Democratic-held seats

Alabama

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Doug Jones
Doug
Jones

(D)
Tommy Tuberville
Tommy
Tuberville

(R)
Doug Jones looked like dead meat in 2018 until God decided that child predator Roy Moore should try again for the seat he barely missed after Jeff Sessions foolishly gave up a lifetime job for a short stint as AG. Then, Jones looked like dead meat again, until former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville entered the Republican race and dispatched all challengers, including Sessions (who was trying to get his old job back). Normally a Trump-backed football coach should be able to crush any Democrat in Alabama. However, Tuberville was once a 50-50 partner with a scam artist who ran a financial Ponzi scheme and went to prison for it. If Jones can tar Tuberville as a crook who stole money from little old ladies, he might have an outside chance, though Tuberville is still definitely the favorite. Go Tigers!

Delaware

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Chris Coons
Chris
Coons

(D)
Candidate unknown
Candidate
unknown

(R)
Chris Coons had the pleasure of running against Christine "I am not a witch" O'Donnell in a 2010 special election to fill the Senate seat that was vacated by Joe Biden when he became Vice President. In 2014, he won a full term by beating Kevin Wade (R) by 14 points. He will coast to an equally easy win in 2020. Delaware is a very blue state and the Republicans have no bench at all there, so he can serve another five or six terms in the Senate if he wants to.

Illinois

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Dick Durbin
Dick
Durbin

(D)
Mark Curran
Mark
Curran

(R)
Dick Durbin is minority whip, the second most powerful position in the Senate Democratic caucus. He is also from a very blue state, Illinois. The Republicans nominated Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who used to be a Democrat. He will come out with his guns a blazin', but it won't matter. Durbin's fifth term is already in the bag.

Massachusetts

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Ed Markey
Ed
Markey

(D)
Kevin O'Connor
Kevin
O'Connor

(R)
When then-President Barack Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry to be Secretary of State, it forced a special election for Kerry's seat. That was won by then-representative Ed Markey, who was positioned to spend as long as he wanted in the Senate, given how very blue Massachusetts is. He got 62% of the vote in 2014 and would do at least as well in 2020, now that he is better known. That is, if he made it to the general election. Unfortunately for the senator, Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) threw his hat in the ring. Kennedy has big ambitions, a magic name, and lots of money. The only thing he didn't have was the support of the voters. Markey won the Democratic primary easily. Now he will get that 62% again running against an unknown lawyer, Kevin O'Connor.

Michigan

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Gary Peters
Gary
Peters

(D)
John James
John
James

(R)
Gary Peters won his first Senate term in 2014 when long-time senator Carl Levin retired. He is now running for his second term. Although Donald Trump carried Michigan in 2016 (by 11,000 votes), it is fundamentally a blue state and Peters shouldn't have too much trouble being reelected. That said, the GOP got their dream candidate in John James, who made Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) sweat a little in 2018. He's black, a veteran, a businessman, and quite charismatic, so maybe he can cobble together enough votes together to make Peters sweat. But maybe not. In a presidential year, Peters remains the clear favorite. Polling confirms that. Peters has had double-digit leads for months.

Minnesota

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tina Smith
Tina
Smith

(D)
Jason Lewis
Jason
Lewis

(R)
Tina Smith won a special election in 2018 to fill out the rest of Al Franken's term. She didn't accept the appointment to the Senate with much enthusiasm, but she figured it was at least better than being lieutenant governor, a job whose only redeeming feature is that the governor might die in office. If vice presidency of the United States isn't worth a bucket of warm piss, we dare not think what the lieutenant governorship of a medium-sized state is worth. Ever the good sport, Smith campaigned and won in the 2018 special election. She's still a team player and is running for a full term this year, even though being a senator was never her lifelong ambition. The state is blue enough for her to carry, even if she doesn't campaign much. She is running against former talk show host and one-term representative Jason Lewis.

New Hampshire

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jeanne Shaheen
Jeanne
Shaheen

(D)
Corky Messner
Corky
Messner

(R)
New Hampshire is one of the six states with two female senators. The others are Arizona, California, Minnesota, Nevada, and Washington. One of New Hampshire's two representatives is a woman and the previous governor was also a woman, so the Granite State is clearly a pretty friendly state for women in politics. Shaheen herself was the first woman elected as governor of the state. She was subsequently elected two more times as the state's chief executive before being elected to the Senate in 2008. She is safe, barring an unexpected run from a member of the Sununu family, but the Sununus have expressed no interest. The leading Republican primary candidate was Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc (ret.), who has an impressive military record, but no political experience. Nevertheless, he lost the primary to a recent arrival from Colorado, Corky Messner. What were Messner's secret ingredients? First, the backing of Donald Trump. Second, $4 million of his own money. He can waste as much of it as he wants in the fall campaign, but he has virtually no chance against the popular Shaheen. There is a very good reason the Sununus weren't interested in running: They think Shaheen can't be beaten.

New Jersey

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Cory Booker
Cory
Booker

(D)
Rik Mehta
Rik
Mehta

(R)
When Frank Lautenberg died in office at 89 in 2013, Gov. Chris Christie called a special election, which Newark Mayor Cory Booker won. He was easily elected to a full term in 2014 and is up for reelection in 2020. This caused a problem because he would then have to decide if he was going to run for president or for the Senate. Fortunately for him, the Democrats control the trifecta in New Jersey and they think Booker is a cool guy, so they conveniently changed state law to allow folks to run for president and senator at the same time. Now we now he isn't going to be elected president in 2020 so he will have to be satisfied being elected senator again. His Republican opponent (technically, a sacrificial lamb) is Rik Mehta, wealthy businessman. For the Republican Party, this has the advantage of their not having to waste any money before being slaughtered in November.

New Mexico

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Ben_Ray Lujan
Ben Ray
Lujan

(D)
Mark Ronchetti
Mark
Ronchetti

(R)
Tom Udall is a mere stripling at 70, but he nonetheless decided to throw in the towel and retire. Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) is going to try to succeed Udall for a second time, having already taken over the Senator's House seat when he vacated it back in 2009. Luján is a strong favorite. The Republicans nominated former television broadcaster and Trump hugger Mark Ronchetti. He is against the Green New Deal, abortion, and crime. He is for gun rights and a wall between New Mexico and old Mexico. If former governor Susana Martinez had run, she would have been an underdog. Ronchetti is a a dead dog. Luján is a Latino and at 48 is going to be a rising star within the Democratic Party.

Oregon

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jeff Merkley
Jeff
Merkley

(D)
Jo_Rae Perkins
Jo Rae
Perkins

(R)
Jeff Merkley won a very narrow victory over then-senator Gordon Smith in 2008. He has since been a high-profile progressive and one of the leaders of the fight to abolish the filibuster. Oregon is a liberal state, and a young (62) progressive with clear left-of-center positions on many issues is certainly the overwhelming favorite. The Republicans are trying to help him. They nominated Jo Rae Perkins. She is against abortion and wants to deport undocumented immigrants. She also wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax, Social Security, and Medicare. Note to Jo Rae if you read this: You are are running in Oregon. You are not running in Alabama. Please update your platform accordingly. Sincerely, the EVP editors.

Rhode Island

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jack Reed
Jack
Reed

(D)
Allen Waters
Allen
Waters

(R)
Jack Reed is a low-profile guy who avoids the media and concentrates on service to his constituents. They apparently like that, since they elected him to his fourth term in the Senate in 2014 with 71% of the vote. In 2008 he got 73%. Usually the Republicans can find some self-funding candidate who thinks it would be neat to run for the Senate. This time they couldn't even find one of those, so the nomination fell to Allen Waters, who had $3,465 cash on hand at the end of the Q1. Reed had over $3 million. As you might have learned back in fifth grade, Rhode Island is not a terribly big state and you don't need a lot of money to run in it, but $3,000 is a bit on the meager side. Maybe Waters' message of school choice, repealing the federal income tax, and eliminating government-back student loans for college students will fly in Rhode Island. Maybe pigs will fly in Rhode Island. The latter is definitely a better bet.

Virginia

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mark Warner
Mark
Warner

(D)
Daniel Gade
Daniel
Gade

(R)
Multimillionaire Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia, has announced that he intends to stay in the Senate. Virginia has long since ceased being a swing state and has become a blue state, like Maryland. The combination of being from a now-blue state, being an incumbent, and having unlimited personal campaign funds means that Warner is a shoo-in for his third term. The Republicans did manage to find someone to make a pro forma run, though. It is Daniel MacArthur Gade, a young veteran who lost a leg in the Iraq war and who is an isolationist and doesn't want the U.S. to play whack-a-mole all over the globe. Not surprisingly, his focus is on helping veterans in many ways. If he were a Democrat running for an open seat in Virginia, he might have a chance. But he isn't so he won't.





Republican-held seats

Alaska   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Dan Sullivan
Dan
Sullivan

(R)
Al Gross
Al
Gross

(D)
Alaska politics are a bit strange. A write-in candidate (Lisa Murkowski) was elected to the Senate in 2010 after she lost the Republican primary and an independent (Bill Walker) was elected governor in 2014. Then there was the matter of Sarah Palin coming from nowhere to be elected governor in 2006, and then resigning before her term was up so she could could get a better-paying gig on Fox News following her disastrous vice presidential campaign in 2008. Alaska ranks eighth in the list of states dependent on federal money, despite widespread resentment of big gubmint. The technical term for this is "biting the hand that feeds you." To top it off, the biggest threat to Sen. Dan Sullivan isn't a Democrat, but an independent running for the Democratic nomination, Al Gross, who is a commercial fisherman and an orthopedic surgeon. Gross had $2 million cash on hand after Q1 and won the open primary on Aug. 18 easily. His father was the state's attorney general so politics runs in his family. Alaska is more populist than conservative and likes independents, but Sullivan is still the general-election favorite here.
Sullivan will probably get another term.

Arizona   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Martha McSally
Martha
McSally

(R)
Mark Kelly
Mark
Kelly

(D)
Air Force veteran Martha McSally was appointed to John McCain's seat in 2018 after she lost the race for Jeff Flake's seat. Democrats smell blood in the water here. Democrats avoided a primary by pressuring Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) into not running. Consequently, the Democratic nominee is former astronaut and naval aviator who saw combat in the Gulf War, Mark Kelly. He is also the husband of former representative Gabrielle Giffords. If you combine war veteran with astronaut, you get someone who will command a lot of respect in a state full of veterans. Also, McSally already lost a Senate race in a conservative state to an openly bisexual woman with no military experience, and now she faces a veteran whose military record is as strong as hers. Fundraising on both sides has been off the charts, and Kelly (#1) and McSally (#2) led all Senate candidates in terms of Quarter 2 receipts (April 1 - June 30), with about $9 million between them. In Q3, Kelly raised an astonishing $6 million. In the upcoming air war between Kelly and McSally, the Navy is going to be carpet bombing the Air Force into oblivion. Kelly is also crushing McSally in the polls and his coattails may turn the state blue for Joe Biden.

Arkansas

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Tom Cotton
Tom
Cotton

(R)
No Democrat
No
Democrat

(D)
Tom Cotton is running for reelection and the one Democrat who filed to challenge him dropped out of the race too late for his party to pick a replacement candidate. There is a Libertarian Party candidate in the race as well as an independent, but Cotton is sure of a second term. Interestingly enough, Cotton is not really interested in being a junior senator. He wants to be president and is already working on his 2024 campaign as a younger and less offensive successor to Donald Trump. The trouble is that for many of Trump's voters, the offensive part is a feature, not a bug. Will they really go for a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School who doesn't grab women by the pu**y? We'll find out in 2024, but for now, Cotton will have to make do with a seat in the Senate as a consolation prize.

Colorado   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Cory Gardner
Cory
Gardner

(R)
John Hickenlooper
John
Hickenlooper

(D)
Colorado is turning blue and Cory Gardner is going to be one of the Democrats' top three targets (along with Martha McSally in Arizona and Susan Collins in Maine). The blue team has won every presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial race since 2008, with the exception of Gardner's race in 2014. The Democrats got their dream candidate when former governor John Hickenlooper dropped out of the presidential race and threw his hat into the ring for the Senate race. First he had to knock off former Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff. Now that Hickenlooper has accomplished that, he can focus on taking down Gardner, the most vulnerable Republican in the Senate. Polling shows Hickenlooper crushing Gardner. It may not take long for the NRSC to throw in the towel and move money slated for Colorado to Montana or North Carolina.

Georgia   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
David Perdue
David
Perdue

(R)
Jon Ossoff
Jon
Ossoff

(D)
The Democrats' preferred candidate, Stacey Abrams, opted out, very possibly to remain available for the #2 slot on the blue team's presidential ticket. But in Sept. 2019, Jon Ossoff joined the race. He ran in a special election in GA-06 in 2017 and raised $23 million but narrowly lost. He will be a force to be reckoned with. Polls show it to be close. So is the other (special) Georgia Senate election, not to mention the presidential election. Democrats have dreamed for years of turning Georgia purple. This might be the year. One sidelight here is that Ossoff's Website is electjon.com, so if someone mistypes "election" to a browser, there is a fair chance they will end up on his Website. Clever, no? Besides "ossoffforsenate.com" has too many "f"s in a row. While we are on names here, his is actually Thomas Jonathan Ossoff.

Georgia-special   

Challenger Challenger Special election          
Candidate unknown
Candidate
unknown

(R)
Candidate unknown
Candidate
unknown

(D)
Johnny Isakson resigned from the Senate at the end of 2019. Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) appointed a successor, wealthy businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, who has to stand for election this November in a jungle primary. Appointed senators don't have a great track record, especially appointees who have never run for public office before. To make it worse, Loeffler almost certainly used inside information to buy and sell stocks, which is illegal. She is being challenged by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), who is a dyed-in-the-wool Trump lover, and whose presence into the race presages a nasty GOP establishment vs. GOP insurgent fight. On the Democratic side, the party has two major contenders. One is Rev. Raphael Warnock, who has no political experience, but who leads Martin Luther King's church in Atlanta. The other is Matt Lieberman, who is definitely not a chip off the old block (his father, Joe Lieberman). Young Lieberman is an unabashedly liberal Democrat with a sense of humor (his Website prominently features his teenage daughters making fun of him). Another Democrat. former state senator Ed Tarver, is also running. If no candidate in the nonpartisan primary on Nov. 3 gets a majority of 50% + 1, there will be a runoff on Jan. 5, 2021. With so many high-profile candidates in the jungle primary, a runoff in January is all but certain.

Idaho

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Jim Risch
Jim
Risch

(R)
Paulette Jordan
Paulette
Jordan

(D)
Jim Risch has had an interesting history, running for lieutenant governor at a time when he was actually governor (as a result of a gubernatorial vacancy when then-governor Dirk Kempthorne resigned the governorship to become George W. Bush's secretary of the interior). In 2008, he ran for the Senate and won. In 2014 he ran again, and won in another landslide. The Democrats nominated Paulette Jordan, a Native American politican who is a member of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. She served in the Idaho state House from 2014 to 2018 and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018. Now she can add "Unsuccessfully ran for senator in 2020" to her C.V.

Iowa   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Joni Ernst
Joni
Ernst

(R)
Theresa Greenfield
Theresa
Greenfield

(D)
This race will another one of the Democrats' top targets. Ernst beat a relatively unknown congressman, Bruce Braley, in 2014, a non-presidential year. In a presidential year, with its generally higher Democratic turnout and people unhappy about Donald Trump's trade policies (which have hurt Iowa farmers), it could get exciting. Her 2014 campaign ad about how she was going to cut pork because she grew up on a farm and castrated hogs as a kid was a real winner, but she made her point and it would get tiresome if she used it again. The Democratic candidate is Theresa Greenfield, who unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2018. She grew up on an Iowa farm that was hit hard by the farm crisis of the 1980s, but managed to go to college. She got married and just as she was expecting her second child, her husband, a union electrictrian, was killed in an on-the-job accident. With help from the Social Security survivor's benefits she got through. She later worked as an urban planner and in real estate development. She is leading in fundraising and tied in the polls. She has the kind of don't-give-up story that will play well in Iowa. It's going to be a real barnburner.

Kansas

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Roger Marshall
Roger
Marshall

(R)
Barbara Bollier
Barbara
Bollier

(D)
Pat Roberts has decided to call it quits at 82 after four terms. He is an old-style, decent, hardworking conservative and not very Trumpy. The current Senate is not the one he signed up for, so why die in the saddle? Inasmuch as Kansas hasn't sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1932, his replacement is almost certain to be Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS), who triumphed over right-wing firebrand Kris Kobach (R) in the GOP primary. Had Kobach, who blew the state's gubernatorial election in 2018, gotten the nod, then Democratic nominee Barbara Bollier would have had a decent chance at an upset. And given that she's a centrist former Republican who has been raking in money hand-over-fist (in Q2, she raised more money than any candidate for any federal, state, or local office has ever raised in any quarter in the entire history of Kansas), she might still make a contest of it. However, Marshall is the favorite.

Kentucky   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mitch McConnell
Mitch
McConnell

(R)
Amy McGrath
Amy
McGrath

(D)
As majority leader, in principle Mitch McConnell ought to have no trouble getting reelected. But even though he compromises very little with the Democrats, tea partiers consider that far too much. While Kentucky generally casts its electoral votes for the Republican candidate, three of the statewide officers are Democrats, so Kentuckians do vote for the blue team sometimes. More than sometimes, actually; 9 of the last 11 governors, including the current one, Andy Beshear, were Democrats. To face McConnell, the blue team got its dream candidate, retired Marine Corps pilot Amy McGrath, who nearly won a House race in a deep red district in 2018 and who is a great campaigner and fundraiser. First, she had to beat back a primary challenge from a progressive state senator, but she did that. There's enough anti-McConnell energy out there that she is outraising McConnell. McConnell has already unleashed the attack dogs, including an anti-McGrath website called wrongpathmcgrath.com. He's also counting on presidential coattails, as Donald Trump is much more popular with Kentucky Republicans than their senator is. The Majority Leader is the favorite for now, but this race is also squarely on the "watch" list.

Louisiana

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Bill Cassidy
Bill
Cassidy

(R)
Candidate unknown
Candidate
unknown

(D)
Bill Cassidy beat then-senator Mary Landrieu in the 2014 runoff 56% to 44%, ending her political career. There aren't a lot of top Democrats left in Louisiana, with the possible exception of Landrieu's brother, Mitch Landrieu, who has served as lieutenant governor and mayor of New Orleans. He might consider a Senate race to win back the seat his sister once held but so far he hasn't shown any interest and the filing deadline is July 24. If Landrieu doesn't file, the best known of the unknown candidates who have already filed will be slaughtered by Cassidy in November. Probably he will even surpass 50% and avoid a runoff.

Maine   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Susan Collins
Susan
Collins

(R)
Sara Gideon
Sara
Gideon

(D)
Susan Collins belongs to a vanishing breed that once roamed New England like the buffalo in South Dakota: a somewhat moderate Northeastern Republican. She is personally popular in the state, but Democrats hate her with a white-hot passion because she talks like a moderate all the time but votes like a conservative Republican nearly always. Following the Brett Kavanaugh saga, they raised $4 million for her opponent before that opponent was known. It turns out it will be Sara Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, who raised an astonishing $8 million herself in Q2. Polling of the race gives Gideon a small lead. Running against a popular young woman who has decent name recognition and boatloads of money, Collins is in the fight of her life. Her Canada goose may well be cooked this time.

Mississippi

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Cindy Hyde-Smith
Cindy
Hyde-Smith

(R)
Mike Espy
Mike
Espy

(D)
Cindy Hyde-Smith won a special election in 2018 following the retirement of Thad Cochran. Now she has to run for a full term. The fellow she beat, former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, wants a rematch. He is better known now and Democratic turnout is likely to be higher in 2020 than it was in 2018. His ace in the hole is his race. Espy is black, as are 37% of Mississippians, the highest of any state. If he can get enough white suburban women who hate Donald Trump and are sure to vote to also vote for him, he has an outside shot at it. Also somewhat helpful on that front is Hyde-Smith's less-than-stellar record in that area, from her "public hanging" jokes to her sending her kids to an all-white "segregation" private school. At the end, though, it's still Mississippi and Hyde-Smith is the favorite.

Montana   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Steve Daines
Steve
Daines

(R)
Steve Bullock
Steve
Bullock

(D)
Montana is very red in presidential elections, but purple in state elections. The governor, Steve Bullock, and the other senator, Jon Tester, are Democrats. Since WW II, there have been 24 Senate elections in Montana and Democrats have won 20, Republicans 4. The popular governor is running for a Senate seat now. For better or worse, he is on television all the time now giving information about the coronavirus and how he is dealing with it. If he comes off as a caring and competent leader, that could be enough to win the Senate race. Polls have him slightly ahead of Daines. Split tickets are rare these days, but it is entirely possible that Trump could win in Montana but fail to pull Daines along with him.

Nebraska

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Ben Sasse
Ben
Sasse

(R)
Chris Janicek
Chris
Janicek

(D)
Ben Sasse's only fear was a primary challenge from the right, because he is often critical of Donald Trump. He got one, but beat back his challenger, Matt Innis, by a margin of 3 to 1. In the general election, he will face Democrat Chris Janicek. He is a small business owner from Omaha and about as liberal as a Democrat can plausibly be in Nebraska and not be laughed at. He is for affordable drug prices, helping farmers, dealing with climate change, and responsible gun ownership. William Jennings Bryan he's not, but like Bryan, he is going to lose.

North Carolina   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Thom Tillis
Thom
Tillis

(R)
Cal Cunningham
Cal
Cunningham

(D)
As more and more people from out of state move into the Research Triangle Park area, North Carolina is trending purple (Barack Obama won it in 2008) so this is going to be a competitive race. Both Gov. Roy Cooper (D) and AG Josh Stein (D) declined to challenge Tillis. Once that was clear, the state Democratic establishment lined up behind former state legislator Cal Cunningham but he was challenged by a progressive state senator, Eric Smith. Cunningham crushed Smith in the primary, so he will face Tillis in what is expected to be a tight, nasty, and exceedingly expensive race in November. It could easily be the top Senate race in the entire country in terms of money raised and spent and attention given to it by both parties. To top it off, the presidential race could be the #2 battleground, trailing only Florida in importance.

Oklahoma

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
James Inhofe
James
Inhofe

(R)
Abby Broyles
Abby
Broyles

(D)
Inhofe is in like Flynn. He's 84 but he wants another term. Otherwise he would have to go back to Oklahoma, and D.C., where he has lived for the past 44 years, is more fun. The Democrats' bench here is fairly thin. None of the four primary candidates had ever been elected to public office. The winner was Abby Broyles, a lawyer and journalist for the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City, who was well known due to her television career. She'll run on her background as an investigative reporter who brought to light political scandals and corruption, but she's not on Team Trump, and that's all that matters in Oklahoma.

South Carolina   

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Lindsey Graham
Lindsey
Graham

(R)
Jaime Harrison
Jaime
Harrison

(D)
Lindsey Graham has occasionally said things or done things that arch-conservatives do not like, so he could have been primaried, but he saw the light somehow, and it didn't happen. Recently, he has cuddled up to Donald Trump like no one else. The Democrats will run Jaime Harrison, the first black person to chair the South Carolina Democratic Party. South Carolina is a very conservative state, so Graham started out as the clear favorite. Nevetheless, Harrison is pulling in big money and might be able to outspend Graham. Recent polls show it surprisingly close. The big question now is will Trump repay Graham for all the toadying he has done and actually help him. Usually with Trump it is a one-way street: You have to be loyal to me but don't expect me to be loyal to you. Still, it is South Carolina, so Graham is still the favorite.

South Dakota

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Mike Rounds
Mike
Rounds

(R)
Daniel Ahlers
Daniel
Ahlers

(D)
The Democrats got lucky. They actually found someone prepared to run for the Senate and be crushed by Mike Rounds. He is a small businessman and a member of the South Dakota House. He seems like a nice guy, but nice guys finish last in South Dakota if there is a (D) after their name.

Tennessee

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Bill Hagerty
Bill
Hagerty

(R)
Marquita Bradshaw
Marquita
Bradshaw

(D)
Lamar Alexander is retiring, so this is an open seat. In 2018, the Democrats ran a moderate former governor, Phil Bredesen, against a Trump-loving right-wing firebrand, Marsha Blackburn, and Blackburn won easily. This time there was a nasty Republican primary featuring former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty and othopedic trauma surgeon Manny Sethi. The main issues were which candidate was the Trumpiest, who loves Jesus and guns the most, and who hates abortion more. It was roughly a tie, but Sethi is the son of two immigrants and Hagerty is not, so that was the tie breaker. For the sake of completeness, we note that the Democrats nominated a Black environmentalist, Marquita Bradshaw. In a blue wave year, she might be able to beat the 31% the Democrat got in 2014 but probably won't come close to the 44% a popular former two-term former Democratic governor got in 2018. If she hits 40% she should call it a moral victory.

Texas

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
John Cornyn
John
Cornyn

(R)
Mary Hegar
Mary
Hegar

(D)
Beto O'Rourke came close to beating Ted Cruz in 2018. If he had tried again in 2020, with a more Democratic electorate, he might have had a chance. On the other hand, a lot of Republicans in Texas hate Cruz, while not many hate Cornyn. In any case, the point became (temporarily?) moot when O'Rourke decided not to try for a Senate seat again. The Democrats managed to recruit MJ Hegar instead, which was a coup for them. Like Amy McGrath in Kentucky, she is a veteran who almost managed to steal a deep-red House district in 2018. Once Hegar was in, the DSCC wanted O'Rourke to stay out of the race and he did. In a runoff on Jul. 14, Hegar managed to fight off a pretty serious challenge from state Sen. Royce West, primarily by virtue of outpolling him in rural areas. Winning the general election, however, is a different story. The last time a Democrat was elected to the Senate from Texas was 1988, when Lloyd Bentsen won his fifth term. Cornyn got 62% of the vote in the 2014 general election and is the clear favorite in 2020 as well.

West Virginia

Incumbent Challenger Notes           Polls
Shelley Moore-Capito
Shelley
Moore-Capito

(R)
Paula Swearengin
Paula
Swearengin

(D)
This is a very red state and the Democrats don't have a lot of potential candiates. Joe Manchin just won reelection, yes, but he is a very clever politician: He is economically quite populist and pro-union, but culturally very conservative. They don't make them like that any more. So the Democrats aren't even trying to find a clone. Instead, they picked a very progressive daughter and granddaughter of coal miners, who is a single mom with four kids and who lives in Coal City, WV, Paula Jean Swearengin. Despite all that, she is anti-coal, pro-Medicare-for-all, and for cleaning up West Virginia's badly polluted environment. Her problem is that West Virginia is a very red pro-Trump state, so come Jan. 3, there will be no swearing in for Swearengin.

Wyoming

Challenger Challenger Notes           Polls
Cynthia Lummis
Cynthia
Lummis

(R)
Merav Ben-David
Merav
Ben-David

(D)
Wyoming is one of the most Republican states in the country. Michael Enzi could probably be reelected even if he were caught in bed with both a live boy and a dead girl. If there were a dead buffalo in the bed, too, maybe some people might look askance, but would probably still vote for him in the end. But he decided that four terms was enough, so he is not running in 2020. Wyoming's sole representative, Liz Cheney (R), considered running and would have won had she done it. But she made a decision to stay in the House because she expects to become speaker if the Republicans win back control. As a consequence of her decision, former congressman (her choice of terminology) Cynthia Lummis, a hard-right conservative who supports Donald Trump 100%, will be the next senator from Wyoming. Six Democrats signed up to lose—sorry, to run. None of them have ever held public office before and it is likely none of them ever will. And certainly not in 2021. Merav Ben-David, a professor at the University of Wyoming and a specialist on polar bears won the Democratic primary. She must have known that there are more polar bears in Wyoming than Democrats, but she will give it the old college try, nevertheless.