The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip

According to a new report from Max Greenwood and Julia Manchester of TheHill, these are the 10 Senate Seats most likely to flip in the November election.

The Hill reports Five senators are staring down serious political danger ahead of the November elections.

With less than six months to go until Election Day, the battle for control of the Senate hinges on five key states. Democrats are after four seats in particular — in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina — while Republicans are largely playing defense, but see an easy pickup opportunity in Alabama.

A handful of seats in states like Iowa, Montana and Michigan are also showing signs they may be in play.

Here are the Senate seats most likely to flip in 2020.

Doug Jones (D-Ala.)

Democrats are on the defensive in deep-red Alabama roughly three years after Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the state’s special election to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jones was the first Democrat to win statewide office in Alabama since 2008 and the first Democrat to represent the state in the upper chamber since 1997.

Jones garnered about 50 percent of the vote in 2017, while Moore received about 48 percent. During the race, Moore had to contend with a cloud of controversy stemming from sexual assault allegations, which led to GOP leaders across the country calling for him to step down as the nominee.

However, Jones faces a totally different environment heading into the 2020 elections. The Cook Political Report rates the race “lean Republican” as Sessions and former Auburn University coach Tommy Tuberville battle it out ahead of the July 14 GOP runoff.

President Trump, who has thrown his support behind Tuberville, is also popular in the state with a 53 percent approval rating, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. Jones, on the other hand, had a 41 percent approval rating, according to a Morning Consult survey released in January.

Still, Jones has had a successful streak of fundraising in recent quarters, giving him an advantage over the field of GOP candidates. He had over $8.2 million cash on hand at the beginning of April.

Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

Gardner became the first challenger to unseat an incumbent in Colorado in roughly a generation when he defeated former Sen. Mark Udall (D) in 2014.

But his state has shifted increasingly to the left in recent years. Former President Obama won the state twice in 2008 and 2012, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried it in the 2016 presidential election. In 2018, Democrats won control of the Colorado state Senate and held onto the governor’s mansion, giving them full control of the state government for the first time since 1936.

If that trend wasn’t enough to threaten Gardner’s prospects for a second term in the Senate, he faces an expectedly tough challenge from Colorado’s Democratic former governor, John Hickenlooper, who jumped into the race last summer after an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

There hasn’t been much polling in the race, but a survey from the Montana State University and the University of Denver conducted last month showed Hickenlooper with a 16-point lead over Gardner. Another Keating Research–OnSight Public Affairs–Melanson poll released earlier this month found Hickenlooper ahead by 18 points.

Hickenlooper out-raised Gardner in the first quarter of 2020, raking in nearly $4.1 million to his opponent’s $2.5 million. Still, Gardner has the overall cash-on-hand advantage with $9.6 million in the bank.

Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)

McSally already lost a Senate race in 2018, when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) eked out a narrow 2-point win. Only a few weeks after her loss, McSally was appointed to fill the seat of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Now, a little more than a year after she entered the Senate, she’s facing a challenge from Democrat Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and gun control advocate who is seen as one of his party’s top recruits of the 2020 cycle. Kelly raised a staggering $11 million in the first three months of 2020 and has some $19.7 million on hand. By comparison, McSally reported $6.4 million raised in the first quarter and $10.3 million in the bank.

There are also signs that Kelly is widening his lead over McSally in the race. A survey from the polling firm OH Predictive Insights released this week showed Kelly leading McSally by 13 points — up from a 9-point lead in a similar poll conducted in April. Republicans are hoping to seize on questions about Kelly’s business record in an effort to weaken him ahead of November.

But unlike Colorado, where Democrats hold power at the state level, Arizona’s state government is largely controlled by the GOP. What’s more, Republicans have won every presidential election in the state since 2000, though Trump carried it in 2016 by a smaller margin than the three Republican nominees before him.

Susan Collins (R-Maine)

The moderate Republican is also facing an uphill battle to defend her spot in the Senate. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Collins 3 points behind state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D), who is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

Additionally, polling shows Maine voters could be souring on the incumbent senator. A Bangor Daily News poll released in April showed Collins with a 37 percent approval rating and a 52 percent disapproval rating.

Collins has been viewed in the past as a critical Republican swing vote, voting against 2017 GOP legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. However, she has since received the ire of liberals for voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018 as he faced sexual misconduct allegations.

However, the race will not necessarily be a cakewalk for the Democrats if Gideon gets the nomination. Collins has represented the state in the Senate since 1997, giving her an incumbent advantage. Additionally, her decisions to side with the Trump administration on a number of issues may not play badly with all voters. The state went Democratic in the last three presidential elections, but elected conservative Gov. Paul LePage twice.

The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip

Five senators are staring down serious political danger ahead of the November elections.

With less than six months to go until Election Day, the battle for control of the Senate hinges on five key states. Democrats are after four seats in particular — in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and North Carolina — while Republicans are largely playing defense, but see an easy pickup opportunity in Alabama.

A handful of seats in states like Iowa, Montana and Michigan are also showing signs they may be in play.

Here are the Senate seats most likely to flip in 2020.

Doug Jones (D-Ala.)

Democrats are on the defensive in deep-red Alabama roughly three years after Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore in the state’s special election to replace former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jones was the first Democrat to win statewide office in Alabama since 2008 and the first Democrat to represent the state in the upper chamber since 1997.

Jones garnered about 50 percent of the vote in 2017, while Moore received about 48 percent. During the race, Moore had to contend with a cloud of controversy stemming from sexual assault allegations, which led to GOP leaders across the country calling for him to step down as the nominee.

However, Jones faces a totally different environment heading into the 2020 elections. The Cook Political Report rates the race “lean Republican” as Sessions and former Auburn University coach Tommy Tuberville battle it out ahead of the July 14 GOP runoff.

President Trump, who has thrown his support behind Tuberville, is also popular in the state with a 53 percent approval rating, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. Jones, on the other hand, had a 41 percent approval rating, according to a Morning Consult survey released in January.

Still, Jones has had a successful streak of fundraising in recent quarters, giving him an advantage over the field of GOP candidates. He had over $8.2 million cash on hand at the beginning of April.

Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

Gardner became the first challenger to unseat an incumbent in Colorado in roughly a generation when he defeated former Sen. Mark Udall (D) in 2014.

But his state has shifted increasingly to the left in recent years. Former President Obama won the state twice in 2008 and 2012, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton carried it in the 2016 presidential election. In 2018, Democrats won control of the Colorado state Senate and held onto the governor’s mansion, giving them full control of the state government for the first time since 1936.

If that trend wasn’t enough to threaten Gardner’s prospects for a second term in the Senate, he faces an expectedly tough challenge from Colorado’s Democratic former governor, John Hickenlooper, who jumped into the race last summer after an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

There hasn’t been much polling in the race, but a survey from the Montana State University and the University of Denver conducted last month showed Hickenlooper with a 16-point lead over Gardner. Another Keating Research–OnSight Public Affairs–Melanson poll released earlier this month found Hickenlooper ahead by 18 points.

Hickenlooper out-raised Gardner in the first quarter of 2020, raking in nearly $4.1 million to his opponent’s $2.5 million. Still, Gardner has the overall cash-on-hand advantage with $9.6 million in the bank.

Martha McSally (R-Ariz.)

McSally already lost a Senate race in 2018, when Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) eked out a narrow 2-point win. Only a few weeks after her loss, McSally was appointed to fill the seat of the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Now, a little more than a year after she entered the Senate, she’s facing a challenge from Democrat Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and gun control advocate who is seen as one of his party’s top recruits of the 2020 cycle. Kelly raised a staggering $11 million in the first three months of 2020 and has some $19.7 million on hand. By comparison, McSally reported $6.4 million raised in the first quarter and $10.3 million in the bank.

There are also signs that Kelly is widening his lead over McSally in the race. A survey from the polling firm OH Predictive Insights released this week showed Kelly leading McSally by 13 points — up from a 9-point lead in a similar poll conducted in April. Republicans are hoping to seize on questions about Kelly’s business record in an effort to weaken him ahead of November.

But unlike Colorado, where Democrats hold power at the state level, Arizona’s state government is largely controlled by the GOP. What’s more, Republicans have won every presidential election in the state since 2000, though Trump carried it in 2016 by a smaller margin than the three Republican nominees before him.

Susan Collins (R-Maine)

The moderate Republican is also facing an uphill battle to defend her spot in the Senate. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Collins 3 points behind state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D), who is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

Additionally, polling shows Maine voters could be souring on the incumbent senator. A Bangor Daily News poll released in April showed Collins with a 37 percent approval rating and a 52 percent disapproval rating.

Collins has been viewed in the past as a critical Republican swing vote, voting against 2017 GOP legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act. However, she has since received the ire of liberals for voting to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018 as he faced sexual misconduct allegations.

However, the race will not necessarily be a cakewalk for the Democrats if Gideon gets the nomination. Collins has represented the state in the Senate since 1997, giving her an incumbent advantage. Additionally, her decisions to side with the Trump administration on a number of issues may not play badly with all voters. The state went Democratic in the last three presidential elections, but elected conservative Gov. Paul LePage twice.

Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)

Tillis is locked in a true toss-up race to hold on to his Senate seat. The first-term senator is facing a tough challenge from Democrat Cal Cunningham and polls show the two candidates in a dead heat.

One survey fielded by Eastern Carolina University earlier this month showed Tillis narrowly leading Cunningham, 41 percent to 40 percent — well within the poll’s margin of error. But a Meredith College poll conducted late last month gave Cunningham a substantial lead in race, showing him ahead of Tillis, 44 percent to 34 percent.

Already, the race between Tillis and Cunningham is shaping up to be the most expensive Senate race of 2020. In March, the Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), booked nearly $22 million worth of fall advertising in the state, making up the largest part of a broader $67 million investment.

Soon after that, the Senate Majority PAC, the top super PAC backing Democratic Senate candidates, reserved $25.6 million in fall ads in the state. That was also the largest portion of a nearly $70 million investment by the group.

Cunningham led Tillis in fundraising in the first three months of the year, bringing in about $4.4 million to his opponent’s $2.1 million. But Tillis has more than twice as much cash on hand as Cunningham, reporting about $6.5 million in the bank at the end of March.

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