Amee LaTour

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Partisan control of U.S. Senate will come down to Georgia

Two of the 35 Senate races held in 2020 remain uncalled: the regular and special Senate elections in Georgia. Republicans have secured 50 seats in the next Senate, and Democrats have secured 48 (including two seats held by independents who caucus with Democrats). Control of the Senate will come down to Georgia.

Democrats would need to win both of Georgia’s Senate seats to split the chamber 50-50. Since the vice president casts tie-breaking votes in the Senate, splitting the chamber would give Democrats an effective majority in 2021. Republicans would need to win one of the Senate races to maintain their majority.

Georgia is one of two states (alongside Louisiana) that requires runoff elections if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in a general election. As vote totals currently stand, it is projected that both Senate elections in Georgia will go to runoffs. That would mean we wouldn’t know which party will control the Senate until the January 5 runoff elections.

Republican incumbents are running in both Georgia Senate races: David Perdue in the regular election and Kelly Loeffler in the special election. Perdue was first elected in 2014. Loeffler assumed office in January 2020; she was appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) after Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) resigned.

Perdue faces Jon Ossoff (D), who challenged Karen Handel (R) in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2017. Raphael Warnock (D), senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, is challenging Loeffler.

Of the 33 Senate races called, Republicans won 20 and Democrats 13. Democrats have a net gain of one seat, as they flipped two (in Colorado and Arizona) and Republicans flipped one (in Alabama).

Additional reading:

Tillis defeats Cunningham in U.S. Senate election in N.C.

Portrait photo of Senator Thom Tillis

Incumbent Thom Tillis (R) defeated Cal Cunningham (D), Kevin Hayes (Constitution Party), and Shannon Bray (L) in the U.S. Senate election in North Carolina. Tillis was first elected in 2014.

The race drew the most satellite spending of any congressional election in history at around $229 million. Top spenders on the Republican side included the Senate Leadership Fund, American Crossroads, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. On the Democratic side, Senate Majority PAC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent the most. 

Roll Call listed Tillis as the fifth-most vulnerable senator up for re-election in 2020. The three senators topping their list—Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)—lost their bids. Maine’s Susan Collins (R), who had the #4 spot, won re-election.

Thirty-five Senate seats were up for election, and the regular and special elections in Georgia remain uncalled. Democrats have flipped two seats and Republicans flipped one. Georgia’s races appear headed to runoffs, and Democrats would need to flip both to split control of the chamber 50-50. The vice president has the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.

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At least four mayoral offices changed partisan control in the 100 largest cities Nov. 3

Twenty-nine of the 100 largest U.S. cities held mayoral elections in 2020. Of the 24 elections called so far, four party changes have taken place, with Republicans losing three offices and Democrats losing one. Democrats and independents each flipped two offices:

• In Honolulu, Hawaii, independent Rick Blangiardi won the open seat. Democratic mayor Kirk Caldwell was term-limited.

• In Irvine, California, Democrat Farrah Khan defeated incumbent Christina Shea (R).

• In San Diego, California, Democrat Todd Gloria won the open seat. The incumbent, Kevin Faulconer (R), was term-limited.

• In Scottsdale, Arizona, independent David Ortega won the open seat. Incumbent Jim Lane (R) was term-limited.

In those four cities—and in most of the nation’s largest cities—mayoral elections are officially nonpartisan, though many officeholders and candidates are affiliated with political parties. Ballotpedia uses one or more of the following sources to identify each officeholder’s partisan affiliation: (1) direct communication from the officeholder, (2) current or previous candidacy for partisan office, or (3) identification of partisan affiliation by multiple media outlets.

Democratic mayors oversaw 64 of the 100 largest cities at the beginning of 2020.

In 15 of the 29 cities that held elections in 2020, the incumbent was Republican at the start of 2020. Twelve incumbents were Democratic, one was independent, and one was nonpartisan.

Mayoral races in Riverside and Stockton, California, remain undecided. December runoff elections for mayor will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Dec. 5); Corpus Christi, Texas (Dec. 12); and El Paso, Texas (Dec. 15).

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Meijer defeats Scholten in MI-03 

Peter Meijer (R) defeated Hillary Scholten (D) in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District. Incumbent Justin Amash (L) did not run for re-election. Amash was elected to represent the district as a Republican and changed his affiliation to independent in 2019 and Libertarian in 2020.

Michigan’s 3rd is one of 10 House seats that have changed party hands as a result of the 2020 elections. Republicans have won eight of those seats and Democrats, two. Before the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the chamber.

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Kelly declared winner over McSally in AZ special Senate election

Mark Kelly (D) defeated incumbent Martha McSally and 17 write-in candidates in the special election for U.S. Senate in Arizona. Kelly will fill the rest of the late-Sen. John McCain’s (R) term. The seat will be up for election in 2022.

In the 2018 general election, McSally ran for Arizona’s other Senate seat, losing to Kyrsten Sinema (D) 47.6% to 50.0%. After the election, interim Sen. Jon Kyl (R) announced his resignation and Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced McSally as Kyl’s replacement in December 2018.

Before the election, Republicans had a 53-47 majority in the Senate. As of noon ET on November 6, two other seats besides Arizona’s had changed party hands. Tommy Tuberville (R) beat incumbent Doug Jones (D) in Alabama, and John Hickenlooper (D) beat incumbent Cory Gardner (R) in Colorado. Five races remain uncalled. 

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Sen. Susan Collins re-elected in Maine

Incumbent Susan Collins (R) defeated Sara Gideon (D) and five more candidates for U.S. Senate in Maine. 

Collins was first elected to the Senate in 1996. In October, Roll Call named Collins the fourth-most vulnerable senator up for re-election. The top three on its list—Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)—lost their re-election bids. 

Collins and Gardner were the two Republican senators up for re-election this year in states Hillary Clinton (D) won in the 2016 presidential election. Joe Biden (D) is the projected winner of Colorado this year. He’s projected to have won Maine’s statewide electoral votes and the 1st Congressional District’s electoral vote, while Maine’s 2nd District electoral vote remains uncalled.

Thirty-five Senate seats were up for election, and four races remain uncalled. Democrats have flipped two seats and Republicans have flipped one. Democrats needed to win a net four seats to win control of the chamber; a net gain of two seats or fewer for Democrats, or a net gain for Republicans, would result in the chamber retaining its Republican majority. A net gain of three seats for Democrats would result in control of the chamber being split 50-50, with the vice president having the tie-breaking vote.

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Republicans flip two U.S. House seats in Florida

Two Democratic U.S. representatives lost re-election bids in Florida, bringing the count of defeated incumbents to seven as of Nov. 5. All seven defeated incumbents are Democrats.

In Florida’s 26th Congressional District, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) lost to Carlos Gimenez (R). In the 27th District, Donna Shalala (D) lost to Maria Elvira Salazar (R). Both incumbents were first elected in 2018.

Other incumbents defeated in 2020 are Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Collin Peterson (MN-07), Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), Kendra Horn (OK-05), and Joe Cunningham (SC-01).

Two other congressional districts have switched party hands. Democrats won open-seat races for North Carolina’s 2nd and 6th Congressional Districts, where Republican incumbents George Holding and Mark Walker did not seek re-election. They announced they would not run after court-ordered redistricting in 2019 changed the partisan composition of the districts.

In 2020, Ballotpedia is calling congressional races once there is a consensus projection from five outlets: ABC News, CNN, FOX News, NBC, and the New York Times. As of 8:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 5, we called 379 of 435 House races. Democrats had won 192, and Republicans had won 187. Democrats currently hold a 232-197 majority.

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After switching parties, Van Drew (R) wins re-election in NJ-02

Incumbent Jeff Van Drew (R) defeated Amy Kennedy (D) in the general election for New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District. 

Van Drew was first elected in 2018 as a Democrat after defeating Seth Grossman (R) 53% to 45%. Van Drew succeeded Frank LoBiondo (R), who held the seat from 1995 until his retirement in 2019.

In December 2019, Van Drew switched his party affiliation from Democratic to Republican. The day before, he was one of two House Democrats to vote against both articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump (R).

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Fagan wins Oregon Secretary of State election

Shemia Fagan (D) defeated Kim Thatcher (R), Kyle Markley (L), and Nathalie Paravicini (Pacific Green Party) in the election for Oregon secretary of state. Incumbent Bev Clarno (R) did not run for re-election, which Governor Kate Brown (D) made a condition of her appointment after the death of former Secretary of State Dennis Richardson (R).

In Oregon, the secretary of state is first in line for the governor’s office in the event of a vacancy. Brown was the secretary of state before Richardson and became governor after John Kitzhaber (D) resigned in 2015. Democrats held the secretary of state seat from 1985 to 2017. Richardson defeated Brad Avakian (D) 47% to 43% in 2016. 

If the Oregon state legislature fails to establish a redistricting plan for state legislative districts, the secretary of state intervenes to draw the boundaries. In 2011, the legislature redrew congressional and legislative districts without changes from the secretary of state or the courts. It was the first time this had happened since 1911. Oregon’s next round of redistricting is scheduled for 2021, following the 2020 census.

The results of Oregon’s secretary of state and attorney general elections transitioned the state from divided triplex control to Democratic triplex control, meaning those two offices and the governor’s office will be held by Democrats. In 2020, the governor and attorney general are Democrats while the secretary of state is Republican. The state did not hold a gubernatorial election this year.

Tuberville defeats incumbent Jones in Alabama Senate race

Tommy Tuberville (R) defeated incumbent Doug Jones (D) in the U.S. Senate election in Alabama. Jones was first elected in 2017, receiving 50% of the vote to Roy Moore (R)’s 48%. Jones was the first Democrat to win a Senate seat in Alabama since 1992.

Tuberville is a former college football coach. President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him in the Republican primary runoff, where Tuberville defeated former Sen. Jeff Sessions.

Jones is the second incumbent senator to lose a re-election bid in 2020 as of 12 a.m. ET on Nov. 4. In Colorado, John Hickenlooper (D) defeated incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Thirty-five of 100 Senate seats are up for election. Republicans have a 53-47 majority. Of the 35 seats up, 23 are held by Republicans and 12 by Democrats, giving Republicans greater partisan risk this year. Democrats need to win a net four seats to win an outright majority in the chamber.