THE NEUTRAL ZONE
Republicans are expected to retain a Senate majority after winning a number of races, even while key races in North Carolina and Michigan remain undecided. Democrats need to gain four seats to guarantee control of the Senate after a six-year Republican majority. Though Democrats’ hopes are dimming, nothing is solidified until the final votes are counted, and even then, Georgia runoff elections could add a level of uncertainty.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine claimed victory over Democrat Sara Gideon Wednesday afternoon. Gideon also reportedly called Collins to concede the race. The race has not been officially called yet, but Collins appeared to have more than 50% of the vote with 92% of the votes counted. Collins is perceived as largely moderate, remaining one of the few Republicans who observers thought might buck the party line.
Republicans saw victories in Iowa and Alabama while Democrats flipped two seats: The Democratic challenger John Hickenlooper defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado’s Senate Race and the historically red state of Arizona pivoted to elect Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly, ousting Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally.
Sen. Lindsey Graham ripped pollsters who predicted he would be ousted from his seat as well as Democratic donors while thanking President Trump’s base for aiding him in reelection. Leading up to the election, polls showed Jaime Harrison, the first Black chair of South Carolina’s Democratic Party, either neck-and-neck with Graham or a couple of points behind the entrenched Republican incumbent. Despite the loss, the state has a history of Black political leadership and representation in the federal government, producing the third-most African American members of Congress with 10, behind only California and Illinois. Harrison shattered records with his massive fundraising efforts, raising a bounty of $109 million in total.
Sarah McBride won her Delaware state Senate race, poising her to become the first and only openly transgender state senator in the U.S. and the country’s highest-ranking transgender official. “I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” McBride tweeted Tuesday night.
Collins says Gideon called to concede Maine Senate race – The Hill – 11/4/2020
GOP Sen. Susan Collins said on Wednesday that Democratic nominee Sara Gideon called her to concede the Maine Senate race, keeping the seat in Republican hands.
Alaska Senate race too early to call – The Associated Press – 11/4/2020
Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan expressed confidence in his reelection chances against independent challenger Al Gross Tuesday as Alaska’s hard-fought Senate race was too early to call, with thousands of ballots yet to be counted.
Democrats’ path to Senate majority narrows with GOP wins – Roll Call – 11/4/2020
The Maine Senate race between Collins and state House Speaker Sara Gideon could trigger the state’s ranked-choice voting system if neither candidate wins more than 50 percent. In that scenario, the candidate in last place is eliminated and his or her supporters’ votes are reallocated to their second choice. The rounds continue until a candidate receives a majority of the vote.
Senate Control Hinges on Six Uncalled Election Results With Republicans Holding the Edge – The Wall Street Journal – 11/4/2020
By Wednesday morning, Democrats had netted a gain of one seat, while the party needs a net four seats for a Senate majority, or three if Democrat Joe Biden wins the presidency. Former Democratic governor John Hickenlooper beat Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in Colorado and former astronaut Mark Kelly beat Republican Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona. But Republican Tommy Tuberville, the former Auburn University football coach, defeated Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in Alabama to offset those GOP losses.