US Senate and congressional races to watch on Election Day 2020

A number of hotly contested congressional races could rival the drama and fascination of the main contest between President Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Election Day and possibly beyond.

Republicans control the upper chamber by a 53-47 majority but that could be in jeopardy in Tuesday’s presidential election as some GOP senators are locked in highly competitive contests, including Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine.

Democrats would need to pick up four seats to snatch majority control or three seats if Joe Biden is elected president.

Republicans can afford to lose three seats to maintain control – but only if President Trump wins re-election so Vice President Mike Pence can cast any tie-breaking votes.

Republicans are defending 23 seats, while the Democrats have 12 up for grabs.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put the battle for control of the Senate up to a 50-50 proposition.

“We have a lot of exposure. This is a huge Republican class. … There’s dogfights all over the country,” McConnell, who is also facing a challenger, said during a campaign stop last week in Kentucky.

Here’s are some of the most watched Senate races:

Sen. Lindsey Graham vs. Jamie Harrison in South Carolina

Harrison, a former aide to Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, had a tough hill to climb in challenging Graham, the chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee.

But his candidacy has been fueled by Democrats’ criticizing President Trump’s picking Amy Coney Barrett as his Supreme Court nominee as Graham ushered her confirmation through his committee.

Harrison broke congressional fundraising records when he raised $57 million in the final quarter of his race, leading Graham to plead for funds during his television appearances.

A RealClear Politics average of the polls and the Cook Political Report consider the race a toss up.

Sen. Susan Collins vs. Sara Gideon in Maine

Collins has always been considered a moderate but she took hits from Democrats for veering too close to Trump’s agenda, backing his 2017 tax plan, backing Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice and voting to acquit Trump after he was impeached in the House.

As a sign of how precarious her race is, Collins, who has served since 1996, was the only Senate Republican to vote against Barrett.

Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House, called Collins’ vote a “political calculation.”

The Cook Political Report and RealClear Politics rate the race a toss up.

Sen. Cory Gardner vs. John Hickenlooper in Colorado

Hickenlooper, the former Democratic governor, has launched sustained attacks at Gardner for saying he would support Barrett’s selection in the weeks before the election, given that he was onboard with blocking former President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016.

Gardner is also running in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton by five points over Trump in 2016.

The Cook Political Report and RealClear Politics both put the race as leaning Democratic.

Sen. Martha McSally vs. Mark Kelly in Arizona

McSally was appointed to the Senate after losing the race to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat in 2018.

But she’s running against Democrat Mark Kelly, a popular former astronaut and husband to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was critically wounded in an assassination attempt in 2011.

Kelly has hammered McSally on gun control issues and her embrace of the president’s policies.

He has also outraised McSally substantially as Democrats are seeking to pull off a blue wave in the state Trump won by 4.5 percentage points in 2016.

McSally joined Trump on stage during his campaign rally Wednesday in Arizona.

The Cook Political Report rates it as leaning Democrat but RealClear Politics said it’s a toss up.

Sen. Doug Jones vs. Tommy Tuberville in Alabama

Jones is the most at at risk senator among Democrat-held seats this year.

He narrowly defeated former Judge Roy Moore, who was dogged by sexual misconduct allegations in a 2017 special election to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions to become Trump’s attorney general.

His Republican challenger is former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville.

And Trump, who is still widely popular in the deep red state, took 62.08 percent of the vote four years ago.

Both RealClear Politics and the Cook Political Report rate it as leaning Republican.

Sen. Thom Tillis vs. Cal Cunningham in North Carolina

Tillis, a first-term Republican senator, is running uphill against Cunningham, a former state senator, even though the Democrat has been fighting allegations of marital infidelity.

But recent polls show Tillis beginning to make up ground following the sexting allegations, even though Cunningham has outspent him in the Tar Hell State.

Cunningham, who had led Tillis 54-37 percent among women, has seen that lead fall to 52- 40 percent, WRAL.com reported.

RealClear Politics and the Cook Political Report rate the race as a toss up.

Sen. David Perdue vs. Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia

Ossoff has led the incumbent Republican in the polls — but within the margin of error — in the bitterly fought race and pulled ahead in fundraising, following Perdue’s seemingly intentional mangling of Sen. Kamala Harris’s name during a campaign rally.

Perdue dropped out of their final debate scheduled for Sunday night in favor of attending a Trump rally, after the two candidates traded insults.

Ossoff has slammed Perdue as a “crook” and said he denied the coronavirus pandemic. Perdue accused Ossoff of backing radical socialist policies.

RealClear Politics and the Cook Political Report say the race is a toss up.

Sen. Joni Ernst and Theresa Greenfield in Iowa

Ernst is a Trump ally in a state that voted twice for Barack Obama but supported the president in 2016.

She initially looked vulnerable to her Democratic challenger Greenfield, a political newcomer, who was leading in the polls, but Ernst has been gaining ground as Trump climbs in the latest surveys.

RealClear Politics and the Cook Political Report rate it a toss up.

Sen. John Cornyn and Democrat MJ Hegar in Texas

Hegar, a decorated Air Force veteran, has had an edge in fundraising in the first few weeks of October with the help of several Democratic super PACs in the hope of turning the Lone Star state blue, but Cornyn has maintained a lead in the polls as he seeks a fourth term.

The two battled over the response to the coronavirus, with Cornyn saying he would not support a national lockdown or mask mandate and Hegar supporting a “national strategy” based on the recommendations of health experts.

Real Clear Politics and the Cook Political Report both have Texas leaning Republican.
House races

Democrats are widely expected to maintain their control of the House after winning a majority in the 2018 midterm elections, but there are still a number of high profile races that have garnered national attention.

Rep. Conor Lamb vs. Republican Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania

The incumbent Lamb is trying to protect his seat from Trump-backed Parnell in the working-class western Pennsylvania district that the president won in 2016.

Both are military veterans and their campaigns have gained national attention.

Lamb is considered a “rising star” among Democrats, while Parnell was invited on stage by the president at his rally outside the Pittsburgh airport in September.

RealClear Politics rate it a toss up and Cook Political Report said it is likely Democratic.

Rep. Max Rose vs. Nicole Malliotakis on Staten Island

Malliotakis, a Republican state Assemblywoman, has tried to link Rose to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s progressive agenda and someone who would defund police departments.

Rose, a military veteran who defeated former GOP Rep. Dan Donovan in 2018, has said he would reject any endorsement by the mayor.

RealClear Politics has it a toss up and the Cook Political Report has it listed as a Democratic toss up.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell vs. Republican Carlos Gimenez in Florida

Gimenez, a former Miami firefighter, city commission and current Miami-Dade County mayor, is challenging the Democratic incumbent in a district that stretches from Homestead into the Florida Keys.

Mucarsel-Powell has hammered him on his response to the coronavirus pandemic, while Gimenez has lumped Mucarsel-Powell into the pool of progressive lawmakers associated with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

RealClear Politics has it as a toss up and the Cook Political Report marks it leaning Democratic.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew vs. Democrat Amy Kennedy in New Jersey

Van Drew is trying to hold on to his seat from Kennedy, the wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, after switching to the Republican Party last year and pledging his “undying support” for Trump.

The district, which runs from the Philadelphia suburbs in South Jersey to the Jersey Shore, voted for Trump in 2016.

RealClear Politics has it as a toss up and the Cook Political Report rates it a Republican toss up.

Rep. Devin Nunes vs. Democrat Phil Arballo in California C-22

Arballo, a political newcomer, is running to deny Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, a 10th term in Congress.

Nunes, a staunch Trump ally, was the panel’s chairman for the first two years of the Trump administration before Democrats won control of the House in 2018.

But Nunes has been leading in the polls in the district where registered Republicans easily outnumber Democrats.

RealClear Politics and the Cook Political Report put it as likely GOP.

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