These Senate Races Could Change Everything

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Natalie Gontcharova
·3 min read
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The presidential election isn’t the only one we’re keeping tabs on tonight. There’s a good chance — three in four, according to FiveThirtyEight — that Democrats will flip the U.S. Senate blue in 2020, which is a big deal. If the Senate stays Republican-controlled, it’s quite possible that much of a potential President Joe Biden’s agenda would be dead on arrival. But if it flips blue, even though it would be a close majority, it could help a Democratic president’s agenda, unclog the backup of unpassed laws in Congress (thanks, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), and prevent more extremist judges from being confirmed.

There are several key races in the Senate that will be decided in this election. Ahead are the battleground states we’re watching the most closely. We'll update you as the results are called.

<strong><h2>Arizona</h2></strong><br><strong>Winner: </strong>Mark Kelly (D)<br><br><strong>Mark Kelly</strong> <strong>(D)</strong>, an astronaut and U.S. Navy captain-turned-gun reform activist, ran against Trump loyalist <strong>Sen. Martha McSally</strong> <strong>(R)</strong>, who was appointed to Sen. John McCain’s seat after he passed away. Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011; together, they went on to found <a href="https://giffords.org/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Giffords" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Giffords</a>, an organization dedicated to ending gun violence.<span class="copyright">Photo: Rob Schumacher/Pool/Getty Images.</span>

Arizona


Winner: Mark Kelly (D)

Mark Kelly (D), an astronaut and U.S. Navy captain-turned-gun reform activist, ran against Trump loyalist Sen. Martha McSally (R), who was appointed to Sen. John McCain’s seat after he passed away. Kelly is the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011; together, they went on to found Giffords, an organization dedicated to ending gun violence.Photo: Rob Schumacher/Pool/Getty Images.
<strong><h2>Colorado</h2></strong><br><strong>Winner: </strong>John Hickenlooper (D)<br><br>Former governor <strong>John Hickenlooper</strong> <strong>(D)</strong> challenged <strong>Sen. Cory Gardner</strong> <strong>(R)</strong>, a <a href="https://www.denverpost.com/2020/10/11/gardner-vs-hickenlooper-colorado-senate-issues/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Trump yes-man" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Trump yes-man</a>, in the purple-blue state’s U.S. Senate election. <span class="copyright">Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images.</span>

Colorado


Winner: John Hickenlooper (D)

Former governor John Hickenlooper (D) challenged Sen. Cory Gardner (R), a Trump yes-man, in the purple-blue state’s U.S. Senate election. Photo: Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images.
<strong><h2>North Carolina </h2></strong><br><br><strong>Cal Cunningham (D)</strong> is leading in the polls despite a <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/15/cal-cunningham-was-caught-sex-scandal-hell-probably-become-senator-anyway/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:sexting scandal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">sexting scandal</a>, challenging <strong>Sen. Thom Tillis (R)</strong> in this quintessential battleground state. Tillis has been attacking Cunningham’s “<a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/thom-tillis-puts-opponent-cal-cunninghams-affair-on-blast-does-anyone-in-north-carolina-care" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:personal behavior" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">personal behavior</a>” on campaign stops, but it hasn’t seemed to matter — in fact, more people <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/they-donated-to-this-democrat-because-of-his-bad-sexts" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:started donating to Cunningham" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">started donating to Cunningham</a> when Tillis went after him.<span class="copyright">Photo: Gerry Broome/AP/Shutterstock.</span>

North Carolina



Cal Cunningham (D) is leading in the polls despite a sexting scandal, challenging Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in this quintessential battleground state. Tillis has been attacking Cunningham’s “personal behavior” on campaign stops, but it hasn’t seemed to matter — in fact, more people started donating to Cunningham when Tillis went after him.Photo: Gerry Broome/AP/Shutterstock.
<strong><h2>Maine</h2></strong><br><strong>Winner:</strong> Sen. Susan Collins (R)<br><br>Maine Speaker of the House <strong>Sara Gideon (D) </strong>challenged longtime <strong>Sen.</strong> <strong>Susan Collins (R)</strong> in this all-important race. Collins, who had previously historically labeled herself a “moderate,” turned a new leaf during the Trump administration, <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/10/213277/susan-collins-kavanaugh-vote-yes" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court</a> and to <a href="https://www.politico.com/news/2020/02/04/susan-collins-trump-vote-impeachment-110735" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:acquit President Donald Trump" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">acquit President Donald Trump</a> during his impeachment trial. Collins was, however, the only Republican to vote against <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/10/10114330/amy-coney-barrett-supreme-court-confirmation-senate" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Justice Amy Coney Barrett" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Justice Amy Coney Barrett</a>, though many assume it was because she trailed in the polls against Gideon.<span class="copyright">Photo: Robert F Bukaty/AP/Shutterstock.</span>

Maine


Winner: Sen. Susan Collins (R)

Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon (D) challenged longtime Sen. Susan Collins (R) in this all-important race. Collins, who had previously historically labeled herself a “moderate,” turned a new leaf during the Trump administration, voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and to acquit President Donald Trump during his impeachment trial. Collins was, however, the only Republican to vote against Justice Amy Coney Barrett, though many assume it was because she trailed in the polls against Gideon.Photo: Robert F Bukaty/AP/Shutterstock.
<strong><h2>Iowa</h2></strong><br><strong>Winner:</strong> Joni Ernst (R)<br><br><strong>Theresa Greenfield (D)</strong> challenged ultra-conservative <strong>Sen. Joni Ernst (R)</strong>, and was hoping for a breakthrough thanks to the state’s <a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/21514231/joni-ernst-theresa-greenfield-iowa-senate-race-explained" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:growing number of anti-Trump voters" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">growing number of anti-Trump voters</a>.<span class="copyright">Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call.</span>

Iowa


Winner: Joni Ernst (R)

Theresa Greenfield (D) challenged ultra-conservative Sen. Joni Ernst (R), and was hoping for a breakthrough thanks to the state’s growing number of anti-Trump voters.Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call.
<strong><h2>Georgia </h2></strong><br><br>Georgia has two contested races. In one, <strong>Jon Ossoff (D)</strong>, who in 2017 ran in a special election for a House seat in the Atlanta suburbs and lost, is challenging <strong>Sen. David Perdue (R)</strong>. The election is <a href="https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/11/03/georgia-senate-races-congress-special-election/6092300002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:so close" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">so close</a> that it could go to a runoff.<span class="copyright"> Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.</span>

Georgia



Georgia has two contested races. In one, Jon Ossoff (D), who in 2017 ran in a special election for a House seat in the Atlanta suburbs and lost, is challenging Sen. David Perdue (R). The election is so close that it could go to a runoff. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
<strong><h2>Georgia: Special Election</h2></strong><br><br><strong>Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R)</strong>, a millionaire Republican donor <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/03/9585367/senator-burr-loeffler-stock-coronavirus-insider-trading-backlash" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:who may have profited from the coronavirus" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">who may have profited from the coronavirus</a>, was appointed to the U.S. Senate in December 2019 after the seat was vacated. Now she is being challenged by <strong>Congressman Doug Collins (R)</strong>, <strong>Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock (D)</strong>, and several other candidates. Warnock, the <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/georgia-senate-warnock-runoff/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta</a>, is a progressive favorite. “This is a ‘new South’,” Warnock <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/georgia-is-ready-to-flip-blue-says-us-senate-candidate-raphael-warnock-131244442.html" data-ylk="slk:told reporters;outcm:mb_qualified_link;_E:mb_qualified_link;ct:story;" class="link rapid-noclick-resp yahoo-link">told reporters</a>. “It’s more diverse. It’s forward-looking. It’s inclusive. And it’s ready to flip blue.”<span class="copyright">Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images.</span>

Georgia: Special Election



Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R), a millionaire Republican donor who may have profited from the coronavirus, was appointed to the U.S. Senate in December 2019 after the seat was vacated. Now she is being challenged by Congressman Doug Collins (R), Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock (D), and several other candidates. Warnock, the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, is a progressive favorite. “This is a ‘new South’,” Warnock told reporters. “It’s more diverse. It’s forward-looking. It’s inclusive. And it’s ready to flip blue.”Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images.

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