One of the defining features of the 2018 midterm election cycle was the fact that Democratic senators were seeking re-election in states won by Donald Trump. Five were in states the president carried by double digits. Republicans had only one senator trying to keep his job in a state won by Hillary Clinton.
That dynamic enabled the Republicans to pick up two Senate seats despite a difficult political environment.
The Senate setting for 2020 is entirely different and far more balanced. Just four senators will be seeking re-election in states carried by the opposing party in the last presidential election. Two are from each party, and only one is in extremely hostile political territory.
- Two Republicans — Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Maine’s Susan Collins—are running in states carried by Hillary Clinton. The Democratic nominee won Colorado by 5 percentage points and Maine by 3.
- Two Democrats — Michigan’s Gary Peters and Alabama’s Doug Jones—are running in states carried by Donald Trump. The president won Michigan by less than a percentage point, essentially a toss-up. However, he won Alabama by 28 points, making the state an uphill climb for any Democrat.
If the results were to follow the 2016 model, Republicans might be expected to pick up the Jones seat in Alabama, and little else would change.
However, 2020 could be an entirely different year. If the president performs significantly worse than he did in 2016, the Democrats will have enough credible opportunities to win control of the Senate. On the other hand, if President Trump maintains or increases his support, the Republicans are in a position to expand their Senate majority.
Each weekday, Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day explores interesting and newsworthy topics at the intersection of culture, politics, and technology. Columns published on Ballotpedia reflect the views of the author.
Scott Rasmussen is founder and president of the Rasmussen Media Group. He is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," "In Search of Self-Governance," and "The People’s Money: How Voters Will Balance the Budget and Eliminate the Federal Debt." Read more reports from Scott Rasmussen — Click Here Now.