WASHINGTON – The success or failure of the next US president’s agenda depends largely on control of the Senate, and whoever holds him depends on the outcome of only a few campaigns in different parts of the country.
The fate of 35 of the 100 Senate seats will be determined on Tuesday, but in only seven cases, according to the non-partisan Cook Political Report, the outcome of an election is truly unpredictable.
To control the upper house of Congress, Democrats need to increase their representation by three seats if their presidential candidate Joe Biden wins the White House, or four seats if President Donald Trump is re-elected to a second term.
The fact is that if the distribution of seats is 50 to 50, the decisive vote will belong to the vice president.
Republicans currently have a 53-vote majority, but quantitatively this is a difficult year for them, as they have to defend twice as many seats in this electoral cycle as Democrats.
It is estimated that only one of the 12 seats now held by Democrats can go to Republicans. We’re talking about Alabama, where former Trump-backed soccer coach Tommy Taberville has been months ahead of incumbent Democratic Senator Doug Jones for months.
Trump’s influence will be the deciding factor in most campaigns where candidates are on an equal footing, says Michelle Swers, professor of American government at Georgetown University.
“If he wins in any state, then it is very likely that this wave will pick up the person who is running for the Senate. If his performance in the state is poor, then this is a big obstacle that they will have to overcome, ”she said.
In Iowa, incumbent Republican Senator Joni Ernst lags behind Democratic rival Theresa Greenfield in several polls. In this agrarian state, Ernst is tied to Trump because of her support for his trade wars with China, which have affected farmers.
In North Carolina, incumbent Republican Senator Tom Tillis lags behind rival Cal Cunningham by an average of 2.5 percentage points, according to Real Clear Politics.
In Maine, incumbent Republican Senator Susan Collins is confronted by strong Democratic adversary Sarah Gideon.
Svers noted that Collins must maintain support for Trump’s base in the northeastern state to win. However, “they will be greatly outraged by the fact that she voted against Amy Coney Barrett,” whom Trump has nominated for the position of Supreme Court justice, the professor said.
Georgia has two Senate campaigns this year. One of them involves Pastor Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, and two Republicans – incumbent Senator Kelly Lefler and Congressman Doug Collins.
In another campaign, Democrat John Ossoff leads incumbent Republican Senator David Purdue by one percentage point.