Flash Senate race updates (May 4, 2020): Iowa: New PPP poll has Ernst (R) ahead of Greenfield (D) by 1%, essentially tied. Control of the Senate: Major pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post and by Chris Cillizza in late April report that control of the Senate has moved from Republicans favored to be in doubt. South Carolina: In a breakthrough, Jamie Harrison’s (D) race against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) was moved from Sure Republican to Likely Republican after a massive fundraising quarter. Alaska: Orthopedic surgeon Al Gross, running as an independent, has made progress in elevating his candidacy against Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) and was boosted by the Sabato Report. Kansas: The Kansas Republican Party is engaged in a civil war to prevent Kris Kobach (R) from winning the GOP nomination, fearing he could lose this Senate seat as he lost the 2018 governor’s race. North Carolina: Cal Cunningham (D) has caught up to incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (D) to produce a toss-up race. Georgia: Reports in early April that appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) sold many stocks shortly after a secret Senate briefing have caused serious damage to her candidacy and lifted Rep. Doug Collins (R) ahead of in the GOP primary. Montana: On March 9, Gov Steve Bullock (D) entered this Senate race and gave Democrats a serious contender against Sen. Steve Daines (R).
Alaska: Orthopedic surgeon Al Gross, an independent who is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) and has unified the Democratic Party behind his campaign. In late April, Sabato’s Crystal Ball upgraded the race from Sure Republican to Likely Republican.
Alabama – The most vulnerable Democratic incumbent in 2020 is Sen. Doug Jones (D). In 2017, Jones won a stunning upset victory 50%-48% over former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore (R) in this usually solid Republican state. Jones is considered underdog. Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville (R) and former Senator and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are in a July 15 runoff to face Jones.
Arizona – Martha McSally (R), after losing a close election in 2018 to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) by 50%-48%, was appointed to take the seat of late Sen. John McCain (R), and has to run again in 2020. Mark Kelly (D), astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is her challenger. Kelly is leading in fundraising and the polls.
Colorado – Sen. Cory Gardner (R) is considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the 2020 election. In 2018, Democrats won the governorship in Colorado and picked up one House seat, and Hillary Clinton carried the state in 2016. In August, former Governor John Hickenlooper dropped his candidacy for President and announced he will run for this Senate seat. This is one of the best opportunities for a Democratic pickup.
Georgia A – The state has been moving towards a purple status; Stacey Abrams (D) lost her 2018 race for governor in a very close contest by only 50%-49%, but declined entreaties to run for Senate against Sen. Davie Purdue (R). Former House candidate Jon Ossoff (D), former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson (D) and 2018 Lieutenant Governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico (D) are competing for the Democratic nomination in a June 9 primary and likely an August 11 runoff.
Georgia B – Kelly Loeffler (R), a businesswoman and co-owner of the Atlanta Dream in the Women’s National Basketball Association, has been named Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R) replacement by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Loeffler will hold the seat until the November 2020 special election, creating two elections then. She is challenged by Rep. Doug Collins (R), Matt Lieberman (D), and Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock (D) in an open primary. If no candidate wins 50% of the vote in November, there will be a runoff vote in January, which could mean Senate control is in doubt long after the November election.
Iowa – Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst (R) is running for reelection. National Democrats, including the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Emily’s List, have rallied around real estate executive and former congressional candidate Theresa Greenfield (D). However, there are other candidates in the June 2 primary, including insurance company owner Eddie Mauro and retired Navy Admiral Michael Franken. Ernst is considered a narrow favorite.
Kansas –Incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R) will retire after this term, his fourth. The state has not elected a Democratic Senator since 1932, and although a Democrat captured the governorship in 2018, Republicans are favored to hold the seat. Prospects for the Democratic candidate state senator Barbara Bollier, a former Republican, have picked up, as the leading Republican candidate, former Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), could lose this race as he lost the governor’s race in 2018. Also running are U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall (R) and other candidates. The state GOP is engaged in a civil war.
Kentucky – Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) surmounted a tough challenge in 2014, 56%-41%. But he is facing a difficult election because of his close connection to President Trump and his lukewarm ratings in the state. However, the Majority Leader is a strong campaigner who has shown an ability to raise vast amounts of money. Former fighter pilot and House candidate Amy McGrath (D) is running and has done fabulously with her fundraising and is presenting a tough challenge.
Maine – Sen. Susan Collins (R) has been a highly popular incumbent in the state, but alienated many moderate voters with some votes, particularly to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. In 2018, Democrats picked up the governorship from a retiring Republican and won both House seats in the state. In late June, state House Speaker Sara Gideon’s jumped into the race, and immediately was endorsed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and EMILY’s List. Betsy Sweet (D), who took third place in last year’s primary for governor and Bre Kidman (D) are also running. Gideon has produced strong fundraising numbers and is now in a toss up race.
Massachusetts – While incumbent Democratic Sen. Ed Markey first appeared to have an easy reelection, U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D) is challenging the incumbent. Polls show that Kennedy could be a slight favorite.
Michigan – Army veteran John James (R), who lost in 2018 to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, is challenging Democratic incumbent Gary Peters. James lost by a fairly close 52%-46% to Stabnow, and raised $12 million for his race. Peters is one of only two Democratic incumbents at all vulnerable.
Minnesota – Sen. Tina Smith (D), appointed to replace Sen. Al Franken, won in 2018 by 53%-42% over former state senator Karen Housley for the last two years of Franken’s term. Smith faces another election this year for a full six-year term. Jason Lewis, who served as U.S. representative for one term before being ousted by Rep. Angie Craig in 2018, is running against Sen. Smith.
Mississippi – Democrat Mike Espy, a former Congressman and Secretary of Agriculture, who held Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith to a 54%-46% win for the last two years of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) seat, has filed to run against her again. Hyde-Smith is the overwhelming favorite.
Montana: In March 2020, popular Gov. Steve Bullock (D) made a late entry into the contest. Incumbent Sen. Steve Daines (R) is still favored, but this is likely to be a close contest.
New Mexico – Sen. Tom Udall (D) has announced his retirement at the end of this term. While Democrats have dominated elections in recent years, Republicans are still competitive. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D) is the Democratic candidate and the clear favorite over any of several GOP contenders.
North Carolina – Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), who alienated President Trump and now is his best friend, is running for re-election. Former Democratic state Sen. Cal Cunningham won the contested Democratic primary and is running even in polls and fundraising.
South Carolina – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) has gone from Trump opponent in 2016 to Trump critic to Trump ally. Democrats have rallied around former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison, former top aide to Rep. Jim Clyburn (D). The Cook Report has upgraded Harrison’s chances after a terrific fundraising first quarter of 2020.
Tennessee –Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, who has served since 2003, announced his retirement at the end of this term. His replacement is likely to be a Republican; In 2018, Democrats thought they had a chance to win a Senate seat in this state, but ex-governor Phil Bredesen (D) won only 44% of the vote against then-Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R). Attorney and Iraq War Army veteran James Mackler (D), who ran in 2018 before dropping out when Bredesen entered the race, is running. Former Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty is favored to win the Republican nomination and the election.
Texas – Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn is the clear favorite to be re-elected. Air Force veteran MJ Hegar (D), who lost a close 51%-48% House race in TX-31 in 2018, and state sen. Royce West (D) face a July 14 runoff to face Cornyn. Either one will be a major underdog
Wyoming – Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) announced his retirement at the end of this term. Former Rep. Cynthia Lummis is running and will win the seat. Rep. Liz Cheney (R), who would have been major opposition, declined run.
33 Senators Up for Election in 2020
Democrats – 12
Booker, Cory A. (D-NJ)
Coons, Christopher A. (D-DE)
Durbin, Richard J. (D-IL)
Jones, Doug (D-AL)
Markey, Edward J. (D-MA)
Merkley, Jeff (D-OR)
Peters, Gary C. (D-MI)
Reed, Jack (D-RI)
Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH)
Smith, Tina (D-MN)
Udall, Tom (D-NM) – retiring
Warner, Mark R. (D-VA)
Republicans – 23
Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) – retired and replaced by appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler
Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV)
Cassidy, Bill (R-LA)
Collins, Susan M. (R-ME)
Cornyn, John (R-TX)
Cotton, Tom (R-AR)
Daines, Steve (R-MT)
Enzi, Michael B. (R-WY) – retiring
Ernst, Joni (R-IA)
Gardner, Cory (R-CO)
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC)
Hyde-Smith, Cindy (R-MS)
Inhofe, James M. (R-OK)
Loeffler, Kelly (R) (named to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson (R)
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY)
McSally, Martha (R-AZ)
Perdue, David (R-GA)
Risch, James E. (R-ID)
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) – retiring
Rounds, Mike (R-SD)
Sasse, Ben (R-NE)
Sullivan, Dan (R-AK)
Tillis, Thom (R-NC)