Democrats are waging an effective campaign to retake Senate control, so much so President Donald Trump has warned GOP fundraisers the Senate majority is squarely in the balance in the finals days of the election.
“The map is very tight,” a GOP strategist told Politico. “It is on a knife’s edge.”
The race began with Democrats facing an uphill climb to regain the Senate, then the big money poured in – along with COVID-19 infections in battleground states – and only a Trump revival and an influx of GOP dollars have made things close again. The GOP takes a 53-47 edge into this election cycle, but is defending 11 seats to the Democrats’ two.
“The low-water mark is potentially catastrophic,” Josh Holmes, a top adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Politico.
“What was a significant downturn for most Republican candidates over the last couple weeks has sort of rebounded a bit. All of these competitive races are within the margin of error, and you could have a whole bunch of scenarios play out on Election Day. The options are basically endless.”
In the 13 most competitive Senate races – only one of which features the GOP candidate, John James of Michigan, on the offensive against an incumbent Democrat (Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.) – 12 have Democrats outspending their opponents, according to Advertising Analytics.
“As liberal donors flood races across the map with a green tsunami of cash, we’re working furiously to keep Republicans’ heads above water in the battle to hold the Senate majority,” Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law said in a statement.
Here are the Senate battleground races with the RealClearPolitics polling average:
- Sen. Peters, D-Mich., (plus 5.2 percentage points) against GOP challenger John James.
- Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, against Democrat challenger Sara Gideon (+4.2 points).
- Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., (+3.3) against Democrat challenger Steve Bullock.
- Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., against Democrat challenger Cal Cunningham (+1.7).
- Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., (+0.6) against Democrat challenge Jon Ossof.
- Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., in open primary against Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Democrat challenger Rev. Rafael Warnock (+10 points) but appearing headed for a January runoff.
- Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Democrat challenger Theresa Greenfield (+1.8).
- Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., (+5.8) and Republican challenger Jason Lewis.
- Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Democrat challenger Mark Kelly (+5.6).
- Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, (+8.2) and Democrat challenger M.J. Hager.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., (leading a “tossup”) and Democrat challenger Jaime Harrison.
- Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Democrat challenger John Hickenlooper, who is leading.
- Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., and GOP challenger Tommy Tuberville, who is leading.
That flips at least four seats, looking at the RealClearPolitics’ no-tossups polling map – which is also showing a blowout victory for Democrat Joe Biden against Trump – and Democrats might reach 51 seats in the Senate.
“I think we have a good shot to take the majority back,” Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC President J.B. Poersch told Politico. “There’s more opportunity and more pathways to get there. I think the map has broadened, and that’s bad for Republican
“The big difference now is you have more competitive races, but they’re still competitive. And we expect them to stay close right through Election Day.”
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