On paper, the Republican hold on the Senate in 2020 appears tenuous at best. With 34 seats being contested, Republicans must defend 22 while Democrats need to protect only 12.
Currently, Republicans hold 53 seats while Democrats possess 45 with two independents caucusing with them. That means Democrats would have to win at least three seats to gain control.
But two things are working against Democrats in their bid to control the Senate. First, only two Republican incumbents are considered to be in trouble: Colorado’s Cory Gardner and Arizona’s Martha McSally. Georgia’s David Perdue’s seat is shaky, as is the seat of Maine’s Susan Collins. Meanwhile, if Republicans nominate someone in Alabama who hasn’t been accused of fondling teenage girls to run against Democrat Doug Jones, they should win in a walk.
Most of the seats being contested in 2020 are in GOP safe states in the South and the Great Plains. That should allow the national party to concentrate resources on races that are at risk.
Perhaps reflecting these realities, a host of prominent state Democrats who might have been tempted to run for the Senate are reluctant to make the move.
Senate Democrats had the opportunity to recruit a murderer’s row of popular and tested candidates with proven fundraising abilities in a handful of key states up for election next year as they seek a path back to the majority.
But virtually all of those candidates have taken themselves out of the running, either because they see a bigger prize on the horizon, the White House, or because the allure of serving in the world’s greatest deliberative body is no longer what it once was.
That may be, but no one wants to spend two years running for an office unless there’s a reasonable chance for success:
Democrats see North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis (R) as one of the most vulnerable incumbents this year, but Attorney General Josh Stein (D), a rising star on the Democratic side, will run for reelection instead.
Former Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (D) has been mum about his future plans, though Democrats hold out hope he will challenge Tillis.
Democrats are also optimistic about Georgia, where wunderkind Stacey Abrams (D) continues to mull a long shot bid for the White House or a run against Sen. David Perdue (R). Abrams said Thursday she is considering both races.
Is a candidate who lost a race for governor really a “wunderkind”? Sheesh, the media is desperate to make Stacey Abrams into a star.
It could also be that most of those Democrats mentioned above are not wild-eyed radicals who want to bring a socialist Utopia to the U.S. Those Democrats who see the party headed in that direction would prefer to keep their heads down and play it safe. It could be that when the dust clears from the 2020 election, most of those socialists will have been thrown on the dustbin of history.