Senate Races 2020 Odds Tracker: Graham-Harrison Tightens in SC
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The Democrats' odds to retake the Senate bounced up slightly this week as UK bookmaker Ladbrokes now gives the Republicans odds of +138 to retain the majority but +110 to lose it. The odds of an even 50-50 split in the Senate is set at +450.
Last month the Republicans’ odds were -137 to have fewer than 50 seats and +200 to have more. Last week, the odds were even at +125. The movement comes as a result of odds shifting in two critical Senate races for seats held by the GOP. In Iowa, Joni Ernst regained her favorite status and in Montana, where Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock had been favored to flip the seat, incumbent Steve Daines is at -187 to Bullock’s +138.
Many are also watching the race in South Carolina, where incumbent Republican Lindsey Graham’s odds to win were sliced last week to -300 from -400 after a poll from Quinnipiac University showed him tied with Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison at 48 percent.
The Republicans currently hold a 53-47 seat advantage, and the Democrats may need to flip five to go to 51 as Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama is, as expected, a prohibitive underdog to keep his seat. Jones won the seat in a special election in 2017 and already faced an uphill climb before his vote to convict President Donald Trump in the impeachment trial. He faces former Auburn head football coach and Republican Tommy Tuberville. Democrats are not underdogs for any other Senate seat they currently hold.
That means, not only are Democrats favored to win the White House, they're favored to win the House and the Senate.
Updated September 22, 2020
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With the exception of Alabama, all of the races listed below are Republican-held seats. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, a Democrat, is a -275 favorite to retain his seat. He was as high as -500 but as Presidential polls tightened in that race, so did his numbers.
Alabama Senate Race Odds
|Doug Jones (D)||+450|
|Tommy Tuberville (R)||-800|
Tuberville defeated former Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the Republican primary by being even more pro-Trump than Sessions, who was the first Republican senator to endorse Trump the first time around and quit the Senate to join the administration, only to be declared disloyal by Trump for recusing himself from the Russia probe. Trump has belittled and berated Sessions and pushed for Tuberville.
Despite his impeachment stance, Jones won points for his impassioned defense of his vote, and one potential argument he could make to Alabama voters is this: If they believe Trump won't be re-elected, isn't it better to have a moderate senator with the majority who is looking out for the state's interests rather than a newcomer in the minority with polarizing views? Let's see if these odds tighten once polling comes out.
Arizona Senate Race Odds
|Mark Kelly (D)||-600|
|Martha McSally (R)||+450|
In a state that continues to shift Democratic (Joe Biden is favored to beat Trump here), former astronaut Mark Kelly looks like a good bet to unseat unpopular Sen. Martha McSally, who lost in 2018 to a Democrat only to get appointed to fill John McCain’s seat. How unpopular is McSally? So much that Trump’s re-election team is concerned she’s dragging him down. Polls have shown Kelly up as much as 13 points, and by as few as a point.
Colorado Senate Race Odds
|John Hickenlooper (D)||-700|
|Cory Gardner (R)||+400|
Popular former Gov. John Hickenlooper defeated former statehouse speaker Andrew Romanoff in the June 30 primary and will challenge Sen. Cory Gardner in November. Hickenlooper led Gardner by 18 points in a May poll, but we have yet to see if there will be any lasting impact from a ruling that he violated state ethics laws — complaints he says are an attempt to smear his reputation.
Georgia Senate Race Odds
|Jon Ossoff (D)||+150|
|David Perdue (R)||-200|
Georgia's voters will decide two Senate seats held by Republicans in what is starting to look like a swing state for the general election, but because of differences in how the two seats will be decided, we only have odds on one race so far. Two polls released Tuesday in the race between Jon Ossoff and Republican incumbent David Perdue show a tight race within the margin of error.
The second Georgia race is an “all-candidates” special election to fill the seat of Johnny Isakson, who resigned Dec. 31, 2019 and was replaced by Kelly Loeffler. If no candidate receives 50% +1, Georgia's voters get a Jan. 5, 2021 runoff — a strong possibility. Democrats are looking to Rev. Raphael Warnock as its strongest candidate and are hopeful other Democrats may drop out the clear the field. Otherwise, there could be two GOP finalists.
Iowa Senate Race Odds
|Theresa Greenfield (D)||+110|
|Joni Ernst (R)||-150|
An early August poll show Democratic challenger and political neophyte Theresa Greenfield narrowly leading incumbent Ernst in a bid to grab this Senate seat. Iowa is increasingly looking like a battleground state as Trump’s standing slips, which makes this a fascinating race to watch in the weeks ahead.
Kansas Senate Race Odds
|Barbara Bollier (D)||+300|
|Roger Marshall (R)||-500|
Republicans dodged a major disaster when voters chose second-term U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall in its primary on Aug. 4 in the battle to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. National Republicans were concerned that a crowded field could open the door for former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is unpopular in the state and lost the 2018 governor’s race to a Democrat.
Democratic nominee Barbara Bollier, a state senator, physician and former Republican, had been even with Marshall in polls several months ago, though bookmakers clearly see her as an underdog. Against Kobach that might not have been the case.
Kentucky Senate Race Odds
|Amy McGrath (D)||+450|
|Mitch McConnell (R)||-800|
Considered a bit of a longshot, though Kentucky did elect a Democratic governor in 2018 amid the blue wave. It may take another one on Election Day. The Democratic senate primary was June 23 with former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath narrowly holding off a challenge from state Rep. Charles Booker, who is more progressive. McGrath has essentially been campaigning against Mitch McConnell all along and an early June poll showed a dead heat. However, the same September Quinnipiac poll that showed Graham struggling gave McConnell a healthy lead.
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Maine Senate Race Odds
|Sara Gideon (D)||-275|
|Susan Collins (R)||+188|
Republican Sen. Susan Collins was a target for Democrats looking to flip a seat even before she supported Trump in both the Kavanaugh hearings and impeachment. She may fancy herself as “moderate,” but voters in her state might not be buying that anymore. She faces Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, has outraised Collins and has a strong lead in polls.
Montana Senate Race Odds
|Steve Bullock (D)||+138|
|Steve Daines (R)||-187|
Bullock, who never caught fire as a presidential hopeful, is challenging Daines and has been outraising him so far in campaign contributions. There hasn’t been a ton of polling done, but a September sampling showed Daines up three points. This could be the tipping point on Election Day.
North Carolina Senate Race Odds
|Cal Cunningham (D)||-250|
|Thom Tillis (R)||+175|
Democratic challenger and former State Senator Cal Cunningham is challenging unpopular incumbent Thom Tillis. Super PACs from both parties are pouring money into what is also a presidential battleground state. Polls show Cunningham with a strong lead, and bookmakers agree.
South Carolina Senate Race Odds
|Jaime Harrison (D)||+225|
|Lindsey Graham (R)||-300|
Flipping this seat will depend on a handful of factors, including whether Graham has become too Trumpy for South Carolina voters. The Lincoln Project has savaged Graham already for his flip-flop adulation of Trump, using the senator's own words from his failed 2016 presidential campaign to underscore Graham's transformation.
South Carolina was less red in the 2018 midterms than it was in 2016, and if there is a blue tidal wave come November, it could be enough to sink Graham.