Democrats are now unlikely to win a majority in the Senate: Here's where things stand

Democrats need at least two more wins to flip the Senate – three if President Donald Trump wins reelection. Republicans currently hold 53 seats, while Democrats have 45, plus two independents who caucus with them. They've made one net gain since Election Day but a number of close races might not be called for days and two races might go to runoff elections, meaning the fate of the Senate majority could remain unknown for months.

There were 35 Senate seats in the election but only about 14 were truly in play. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rated 12 Republican-held seats as competitive, while just two Democratic-held seats were in that category.

But those predictions didn't pan out, as Democrats saw major defeats across the country in key races, surprising many pollsters and election watchers across the country who predicted tight races and Democratic wins. 

"This was a full-scale disappointment for Democrats," said Jessica Taylor, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, "because they had multiple paths to the majority and at this point, virtually all of them have closed."

Democrats did win two seats held by Republicans: in Colorado and in Arizona. They fended off a tough GOP challenge in Michigan but couldn't pull off a win in ruby-red Alabama, where Republicans flipped a Democratic-held seat. The GOP kept it up by holding off liberal challengers in Iowa, Maine, Montana, South Carolina and a longshot race in Kentucky against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Election results in some states could take days to finalize because of the unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots in this election. Additionally, at least one Senate race in Georgia is headed to a January runoff; a second could follow.

Here's what we know about the Senate races:

North Carolina: Though a winner has not been declared and votes are still being counted, Republican Sen. Thom Tillis declared victory late Tuesday over Democrat Cal Cunningham. 

Cunningham on Wednesday said he would not concede and would wait for all ballots to be counted. 

"The State Board of Elections is continuing to count ballots, and we plan to allow that process to be carried out, so every voter can have their voice heard," said Cunningham campaign manager Devan Barber.

Based on the schedule under which election officials review and count any outstanding ballots, the final determination in this race won’t be made until the end of next week.

As of late Tuesday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections said there were around 117,000 absentee ballots remaining that had been sent to voters but not returned. It’s unknown how many of these will be returned and how many were marked for Cunningham or for Tillis. 

Georgia: In an unusual twist, Georgia is home to two hotly contested Senate races this election, with both seats currently held by Republicans.

One race is headed to a runoff. But the race between incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff is still unclear. Polls show a virtual tie and votes pouring in show both candidates are neck and neck. If neither candidate wins 50% of the vote in November, the race also will go to a runoff.

Alaska: Democrats did not have Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan on their target list at the start of the 2020 cycle. After all, Trump carried Alaska by nearly 15 percentage points in 2016, and while Sullivan won a narrow victory in 2014, his reelection initially seemed like a sure bet.

But Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic has been a drag on Senate Republicans, giving Democrats new opportunities even in reliably red states. Sullivan faces an independent, Al Gross, who is a doctor and commercial fisherman.

Gross faces an uphill battle to unseat Sullivan, but his bid has some Republicans nervous. Currently, vote tallies show Sullivan ahead in the race but final results might not be known for days or weeks. 

Democrats are now unlikely to win a majority in the Senate: Here's where things stand Democrats are now unlikely to win a majority in the Senate: Here's where things stand Reviewed by Anson Moore on November 05, 2020 Rating: 5

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