WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate control was a quasi-razor proposition in Tuesday’s election, as Republicans fight to retain their majority against the candidate’s rise Democracy confronts the president’s allies on the broad political map.
Both sides saw a path to victory, and the results may not be known on election night.
From New England to the Deep South, Midwest to Mountain West, Republican senators are defending seats in states once seen as a big blow for Democrats. Washington handled the COVID-19 crisis, recession economy and national uneasiness all are on the ballot. A staggering amount of cash flows to Democrats from the millions of Americans who seem to have voted on their own money; Republicans are tapping into deep-pocketed donors to support GOP senators.
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has focused on the key states critical to the Senate as they run their own campaigns in the final stages.
Ensuring a majority in the Senate will be crucial to the winner of the presidency. Senators confirm the administration’s nominations, including to the Cabinet, and could advance or stall the White House agenda. With Republicans currently in control of the conference room, 53-47, three or four seats will determine the party’s control, up to the presidential winner because the vice president can break the tie.
“Look at the video,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, running his final campaign on Monday in Kentucky as he faces former Democratic fighter pilot Amy McGrath.
McConnell said he hopes to remain the majority leader of the Republican Party alongside Trump. However, he admits tough races in the Senate could turn control over to Democrats. “Obviously, it depends on what happens,” he said.
The campaigns are competing on a broad Senate map as Democrats put Republicans on the defensive deep into the country of Trump.
What started as a skewed electoral cycle with Republicans defending 23 Senate seats, compared with 12 Democrats, quickly turned into a more fierce referendum for the president. and his party.
Some of the nation’s most famous senators are fighting in their political lives.
In South CarolinaDemocrat Jaime Harrison is trying to topple Sen. GOP Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top allies.
The two traverse the state in a rushed final campaign, Graham admitting to the stiff competition after Harrison raised $ 100 million in October, an unprecedented sum for the state. . The senator, who made the television call to make money, said he also hit the $ 100 million mark over the weekend.
Stuck in Washington to confirm Trump Supreme Court candidate Amy Coney Barrett a week before Election Day, senators quickly appeared – some next to the president – for the final trips, often in pandemic society, to draw votes.
North Carolina Sen. GOP Thom Tillis joined Trump’s rally in Fayetteville on Monday as he struggled to fight Democrat Cal Cunningham despite the challenger’s sex scandal married a public relations strategist.
In one of the nation’s most watched races, Maine Senator GOP Susan Collins made the last stop of the campaign in Aroostook County near her hometown, visiting workers in a sawmill. Democrat challenger Sara Gideon met with voters at the Whistle Stop coffee shop at breakfast on Monday.
Race of Maine is one that could push Election Day past if no candidate breaks the 50% threshold. Collins has often gathered support as an independent centerpiece, but the tight election shows the difficulty that GOP senators can attract Trump’s most fervent supporters in while retaining support from more moderate voters.
Democrats have more than one roadmap to secure the necessary three or four seats for the majority, and GOP strategists admit incumbents will almost certainly suffer defeat in some important races. important.
Younger voters and more minorities are pushing some states toward Democrats. In Colorado, parties have basically stopped spending money on or against Senator GOP Cory Gardner because it looks like he is headed for defeat against Democrat John Hickenlooper, a former governor.
Arizona could meet two Democrats for the first time since last century if former astronaut Mark Kelly maintained its advantage over GOP Sen. Martha McSally for the chair once held by late Republican John McCain. holding.
Even the open seats in Kansas, which have not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1932, are disputed.
“The better President Trump does in a state, the easier it is to win any race,” said Corry Bliss, a GOP strategist.
The biggest risks for Democrats come in Alabama and Michigan.
Republicans are expecting reclaiming seats in Alabama, where Democratic Sen. Doug Jones won the rare 2017 special election at Trump’s stronghold but has now launched a tough campaign towel against Tommy Tuberville of the Republican Party, a former Auburn football coach.
During the presidential election battlefield in Michigan, Republicans strongly boosted John James, a black Republican businessman, as he raised cash to confront Democratic Sen. Gary Peters .
“We think the numbers are changing,” said Senate Leadership Fund Chairman Steven Law.
However, the turnout rate during the COVID-19 crisis remains the key and volatile factor, as more and more Americans – almost 100 million – vote early.
Both Biden and Trump landed in Georgia, where the state is witnessing an increase in new voters. Georgia’s two Senate seats are at stake and could very well push to January 5 voting if no candidate reaches the 50% threshold.
GOP Sen. David Perdue, the former business executive that Trump calls his favorite senator, is working against Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff, another one that has benefited from “green wave” donation.
Separately, GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler faced Republican Rep. Doug Collins, as well as Democratic Party member Raphael Warnock, in a special election for the chair she was appointed to fill. full when GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson retires.
It is expected to be a lengthy count in national races.
The political landscape is rapidly changing compared to six years ago, when most of these senators were facing voters for the last time. It is a reminder of how drastically the political climate changed during the Trump era.
In Montana, Republican Senator Steve Daines is trying to get rid of Democratic governor Steve Bullock, in a state that Trump is very popular with. Democrats created the opportunity by working hard to recruit a prominent candidate in Bullock, who also ran for the party’s primary presidency.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is fighting for a second term against Democrat Theresa Greenfield. Texas Sen. John Cornyn faces an emerging Democrat, MJ Hegar, in the once stalwart Republican state.
And in Alaska, new Dr. Al Gross, in part, broke the state’s fundraising record with viral campaign ads while defying GOP Senator Dan Sullivan.
Associated Press writers, Mary Clare Jalonick and Alan Fram in Washington contributed to this report.
Find complete AP election information at APNews.com/Election2020.