The United States Senate Races As They Stand Now

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Democrats need five seats to control the US Senate. We assume one seat will be lost in Alabama, where having a democrat win that one time required that the Republican be about the most odious Senatorial candidate in the history of the nation, and that was nearly not enough, because Alabama loves odious.

Here is the current state of the races most likely to matter in this quest.

Arizona: Democrat Mark Kelly vs. Republican Martha McSally. Kelly has led McSally forever, coming close to even or behind in very few polls. However, the most recent polling is concerning. A long term 6+ point average lead has devolved since the middle of October to a present near tie, and in the most recent poll, McSally has pulled ahead.

Republicans often have a major negative push in a campaign during the last two weeks, and that often pushes the poll numbers closer, but often, that does not seem (in my opinion) to change the actual voting, depending on the local culture. For example, in Minnesota, that usually backfires. But I don’t know what is likely to happen in Arizona.

Conclusion: Tossup.

Colorado: Democrat John Hickenlooper vs. Republican Cory Gardner. Gardner was essentially elected by accident in 2014, and Hickenlooper is popular. This race is considered to be so obviously Hickenlooper’s that there is hardly any polling.

Conclusion: We’ll assume this is a Democratic takeway.

Georgia: Democrat Jon Ossoff vs Republican David Perdue. There is no particular reason to expect Ossoff to win this race, but right now Georgia is undergoing a shift that could put him in position. As of late, the polling puts the two candidates at dead even, but that is probably a temporary quirk.

Conclusion: Republicans retain seat.

Iowa: Democrat Theresa Greenfield against Republican Joni Ernst. Challenger Greenfield has shown strong polling since mid summer, but once again, due to some last minute Republcian mojo, the race is suddenly essentially tied. This is coming down to how annoyed people might be with Ernst for not cleaning out the swamp, vs how concerned Iowans are with protecting their way of life, which is silly because Democrats are actually better at growing corn than Republicans are.

Conclusion: Tossup

Maine: Democrat Sara Gideon vs Republican Susan Collins. Susan Collins is one of the most annoying Republican Senators, because she is always pretending she will ultimately do the right thing, then never does. Not once. Ever. Challenger Sara Gideon is taking the fight right to Collins and is going to wump her in the final vote.

Conclusion: Democrats win, followed with 18 months by an indictment against Collins. What for? I don’t know, but obviously somebody owns her and once the spell is broken, which is till be on November 3rd, that can lead to indictmentitis.

North Carolina: Democrat Cal Cunningham vs Republican Thom Tillis. Cunningham essentially threw this race away and guaranteed a Republican win, and thus, no Democratic control of the Senate, because he couldn’t keep his SMS in his pants. But, on the other hand, Republican Thom Tillis is so disliked in his state that he is still losing anyway. Cunningham’s indiscretion basically shifted polling from a farily strong chance of winning to a race that is within the margin of error.

Conclusion: Tossup. Anything can happen in this race, but either way, somebody’s gonna lose them a trailer.

South Carolina: Democrat Jamie Harrison vs Republican Lindsey Graham. Graham is a long time frequently re-elected figure in South Carolina, so it is his race to lose. But he could. Graham is ahead in most polls, but has tied in three Quinnipiac polls in a row. There are indications that there is a rapidly turning tide. I’m going to assume this will not be a change, but the race is interesting enough that I put it on this list so you will know what to fret over on election night (and a while after).

Conclusion: Republican win. Or will it be?

Most likely outcome: Democrats take Colorado and Maine, and maybe one other race, and Republicans stay in control of the Senate. This causes all useful legislation to stall for another few years, and global warming gets so bad it can’t be fixed.

Most hopeful outcome: Despite Democrats stepping on their own SMS, as it were, and that fact that in most sates Republicans can out campaign Democrats with their eyes closed, Democrats take Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, and scare the bejesus out of Graham but he keeps his seat. That’s one more than needed.

Another possible scenario: Democrats also lose Smith’s seat in Minnesota. Suddenly, she is on the verge of falling behind. Minnesota voters are unreliable. It could happen.

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9 thoughts on “The United States Senate Races As They Stand Now

  1. This is coming down to how annoyed people might be with Greenfield for not cleaning out the swamp

    Shouldn’t that be Joni Ernst?

  2. From what I hear on Facebook and in emails, this “last-minute Republican mojo” you mention is due to a late surge of outside money. I’ve made a few donations, but I doubt it will make a difference. We do what we can.

    I generally agree with your conclusions. I’m hopeful for South Carolina, however — and for Kansas, where I think Barbara Bollier might pull it out.

    What do you expect for the other Georgia race, with Rev. Raphael Warnock vs. Kelly Loeffler?

    1. Well, obviously, all the other races will leave the Senate with an even split if Trump wins, or an even split minus 1 if Biden winds, then, this race will go to ther unoff with Warnock and Loeffler, then the entire future of humanity will depend on the outcome of the Georgia special senate race in early January.

      What else could possibly happen?

  3. With 20 candidates running in Georgia’s special election, it’s virtually certain no one will win a majority — so, as you say, there will be a runoff.

    However, I see the Senate winding up with (I’ll be bold) a five-seat Democrat majority.

    The Cook Political Report says the three most vulnerable Republicans are Cory Gardner in Colorado, Martha McSally in Arizona. The next tier is Susan Collins in Maine, Tom Tillis in North Carolina, and Joni Ernst in Iowa.

    It goes on to say that six, seven and eight on the GOP vulnerability list are the two races in Georgia and the Montana race.

    It rates the Kansas contest as a tossup, but sees Texas, Kentucky, and Alaska remaining in Republican hands.

    So it seems likely the GOP will lose its Senate majority.

    1. “However, I see the Senate winding up with (I’ll be bold) a five-seat Democrat majority”

      I wish I were that optimistic. Due to widespread republican efforts to take away access to voting in districts where “those people” live and the general stupidity of many in the population (so they vote against their own best interest), I’d be amazed if the senate changed much at all.

  4. What poll are you using? 538’s average shows Kelly over McSally by 6 to 7 points for ever and right up to their most recent info. There are two poorly rated polls that show it close, but the others are all Kelly. Their models show 77 to 23 for Kelly. I think Kelly will win easily and that bodes well for Biden in Arizona because I really don’t think there are very many Trump voters in the Kelly camp.

    1. My comments refer specifically and only to polls that existed at the time that I mae the comments, when the sequence of number was:

      +11 +11 +7 +2 -3

      See how they are all going down?

      Here is the key point: When we look at the numbers over all for any given race we see that they look good, but at the end, there is usually, almost always, a regression to a closer number.

      If the regression is insufficient, the long time leader wins. If the regression is sufficient, the long time leader loses. This happened in five states in the electoral race in 2016, and 538 missed that, for example.

      I am pointing out that regression, using the same polls you cite, but not the last couple.

      The last four polls have the race within the margin of error. That the race was not in the margin of error a couple of weeks ago would not matter at all in a normal election year. AZ had a “surge” in early voting when it started a few weeks ago, and AZ is very impressed with itself, but I think the numbers are still a small proportion (you can research that and get back, I may be wrong).

      Hopefully Kelly maintains his lead. But the only poll that counts is the one they count.

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