Siena College's Student Newspaper

Politics

2020 Senate Races

Without a doubt, the majority of Americans claim that 2020 has been a hectic year. The United States has experienced a global pandemic in which it eventually became the epicenter of (COVID-19), protests, and riots nationwide over the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, an economic recession, and wildfires across California and Oregon. However, the chaos in the United States is sure to continue, especially as a result of the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. 2020 has been a year of uncertainty. This statement is correct regarding who will become the next President and which political party will hold both chambers of Congress.
There are 35 Senate seats up for re-election this year. According to CBS News, Republicans must hold at least 23 seats to keep their majority in the Senate. Now, Republicans hold a narrow 53-47 majority in the Senate. There are four Senate seats that Democrats are hoping to turn blue on Election Day. These Senate seats include Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC). According to CBS News, two of these Senators, Susan Collins and Cory Gardner, are Republicans up for re-election in states that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.
Senator Susan Collins is facing a tough re-election campaign against her Democratic challenger, Maine State House Speaker Sara Gideon. Numerous polls have Senator Collins polling at below 50% approval. According to CNN, a New York Times and Siena College poll have Sara Gideon leading over Senator Collins 49% to 44%. A Quinnipiac University poll also has Sara Gideon leading over Susan Collins 54% to 42%. Both of these polls are within their respective margins or error. The low polls for Senator Collins are a result of her support for President Donald Trump and her vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which voters in Maine disapproved. To have a chance of appealing to the voters in Maine, Senator Collins would have to distance herself from President Trump and his policies.
The Senate race in Colorado between Senator Gardner and Democratic challenger, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. According to the Denver Post, an AARP poll has Senator Gardner leading John Hickenlooper 49% to 47%, which is within the 3.6% margin of error. Senator Gardner aligned himself with President Trump since 2016, most notably siding with the emergency declaration on the United States and Mexico Border. This was a risky move for Senator Gardner considering that President Trump is currently trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in Colorado by 10%, according to CBS News.
Even in states that President Trump won in 2016, the re-election campaigns of some Senators are proving to be a difficult task. Senator Martha McSally, who was appointed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to replace former Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), is facing a re-election battle against Democratic challenger Mark Kelly, a former astronaut. According to CBS News, President Trump won Arizona by only 3.5 points. This makes it Senator McSally’s seat a toss-up. According to Arizona Central, Mark Kelly has unanimous support from Democrats along with the support of one in seven Republicans. Mark Kelly made healthcare and gun control the two central issues of his campaign. In a statewide poll, 50% of voters approved of Mark Kelly with 35% disapproving of him. In regards to Senator McSally, 51% of voters disapprove of her while 38% of voters approve of her.

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