Races to Watch 2020 | Sarah Stook
As the American election draws near, things are heating up. There are states that will vote blue even if Biden committed war crimes- California, New York and Hawaii to name a few. There are states that will vote red even if Trump massacres half the population- Wyoming, Utah and West Virginia for example.
Ok, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the point still stands.
There are some elections in 2020 that will be fascinating to watch. These are the ones to keep your eye on this November:
Arizona– Home of mavericks John McCain and Barry Goldwater, Arizona has been Republican for a long time, but that could change. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema managed to clinch a seat, though we must acknowledge she’s still fairly conservative for a Democrat and has voted with Trump over half of the time. Many, however, think there could be a flip. With shifting demographics- most notably a rise in Hispanic voters- and Arizona’s history of bucking trends, the polls have the state voting Democrat for the first time since 1948- save for 1996, when Clinton won. More on the Senate race later.
Florida– The Sunshine State is known for being essential in US politics- it decided the 2000 election after all. Florida is the definition of a swing state, having flipped between parties for many elections. It went all in for Obama both times, before flipping to Trump in 2016. The 2019 Senate election was so close that a recount was triggered, but Republican Rick Scott made it to the office. With an elderly population and large number of pro-Republican Cuban residents, all signs should point to Trump- but this is Florida we’re talking about.
Michigan– Another state that hasn’t voted Republican in some time, Trump’s victory in the state was a shock and a win- especially because it was extremely close. The Governor, Gretchen Whitmer, is a staunch anti-Trump politician and was seen as a potential VP pick for Biden. There’s a great divide between deeply Democratic Detroit and the more conservative outer areas. It’ll be another coin flip.
Minnesota– The only state to vote for Walter Mondale in 1984 (by only 3000 votes anyway), Minnesota saw the birth of the George Floyd protests that spread across the country. The polls have it for Biden, but some suspect that Trump could clinch it this time- though it’s the unlikeliest Republican victory on this list.
New Hampshire– Another very close election, New Hampshire is one of the very few New England states that could vote Republican. It’s a tiny state with few electoral votes, but every vote counts. It could be tighter than the polls say.
Pennsylvania– There was a collective gasp when Pennsylvania voted for Trump in 2016- it was another one who had swung twice for Obama. Pennsylvania is Joe Biden’s birth state, but he hasn’t lived there in years, so may not have favourite son status. A Rust Belt state, Pennsylvania has lost a lot of industry, meaning it’s prime Trump target. Obama recently visited, which means it’s close either way.
Wisconsin– Democratic since 1984, Wisconsin was the tipping point state- the one that pushes the winning candidate over the 270 line to victory. The working class white voters who usually went blue were the ones who went for Trump, which he hopes could happen again. Let’s see.
Georgia Senate Race/ Special Election- Kelly Loeffler (R- Incumbent) v Several– It’s a bit of a strange election. After the resignation of a former senator, Kelley Loeffler was appointed to the role until an election could be called. All candidates who run will be included on the ballot, so more than one representative of each party will be represented. Loeffler could win again, but controversies and gaffe had meant another Republican will likely win.
Iowa Senate Race- Joni Ernst (R- Incumbent) v Theresa Greenfield– A perennial swing state, Iowa is becoming an increasingly conservative place. That being said, Joni Ernst has a bit of a struggle- the tariffs that Trump implemented have really upset a lot of farmers. She needs to convince them she’s still on their side.
Kentucky Senate Race- Mitch McConnell (R- Incumbent) v Amy McGrath (D)
Lovingly called ‘Cocaine Mitch’ by his fans, Mitch McConnell is the Majority Leader of the Senate. He’s facing a competitor in Amy McGrath, and many are trying to scalp him in order to hit Trump where it hurts. McConnell will likely win, as Kentucky is fairly red, but that’s not stopping funding being pumped into this seat.
Maine Senate Race- Susan Collins (R- Incumbent) v Sara Gideon (D)
The last Republican Senator in New England, Susan Collins isn’t your typical member of the GOP. She’s never missed a vote. She’s also a moderate who isn’t afraid to vote with Democrats and against Trump. Sara Gideon, her opponent, is tipped to possibly win the seat. Collins has the incumbent advantage, but also hasn’t had stiff competition in a while.
Massachusetts Senate Race- Ed Markey (D- Incumbent) v Kevin O’Connor ®
The home of the Kennedy family, Massachusetts has been home of many liberal and moderate leaders, from Mitt Romney to Elizabeth Warren. Ed Markey had a primary challenge from Joe Kennedy III (Robert Kennedy’s grandson), but won, having been helped by AOC and Elizabeth Warren’s wing. Kennedy’s loss marks the first time a Kennedy has lost an election in Massachusetts. Though the state has a history of moderate Republicans, including current Governor Charlie Baker, it’s definitely safe blue.
North Carolina Senate Race- Cal Cunningham (D) v Thom Thillis (R- Incumbent)
In a tight race, everything counts- including sexual indiscretions. Married Cal Cunningham admitted having an affair with a married woman after some saucy texts were released. This woman is married to a serving soldier and Cunningham is still in the Army Reserves, which means he’ll be investigated by the military. With the polls believing that it’ll flip Democrat, it’s certainly interesting- as Cunningham is losing money.
South Carolina Senate Race- Lindsey Graham (R-Incumbent) v Jaime Harrison (D)- It’s a beautiful day in South Carolina they say. As one of Trump’s biggest cheerleaders, neoconservative Lindsey Graham has got both a lot of flack and wind in his sails. Probably the second biggest prize after McConnell, the Democrats are coming in hot and pumping money in. It’ll be a safe red likely but 2020 has been a weird one.
California-25- Mike Garcia (R-Incumbent) v Christy Smith (D)- The 2020 special election for CA-25 is the first time in 22 years that the Republicans managed to flip a Democratic seat in ultra blue California. After Representative Katie Hill resigned after a sex scandal, Mike Garcia managed to beat Christy Smith. Garcia focused on his military service and economics, avoiding Trumpism and cultural issues- helpful in anti-Trump California. The two are set for a rematch, so let’s see how it goes.
Florida-21- Lois Frankel (D- Incumbent) v Laura Loomer ®
Laura Loomer is a name many will know. An InfoWars reporter and conspiracy theorist, she is part of a new wave of right populism. Many were surprised at her winning the primary to say the very least. The seat, however, is very blue- she isn’t going to win this.
Georgia-14- Marjorie Taylor Greene ® v Unknown
The tenth most Republican area in the USA, no Democrat has ever gotten above 30% in any election since its inception. They voted 75% for Donald Trump. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the Republican candidate and boy is she a controversial one, having previously expressed support for Qanon among other things. The Democratic candidate, Kevin Van Ausdal was forced to drop out due to family reasons. It later transpired he’d been forced to move out of state due to a divorce that made him broke, which meant he was ineligible for the job. Taylor Greene is almost certain to clinch it.
Oklahoma-05- Stephanie Bice ® v. Kendra Horn (D- Incumbent)– Kendra Horn won a stunning upset against Steve Russell in 2018, especially since Trump won the district by a massive 13 points. Unfortunately for Horn, Stephanie Bice is seen as an ideal candidate- a popular Republican with outreach to suburban women. Horn’s victory may have been a one off in such a deeply red area- she caught Russell sleeping, but Bice is wide awake.