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Battle for the Senate in 2020: My Final Prediction - Democrats Will Win the Senate (Updated 11-22-2020)


Jan 5, 2021

I guess we will have to wait until then to see if I am ultimately right. That said, I am wrong where I thought the D's would win.

AZ - Got that right

CO - Got that right

ME - Got that really wrong.

NC - I really thought Cunningham would have pulled it out.

IA - The D got killed but I had high hopes

KS - Same, same

GA (Perdue) - Came out about the way I thought (Perdue +2 as of 11/17/20)

GA (Special) - I had predicted a run-off (tied as of 11/17/20)

Where did I go wrong? I underestimated the size of turnout Trump was able to gen up with his rallies, it was massive. Not big enough to save him, but big enough to give the Republicans pick-ups in the House, State Houses, and one governorship.

Acquittal of Trump Is the Key

Before the impeachment of Donald Trump, chances didn't look good that the Democrats would be able to replace probably the worst Senate majority leader in the history of America. Since the acquittal in the sham trial orchestrated by Mitch McConnell, who in my opinion doesn't deserve the title of Senator, things are looking considerably brighter.

Consequently, it seemed appropriate to investigate this possibility further.

This is my final update before the election.

Setting the Stage

Currently, the Senate is composed of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats. One-third of the Senators, plus or minus, are up for election each year. In 2020, there are 35 seats up for grabs including two special elections in Arizona and Georgia; both Republican seats. Of the remaining 33, 21 are Republican seats and 12 are Democratic. To take over the Senate, the Democrats need to flip a net of 3 seats and the presidency. Otherwise, they will need to flip 4 seats.

This article will pull together information from multiple sources to offer a comprehensive view and analysis of the 2020 Senate races. The table below tells you who is running.

By this count, if Joe Biden wins the presidency, then the Democrats will control the Senate with a 50-50 tie. If the Democrats can win just one of the 6 too close to call races, then the Democrats control the Senate outright with 51 - 49.


AK - R (31)

Dan Sullivan (R)

Al Gross (I)


+6.1 points

The latest poll had Gross tied with Sullivan

+4.7 points (outside the MOE - 12.5% undecided)

Sullivan Wins by 3 - 4 ponits

AL - R? (32)

Doug Jones (D)

Tommy Tuberville (R). Several Independents have declared as well. NOTE: It is a jungle primary.

-7.4 points

- 8.2 points

- 10.2 points

-12.6 points

Tuberville Wins by 7+ points (-1))

AR - R (33)

Tom Cotton (R)

Dan Whittfield (I)




Safe R

Cotton Wins by a Lot

AZ - D (36)

Martha McSally (R -special)

Mark Kelly (D)

-8.0 points

- 8.0 points

- 8.0 points

-7.0 points

Kelly Wins by 5 - 6 points (0)

CO - D (37)

Cory Gardner (R)

John Hickenlooper (D)

-15.5 ponits

- 15.1 points

-11.4 points

-8.0 points

Hickenlooper Wins by 7 - 8 points (+1)

DE - D (38)

Christopher Coons (D)

Lauren Witzke (R)




Safe D

Coons Wins by a Lot

GA - R? (34)

Kelly Loeffler (R - special)

Doug Collins (R), Wayne Johnson (R), Matt Lieberman (D), Ed Tarver (D), Raphael Warnock (D), Richard Dien Winfield

Lean R

Lean R

Lean R

Lean D (Warnick up by 10 points over incumbent in this jungle election)

Warnick Beats Laugher by 12 points but Race Goes to a Runoff in January

GA - R? (35)

David Perdue (R)

Jon Ossoff (D)

+2 points



+1.0 point

Too Close to Call with Ossoff Up by 2

ID - R (36)

Jim Risch (R)

Paulette Jordan (D)




Safe R

Riesch Wins by a Lot

IA - R? (37)

Joni Ernst

Theresa Greenfield (D)

-1.2 points

-2.0 points


-3.6 points (inside the MOE)

Tied - Too Close to Call

IL - D (39)

Dick Durbin

Mark Curran (R)




Safe D

Durbin Wins by a Lot

KS - R (38)

Pat Roberts (R - not running)

Republicans - Roger Marshall; Democrats - Barbara Bollier




-1.0 point

Tied - Too Close to Call

KY - R? (39)

Mitch McConnell (R)

Democrats - Amy McGrath

+ 1.0 points

+ 5.0 points

+ 8.0 points

+ 8.0 points

McConnell Wins by 10 points

LA - R (40)

Bill Cassidy (R)

Antoine Pierce




Safe R

Cassidy Wins by a Lot

MA - D (40)

Ed Markley (D)

No Republican challenger yet




Safe D

Markley Wins by a Lot

ME - D? (41)

Susan Collins (R)

Sara Gideon

- 4 points

- 4 points

- 4 points

-6.0 points (outside the MOE)

Gideon Wins by 2 points (+2)

MI - D (42)

Gary Peters (D)

John James (R)

+ 12 points

+ 10 points

+ 7 points

+5.0 points (outside the MOE)

Peters Wins by 7 - 8 points

MN - D (43)

Tina Smith (D)

Jason Lewis (R)



+ 8 points

+11 points

Smith Wins by 7 points

MS - R (41)

Cindy Hyde-Smith (R_

Mike Espy (D)

+ 13 points

+ 13 points

+ 12 points

+12 points

Hyde-Smith Wins by 11+ points

MT - D? (44)

Steve Daines (R)

Steve Bullock (D)

- 2 points

-2 points


+4 points (inside the MOE)

Too Close to Call, Daines up by 1

NE - R (42)

Ben Sasse (R)

Chris Janicek (D)




Safe R

Sasse Wins by a Lot

NC - D? (45)

Tom Tillis (R)

Cal Cunningham (D)


- 8.0 points

- 4.2 points

-5.5 points

Cunningham Wins by 3 - 4 points (+3 and Ds Win Senate if Biden Wins)

NH - D (46)

Jeanne Shaheen (D)

Don Bolduc (R), Bryant Messner (R), Bill O'Brien (R); Justin O'Donnell (L)




Safe D

Shaheen Wins by a Lot

NJ - D (47)

Cory Booker(D)

Tricia Flanagan (R), Rik Mehta (R), Natalie Lynn Rivera (R), Natalie Lynn Rivera(R)




Safe D

Booker Wins by a Lot

NM - D (48)

Tom Udall (D - not running)

Ben Ray Luján (D) vs Mark Ronchetti

+ 19 points (D)

+ 19 points

+ 14.0 points

+13.0 points

Lujun Wins by 10 points

OK - R (43)

Jim Inhoff (R)

J.J. Stitt (R); Democrat - Abby Broyles, Tyler Dougherty, Bevon Rogers, Mike Workman




Safe R

Inhoff Wins by a Lot

OR - D (49)

Jeff Merkley (D)

Jo Rae Perkins (R)

+ 13 points



Safe D

Merkley Wins by a Lot

RI - D (50)

Jack Reed (D)

Allen Waters (R)




Safe D

Reed Wins by a Lot

SC - R? (44)

Lindsey Graham (R)

Jamie Harrison (D)

+ 10.5 points

+ 8.4 points

+2.5 points


Too Close to Call, Graham up by 1

SD - R (44)

Mike Rounds (R)

Dan Ahlers (D)




Safe R

Rounds Wins by a Lot

TN - R (46)

Lamar Alexander (R - not running)

Republican - Josh Gapp, Bill Hagerty, Stokes Nielson, Aaron Pettigrew, Johnny Presley, Manny Sethi: Democrat - Marquita Bradshaw, Gary G. Davis, James Mackler, Diana C. Onyejiaka




Safe R

Haggerty Wins by a Lot

TX - R (47)

John Cornyn (R)

Democratic - MJ Hegar, Royce West

+8.6 points

+8.5 points

+ 5.2 points

+5.8 points

Cornyn Wins by 4 points

VA - D (51)

Mark Warner (D)

Republican - Alissa Baldwin, Blaine Dunn, Omari Faulkner, Roger Franklin, Daniel Gade, Thomas Speciale, Victor Williams




Safe D

Warner Wins by a Lot

WV - R (48)

Shelley Capito (R)

Paula Jean Swearengin (D)




Safe R

Capito Wins by a Lot

WY - R (49)

Mike Enzi (R - not running)

Mark Armstrong (R), Cynthia Lummis (R), Joshua Wheeler (R); Merav Ben-David (D), Chuck Jagoda (D), Yana Ludwig (D)




Safe R

Lummis Wins by a Lot

Based on the above, it is hard to see how the Democrats can fail to win control of the Senate, especially given how Donald Trump is falling to pieces.

Probable Flips

AL - D to R

Scroll to Continue

AZ - R to D

CO - R to D

ME - R to D

NC - R to D

Possible Flips

AK - R to I

GA (main) - R to D

GA (special) - R to D

IA - R to D

KS - R to D

MT - R to D

SC - R to D

Probable Democratic pick up of 3 seats plus the WH

Possible Democratic pick up of 10 seats, assuming the AK independent caucuses with the Democrats.

Sen. Doug Jones (AL)

2/16/2020: Doug Jones won in the very deep red state of Alabama. Two principal reasons were behind this momentous upset. One was his opponent, Roy Moore, an extremely flawed extreme candidate who had twice been removed from a judgeship and credibly accused of inappropriate contact with minors. The other was Jones was able to mobilize the large black population in Alabama.

Right now, he is down 5.9 points to his main Republican opponents. It looks like Jeff Sessions is the preferred Republican candidate and he is still well liked throughout the state. How much damage was done by his recusal as DOJ AG and the subsequent beating he took from Donald Trump remains to be seen. It is certainly something that Jones can use to pummel him with. In addition, there is no telling the damage each Republican candidate will accumulate during what is sure to be a mean primary fight.

Further, Jones is the incumbent which helps. His principled vote to convict Donald Trump may be lost on the Alabama voters who are, for some reason, enthralled with Trump.

I have my hopes up, but nevertheless count this as a loss to the Democrats. Meaning they need to flip 4 or 5 Republican seats, depending on who wins the presidency, to gain the majority.

Sen. Martha McSally (AZ)

2/16/2020: Senator McSally is probably in trouble. After finally being a successful candidate for Arizona's 2nd District for several years, she ran for the Senate in 2018 and was narrowly defeated by Kyrsten Sinema (D). With the death of Senator McCain, McSally was appointed to fill out his term and so became a Senator anyway. Once known as a centrist, she swung hard right and began to toe the Trump line. Her vote to acquit Donald Trump may be problematic in a state that is slowly turning blue. Worse, she is for repealing the Affordable Care Act which is not a popular position among the non hard-right electorate

To add to he worries, her Democratic opponent is Mark Kelly, former astronaut and husband of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who was almost assassinated at a rally. Kelly is extremely popular, well funded, and has a compelling message.

7/27/2020: Currently, Kelly is up 8 points in the polls.

Given her vote for Trump and against ACA, I have a hard time seeing how she pulls this one out against Mark Kelly. I think this is one of the flips the Democrats need.

Sen. Cory Gardner (CO)

2/16/2020: At this point in time, Gardner is down 12 points in the polls. He squeaked to a win in 2014 in a state that is increasingly Blue. His opponent is the very popular former governor John Hickenlooper, an early challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination. Like McSally, Gardner voted not to hear witnesses, something 70% of his constituents wanted Trump's impeachment. He subsequently voted to acquit Trump as part of a sham trial run by Mitch McConnell. He also opposes the now popular Affordable Care Act and the pre-existing condition exemption.

7/27/20: Further, Gardner is down 15.1 points, an insurmountable deficit.

10/10/20: Gardner is now down 8 points, well outside the margin of error.

This should be a sure win for the Democrats and the second seat they will flip.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (GA)

2/17/2020: This is a very interesting situation! Loeffler was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp, over the objections of Donald Trump, to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson who retired. Trump wanted Rep Doug Collins and Kemp rebuffed him. Now, Collins is attempting to primary Loeffler, and according to at least one December poll is beating her badly.

When Collins is put against one of the Democrats running, Collins is losing by 10 points; Loeffler by a lot more.

At least at the moment, it looks like this will the third Democratic flipped seat.

10/10/20: This race is a jungle race, meaning the top two candidates, assuming nobody meets the 50% threshold, will go to a run-off election. The top spot was between Loeffler and Collins, another Republican. But lately, Warnick, the top Democratic contender has jumped to a 10 point lead over Loeffler. He still doesn't get to 50% even IF the other two Democrats drop out now. So it looks like a run-off between him and Loeffler.

Sen. Joni Ernst (IA)

2/17/2020: Even though Ernst is ahead by 6.5 points and is popular in Iowa, I include her here as a possible Democratic pick-up. This reason is the same as the others, she voted not to have witnesses which must of her Republican supporters wanted, she voted to acquit Trump, and she wants to get rid of pre-existing conditions as well as the rest of ACA.

One more factor against Ernst is that her state doesn't like Trump very much. In the January Morning Consult tracking poll, Trump is down 9 points. Compare this to where Trump stood in Jan 2017 - Up 9 points. In full disclosure, Trump is on the rise—in Jan 2019, Trump was down 14 points.

7/27/2020: Civiqs has Trump down by 15 points in Iowa and Ernst down by 2 points. This is basically a toss-up at this point, but since Ernst should be up by many points, it means her prospects are weak.

Even though Iowa may be a problem for Ernst, I will leave her in the win column for Republicans for the moment.

10/10/20: With Ernst running slightly behind now, I will move this to the toss-up column.

Sen. Pat Roberts (KS)

2/17/2020: Sen. Roberts will retire, so his seat is open. Normally, I would say this is a slam dunk Republican win, but the Republicans worry very much that Kris Kobach, a very far right-wing conservative who lost the governorship of Kansas to a Democrat. A single poll has Kobach and one of the Democrats tied.

Again, because Kansas is normally a very red state, I will 1) wait to see if Kobach wins and 2) wait for a few more polls to come in before I start thinking about the Democrats winning this state.

10/10/20: The Republicans dodged a bullet when Kobach lost to Marshall. That said, Bollier, the Democratic opponent has taken a very surprising lead and now I rate this race a toss-up.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (KY)

2/17/2020: Mitch McConnell may be in grave danger of holding his seat. He has done several things as Leader, which makes patriotic Americans, even Republican ones, wonder about his own patriotism—of putting country above party or above Trump. The strikes against him are the following:

  1. His unconstitutional withholding of Judge Merrick Garland's appointment to the Supreme Court.
  2. His turning the impeachment trial into a sham trial or no trial at all. 70% of Republicans wanted witnesses which he worked hard to prevent. And Americans ultimately believe in a fair justice system, e.g. a fair trial.

Further, his likely opponent, Amy McGrath, a very popular military veteran, is well funded and very aggressive. The only poll, a July one, between McConnell and McGrath had McConnell only one point ahead.

7/27/2020: Amy McGrath is now McConnell's opponent. At the moment she is only down by 5 points when it should be 20.

This is another one to watch.

Sen. Susan Collins (ME)

2/20/2020: Currently, Collins is 5 points ahead of her Democratic rivals with the latest poll result - which may be a result of her recent votes. One would think that is a safe margin, but in this case, I think not. Her Democratic opponents have yet to coalesce and they need more funding for a concerted ad campaign.

Her weaknesses are her very unpopular vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, who was accused of rape early in his life and his opposition to Roe v. Wade, for the Supreme Court and her vote to acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment sham trial. Half of Maine is Blue while the other half, which is still Red, is shifting Blue. Also, Mainers believe more than most in a fair justice system and the sham trial of Donald Trump was anything but.

7/27/2020: Sara Gideon won the Democratic primary and leads Collins by 4 points, almost outside the margin of error.

I am now counting on this to flip to the Democrats as a the third pick-up.

10/10/20: It keeps getting worse for Collins.

Sen. Gary Peters (MI)

2/18/2020: I include Sen. Peters here because polling only has him with a 4 point lead. Because the winds are blowing in the Democrats direction, he is probably safe, but that is a very small margin.

7/27/2020: Peters in now up by 10 points.

Sen. Tom Tillis (NC)

2/18/2020: Sen Tillis barely won is first election and he has gone 100% in for Trump in a state that is moving from Red to Blue. Trump carried North Carolina in 2016, barely. Right now, Morning Consult has Trump down by 1 point. That is up from a negative 4 in May but down from even last month.

Tillis is so worried, that his supporters have started to support the candidacy of a challenger to Tillis' main opponent, Cal Cunningham. A Republican PAC has been running ads in favor of Cunningham's opponent.

Given he is down 1.1 points after several current polls, I am counting this as a probable forth flip from Republican to Democrat and will give the Democrats the majority.

7/27/2020: The current polls have Cunningham up by 8 points and growing.

If this happens, and it seems like it will, this is the fourth flip for the Democrats, enough to guarantee them taking over the gavel of the Senate.

10/10/20: Cunningham is still favored to win in spite of a recent sex scandal, which was partially offset by Tillis catching Covid.

Sen. Lindsay Graham

2/18/2020: Once a well respected senator, Graham has been infected by Trump and lost his moral compass. While once thought a shoe-in for re-election, his supplication to Trump, his declaration that he was biased in the Trump impeachment, that he intentionally violated his oath of office and his impeachment oath, and his obvious decision to put Trump over country has made him vulnerable.

His main Democratic opponent, Jamie Harrison, has had one poll within 2 points, but the rest had him closer to 10 points behind. Of interest though, Graham has not polled over 52%, Time will tell.

7/27/2020: Harrison has crept to within 8.4 points.

10/10/20: This is Amazing. Harrison (who I maxed out my donations to - I have moved my money to McGrath (KY) and Ossuff (GA)) is in a solid TIE with Graham and has the momentum.

There is a lot more to cover, and I will continue to update this article with new information as these races develop. I thought I would publish it at this stage anyway because at least I find it interesting. Hopefully you will, too.

© 2020 Scott Belford


Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on June 14, 2020:

Thank you Shyron. Good news. Greenfield has taken the lead over Ernst in Iowa in the average of the last five polls. Not much of a lead, but ahead nevertheless when one shouldn't exist.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 13, 2020:

Fantastic article Scott, I hope you are right. Keep writing.

I will answer the articles on my hub for both you and Brad until I have had a chance to read them.

Blessings my friend.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 16, 2020:

What is a "cropper"?

MG Singh emge from Singapore on February 16, 2020:

I am not sure but I have a gut feeling that the Dem candidate whosever he is is going to come a cropper.

Scott Belford (author) from Keystone Heights, FL on February 15, 2020:

Thanks for the comment Doris, you may very well be right. My money is going to Biden for president and Harrison (SC) and McGrath (KY). When I know who to support in Maine, I will help them as well. I might help Kelly (AZ) but I don't think he will need it.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on February 15, 2020:

All I can say is "hmmm, sounds about right." My husband does a podcast on Friday afternoons, and we keep hearing that a lot of disgruntled Republicans will be voting against Trump. But if Bernie wins the Demos primary, I doubt that. I have no proof, just hearsay, however, a lot of things can change either way by election time.

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