Live Updates: Who Will Win Control of the Senate?

As 2020 election returns roll in, control of the Senate hangs in the balance. We’ll be monitoring returns from 16 contests across the country and updating this piece regularly as new results become available.

The math is not complicated. In the current Senate, Republicans hold a three-seat advantage, 53-47. If Biden wins the presidency, and Vice President Kamala Harris sits as the Senate’s tie-breaker, Democrats need a net gain of three seats to control the chamber. If Trump wins, Democrats would need to net four seats to dislodge Mitch McConnell as majority leader. 

Here are the 16 races we’re watching, grouped by the time the polls close in the state


None of the races we are following have yet been called.


7 p.m ET

Georgia (General Election)
Republican incumbent Sen. David Perdue — who votes with Trump 95 percent of the time — is being challenged by Jon Ossoff, famous to many progressives for fighting (and coming up short) in an expensive special election House fight in 2017

Georgia (Special Election)
Georgia’s second Senate seat is a special election, resulting from the retirement of Sen. Johnny Isakson last year. The seat is currently occupied by Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a millionaire married to the chair of the New York Stock Exchange, who was appointed by the governor. The November 3rd contest will serve as the primary in this race, but could deliver a winner outright if any candidate earns more than 50 percent of the vote. Under Georgia election law, candidates from all parties compete in a single contest. If no candidate can claim a majority, the top-two finishers will then advance to a runoff, to be held on January 5th. The leading Democrat is Rev. Raphael Warnock, an Atlanta pastor, who is leading in the polls and appears a lock to at least make a runoff. Doug Collins, a Republican congressman who serves a district north of Atlanta, is giving Loeffler a strong challenge for second place.



Any time the Senate majority leader is on the ballot, Americans should take note. Mitch McConnell is being challenged by a former fighter pilot in Democrat Amy McGrath.

South Carolina
Jamie Harrison, a former state Democratic Party chair, is battling to unseat incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s most loyal lap-dogs and the Senate Judiciary chair who just jammed through the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. 

8 p.m. ET

In the toughest race for a Democratic incumbent, Sen. Doug Jones is being challenged by former Auburn college-football coach Tommy Tuberville, a staunch abortion foe who thinks of the “current wave of infanticide sweeping across our nation as this generation’s holocaust.”

Maine’s house speaker Sara Gideon is challenging GOP stalwart Sen. Susan Collins, whose reputation for independence has been tarnished by her Trump-era votes, including to confirm Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Democrat Mike Espy is giving Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith some trouble. Recent polling puts Espy with just a few points of the incumbent.

8:15 p.m. ET

North Carolina
Democrat Cal Cunningham, a lawyer and Army Reserve officer, is taking on Republican incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis, another vulnerable Trump loyalist, who has voted with the president 93 percent of the time.

9 p.m. ET

Former NASA astronaut (and husband to former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords) Mark Kelly is taking on Republican incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, who lost a U.S. Senate race in 2018 but was shortly after appointed to the seat opened up by Sen. John Kyl’s resignation. In her two years in the Senate, she has voted with Trump 95 percent of the time.

Former Democratic Governor and brewer John Hickenlooper is favored to beat GOP incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, who has voted with Trump nearly 90 percent of the time and has been railing against the “extremist agenda” of “far-left bullies” — a questionable re-election strategy in a state that has shifted from purple to blue, and where Biden leads by nearly 20 points.

This is an open Senate seat. The race pits Democrat Barbara Bollier (who left the Republican Party in 2018), a physician and member of the state senate running to be a “voice of reason” in Washington, against Republican Rep. Roger Marshall, a Kansas congressman, who is also an anti-abortion ob-gyn. Marshall has cozied up to Trump, touring Kansas in a tour bus emblazoned: “Keep Kansas Great.”

Incumbent Democrat Sen. Gary Peters faces challenger John James, a charismatic Army vet who has struggled to answer questions about GOP health care plans. 

Incumbent Sen. John Cornyn, a longtime lieutenant to McConnell, is being challenged by former Air Force helicopter pilot MJ Hegar, who talked to Rolling Stone in August. The soft-spoken Cornyn is not nearly as polarizing as fellow Texas senator Ted Cruz, but Hegar, who rides a motorcycle and sports arm tattoos, presents an interesting contrast in character. She has blasted the incumbent, who votes with Trump 95 percent of the time, as a “spineless bootlicker.”

10 p.m. ET

Democrat Theresa Greenfield, who was raised on a farm and made a career in urban planning and real estate, is taking on GOP incumbent Sen. Joni Ernst. Ernst campaigned six years ago as a maverick reformer, but instead joined GOP leadership and emerged as a Trump loyalist. 

Outgoing Democratic Governor Steve Bullock, who briefly ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, is taking on incumbent Sen. Steve Daines. Bullock has a great track record — including winning re-election as governor in 2016, the same year Trump won the state by more than 20 points. He faces in Daines a millionaire former software executive (and current Donald Trump, Jr. hunting buddy) with an approval rating of just 47 percent.

Midnight ET

GOP incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan finds himself in a real contest with doctor and commercial fisherman Al Gross, an independent who is pro-choice and wants to “ditch Mitch McConnell.” 

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