THE NEUTRAL ZONE
All eyes were on Georgia on Thursday as Senate Democrats reckoned with the likelihood that Republicans will again claim the Senate majority.
Four Senate races remain undecided, with Republican incumbents leading in Alaska and North Carolina. The bigger news is that no winner has been declared in either of Georgia’s two Senate races. One special election contest is headed to a January runoff – a second election between the top two candidates in the pool – after neither Democrat Raphael Warnock nor Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler reached the 50% threshold to win. The other race is also nearing the threshold for a runoff. Republican Sen. David Perdue is leading unofficial returns by a narrow margin, and the race has yet to be called.
A win for Democratic incumbent Sen. Gary Peters over Republican businessman John James in Michigan late Wednesday marked 48 seats for each of the parties in the Senate. Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, meaning Democrats needed to flip four of the open seats to take the majority if President Trump is re-elected. If Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the election, the Senate needs only to gain three seats due to the vice president’s power to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate.
Democrats were favored to win the Senate majority heading into Tuesday’s election, but Republican candidates overtook seats where Democrats had hoped to make inroads. Republican candidates defended seats in South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Montana, while Democrats made gains in Colorado and Arizona.
Democrats admitted to “severely miscalculating” their chances at overtaking the Senate despite record-setting spending on Senate races this year. Poll followers were surprised at the absence of a blue wave, with Democrats particularly surprised by the dearth of Hispanics who voted for Republicans.
“To all of the liberals in California and New York, you wasted a lot of money,” Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham said during his victory speech after he was re-elected Tuesday night.
Democrats frustrated, GOP jubilant in Senate fight – The Hill – 11/5/2020
The likelihood of being relegated to the minority for the next couple years hit home Wednesday when Democratic challenger Sara Gideon conceded to Sen. Susan Collins (R) in the blue state of Maine.
How Senate Republicans averted catastrophe – Politico – 11/4/2020
But in the ensuing weeks, a flood of outside GOP money blunted Democrats’ fundraising advantage. Tillis’ opponent became mired in a sex scandal. And suddenly the polls didn’t look quite as bad in red states as Trump’s more conventional second debate performance stopped the bleeding. Or as Hunt put it: “The pilot regains control of the aircraft and you’re now just going through normal turbulence.”
Control of U.S. Senate Hinges on Georgia Results – Wall Street Journal – 11/5/2020
Democrats’ path to a Senate majority significantly narrowed on Wednesday, when Democrat Sara Gideon conceded to GOP Sen. Susan Collins in Maine. Another top Democratic target, Iowa’s Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, successfully fended off businesswoman Theresa Greenfield.
Wall Street draws comfort from potential divided Congress, eyes move to Fed – Reuters – 11/5/2020
“Whoever emerges as President is unlikely to have a supportive Congress willing to write the President blank fiscal cheques,” said Albert Edwards, global strategist at Societe Generale.“That means only one thing: more Fed intervention to sustain markets.”