Only Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) occupy Republican-held seats in Clinton states, and neither will be easy to unseat in 2020. Democrats also have to defend the Alabama seat improbably captured in December 2017 by Doug Jones, which will be a struggle against any Republican who managed not to seduce teenagers in his 30s.
But there are a few seats that might be in play if the national environment remains as bad for Republicans as it is today, or if the economy goes into a long overdue recession — including those of Joni Ernst in Iowa, David Perdue in Georgia, and Thom Tillis in North Carolina. And Democrats will get another crack at an Arizona Senate seat, because Jon Kyl’s abbreviated term as fill-in for the late John McCain will be expiring. But if that’s the landscape of flippable targets, Democrats may very well be underdogs everywhere but Colorado.
Don’t get me wrong — taking aim at a series of Republican-leaning purple states will be easier than this year’s task of turning Tennessee or Texas blue, but it still won’t be easy. Particularly in Georgia, Iowa, and North Carolina, Democrats will face the additional hurdle of the GOP’s rancid voter suppression machine, which is in full swing right now against Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.