Check out the website  Political Note #189 Doug Jones Alabama, Political Note #248 Al Gross Alaska, Political Note #331 Ricky Harrington Arkansas, Political Note #295  John Hickenlooper Colorado, Political Note #221 Mark Kelly Arizona, Political Note #283 Jon Ossoff Georgia (A),  Political Note #269 Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock Georgia(B), Political Note #320 Paulette Jordan Idaho, Political Note #242 Theresa Greenfield Iowa, Political Note #262 Barbara Bollier Kansas, Political Note #255 Amy McGrath Kentucky, Political Note #330 Adrian Perkins Louisiana, Political Note #236 Sara Gideon Maine,  Political Note #225 Gary Peters Michigan, Political Note #239 Mike Espy Mississippi, Political Note #279 Steve Bullock Montana, Political Note #250 Cal Cunningham North Carolina, Political Note #311 Abby Broyles Oklahoma, Political Note #217 Jaime Harrison South Carolina, Political Note #328 Dan Ahlers South Dakota, Political Note #316 Marquita Bradshaw Tennessee, Political Note #291  MJ Hegar Texas, Political Note #307 Paula Jean Swearengin West Virginia, Political Note #329 Merav Ben-David Wyoming

Political Note #333   The Campaign for the Senate

2020                             General election

Republicans now control the US Senate 53-47.  Democratic control of the Senate is within reach.  Democratic control of the Senate is achieved flipping a net of three seats if Democrats also control the White House.  If an incumbent Democratic Senator loses, Democrats need to win four seats to gain control.

There is no guarantee that Democrats will flip four seats.  Democrats could aspire to a net gain of more than 4 seats – of  6,7, 8, or even more seats.  Take a look at this summary of the candidates who will or will not achieve Democratic goals.


Arizona                      Astronaut Mark Kelly, gun safety leader supported by his wife former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords v. Incumbent and ex fighter pilot Martha McSally. Because this is a special election, the winner takes office shortly after the vote.  Cash on hand: September 30 McSally $12.2 million. Mid-July Kelly $18.8 million.  October Polls (Kelly 51-43, 48-44, 54-43, 46-44, 46-39, 48-42, 52-41, 52-42, 50-45, 51-41, 52-41, 49-41, 48-41, 47-45, 47-42, 51-41, 49-44, 50-44, 51-43, 50-39, 51-38)  Political Note #221

Colorado                    Former Governor John Hickenlooper v Incumbent attorney and party activist Senator Cory Gardner. July 24 Cash on hand: Gardner $6.8 million, Cash on Hand September 30 Hickenlooper $7.2 million, October Polls: (Hickenlooper 50-42, 51-42, 53-39, 53-42, 51-41, 50-40, 46-44, 48-39) Political Note #295

Both of these Democratic candidates had more cash for the final election push than their opponent.  Each of them has been ahead in every September or October poll.  Both have leads over Republican incumbents.


Iowa                            Businesswoman and civic leader Theresa Greenfield v incumbent Joni Ernst.  September 30 Cash on hand: Greenfield is ahead in the financial race and has been behind in only one poll this fall.  Ernst $4.3 Million, Greenfield $9.5 Million, October and Late September Polls: (Ernst 45-44, 45-44) (Greenfield 48-43, 47-43, 49-46, 50-45, 44-42, 46-45, 50-45, 51-39) (Tied 47-47, 48-48, 47-47) Political Note #242

Maine                        Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Sara Gideon v sometimes moderate incumbent Susan Collins. Gideon is winning the financial race and has not been behind in any poll this fall.   Cash on hand: September 30 Collins $6.6 Million, June 30 Gideon $22.7 Million, October and Late September Polls (Gideon 47-40, 44-43, 50-42, 46-41, 45-41) (Tied 42-42) Political Note #236

Michigan                    Incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters has a tough opponent in African-American Businessman John James. Peters has the advantage of incumbency and has been ahead in almost every poll. He does not have as much cash available as his opponent.  September 30 Cash on hand: Peters $3.5 Million, Johnson $8.8 Million.  Polls: (Peters 49-41, 48-43, 50-45,  50-43, 45-39, 52-44, 49-40, 48-40, 43-42) (James 50-48,  48-47) Political Note #225

North Carolina.         Businessman, environmentalist, and veteran, Cal Cunningham v Incumbent Thom Tillis.  September 30 Cash on Hand:  Tillis $6.6 Million, Cunningham $4.2 Million. Cunningham has led in every poll this fall despite being behind in the money race. October Polls: (Cunningham 48-42,  51-45, 49-47, 49-47, 41-37, 45-44, 46-42, 48-47, 46-38, 47-41, 49-39, 50-39, 50-46) (Tied 47-47) Political Note #250

Gideon and Greenfield had more cash for the final election push than their opponent. Peters and Cunningham had less. Gideon and Cunningham led or tied in every poll in September or October.  Peters and Greenfield were behind by a single point in recent polls. Greenfield in Iowa,  Gideon in Maine, and Cunningham in North Carolina are leading incumbents.  Peters is a slightly vulnerable incumbent in Michigan.

Victories for all six of the Democrats who are ahead would give Democrats a net gain of 5 seats (before other races are considered) and control of the Senate.  Democrats would have a 52-48 advantage.


Theresa Greenfield

Sara Gideon

Gary Peters

Cal Cunningham

Just a mention.  Tina Smith has been, still seems to be safe in her seat in Minnesota.  A couple of polls have showed her with only a one or two point lead.  A little help for her wouldn’t be bad.


Alaska            Physician and Commercial Fisherman Al Gross v. Incumbent  Dan Sullivan.  Cash on hand: October 12: $2.6 million.  September 30 Gross $5.2 million. October and Late September Polls: (Sullivan 44-41, 49-47, 45-37, 48-44, 46-45), (Gross 47-46, ) Political Note #245

 Georgia (A)               Documentary Film Maker Jon Ossoff v incumbent David Perdue. Georgia requires, even in a non-special election, more than 50% of the vote to win.  Without that majority (A Libertarian candidate is on the ballot in November), there would be a run-off on January 5, 2021.  Dueling polls and about the same money to complete the campaign.  Cash on Hand September 30. Perdue $8.2 Million, Ossoff $8.3 Million,.  October Polls: (Tied 43-43) (Perdue46-44,  46-43,46-42, 47-46, 49-41) (Ossoff 48-43, 51-45, 44-43, 44-43) Political Note #2, #283

Georgia (B)               A bipartisan election/primary with five candidates.  If one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, he or she wins the election.  Otherwise, the top two will be in a run off on January 5, 2021.  Three Democrats: The Reverend Dr. Raphael Warnock, Senior Pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, Businessman Matt Lieberman, former US Attorney Ed Tarver.  Two Republicans: Incumbent Kelly Loeffler, Congressman Doug Collins. September 30 Cash on hand:  Loeffler $5.6 Million, Warnock $6.5 Million, Collins $2.4 Million, Lieberman $200,000   October Polls: (1) Warnock 32, Loeffler 23, Collins 17, Lieberman 7, Tarver 2 (2) Warnock 30, Loeffler 26, Collins 20, Lieberman 8, Tarver 3 (3) Warnock 41, Collins 22, Loeffler 20, Lieberman 5, Tarver 2 (3) Warnock 30, Collins 22, Loeffler 22, Lieberman 10, Tarver 1 One additional bit of information: Warnock v either Loeffler or Collins: 45-41  Political Note #269

Kansas                      Physician and former Republican State Senator, now a Democrat, Barbara Boliier v. Congressman Roger Marshall. Dueling polls but Bollier has a financial advantage.   September 30 Cash on hand: Bollier $7.6 Million, Marshall $1.7 Million October and September Polls (Marshall 46-42, 51-39, 50-43, 43-39) (Bollier 45-42, 45-43) (Tied 43-43, 42-42) Political Note #262

Mississippi                 Former Member of Congress and Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy v Incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith.  This race was ignored until recently because Hyde-Smith won the 2018 special election and skepticism about the possibility of an African-American winning a state-wide race in Mississippi. The only poll suggests a close race.  September 30 Cash on hand: Hyde-Smith $1.5 Million, Espy $3.2 Million.  End of August Poll (Hyde-Smith 41-40). Political Note #120, #239

Montana                    Democratic Governor of Montana Steve Bullock versus corporate-oriented incumbent Senator Steve Daines. Dueling polls, slight financial edge to Daines.  September 30 Cash on hand:  Daines $3.5 Million, Bullock $2 Million. October and Late September Polls: (Daines 48-47, 52-43) (Bullock 49-47, 48-47) (Tied 48-48) Political Note #279

South Carolina          Former Party Chair Jaime Harrison v incumbent, former moderate Republican Lindsay Graham. September  30 Cash on hand Graham $14.8 Million, Harrison $8 Million.  October Polls: (Graham 46-40, 48-42) (Harrison 47-45, 47-46, 48-47) (Tied 46-46)  Political Note #217

These are all red states where electing a Democratic US Senator would be out of the norm.  Alaska has had Democratic Senators in the past. Al Gross would be a return to that past.  This is a chance to elect two Democratic Senators from Georgia at the same time. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are great candidates. Mike Espy was Mississippi’s first African American Member of Congress and was Secretary of Agriculture under Bill Clinton.  Montana already has one Democratic Senator.  Electing a popular Governor Steve Bullock to the Senate would allow him to join Montana’s other Democratic Senator Jon Tester.  North Carolina has a Democratic Governor.  Electing Cal Cunningham to the US Senate would make North Carolina a little bluer. Jaime Harrington would be South Carolina’s first Democratic Senator in a long time. If elected, he would join Tim Scott, who is also African-American. Imagine – South Carolina with two African-American US Senators.

Each of these seven candidates is competitive financially. Three were leading as they entered the final month of the campaign.  Polling shows that each of them is competitive.  One characteristic of wave elections is that the close races mostly go in one direction.  If Democrats were to win five of these seven races, that would create a 57-43 Democratic Senate.


Al Gross

Jon Ossoff

Raphael Warnock

Barbara Bollier

Mike Espy

Steve Bullock

Jaime Harrison


Alabama                    Incumbent former US Attorney and Prosecutor of KKK members Doug Jones v former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville. Jones is ahead in the financial race. After previous polls giving Tuberville a doubledigit lead, a recent poll shows a close race. Jones won a special election in 2018 against a terrible Republican candidate.  Most people think Alabama will not elect a Democrat a second time. September 30 Cash on hand. Jones $7.9 Million, Tuberville $1.7 Million.  Polls: (Jones 48-47) (Tuberville 55-40, 54-42) Political Note #32, #189

Kentucky                    Retired Marine Pilot Amy McGrath and conservative Democrat v Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Despite a cash advantage, McGrath has never led in a poll.  September 30 Cash on hand: September 30 McConnell $13.9 Million, McGrath $20 Million. September  Polls:  (McConnell 50-40, 51-42, 48-41, 46-39, 52-37, 53-41)

Texas                         Military Helicopter Pilot MJ Hegar v Incumbent John Cornyn. Hegar has a slight financial advantage, but has never led in a poll.)  September 30 Cash on hand: Cornyn $8 Million, M. J. Hegar $8.5 Million  Polls: (Cornyn49-43,  44-41, 49-41, 49-46, 47-38, 50-42, 48-39, 47-46, 45-42)  Political Note #291

Let’s not assume any Democratic wins here.  That would leave us with a 56-44 US Senate – a solid majority. Democrats are winning the money race in each of these campaigns where Republicans are leading. While that is important, we should remember that these figures do not include PACs.  We won’t know about PAC funds until after the election is over. There are reasons for Democrats to hope in these races. Jones is leading in the most recent poll by a point.  Hegar seems to be making a late run and is down by three in the latest poll.  Over the course of the campaign, McGrath has raised more than $80 million.   A win by one of the Democrats in this group would be the definition of a Democratic wave, maybe a super-wave.

Doug Jones

Amy McGrath

MJ Hegar


Arkansas                      Prison chaplain and Libertarian Ricky Harrington v Incumbent Tom Cotton. This Libertarian is Cotton’s only opponent on the ballot and Cotton deserves a scare.  September 30 Cash on hand Cotton. $6.3 million.  Harrington $28,000.  October Poll Cotton 49-38. Political Note #331

Louisiana                   Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins v Incumbent Bill Cassidy. November is a non-partisan primary. If no one gets more than 50% in November, there will be a run off on December 5.  September 30 Cash on Hand Cassidy $4.6 million.  Perkins $700,000.  August Poll: (Cassidy 52-33 if there were a run-off, Cassidy below 50% preventing an outright victory in November) Political Note #330

Oklahoma                  Television journalist and attorney Abby Broyles v Incumbent Jim Inhofe It is very difficult to make a dent in very Republican Oklahoma. September 30 Cash on hand: Inhofe $1.7 million, June 30 Broyles $300,000.  September Polls (Inhofe 56-37, 46-30, 57-33) Political Note #311

A win in one of these races is improbable.  Still.  Look at the poll in Arkansas where Republicans knocked the Democrat and a progressive independent off the ballot. As the only opponent remaining Ricky Henderson, a Libertarian, got within 11 points while spending less than $1,000.  It would be great to scare Tom Cotton.  As for the other two, Adrian Perkins is a star – West Point, active military duty, Harvard Law School – who chose to come home rather than make his fortune.  Abby Broyles is a near-perfect candidate – smart, telegenic, 30 years old, with an evangelical background running against Jim Inhofe, who was behind the times when he was 30.  Now he’s 85.


Ricky Harrington

Adrian Perkins

Abby Broyles



Idaho                          Former state senator Paulette Jordan versus incumbent James Risch. She is a Native American running in very Republican Idaho.  September 30 cash on hand Risch $2.6 million.  Paulette Jordan $340,000. Late August Poll (Risch 53-28). Political Note #320

South Dakota,           Businessman Dan Ahlers v Incumbent Mike Rounds.  September 30 Cash on hand: Ahlers $50,000.  Rounds $2.1 Million. Polls:  None

Tennessee                Memphis-based African-American environmental justice activist Marquita Bradshaw v former diplomat and venture capitalist Bill Hagerty for an open Republican seat in Tennessee. She won the Democratic primary against a well-funded opponent spending less than $1,000.   September 30 Cash on hand: Bradshaw $630,000 Hagerty $2 Million.  Polls: None

West Virginia            Environmental Activist Paula Jean Swearengin versus incumbent Shelley Moore Capito. September 30 Cash on Hand Swearengin $400,000   Moore Capito $3.4 million. October Poll: (Moore Capito 53-33)

Wyoming                  Climate Scientist and former Israeli Merav Ben-David v former Member of Congress Cynthia Lummis for this open seat. September 30 Cash on Hand Ben-David $200,000, Lummis $850,000. Polls:  None

These candidates, running in deep red states, can keep Republican candidates honest.  None of them have enough money to be serious candidates, although Marquitta Bradshaw, after winning her primary spending less than $10,000, raised enough to have $630,000 available to spend beginning on October 1.  While Merav Ben-David had only $200,000, her opponent had less than a million dollars to spend. Ben-David was briefly a national figure when she reported on the effect of the Exxon Valdez oil leak on sea otters.  You want to wish a surprise for one of these candidates.  That’s a wish.  Ask Disney.  Sometimes, wishes come true.


Paulette Jordan

Dan Ahlers

Marquitta Bradshaw

Paula Jean Swearengin

Merav Ben-David