While everyone is focusing on the Presidential race and the electoral college this year, some GOP strategists are getting a bit nervous about the Senate. Of the upper chamber seats up for grabs, the GOP is defending more of them that look potentially vulnerable if Democrats get some momentum going. This is probably even more important than the question of who wins the White House. If Donald Trump manages to lose his bid for a second term, a GOP Senate majority is the only thing that would act as a check on the new Democratic president’s agenda, whether that winds up being Joe Biden or somebody else.
The Hill has a breakdown of the Senate races to keep an eye on this fall. And if you’re a fan of the conservative agenda, the look of this map might have you getting a bit worried.
Five senators are staring down serious political danger ahead of the November elections.
With less than three months to go until Election Day, the battle for control of the Senate hinges on five key states. Democrats are after four seats in particular – in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina – while Republicans are largely playing defense, but see an easy pickup opportunity in Alabama.
A handful of seats in states like Iowa, Montana and Michigan are also showing signs they may be in play.
As things stand right now, in order to take control, the Democrats will need to flip a net total of four GOP seats if Trump wins or three seats if Biden takes the Oval Office, allowing his veep to break all the ties.
The first and most likely seat to flip is that of Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama. He’s only in the Senate because Roy Moore was such a heavily damaged candidate. Either Jeff Sessions or Tommy Tuberville ought to be able to remove Jones, so then the Democrats will need to flip 5 or 4 seats, depending on Trump’s outcome. So where do they find five seats?
In Colorado, pretty much every analyst has recognized the Cory Gardner is in trouble, particularly if he’s facing John Hickenlooper. Without some dramatic shift in the polls over the summer, the GOP will probably lose that one. In Arizona, Republican Senator Martha McSally is doing pretty poorly in the polls against retired astronaut Mark Kelly. But Arizona still isn’t as blue as some Democrats seem to think and the GOP still controls a majority of the statewide offices. That race will probably tighten quite a bit by September, but it could still wind up being another pickup for the Dems.
In Maine, there’s plenty of chatter about Susan Collins (R) being on the bubble. But that’s been true of pretty much all of her races and she always seems to find a way to make it over the finish line. If we’re trying to be generous to the Democrats here, we can give them Maine as a possible third pickup. The only other Republican that looks like a possible loss is probably Thom Tillis in North Carolina, but that’s far from an easy mark for the Democrats.
If they somehow manage to take all four of those seats and Trump loses, the Senate would be pretty much gone and a looming liberal disaster could be on the horizon. If Trump wins, they would still need to find one more seat to thwart his judicial appointments, though. Where do they get it? It’s hard to see Joni Ernst losing in Iowa. Other than that, the Democrats would need to go fishing for another seat in Kansas, Georgia or Montana. None of those states are particularly fertile ground for liberals.
So looking at the overall map, conservatives may not have as much to worry about as some CNN analysts would have you believe. They will need to go four-for-four in Colorado, Maine, Arizona and North Carolina if Trump wins. (And if he wins, he’ll probably bring some coattail effects down the ballot in marginal states.) If he loses, the Dems will still need to go three-for-four. Not an impossible task, but I wouldn’t place any large bets on such an outcome at this point.