Skip to content Bloomberg the Company & Its Products The Company & its Products Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Anywhere Login Bloomberg Customer Support Customer Support Menu Search Bloomberg Businessweek Sign In Sign Out Subscribe Home Markets Technology Politics Wealth Pursuits Opinion Businessweek New Economy Green CityLab Video Podcasts Radio Newsletters Watchlist Subscribe Sign in Submit a Tip Help Center License Read Bloomberg New Economy Future Finance Wealth Next China Crypto Checkout Hyperdrive Well Spent Prognosis Equality Good Business Billionaires Graphics Sponsored Content Screentime Retirement Center Watch The David Rubenstein Show Art + Technology Inspire GO Special Reports Where to Invest $10,000 50 Companies to Watch in 2018 Where to Invest $1 Million Follow Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Read Economics Deals The FIX | Fixed Income ETFs FX Factor Investing Markets Magazine Watch Daybreak Surveillance Markets What’d You Miss Real Yield Charting Futures Futures in Focus Follow Twitter Facebook Data Stocks Currencies Commodities Rates & Bonds Sectors Economic Calendar Listen What Goes Up Stephanomics Odd Lots Surveillance P&L Trillions Read Work Shifting Code Wars Startups AI Mobile Big Data Cloud Computing U.S.Global Special Reports The Elon Musk Tracker Tesla Model 3 Tracker Watch Bloomberg Technology TV Studio 1.0 Listen Decrypted Follow Twitter Facebook Read Election 2020 Trump Tracker Global Trade Tracker Listen Sound On Bloomberg Law Watch Balance of Power Subscribe Balance of Power Follow Twitter Facebook Read Investing Living Opinion & Advice Savings & Retirement Taxes Reinvention Watch Good Money Listen The Paycheck Follow Twitter Facebook Instagram Read Travel Autos Homes Living Culture Style Special Reports Property Listings London Property Prices New York Property Prices How to Spend Your Bonus Watch Made Traveler Invitation Only Follow Twitter Facebook Instagram Read Editorials Follow Twitter Facebook Instagram Listen Masters in Business Subscribe Bloomberg Opinion Today Money Stuff Ritholtz’s Reads Early Returns Sparklines Special Reports Sooner Than You Think Business of Equality The Year Ahead: 2020 The Bloomberg 50 Best B-Schools Watch Hello World The Magazine Subscribe Follow Twitter Facebook Instagram Watch New Economy Conversation Series Listen Stephanomics Subscribe Turning Points Follow Twitter Facebook New Economy Forum Read Science & Energy Climate Adaptation Finance Politics Culture & Design Special Reports Data Dash Subscribe Daily newsletter Follow Twitter Facebook Instagram Read Design Culture Transportation Economy Environment Housing Justice Government Subscribe Daily newsletter Follow Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Watch Live TV US Europe Asia Australia Schedule+Shows Shows Surveillance Daybreak Markets Balance of Power What’d You Miss? Bloomberg Technology All Shows…Series Next Jobs Hello World Storylines Game Changers Profiles Traveler Journey Through South Korea All Series Follow QuickTake YouTube Twitter Facebook Listen What Goes Up Stephanomics Odd Lots Decrypted Masters in Business Surveillance P&L Businessweek The Pay Check Prognosis Travel Genius Works for Me Trillions All Podcasts… All Radio Shows… GOP Shreds Democrats’ Senate Hopes by Holding Key States By Steven T.Dennis @StevenTDennis More stories by Steven T.Dennis , Laura Litvan @LauraLitvan More stories by Laura Litvan , and Mike Dorning @mikedorning More stories by Mike Dorning November 5, 2020, 4:00 AM EST Updated on November 5, 2020, 12:07 PM EST Narrow Democratic path would likely require Georgia sweep Trump’s pull on GOP voters helped Republicans pull out wins The polls, the pandemic and the piles of campaign cash had Democrats tasting victory in the Senate heading into Tuesday’s election.
But that may turn out to be an illusion, and Republicans are on the verge of extending their six-year control in the chamber.
That outcome would relegate Democrats’ expansive agenda on issues including taxes, climate change and health care to the sidelines.
Democrats still have a narrow, long-shot path to avoiding disaster.
If they don’t notch come-from-behind victories to claim GOP-held seats in North Carolina or Alaska, they’d have to flip both Georgia Senate seats in what would be an epic January runoff for control of the chamber.
Dropping vote margins for Republican Senator David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff as vote-counting continued raised odds of a second runoff in Georgia.
Perdue spokesman Ben Fry acknowledged the potential for a runoff Thursday but said Perdue had substantially more votes in the first round and predicted victory in the end.
The Senate now stands at 48 Republicans to 48 Senators who align with Democrats , with four races yet to be resolved.
Barring a Democratic comeback, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell is poised to renew his hold as majority leader, where he would have the power to cripple Joe Biden’s agenda if he wins the presidency or to speed through more of President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments to solidify conservative domination of the courts.
“There’s going to be a lot of soul searching in the Democratic Party over the next weeks and months to come,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections.“We’re in this weird situation where Biden could be elected president of the United States and Democrats are going to be beating themselves up over what happened in this election.”
Although Democrats picked up seats in Colorado and Arizona, they fell short everywhere else.
They lost a seat in Alabama, as expected, and they failed to prevail in other races viewed as tossups with incumbent Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Steve Daines of Montana and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.They didn’t come close to winning any of the longer shots on their target list, including seats in Texas and Kansas, despite often having a massive edge in fundraising and spending.
In addition, Democrats suffered several losses in House races when they were widely expected to increase their majority in that chamber.
More Coverage: Trump Unleashes Legal Onslaught Over Battleground State Votes Democrats Lose Leverage on Stimulus, as Smaller Bill Likely Pelosi’s Power Takes a Hit With Diminished U.S.House Majority Much of the credit goes to Trump’s enduring hold on Republican voters despite persistently low national approval ratings and the intense polarization generated by his presidency.
“The president ran a heck of a race,” McConnell said Wednesday.“Everybody was writing him off, said he had no shot, and he went out and literally worked himself to death the last two months with multiple rallies every day and turned it into a cliffhanger against everybody’s expectation.”
Jessica Taylor, Senate editor of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, was among the independent analysts who before the election viewed Democrats as favorites to retake the Senate majority.
She said either there was a major shift toward Trump in the final days of the campaign or the polls were simply wrong.
“Most of these races are going to end up tracking fairly closely with the presidential results,” she said.
Doug Usher, a pollster and partner at Forbes Tate Partners who advises corporations and associations on political trends, said the Democrats’ failure to win more Senate races largely reflects that Americans increasingly vote a straight party line in national elections.
“It’s just the overwhelming power of people tying their federal votes together,” Usher said.“Despite the incredible differentials in spending in states like South Carolina and Iowa, it’s hard to overcome the power of the top of the ticket.”
Party Loyalty As recently as 2012, voters in six states elected a senator of a different party than their presidential choice.By 2016, no state did, for the first time in the modern era, Usher said.
“Red states tended to remain red in the presidential and tended to take their senators with them,” said pollster J.Ann Selzer, who runs the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll, which showed Trump overtaking Biden and Ernst pulling ahead of her challenger just days before the election.
This year, Collins is so far the only Senate candidate to win despite the opposing party’s presidential candidate being victorious in her state, Maine.
Democrats had built a massive fundraising advantage in most of the key races, much of it via small-dollar donors through the Democratic fundraising portal ActBlue, but that money advantage went for naught in places like South Carolina, Maine, Montana and Iowa.
The race in North Carolina hasn’t yet been called, but it was the most expensive Senate race in history.
Democrat Cal Cunningham raised $46.8 million for his campaign and outside groups spent $115.2 million to either help his candidacy or hurt that of GOP Senator Thom Tillis, according to the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington.Tillis raised just $21.5 million and outside groups spent a total of $100.7 million to either aid him or hurt Cunningham’s chances.Cunningham had been narrowly leading most polls heading into the election, but he was trailing Tillis by just less than 2 percentage points in the most recent vote counts.
In Iowa, the second most expensive race, Ernst raised $23.5 million for her re-election and benefited from $74.5 million from outside groups working to help her or defeat her Democratic opponent, Theresa Greenfield.Greenfield, though, raised $47 million for her campaign and outside groups spent $96.8 million to help her or hurt Ernst’s candidacy.
Big Spending Both parties’ campaign committees raised hundreds of millions of dollars, though the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had the edge, raising a record $244.3 to $219.7 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
There was no shortage of spending from outside groups that included super-PACs run by allies of McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.Total spending by outside groups in Senate general election races in 2020 totaled $1.1 billion, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.
That beats the previous record of $548.7 million set in 2018.
McConnell said Republicans were “way behind” Democrats in harnessing small donors online and vowed the GOP would make changes.
However, Taylor said another lesson from the election is “that money isn’t everything.”
( Updates starting with Georgia race, latest tally beginning in fourth paragraph ) Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.LEARN MORE Have a confidential news tip?
Get in touch with our reporters..