By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats are favored to exit 14 US Senate races with full control of Congress in Tuesday’s election, but the final results of at least five of those races may not be available for days and, in some cases, months.
With President Donald Trump‘s public disapproval weighing on Republicans across the country, voters will decide whether to end the political careers of warring Republican senators, including Trump ally Lindsey Graham (NYSE 🙂 of South Carolina. and Moderator Susan Collins from Maine, among others.
In total, 12 Republican-held and two Democrat-held seats are at stake, according to a Reuters analysis of three nonpartisan US election forecasters: the University of Virginia Center for Politics, Cook’s Political Report and Inside. Elections.
“There are dogfights all over the country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, said at a campaign stop. He described the possibility of Republicans holding onto the Senate majority as a “50-50 proposition.”
Those odds seem optimistic, according to all three forecasters.
They predicted that Democrats could emerge with up to 55 of the 100 Senate seats, giving them a majority for the first time in a decade in both the Senate and the 435-seat House of Representatives, where they are expected to retain control.
Democrats hope to usher in a new political era in Washington if their presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, also wins.
Although he may not reach a 60-vote, obstruction-proof majority, control of the Democratic Senate would greatly aid Biden’s legislative agenda or help to hamper a second Trump term.
Authorities and party officials in several states, including two where close races are being fought in the Senate, Iowa and Michigan, reported an increase in automated phone calls Tuesday warning voters not to go to the polls for a variety of false reasons.
“Receive reports of multiple robocalls to Flint residents who, due to long lines, should vote tomorrow,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said on Twitter.
“Obviously this is FALSE and an effort to suppress the vote.”
A Justice Department official said the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was receiving complaints about the calls in Iowa, where Sen. Joni Ernst is fighting to keep her job in front of Democrat Theresa Greenfield.
“We are aware of the robocall reports and have no further comment,” the FBI said in a statement.
To win a majority in the Senate, Democrats must win just three Republican seats if Biden is elected president and Senator Kamala Harris casts the tiebreaker vote as vice president. Republicans now have a majority of 53 to 47 seats.
Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is seen as the most vulnerable of more than half a dozen first-term rulers in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and North Carolina. Democrats Doug Jones and Gary Peters are also on the defensive in Alabama and Michigan, respectively.
EXPECTED DELAYS IN RESULTS
The results of some races may not be known until after Election Day, due to the unprecedented volume of ballots sent by mail this year and possible runoff elections in four races.
Delayed results could occur in Arizona and Maine, where Democrats are heavily favored to swap Republican seats. With races getting tighter in North Carolina and Iowa, analysts say Colorado could be the best chance for Democrats to show a victory on Election Night.
The final results of a four-way contest in Maine between Collins, Democrat Sara Gideon and two independent candidates could be delayed for some time if no one wins an absolute majority on Tuesday, Collins said as the vote proceeded.
“If neither one of us gets 50 percent of the vote, we get into pretty weird ranked election voting … We probably won’t know for sure who won for another week,” Collins said Tuesday morning on the show. Hugh Hewitt’s radio.
Under Maine’s “ranked choice” voting system, voters can rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate wins a majority, the lowest-ranking candidate is eliminated and their support is redirected according to the second preferences of the voters.
Two elections for a pair of Senate seats in Georgia could face a similar fate, except that the second round elections would be delayed until January 5.
In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly could be poised to oust Republican Sen. Martha McSally. But county officials have up to 20 days to review the election results. McSally’s failed 2018 election contest against Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema took six days to produce a winner.
In Michigan, where Peters could be vulnerable to a setback from Republican John James, state election officials are warning that final results may not be available until Friday.
The outcome of the close races in Montana and South Carolina may not be known until Wednesday, according to state and Democratic Party election officials.
In the race for the United States Senate in Montana, Republican incumbent Steve Daines is shoulder to shoulder with Governor Steve Bullock. In South Carolina, Graham, a three-term Republican, faces an unprecedented challenge from Democrat Jaime Harrison.
If Democrats emerge from the election with control of the Senate, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to let nothing stand in their way. “There is nothing off the table,” he said.