US Senate elections: the key races that will determine power in Washington
While the world’s attention is on Donald Trump’s attempt to win re-election as president over challenger Joe Biden, the battle for the US Senate that culminates on 3 November is equally dramatic.
Even if Biden defeats Trump, he will be unable to pass legislation on key issues such as healthcare, immigration and climate change unless the Democrats simultaneously seize the Senate, where the Republicans now have a 47-53 majority.
The Democrats could pull it off. Democratic challengers in two states, Arizona and Colorado, appear to have a good chance in defeating Republican incumbents, while only one Democratic incumbent, in Alabama, looks especially vulnerable, according to the latest forecast from the Cook Political Report.
The number of additional seats the Democrats need to win for a voting majority depends on who wins the White House, since any Senate tie of 50-50 is broken by the sitting vice-president. If Trump wins re-election, the Democrats probably need three states, in addition to Arizona and Colorado, for the majority; if Biden wins, the Democrats probably need only two more.
“Probably” because there is enough time for races not mentioned here to shift and change the calculus.
Where will those seats come from? There are seven races currently judged as tossups by the Cook Political Report’s Senate forecasts.
Top Democratic targets: the seven tossups
The Democrats’ top targets are Maine, North Carolina and Iowa.
In all three races, incumbent Republicans appear to be weighed down by the unpopularity of Trump, while their Democratic opponents could benefit from high turnout among voters who wish to see Trump defeated.
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