Never mind Senate seats up for grabs, did you know there’s a major Presidential Election in six months? It’s tough to follow along while living in the current times. Most election primaries that were to be held from late March through May have been postponed until June. The two candidates are theoretically set though, as President Trump is preparing to face former VP Joe Biden. Biden has been staying in his basement during these times and has hardly been seen outside of embarrassing TV interviews and virtual town hall disasters.
This election cycle will be extremely difficult to predict. If the pandemic comes back in the Fall, it’s likely that there will be a push for nationwide mail-in voting. The president has strongly opposed this because he knows it will worsen his chances at re-election. He has even threatened states with possibly withholding federal funding if they use absentee ballots rather then in-person voting.
For Trump, he must continue to push hard against this. Mail-in voting leaves the door wide open for fraud and leaves political power in the hands of an activist bureaucracy. In a key state like Michigan, every vote counts in November.
The coronavirus and mail-in voting will have a huge effect on the outcomes in this cycle. If the virus is still so threatening that many states allow mail-in voting, this could cause fraud and alter close elections. This would also reduce the amount of campaigning and the ability to hold large public gatherings. No major campaigning could drastically hurt Biden’s chances as well as other challengers in Senate and House races. Incumbents with name recognition would surely be at a greater advantage.
RELATED: Five Senate Seats That Could Flip In 2020 (From July 2019)
The 2020 Senate map shows a small advantage for Republicans, who will be defending several seats but also have a path to victory for several more. The only realistic path to a Senate majority for the Democrats would be a 50-50 split in with a Biden victory. A 51-49 majority would take a near miracle.
The Alabama senate is certain to flip. There’s no Roy Moore and with Trump on the ballot, you won’t see much cross-party voting. Even if the GOP loses all 4 races on this list with incumbents, a victory in Alabama keeps them at 50 seats minimum.
The senate races this year will be interesting to watch because many of the tight battlegrounds are in states with the Presidential Election all but wrapped up. So, let’s get into the six most vulnerable senate seats in the 2020 election cycle.
6. Gary Peters (D)- Michigan
Despite being the incumbent, Peters is virtually unknown by many of his constituents. John James lost in 2018 by 6 points which was a solid performance in a blue wave year. Having run already should certainly improve his name recognition. The two are set to battle out in a key swing state that will decide the presidential election.
Despite President Trump winning the state in 2016, it’s the most likely state to flip blue. Michigan Governor/Dictator Gretchen Whitmer is a possible choice to be Biden’s VP which will also improve their chances in the Wolverine State. Peters is still the incumbent but it’s possible James can be carried over the top by Trump.
5. Kelly Loeffler (R)- Georgia Special
The Special Election in Georgia has been heating up after controversy involving the recently sworn in incumbent. Senator Kelly Loeffler has been accused of using insider knowledge to dump millions in stocks before the latest market crash. Things seem even shadier when examining her husband being the chairman of the NYSE. Georgia is a state rapidly trending blue and Loeffler could have trouble getting support from solid rural GOP voters.
Republican Rep. Doug Collins is also vying for this seat in a primary and could force Loeffler into a two-person race after the general. Collins was Trump’s choice for this seat but the Governor Brian Kemp selected Loeffler over the President’s primary choice, citing “electability“.
4. Cory Gardner (R)- Colorado
The 2-4 rankings were extremely difficult to order. All three senators are republicans who are at least mildly unpopular. You can also argue that two out of the three are in states that are trending towards the Democrats.
With that said, Gardner’s is one of the more difficult Senate seats to examine. He’s the only Republican to win statewide in Colorado since George Bush in 2004. The one-term incumbent squeaked out a victory in 2014 but is in a state Trump lost by five points and is unlikely to win in November.
We’ll have to wait to see the results of the democratic primary to determine the fate of this seat. Former presidential candidate and popular ex-governor John Hickenlooper is in a tight primary with far-left progressive candidate Andrew Romanoff. The primary will really decide this race. If Hickenlooper wins then Gardner is likely out but a Romanoff victory will greatly improve Gardner’s chances and probably make the race a toss-up.
3. Susan Collins (R)- Maine
Collins is in the battle of her life as she attempts to win a fifth term. Despite being considered a moderate or even liberal Republican, Collins has supported many of the Trump Administration’s policies. She was the key vote in the Kavanaugh confirmation and voted against both articles of impeachment. The primary for Collins’ opponent is postponed to July 14th. The primary favorite is Sara Gideon, the current speaker of Maine’s house of representatives.
President Trump performed strongly in Maine in 2016. Despite President Obama winning the state by 16 in 2012, Trump only lost there by 3. The state uses proportional voting and Trump was able to flip the key 2nd Congressional District.
It will be interesting to see how Collins campaigns, as she’ll most likely avoid aligning with the President. The four-term incumbency for Collins will be huge and she’s certain to receive most of Trump’s base. Incumbency is enormous when it comes to Senate seats and Collins certainly has that.
2. Martha McSally (R)- Arizona
After losing in 2018 to Krysten Sinema, McSally’s chances aren’t looking much better this go around. McSally is set to face former Astronaut Mark Kelly in 2020. Kelly is married to former Representative and gun control advocate Gabby Giffords. Recent polling has even shown Kelly with a double digit lead.
Frankly, it’s no surprise to see McSally struggling. McSally is the typical never-Trumper that now, all of a sudden, is a strong ally. She in fact refused to endorse the President in 2016 and it is unknown who she voted for. On the other hand, Kelly is taking advantage of this weakness and appealing the most to moderates. While Kelly strongly supports gun control, he’s viewed as moderate on most other issues.
McSally is the incumbent though and with Trump heavily campaigning there, Arizona could stay red. With that said, the state is quickly trending away from the GOP and there’s only a matter of time until it’s a blue state. There’s a strong seat that Arizona will end up with two Senate seats occupied by Democrats come 2021.
1. Doug Jones (D)- Alabama
The Alabama race is the only race where the challenger will be considered the clear favorite. Who that will be is still undecided, however. The run-off primary between former Senator Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville has been postponed until July 14th. The winner of that election will be the favorite against incumbent Doug Jones.
Jones kissed any hope of holidng his seat goodbye when he voted for both articles of impeachment. It’s clear he gave up on his re-election chances, if they ever existed in the first place. Tuberville has the endorsement of the President and is leading in most polls. Sessions has pushed hard against Tuberville, accusing of him as being pro-amnesty on immigration and a resident of Florida.
Montana- It’s a battle between the incumbent Republican Senator and the incumbent Democrat Governor. Steve Daines is well liked and with Trump on the ballot, he should get carried over the finish line. This is still a race to keep an eye on though following the 2018 results
Minnesota- Tina Smith was elected in a special election in 2018 to replace former Senator Al Franken. Minnesota is trending right and if Trump sweeps the map and flips Minnesota, he could boost her challenger and other Republicans down ballot. Former representative Jason Lewis is the favorite to be the republican nominee.
North Carolina- Incumbent Senator Thom Tillis is facing off against Cal Cunningham. The race is being seen as a toss-up, but Tillis will likely be carried over by Trump. Tillis, though, has pushed back on the administration’s immigration policy several times and has advocated for legal status for DACA recipients.