CapitolcongressfeatureOn Tuesday November 4th, 35 Senate elections were held to determine who would make up the 117th Congress. In the weeks preceding the elections, many polls indicated that the Senate would see a Blue swell, not quite a wave, but enough to see the Senate flip, leaving Democrats in the majority. After nearly a week of counting votes, it seems less likely that the Republicans will lose their majority status, but with four races left, the Senate is currently in a dead heat for control. Both sides have successfully claimed 48 seats, with a net loss of one seat for the Senate Republicans; it could take until runoff elections, due to take place in early January, to determine who will come out on top.  

Of the four remaining races, the North Carolina race is likely to go to Republican incumbent Thom Tillis, but currently neither Tillis nor challenger Cal Cunningham have the 50% of the vote needed to declare victory. The Alaska Senate race will also likely go to the Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan. He currently leads by 30 points, but with only 50% of the expected vote tallied, it may be a few more days before the results are official. In Georgia, both Senate races will move to a runoff in January. Note Stacey Abramsrole in the state. To maintain control of the Senate, Republicans will need to hold onto their seats in Alaska and North Carolina and claim victory in at least one of the two runoff races. For the Democrats to flip the Senate, they will need to win at least two of the four remaining races, bringing the Senate to a 50-50 party split. This would entail Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris being the tie breaker for party power, swinging the majority to the Democrats.  

Here is a full breakdown of the 2020 U.S. Senate elections: 

Races That Have Yet to be Called  

  • North Carolina – Incumbent Tom Tillis (R) leads Challenger Cal Cunningham by just under 100,000 votes, with neither candidate holding the 50% majority of votes necessary for victory. With absentee ballots being accepted until November 12th, it could be days before a winner is determined. 
  • Georgia – Incumbent David Perdue (R) leads Challenger Jon Ossoff by just under 100,000 votes, with neither candidate holding the 50% majority necessary to determine a winner, this race has been moved to a runoff, scheduled for early January.  
  • Georgia Special Election – No candidate received the necessary 50% of the vote to declare a winner, so the race will move to a runoff between the top two candidates, Raphael Warnock (D) and Kelly Loeffler (R), scheduled for early January.  
  • Alaska – With only 50% of the expected votes counted, a winner has not yet been announced in the Alaska Senate race, but with over a 30 point lead it is likely the race will go to Incumbent Dan Sullivan (R) over Challenger Al Gross. 

Seats that Flipped  

  • Alabama – Challenger Tommy Tuberville (R) defeated Incumbent Doug Jones, flipping this blue seat red, in what was supposed to be a razor thin race, Tuberville defeated Jones by nearly 500,000 votes.  
  • Arizona – Challenger Mike Kelly (D) won this very tight race against incumbent Martha McSally, flipping this seat from red to Blue. 
  • Colorado – Challenger John Hickenlooper (D) defeated incumbent Cory Gardner with a substantial lead, flipping the state from red to blue.  

Close Races 

  • Maine – Incumbent Susan Collins (R) was declared the winner of this incredibly tight race after challenger Sara Gideon conceded when she was down only 40,000 votes with 217,000 ballots still outstanding. After tallying the remainder of the votes, Senator Susan Collins was ahead by approximately 70,000 votes.  
  • Virginia – Incumbent Mark Warner (D) defeated challenger Daniel Gade by a margin of 10 points after hours of tug of war over the lead on election night, with Daniel Gade ahead for several hours after polls closed. After tallying the remainder of the votes Mark Warner maintained a solid lead.  
  • Michigan – Incumbent Gary Peters (D) barely held on to his seat against challenger John James in and incredibly tight race that took until Wednesday evening to count and call.  
  • Iowa – Incumbent Joni Ernst (R) held onto her seat during a very tight race in which many pre-election polls were projecting challenger Theresa Greenfield would flip the seat in favor of the Democrats.  
  • Texas – In a very close race wherein there was much speculation of turning Texas blue, Incumbent John Cornyn (R) was able to hold onto his seat against challenger Mary Jennings Hegar. 

Races That Were Supposed to be Close 

  • Montana – Incumbent Steve Daines (R) defeated challenger Steve Bullock with a solid majority of the votes 
  • South Carolina – Incumbent Lindsey Graham (R) defeats challenger Jaime Harrison in this hotly contested race in which pre-election polls gave the impression of a razor thin race where the Democrats would have the opportunity to flip a Republican strong-hold. 

Open Races 

Incumbents That Won Reelection 

Grace Burton

Grace Burton

Research Analyst