WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican Senator Corey Gardner was defeated in Colorado on Tuesday by former Governor John Hickenlooper, giving Democrats their first victory in an electoral battle in which they seek to win control of the US Senate.
The victory came quickly after the defeat of Democratic Senator Doug Jones in Alabama, while veteran Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John Cornyn faced Democratic challenges in South Carolina and Texas.
Republicans also held an open seat in Kansas, where Republican Roger Marshall was declared the winner over Democrat Barbara Bollier.
Control over the Senate may not be clear for some time. The final results of many competitions may not be available for days and in at least one case, months. One of Georgia’s two senators was projected to go into a January runoff between Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Rafael Warnock.
Voters are also deciding whether to end the political career of Maine’s liberal Susan Collins, among other embassy Republican senators.
In total, 12 Republican-held seats and two Democratic-held seats were in play, based on a Reuters analysis of three nonpartisan US election forecasts – the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, the Cook Political Report and the Inside Union.
Gardner, according to estimates from television networks and Edison Research, was long viewed as the weakest Senate unaffiliated of his party, having previously lost to Hickenpopper in the Republican state.
Jones, the weakest Democrat, lost predictably to challenge Tommy Tuberville in Alabama’s Republican stronghold.
To gain a majority in the Senate, Democrats only need to elect three Republican seats if Joe Biden is elected president and Senator Kamala Harris wins a tie-breaking vote as vice president. Republicans now have a majority of 53–47.
Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was a massive fundraiser by Democrat Jaime Harrison, headed to victory after Senate confirmation of US Supreme Court Justice Amy Connie Barrett.
Cornyn was declared the winner against MJ Hager, a state challenger who appeared to be drifting toward the Democrats. Republican Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won re-election in Kentucky, as expected.
All told, 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate were up for election.
“There are dogfights all over the country,” said McConnell, the top Republican in Congress. He described the possibility of placing Republicans on a Senate majority as a “50-50 proposal”.
Based on three forecasts expected to emerge from elections with congressional control for the first time in a decade, they appear optimistic. Democrats were projected to retain control of the 435-seat House of Representatives.
Democrats are hoping to usher in a new political era in Washington if Biden also wins.
Although likely to fall short of a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority, Democratic Senate control would also help Stamey word a second lump.
Gardner was involved in more than half a dozen first-party parties in states including Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and North Carolina. Democrat Gary Peters is defensive in Michigan.
Included in result
The results of some breeds may not be known due to this year’s unprecedented volume of mail-in ballots and possible runoff elections in four races.
Delayed results can occur in Arizona and Maine, where Democrats are strong advocates of flipping Republican seats.
The final results from a four-way Maine contest between Collins, Democrat Sarah Gideon, and two independent candidates may be delayed from 10 days to two weeks if a candidate does not win an outright majority and race in an automatic runoff under the state’s rank-choice Is forced. Voting system according to state election officer.
Maine voters can rank candidates in order of preference. With no clear winner on election night, the competition will enter a series of elimination rounds, in which lower-order candidates exit until they are victorious.
In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly appeared ready to unite Republican Senator Martha McSally. But county officials have up to 20 days to review the election results. It took six days to become the winner in McSally’s 2018 election contest against Democratic Senator Kirsten Sinima.
In Michigan, where Peters may be harassed by Republican John James, state election officials warned that final results may not be available on Friday.
According to state election and Democratic Party officials, the result of a tight race in Montana between Republican incumbent Steve Dens and Governor Steve Bail may not be known until Wednesday.
If Democrats exit the election with Senate control, then Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer vowed not to let anything stand in his way. He said, “Nothing.”
Reporting by David Morgan; Additional reporting by Sarah Ann Lynch and Chris Bing and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Scott Malone, Sonya Hepvist and Peter Cooney