2020 Senate Election Update (11/4): As of Nov. 4, it looks like the GOP will maintain a slim majority in the US Senate, though this could change in the days to come as final votes in key battlegrounds are tallied.
The Republican Senate majority has allowed the current Trump administration to appoint Republican-loyal federal judges through majority votes which have shaped how the United States judicial system leans.
In the 2020 Senate elections, we saw Democrats fighting harder than ever to restore their power in the upper chamber. The fight might be more or less aggressive by the Democrats depending on whether or not President Donald Trump is re-elected in 2020.
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There are only two 2020 Senate races left that political bettors wager on through our recommended online sportsbooks. Both are runoff elections for Georgia’s two Senate seats. Georgia, a typically red state, flipped blue in the 2020 Presidential election. The last time that happened was in 1996.
On January 5th, Georgians vote on whether for their state Senators and decide the next few years’ political climate.
Which Party Will Control The Senate After 2020 Election?*
U.S. Senate Election Winner – Georgia (Special Election)*
U.S. Senate Runoff Election Winner – Georgia (General Election)*
*Odds from Bovada 1/4/21
The two Georgia Senate runoffs carry significant implications for policy over the next few years. If the two Democratic underdogs manage to win, a 50-50 Republican to Democrat split occurs in the Senate. The sitting Vice President acts as the Senate vote tiebreaker. With President-elect Joe Biden poised to take office on January 20th, that duty will fall upon Kamala Harris.
If that were to happen, the DNC would control Congress, the Senate, and the Presidency. Wins for Ossoff and Warnock implicate sweeping Democratic legislation and policy with little to no opposition until the 2022 Midterm Elections, where new opportunities to change Senate composition arise.
Senate runoff elections do not happen in every state, and only 12 states abide by the runoff election system.
A runoff election happens when more than two candidates run for an office seat, and the electorate’s votes do not give one candidate a 50% majority. The two candidates that received the most votes in that election hold another election (a runoff), where the electorate votes again to give one of those two a majority and decide a winner.
A special election may happen for any Senatorial seat and is sometimes referred to as a bye-election. State Senators have two-year terms. In some cases, a Senator steps down from office (due to retirement, death, scandal, etc.) before their term ends. A Senate special election refers to an election to fill a vacant Senate seat between a general election.
In some instances, such as in Georgia, the state Governor appoints an interim Senator to fill the vacant seat until the next general election. In other cases, special elections begin at the time an officeholder vacates their seat.
The winners for the following US Senate races (at least those that have been called as of November 4) are featured below in bold.
Odds provided by BetOnline.
*Odds from Nov. 1, 2020.
Note: The following odds are currently off the boards, but this is how they looked on Election Day 2020.
US Senate Control (117th Congress)*
House And Senate Balance Of Power (117th Congress)*
*Odds from Nov. 1, 2020.
Absolutely. There are no federal laws that prohibit US residents from placing political bets at licensed and regulated offshore sportsbooks such as the ones you see here. All the 2020 election odds for US Senate races were made available before November 3, and a few odds remain up as the final few states finish their counts.
The Republicans hold the controlling majority in the Senate. However, the Democrats have an avenue to take over. It is a path with little room for error, but the Democratic party has everything to gain if the cards fall in their favor. As things stand now, the US Senate has 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and two Independents. There are a total of 35 seats up for reelection on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
In order to gain control of the Senate, the Democrats need to gain more seats in addition to the ones they currently hold. The odds are not as favorable for the Democrats in taking the Senate as they are in retaining the House for 2020.
Update: As of Nov. 4, it looks like the Republicans will maintain a slight Senate majority for the next congress.
Below is a list of the states that had seats up for grabs in the 2020 midterm Senate election. For each state, we’ve included the current incumbent and their party affiliation.
|New Hampshire||Democratic||Jeanne Shaheen|
|New Jersey||Democratic||Cory Booker|
|New Mexico||Democratic||Tom Udall|
|North Carolina||Republican||Thom Tillis|
|Rhode Island||Democratic||Jack Reed|
|South Carolina||Republican||Lindsey Graham|
|South Dakota||Republican||Mike Rounds|
|West Virginia||Republican||Shelley Moore Capito|
There were 15 Senate elections that could drastically alter the course of party politics in the upper chamber. These battleground states include the following (with current party affiliation in parentheses):
The US Senate is controlled by the Republicans, and while the GOP is predicted to keep the upper chamber, there are a few notable Senators who were though to be at risk. Most of these are staunch Trump allies, and while their seats might have been safe, their margins of victory will be viewed as a sort of public “referendum” on the Trump administration.
Tom Cotton (R) – Arkansas – Winner
Recap: Cotton’s seat seems safe, but the bigger issue is where his immense popularity will take him. As the most hardline Republican in the Senate, Cotton could be angling for his own Presidential run one day, and it will be important for him to maintain his popularity with his base as well as his national name recognition. Cotton needs a big win in November general.
Mitch McConnell (R) – Kentucky – Winner
Recap: Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leaders, has long been a media punching bag given his allegiance to the President. However, while his seat is likely safe due to the fact that he’s held it since 1984, KY skews a bit blue in places, and it’s not out of the question that you’ll find betting lines on McConnell at offshore sportsbooks.
Ben Sasse (R) – Nebraska – Winner
Recap: Ben Sasse is relatively young at 48, and he’s up for his first re-election after taking office as a Senator in 2014. He is popular in the historically red state, but his ambitions are sky high, and a win isn’t good enough. Sasse needs to win bigly to have a chance at biglier and better things.
Cory Booker (D) – New Jersey – Winner
Recap: Cory Booker ran for President in the 2020 primary cycle, but he dropped out relatively early on. He seems perfectly safe for a long Senate run in the state, but he could be vulnerable if NJ flirts with flipping red. While that is unlikely, nobody likes a loser, and Booker’s Presidential campaign was flat and uninspiring since Day One.
Lindsey Graham (R) – South Carolina – Winner
Recap: As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham should be safe. South Carolina is strongly red at the national level, but it’s also the state where Joe Biden’s odds flipped and secured him the status as presumptive nominee. Whether or not SC will flirt with turning blue, Graham will probably have a slightly tougher time with this election than any before it, given his support for Trump.
The 2020 Senate elections were the Republicans’ to lose. The Democrats will have a much tougher time gaining the seats they need versus the Republicans maintaining the ones they hold. If you would have looked at the list of states according to how likely they are to vote Republican versus Democrat, you’d see the Republicans had the advantage.
But if there’s anything that the 2016 election taught us, it’s that things can change on a dime, and the 2020 Senate elections may end up being a nail-biter for upper chamber party control. Once the top legal election betting sites posted odds on the 2020 Senate races, that turned out to be the case, though the results on November 4 seem to indicate continued GOP control in the Senate.
There are several factors that go into predicting the Senate elections. The most important data points to consider are the following (tempered by the fact that incumbent US Senators on both sides of the aisle enjoy a re-election rate of better than 90%):
Political experts correctly predicted that the Democratic party would take over the US House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. However, President Trump enjoyed a booming economy and constant attention from the media, and he was polling strongly pre-COVID. Even the ever-present Trump impeachment odds didn’t seem to be hurting GOP incumbent Senators, though polling data is generally untrustworthy. The Democratic party has a steep hill to climb to take back the Senate, but a blue flip is not impossible, though it now seems very unlikely.
President Trump predicted a Red Wave in 2020 along with his own re-election in the November general. He was confident in the Republican party and regularly accused the media of interfering with the 2016 and 2018 elections. Political experts predicted neither a Red Wave nor a Blue Wave, instead projecting a balanced political equilibrium throughout Congress.