In Iowa, we see a toss-up race – considered one of the most competitive on the map by all the political prognosticators. Republican Joni Ernst is seeking a second term against a Democratic businesswoman Theresa Greenfield. Iowa voted for Obama twice, and then swung to Trump in 2016.
Kansas is a race that ought to be a slam dunk for the Republicans, but they had a fractious primary that Republican Congressman Roger Marshall won, while the Democrats have a credible, well-funded candidate in Senator Barbara Bollier. Democrats last won a Senate race here in 1932, but Bollier is seeking to capitalize on intraparty friction among Kansas Republicans.
Susan Collins used to be politically invincible. She’s won four Senate elections in Maine. But as Trump falters in the state, Democrats have really focused this race not only on opposition to Trump, but also Susan Collins’ votes for the tax cut bill in 2017 – and the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. Collins faces State House Speaker Sara Gideon.
Other than Alabama, this is likely the only Democratic-held state where the Democrats have an incumbent who’s potentially vulnerable. Gary Peters is seeking a second term against Republican businessman John James, who’s a well-funded businessman and Army veteran.
Montana should have been an easy one for the Republicans to hold with incumbent Steve Daines – it’s a state that Trump won by 20 points in 2016. But the Democrats have their best candidate in outgoing two-term governor Steve Bullock, who has a history of winning elections in this state – despite Republicans having won the last presidential election.
This is the state that has seen a lot of news lately in the race between Thom Tillis, the Republican senator, and Democrat Cal Cunningham. Tillis was just diagnosed with Covid-19 and has been sequestering himself as a result. And then a scandal broke in this race recently involving the discovery that Cunningham had sent some intimate text messages to a woman who is not his wife. The implications remain to be seen. Cunningham had been leading in the polls by a couple of points, but we’ll see if there’s any fallout from the scandal.
Finally, we have South Carolina, one of the hottest races in the country right now. Lindsey Graham, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, is facing a very serious challenge from Jaime Harrison, a former South Carolina Democratic party chairman, who is very well funded.
There are a lot of Democratic donors nationwide who would like to see Graham defeated. Now that he’s become a Trump ally – and because he’s leading the Judiciary Committee hearings for the Supreme Court nomination – he’s drawn a lot of opposition from the Democratic side. Harrison raised more money in the third quarter than any other Senate candidate in history.