See the full list of sitting senators who are up for re-election in 2020.
2018 was a tough year for Democratic sitting Senators. Many more Democrats than Republicans were up for re-election. While we lost two, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, we managed to pick up two seats–Jacky Rosen defeated Dean Heller in Nevada, and Kyrsten Sinema won the open seat in Arizona.
Things could have been a lot worse, and would have been a lot worse in the absence of voters highly motivated by the unusually terrible performance of the Trump administration. If a more normal and routine Republican had been president in 2018, the Democrats might have suffered more losses.
The 2020 story is different. Many more Republicans are defending than are Democrats.
This is an expanded version of a basic post first published in April 2019. It flags which Republican Senators have chosen not to run again, and gives additional details on those open seats. It also gives details on select Republican Senators who are regarded as vulnerable to defeat.
We at OTYCD are giving these details in part so you can choose candidates for your Core Four Plus for 2020. If you are able to donate to Democratic Senate incumbents or Democratic challengers to incumbent Republican Senators before 2019 ends, please do.
The following Democrats are up for re-election in 2020:
Cory Booker of New Jersey
Christopher Coons of Delaware
Richard “Dick” Durbin of Illinois
*Doug Jones of Alabama
Ed Markey of Massachusetts
Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Gary Peters of Michigan
Jack Reed of Rhode Island
*Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
Tina Smith of Minnesota
Tom Udall of New Mexico
Mark Warner of Virginia
*These two Democrats are regarded as the most vulnerable who are up for re-election in 2020. Jones is regarded as the most vulnerable of the pair. Please give them special consideration when choosing your Core Four Plus for 2020.
The following Republicans are up for re-election in 2020 (especially vulnerable incumbents are marked with **):
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Alexander announced in December 2018 that he would not run again. As of December 2019, four Democrats and seven Republicans are competing for the seat. The primary takes place on August 6, 2020.
The Cook Political Report regards the seat as Solid Republican.
Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
**Susan Collins of Maine. After much delay, Collins finally announced in December 2019 that she would in fact run again for her Senate seat. After she cast a critical vote that placed Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court of the United States, Ady Barkan’s Be a Hero organization and other Maine activists launched a Crowdpac campaign to raise money for her then as-yet-undeclared Democratic challenger. As of June 2019, they had collected $4 million.
Sara Gideon leads the pack of four Democrats vying to challenge Collins for her seat. The primary takes place on June 9, 2020. Presumably, the winner of the Democratic primary will receive the funds raised through Crowdpac.
The Cook Political Report regards Collins’s seat as a Toss-up.
John Cornyn of Texas
Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Steve Daines of Montana
Michael Enzi of Wyoming. In May of 2019, Enzi announced he would not run again in 2020. As of December 2019, one Democrat, Yana Ludwig, and three Republicans had committed to run in the August 18, 2020 primary.
The Cook Political Report rates Enzi’s seat as Solid Republican.
**Joni Ernst of Iowa. She’s running for a second term, but is widely regarded as a vulnerable Republican incumbent. Five Democrats and one other Republican will appear in the June 2, 2020 primary.
The Cook Political Report regards Ernst’s seat as Likely Republican.
**Cory Gardner of Colorado. Like Ernst, he’s running for a second term. Eight Democrats, including newly-former Governor (he was term-limited out) and newly-former 2020 presidential candidate John Hickenlooper, will be on the June 30, 2020 primary ballot.
The Cook Political Report rates Gardner’s seat as a Toss-up.
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He’s running again, and he has yet to be lumped in with Collins, Ernst, and Gardner, but he might be more vulnerable than he appears. He has a strong Democratic challenger in Jaime Harrison, and a mid-December 2019 poll had him with a two-point lead–within the poll’s 3.1 percent margin of error.
Harrison is one of three other Democrats and five other Republicans challenging Graham in the state’s primary, which takes place on June 9, 2020. If a runoff is required, it will take place on June 23, 2020.
The Cook Political Report rates Graham’s Senate seat as Solid Republican.
Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi
James Inhofe of Oklahoma
Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. He’s running again, he leads the GOP Senate majority; and many (including we at OTYCD) agree he’s done as much, if not more, damage to American democracy and the rule of law as has Trump, so we’re including him in this expanded update.
Six Democrats, including Amy McGrath, will appear in the May 19, 2020 primary, along with another Republican.
The Cook Political Report rates McConnell’s seat as Likely Republican, which gives a glimmer of hope. If McConnell was truly well-regarded in his home state, the Cook rating would be the strongest rating, Solid Republican. That said–if you see a poll flying around on social media or the Internet that claims McConnell’s polling numbers in Kentucky are dismal, check the date. The one that pops up most often was taken in summer 2017, which, really, is too old to bother with now.
David Perdue of Georgia
James Risch of Idaho
Pat Roberts of Kansas. In January 2019, Roberts announced that he would not run for a fifth term. Four Democrats and seven Republicans, including the loathsome Kris Kobach, will appear on the primary ballot on August 4, 2020.
The Cook Political Report rates the Senate seat as Likely Republican.
Mike Rounds of South Dakota
Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Addressing this now because there might be a little confusion. Sasse has spoken out against Trump, but he IS running for re-election in 2020. Arizona Senator Jeff Flake was the one who spoke out against Trump and decided to quit the Senate.
Sasse is unchallenged by his party in the May 12, 2020 primary. Three Democrats are also running.
The Cook Political Report rates Sasse’s seat as Solid Republican.
Thom Tillis of North Carolina
See the official list of senators in Class II here:
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