrat Chris Coons defeated Republican challenger Lauren Witzke.
Georgia Senate, regular: Republican David Perdue is seeking to defend his seat and earn a second term against Democrat Jon Ossoff, who is mounting a formidable campaign in a state trending toward Democrats.
Georgia Senate, special: Republican Kelly Loeffler was appointed to replace Sen. Jonny Isakson, who retired in late 2019 because of health concerns. She ran in a jungle special election with candidates of all parties on the ballot and will face Democrat Raphael Warnock.
Idaho Senate: Republican Sen. Jim Risch won a third term against Democratic challenger Paulette Jordan.
Illinois Senate: Democrat Dick Durbin won a fifth term against Republican Mark Curran.
Iowa Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Joni Ernst won her competitive fight for a second term against Democrat Theresa Greenfield.
Kansas Senate: Republican Rep. Roger Marshall defeated Democratic state Sen. Barbara Bollier for the open Kansas Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Pat Roberts.
Kentucky Senate: Democrat Amy McGrath lost her bid to challenge Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, a race that attracted millions in outside spending but stayed in Republican hands.
Louisiana Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy won a second term against a bevy of challengers in both parties.
Maine Senate: Longtime Republican Sen. Susan Collins won her tough reelection fight against Democrat Sara Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.
Massachusetts Senate: First-term Democratic Sen. Ed Markey won a second term against Republican Kevin O’Connor in a race that will likely remain in Democratic hands.
Michigan Senate: First-term Democratic Sen. Gary Peters won a second term in the Senate, defeating Republican John James in a competitive race. Peters, along with Jones, is one of just two Democratic senators who ran for reelection in a state won by Trump in 2016.
Mississippi Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is facing off against Mike Espy in a rematch of the 2018 special runoff election that she won by 7.2 points.
Montana Senate: First-term Republican Steve Daines beat back a tough challenge for a second term from former Montana attorney general and two-term Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
Nebraska Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Ben Sasse looks to defend his seat against Democratic challenger Chris Janicek.
New Jersey Senate: Former Democratic presidential candidate and current Sen. Cory Booker won a third term against political newcomer Rik Mehta.
North Carolina Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Thom Tillis is in one of the most competitive and expensive US Senate races in the country against former state Sen. Cal Cunningham.
Oklahoma Senate: Longtime Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe defended his seat against Democrat Abby Broyles.
Oregon Senate: Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley won a third term in the Senate against Jo Rae Perkins.
Rhode Island Senate: Longtime Democratic Sen. Jack Reed is defending his seat against challenger Allen Waters.
South Carolina Senate: Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham won one of the most difficult reelection battles of his political career against fundraising juggernaut Democrat Jaime Harrison.
South Dakota Senate: First-term Republican Sen. Mike Rounds won reelection against Democrat Dan Ahlers.
Tennessee Senate: Republican Bill Hagerty defeated Democrat Marquita Bradshaw after incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander did not run for reelection.
Virginia Senate: Democratic Sen. Mark Warner won a third-term against Daniel Gade.
West Virginia Senate: Republican Shelley Moore-Capito won reelection against Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin.
Wyoming Senate: Republican Cynthia Lummis defeated Democrat Merav Ben-David for the seat held by GOP Sen. Mike Enzi, who is not running for reelection.
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