A guide to tracking the state of the 2020 battleground senate races — providing resources to maximize dollars to flip the senate blue. Follow @blue_senate
The Blue Senate Project aims to track the latest news, polling, and fundraising details of the critical races in order to best inform you and your donation and volunteer decisions. We know time and money are limited resources. We want to put that to work in the most efficient way possible. Republicans currently hold a 53 to 47 majority. Which means we need to flip at least 3 seats in aggregate.
September 20th, 2020 Updates:
Key Battleground Races - Sorted By Likelihood of Your Donation Flipping the Senate
- Theresa was raised on her family’s farm, and she’s learned the importance of hard work and self-reliance. She knows we have to invest in our rural communities to keep them healthy and make sure they have the tools they need to thrive in the future. Right now, Washington is failing our farmers. We’ve seen increased farm bankruptcies and reckless trade policies that have kept markets closed to farmers, and net farm income in Iowa has drastically fallen. We’ve got to commit to ending these irresponsible tariffs, unfair ethanol policies, and ensure we stand with our agricultural communities to pick up the pieces left in its wake.
- Theresa’s first husband was killed in an accident at his job as a union electrical worker. As a young widow, times were tough, but Theresa set out on a path to provide for her two boys as a single mom. One of the things that helped Theresa’s family stay out of poverty and get back on their feet was Social Security survivor benefits, and she’s committed to protecting Social Security against partisan attacks in Washington.
Incumbent: Joni Ernst (R)
- In 2014, when asked about President Barack Obama's recess appointments, Ernst referred to Obama as a dictator who should be "removed from office" or face "impeachment." She said, "He is running amok. He is not following our Constitution”. In 2020, she voted to acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment trial on both articles of impeachment (abuse of power and obstruction of Congress). Ernst argued that Trump had learned his lesson, and that he would not ask a foreign leader to investigate his rivals again without going through the proper channels.
- Ernst rejects the scientific consensus on climate change and said in 2014, "I don't know the science behind climate change, I can't say one way or another what is the direct impact from whether it's manmade or not." Ernst has proposed eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency. She supported President Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords in 2017.
- Steve worked as a consumer protection, small business, and labor lawyer and helped lead the fight to raise Montana’s minimum wage. Steve was elected Attorney General and fought the corrupting influence of money in politics by bringing the first legal challenge to the landmark campaign finance case known as Citizens United all the way to the Supreme Court. He also fought to protect access to public lands and streams.
- As Governor, Steve’s worked across party lines with a Republican legislature to get things done, like expanding Medicaid to cover 90,000 additional Montanans, making record investments in education, boosting job training programs, building Montana’s infrastructure and defending Montanans’ access to public lands.
Incumbent: Steve Daines (R)
- According to the Helena Independent Record, Daines had by 2020 "aggressively tied himself to Trump, both backing and defending the president over the last three years."
- Daines rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2019, he said, "to suggest that [climate change] human-caused is not a sound scientific conclusion.”
- Daines opposes most forms of gun control and opposes any restrictions on gun purchases. In 2013, he called Senate legislation to expand background checks "the wrong approach". In 2019 Daines also announced his opposition to red-flag laws, which allow courts to temporarily remove firearms from someone believed to present a danger to themselves or others.
- Jon earned his Bachelors degree from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and a Masters from the London School of Economics. Jon worked as a national security aide for Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson, handling defense, foreign affairs, intelligence, and economic policy.
- Since 2013, Jon has served as the CEO of Insight TWI, a media production company that investigates corruption, organized crime, and war crimes. Jon’s company has successfully investigated and exposed sexual slavery of women and girls by ISIS, crooked judges, foreign officials who steal U.S-funded food and medical aid, contract killers, human traffickers, war crimes, and bribery.
- Jon is running to ensure every Georgian has great health care, to deliver historic investments in clean energy and infrastructure, to rebuild this economy so working families and small businesses thrive, and to root out corruption so government serves the people — not private interests with legions of lobbyists.
Incumbent: David Perdue (R)
- Perdue stated in October 2017 that the national debt was the greatest threat to the security of the United States. In December 2017, Perdue voted in favor of the Republican tax plan called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was estimated to add as much as $1.5 trillion to deficits over ten years by slashing individual and corporate tax rates.
- Perdue supports eliminating the EPA and was one of 22 senators urging for the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
- Perdue is a close ally of President Trump and has voted with the Trump position 95% of the time. In July 2018, Perdue said that he opposed tariffs but that he would support President Trump on his tariff increases. In November 2019, Perdue blocked a vote on recognizing the Armenian genocide after receiving a White House request to do so.
- After a career as a doctor, Barbara ran for the Kansas House of Representatives in 2010 to make a difference across the state. There, she served as an independent voice for Kansans, earning a reputation as a leader willing to stand up to both political parties to solve the challenges facing our families.
- Barbara is a strong advocate for public schools, access to affordable healthcare and balanced budgets. Following the Great Recession, she worked with a bipartisan coalition to put the state back on sound fiscal footing. And when Governor Sam Brownback forced his radical tax experiment on Kansas, she stood up to her own political party and voted no.
- In 2016, Barbara ran for the State Senate. There, she continued her fight to reverse the Brownback tax experiment, adequately fund our schools, and make healthcare more affordable for all. She partnered with then-Senator Laura Kelly and other commonsense leaders to build the bipartisan coalition that ultimately ended the failed Brownback tax plan that had devastated Kansas for years.
Challengers: Kris Kobach (R) and Roger Marshall (R)
- Kris Kobach is the former Secretary of State of Kansas and a man infamous for his stronger calls for voter ID laws, a national registry of Muslims in the US, and advocacy for anti-abortion legislation. He has made claims about the extent of voter fraud in the United States that studies and fact-checkers have concluded are false or unsubstantiated. Kobach lost the statewide race for Governor in 2018 to Democrat Laura Kelly.
- Roger Marshall, like Bollier, is also a former physician. Marshall is the US House Rep representing Kansas’ 1st district. Marshall believes in reducing the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency and repealing the Affordable Care Act. Marshall has repeatedly demonstrated a fundamental disregard for Medicaid and has claimed that “[poor] people just don’t want health care”.
- As a State Senator, Cal fought for smaller class sizes, higher teacher pay, and investments in early childhood education and our university and community college system.
- After the attacks on September 11, 2001, Cal volunteered to join the U.S. Army Reserve and has since served three active duty tours, including overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Governor Roy Cooper named Cal as Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Crime Commission, where he led efforts to address school gun violence, curb the opioid addiction crisis, and fund services for women and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.
Incumbent: Thom Tillis (R)
- In 2017, Tillis was one of 22 senators to sign a letter to President Donald Trump urging the President to have the US withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
- Tillis is the fourth most funded recipient by the NRA, totaling $4,418,012 in donations.
- Tillis opposes public health regulations such as requiring restaurant employees to wash their hands.
- Sara has made expanding access to affordable healthcare a priority by helping pass a law that ensures insurance companies will never be able to discriminate against Mainers with pre-existing conditions.
- Sara has led the fight to make sure women in Maine remain in control of their health care decisions.
- She’s been a leading voice in the legislature to draw attention to and deliver resources to combat Maine’s opioid epidemic. And when former Governor LePage vetoed Sara’s opioid legislation and mocked those suffering from the crisis, Sara did not back down. Instead, she brought Democrats and Republicans together to override that veto, and again put Maine first.
Incumbent: Susan Collins (R)
- Despite claiming to be a Pro-Choice Republican, she voted in favor of the confirmation of Trump's second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, stating that she did not believe he would overturn Roe v. Wade. Since this appointment, there has been widespread dismantling of Roe across various states.
- Collins voted for the 2017 Republican Tax Plan which reduced corporate taxes, increased the deficit, and repealed the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, leaving 13 million Americans uninsured.
- During the impeachment trial of President Trump, she voted to acquit him. She said that Trump had "learned from this case" and that "he will be much more cautious in the future."
- Jaime is a graduate of Yale University and Georgetown Law. He has served as the chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party from 2013 to 2017, and is an associate chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
- Jaime rose up from poverty thanks to teachers and mentors who helped guide him to, and through, college. Starting out as a teacher at his high school, he has dedicated his life to creating opportunity for others.
- He’ll work with anyone, regardless of party, to champion solutions that can make the American Dream a reality for more South Carolinians, from growing the middle class to protecting health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Jaime believes that we are all in this together, and he’s running to bring that spirit back to Washington.
Incumbent: Lindsey Graham (R)
- Sen. Lindsey Graham sparked an uproar by suggesting Donald Trump Jr. should ignore a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee. "This is not the Lindsey I know," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said when on CNN Monday night about Graham's FBI conspiracy concerns. "Lindsey Graham has been a dear friend since I've been in the Senate. I can't explain what's going on right now in his thought process."
- In advance of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Trump, Graham doubled down on the president’s inflammatory characterization of the House inquiry and called it a “lynching in every sense”. Furthermore, he preemptively announced he wouldn’t be reading any of the transcripts of deposed House witnesses, even though he would be a juror in the trial.
- Al Gross is a doctor who understands the prohibitive cost of healthcare. Dr. Gross wants to offer Medicare as a public option, on the health care exchange for people to buy at cost, which will be markedly less expensive than what people are paying for health insurance today, without compromising access. He plans to take on big pharma to decrease drug prices and hold them accountable for the opioid epidemic that has destroyed the lives of too many Alaskans.
- With a background in science, Dr. Gross knows what a serious threat climate change is to the State of Alaska, where they are literally losing villages to the ocean. He believes we can continue to create jobs and grow our economy while taking major steps to protect our land and water and reducing carbon emissions. He believes Alaskans have enormous potential to develop wind, hydroelectric, solar, and tidal power as new energy sources.
Incumbent: Dan Sullivan (R)
- Sullivan has voted repeatedly to scrap the Affordable Care Act and its coverage guarantees (a primary motivating factor for Gross’ entry into the political arena).
- Sullivan criticized House Democrats for the impeachment process and defended the Senate’s decision not to call new witnesses. Sullivan also defended the president’s right to pursue investigations in Ukraine.
- Sullivan opposes same-sex marriage, has an “A” rating from the NRA and believes the Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed and replaced.
- When the Denver Broncos planned to let a corporation remove the words “Mile High” from the Broncos’ new taxpayer-financed stadium, John led a grassroots campaign to keep the name. When he saw that he could bring people together, he decided to run for Mayor. As Mayor, John worked to expand mass transit, reduce crime, tackle climate change, and improve educational opportunities for Denver students.
- In 2010, John ran for Governor and helped to move Colorado from ranking 40th in job creation to leading by example as the number one economy in the nation. John brought people together across the aisle and across the state to get things done, from passing pioneering anti-pollution climate change measures and landmark gun safety laws to expanding Medicaid to nearly 400,000 Coloradans.
Incumbent: Cory Gardner (R)
- In 2016 Gardner voted against the Feinstein Amendment, which sought to ban gun sales to anyone who had been placed on the terrorist watch list for the last five years. He also opposed an amendment making it necessary for background checks to take place for guns bought at gun shows and online.
- In March 2019 Gardner voted for Trump's national emergency declaration on the creation of a southern border wall (which allows Trump to take funding from other government functions in order to spend them on a border wall). Majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate (where 12 Republican Senators joined with Democrats) voted to overturn Trump's national emergency declaration. The Denver Post rescinded its 2014 endorsement of Gardner, citing his vote on Trump's national emergency declaration.
- Through 25 years in the Navy and at NASA, Mark learned how to solve really tough problems and how to get along with and lead people from different backgrounds and different opinions in service of a greater mission.
- Mark is focused on affordable health care for our families, providing our kids with the education and the opportunities they deserve, whether wages are going to keep up with increasing costs, and if the Social Security and Medicare that you have paid into and earned are going to be there when you retire.
- Mark is a gun owner and a combat veteran, the husband of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords who was nearly killed in a shooting, and an advocate for commonsense, effective gun laws. Mark understands that a commitment to our rights and traditions is in no way incompatible with working to keep us safe from gun violence.
Incumbent: Martha McSally (R)
- McSally lost her Senate bid in 2018 to Kyrsten Sinema and currently holds her seat due to the special appointment by Arizona's Republican Governor to fill John McCain's seat.
- In January 2020, McSally made headlines when she told CNN correspondent Manu Raju "you're a liberal hack. I'm not talking to you", when he asked her whether she would consider new evidence during Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate. The Eastern Arizona Courier, a local newspaper that endorsed McSally in her 2018 Senate race, called her comments "a profile in cowardice."
- On March 6, 2020, in an interview on Phoenix station KNXV-TV, McSally urged Arizonans against taking action to prevent spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus, even though the disease had already begun spreading in Arizona.
- During his six years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Gary drew on his business background to make Washington more transparent and accountable and led efforts in Congress to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending. He also served on the Wall Street Reform Conference Committee and was integral in developing landmark financial reform legislation that created the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and prohibits the risky behavior that caused the financial crisis.
- In the U.S. Senate, Gary serves on the Armed Services Committee; Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; and the Joint Economic Committee. He is focused on strengthening our middle class by protecting access to quality, affordable health care, preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow and helping small businesses grow.
Challenger: John James (R)
- James is a Trump ally (in 2018 he said he supports Trump “2000%”) who has been hiding from voters and avoiding questions about his far-right positions on issues such as health care (he has referred to the Affordable Care Act as a “monstrosity”). A website run by the Michigan Democratic Party, titled “John James Revealed,” counted the days James went without granting an interview to a Michigan TV news outlet — a number that at one point surpassed 300 days.
- In 2018, James compared Roe v. Wade, the United States Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, to "genocide," drawing criticism from Democrats.
- James opposes the legalization of cannabis.
- Tina Smith is a former businesswoman, leader at Planned Parenthood, and lieutenant governor for the state of Minnesota. She won a special election in 2018 for her current seat in the Senate.
- In the Senate, she has introduced legislation that takes on the big pharmaceutical companies to help lower the cost of prescription medicine. She wrote bipartisan legislation that was signed into law to expand and improve treatment and prevention for the opioid epidemic. Her legislation to expand mental health services into schools and communities was also signed into law.
- Food and agriculture are at the heart of Minnesota’s economy, which is why she fought for a spot on the Senate Agriculture Committee. She worked hard to pass and sign into law a bipartisan Farm Bill that supports farmers and ranchers across the state. The Farm Bill included several provisions Smith authored to expand broadband in rural areas, strengthen conservation programs, and help new farmers get going.
Challenger: Jason Lewis (R)
- Lewis is a congressman who has voted in line with Trump 90% of the time. Lewis supports anti-abortion legislation, opposes federal spending, supports the building of the Keystone Pipeline, opposes federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions, opposes gun-control legislation, and supports repealing the Affordable Care Act.
- In 2011, Lewis decried laws prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace, claiming such laws are unconstitutional because they interfere with free speech. The same year, he mocked women who claimed to have been traumatized by unwanted sexual touching and kissing.
- In 2013 he argued against same-sex marriage, comparing gay people to rapists, speeders and polygamists. Lewis said that prohibitions against same-sex marriage could not be legally challenged on the basis of discrimination, because rapists and speeders could not reasonably argue that they were being discriminated against by prohibitions on rape and speeding. "The gay-rights lobby is playing underhanded to get their will and in the process they are shredding the Constitution of this country", he said.
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